A White House reporter confronted White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders at the top of her Tuesday press briefing, accusing her of “inflaming tensions with the media”, The Hill reports.
Sanders was asked about whether President Donald Trump accepts the apology from CNN regarding a recent story it retracted about alleged ties between a Trump ally and a Russian investment fund.
“All we are saying is I think we should take a really good look at what we are focused on, what we are covering and making sure it’s accurate and honest. If we make the slightest mistake, the slightest word is off, it’s an absolute tirade from a lot of people in this room. But news outlets get to go on day after day and cite unnamed sources, use stories without sources”, Sander said.
As she continued, Brian Karem, a contributor to Playboy magazine, interrupted, accusing Sanders of “inflaming everyone at the press briefing”.
“You are inflaming everyone right here right now with those words. This administration has done that as well … Any one of us are replaceable, if we don’t get it right, the audience has the opportunity to turn the channel or not read us. You have been elected to serve for four years at least, there is no option other than that”, Karem said.
“We are here to ask you questions, you are here to provide answers. And what you just did is inflammatory to people all over the country who look at it and say, ‘See, once again, the President is right and everybody else is just fake media.’ Everybody in this room is only trying to do their job”, he added.
Sanders responded, briefly addressing the accusations before moving onto questions from another reporter. “I disagree completely. First of all, if anything has been inflamed, it’s the dishonesty that often takes place by the news media. I think it is outrageous for you to accuse me of inflaming a story when I was simply trying to respond to his question,” she said.
Tuesday marked the first on-camera press briefing for the White House in a week, as reporters have grown critical of the administration’s decision to hold more off-camera briefings, and of officials who denounce anonymous sources while only agreeing to speak to the press on background.