White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was in rare form on Tuesday, bashing the mainstream media for their continual stream of lies, irresponsible reporting, and outright “fake news” about the Trump administration. In the first televised White House briefing in several days, Sanders took the first question from Breitbart’s Charlie Spiering, a move that probably rankled the D.C. press establishment more than anything Sanders could say afterwards.
In his question, Spiering asked Sanders about the CNN scandal, which is currently rocking the network after a published-and-then-quickly-retracted story they wrote about a Trump associate and his ties to a Russian investment firm. CNN deleted the story and issued an apology, but that didn’t stop President Trump from lashing out at the network on Twitter.
“Wow, CNN had to retract big story on ‘Russia,’ with 3 employees forced to resign,” Trump wrote. “What about all the other phony stories they do? FAKE NEWS!”
Spiering asked Sanders why Trump was unwilling to accept CNN’s apology.
“I don’t know if that response is good enough,” Sanders said. “It’s the barrage of fake news directed at the president that has garnered his frustration. We have gone to a place where if the media can’t be trusted to report the news, then that’s a dangerous place for America.
“There are multiple instances when that outlet has been wrong—there’s a video circulating now, whether it’s accurate or not, not sure—but I encourage everyone to take a look at it,” she continued. “If it is accurate, I think it’s a disgrace to all of media, to all of journalism.”
Sanders was referencing an undercover video published by James O’Keefe, wherein a CNN producer admits that the Russia story is “likely bulls**t,” and that the network is obsessed with the collusion narrative because of the “incredible ratings” they’re getting out of it.
After the Breitbart reporter asked Sanders if it was not the media’s responsibility to report on “stories of a foreign country trying to influence the election,” Sanders said that the Russia “hoax” should not consume the entirety of the media’s attention.
“I don’t think it’s expected you’re not to report on actual news, but I think there are a lot of things happening in the world that people would like to hear about—job growth, deregulation—those things deserve more coverage,” Sanders said. “I think we should take a good look at what we are focused on and making sure it’s accurate. If we make the slightest mistake, it is 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, and use stories without sources.”
This answer inspired Brian Karem of The Montgomery County Sentinel to interrupt Sanders with a fiery defense of the press.
“You’re inflaming everyone here,” Karem said. “We’re here to ask questions, you’re here to provide answers—what you did is inflammatory—everybody in this room is just trying to do their job.”
Sanders wasn’t ruffled, though, telling Karem that she was simply pointing out “the dishonesty that often takes place in the news media.”
“It is outrageous,” she said, “to accuse me of inflaming a story when I was trying to answer a question.”
All of this goes to show that the media’s war on Trump – and vice versa – is not going to abate anytime soon.