News & Politics

Washingtonian Today: Are Occasional Briefings Even Worth It?

Photograph by Evy Mages

About Washingtonian Today

Washingtonian Today is not just another political news roundup. Instead, this daily morning brief provides local context on national news, catches you up on what’s happening at Washingtonian, points you toward super duper awesome things to do around town, and lets you in on some special events going on in-house. Sign up here to receive Washingtonian Today in your inbox every morning.

Good morning and happy Tuesday.

The briefing, briefly: After 42 days with no briefings, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders answered press questions Monday. She tiptoed around questions on Trump’s reported comment that Democrats hate Jews and teased a possible pardon of Paul Manafort. You know times are tough when I begin to yearn for the days of constant briefing room foolery, grandstanding and name-calling included. Now I wonder whether the briefing room would be better suited as a Gregorys Coffee. (Those places are popping up everywhere these days…)

There’s an argument to be made that occasional briefings are better than none. But isn’t this like catching up with an ex every few months? Nothing truly gets discussed, and you end up talking past each other. Just like in any other relationship, consistency in communication is key. Put in less dating-centric terms: a briefing every two months accomplishes headaches more than anything else.

BTW, Media Matters released more audio of Tucker Carlson, this time saying racist as well as sexist things. He calls Iraqis “semiliterate primitive monkeys.” He questions Barack Obama’s blackness. He says the US should admit only immigrants who can “Be hot, be really smart.” On last night’s show Fox News show, Carlson refused to apologize, saying he will not “bow to the mob.” I presume the mob in the case are those offended by his past statements including a remark asserting he’d  “love that scenario” of underage girls sexually experimenting with one another at boarding school. Weird flex, Tucker, but okay.

Today we’re all Brooke Baldwin.

I’m your author, Brittany Shepherd. Email me at and follow me on Twitter. Will Peischel ( contributed reporting today. Please subscribe to this newsletter and together we can get to the bottom of why Joe & the Juice is so expensive.

What’s on my mind: We wrote about Greater Greater Washington’s financial woes last week, and now you can help them complete their member drive goal for 2019.

And now for something completely different: This hawk, standing before a pigeon who met an untimely end in Thomas Circle, looks pretty guilty.

What we have cooking at Washingtonian:

Our pick for things to do around town:

LECTURE National Geographic contributing writer and climber Mark Synnott will speak about his decades of climbing adventures and share stories from his new book The Impossible Climb. Synnott will be in conversation with National GeographicSenior Editor Peter Gwin at National Geographic’s Gilbert H. Grosvenor Auditorium. $25, 7:30 PM.

Good reads:

Twenty years ago, Seth Stevenson sat on a jury that he would never forget. Here’s the harrowing tale of why it’s stuck with him through all this time. (Slate)

Refinery29’s Black Is the New Black series features White House reporter April Ryan writing about PBS’s Yamiche Alcindor. In it, Ryan reveals a truth about reporting while black: “When you’re a reporter, you’re documenting events and history — you’re not planning on being the story. But when you’re a Black reporter, you’re not just preserving history, you’re making it.” (Refinery29)

Big events from Washingtonian:

Do you really love the drip coffee from Swings? Adore the sweets at District Doughnut? Our annual readers poll is now live–take it and let us know your favorite things in Washington. You could win two tickets to our fabulous Best of Washington party in June.

Staff Writer

Brittany Shepherd covers the societal and cultural scene in political Washington. Before joining Washingtonian as a staff writer in 2018, Brittany was a White House Correspondent for Independent Journal Review. While she has lived in DC for a number of years now, she still yearns for the fresh Long Island bagels of home. Find her on Twitter, often prattling on about Frasier.