WASHINGTON ― During Tuesday’s White House press briefing, a reporter challenged deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders for “inflaming” journalists, after she launched into a tirade against “the constant barrage of fake news” against President Donald Trump.
In the White House’s first public, on-camera press briefing in a week, Sanders took her first question from a reporter from Trump-friendly Breitbart News who asked her to comment on three CNN reporters resigning after retracting a story about a Trump transition official.
Sanders then railed against “the constant barrage of fake news directed at this president,” and encouraged reporters and the American public to watch “a video circulating now, whether it’s accurate or not, I don’t know.”
Sanders continued to chide reporters for using “unnamed sources, sometimes stories with no sources at all” ― though White House officials often ask to be anonymous when providing even routine information. She also admonished reporters for covering “this Russia/Trump hoax.”
“If we make the slightest mistake, or the slightest word is off, it is just an absolute tirade from a lot of people in this room,” Sanders continued. “But news outlets get to go on, day after day, and cite unnamed sources, use stories without sources, have, you know, you mentioned the story where they had to have reporters are resign.”
Brian Karem, editor of the Montgomery County Sentinel, based outside Washington D.C., interrupted Sanders, noting that the White House should be held to the same standards.
“Come on. You’re inflaming everybody right here and right now with those words,” he said.
“This administration has done that as well. Why in the name of heavens? Any one of us are replaceable, and any one of us, if we don’t get it right, the audience has the opportunity to turn the channel or not read us,” he continued, pointing to the reporters assembled in the briefing room.
“You have been elected to serve for four years at least. There’s no option other than that. We’re here to ask you questions. You’re here to provide the 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’s right, and everybody else out here is fake media.’ And everybody in this room is only trying to do their job.”
Sanders responded by saying that “if there’s anything that has been inflamed, it is the dishonesty that often takes place by the news media.”