A press briefing with Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders got particularly hostile when Jim Acosta, CNN Senior White House Correspondent, refused to let Sanders ignore his question. Sanders railed against the news media, saying they were “purposefully misleading Americans,” but she refused to talk about why Trump is not condemning real fake news propaganda used by the Russians in the 2016 presidential campaign.
He’s also not doing anything to keep it from influencing future elections.
Matthew Nussbaum, White House reporter for Politico, asked a question that revolved around tweets that Donald Trump made on Saturday. He called for the firing of a Washington Post journalist, Dave Weigel, who Tweeted a photo showing Trump’s audience in Pensacola Florida and mocking Trump’s statement that is was “packed to the rafters.”
Trump is known to be super-sensitive about audience size, and he demanded an apology on Twitter. After Weigel actually apologized, noting that he had deleted the photo already, Trump seized on the apology as an admission of fraud and called for his firing.
Nussbaum wanted Sanders to explain why Trump gets so incensed by talk about crowd size, yet remains silent and complicit on the topic of the propaganda from Russia that helped him take the White House in the first place.
— Matthew Nussbaum (@MatthewNussbaum) December 11, 2017
“Thank you, Sarah. The President reacted quite angrily over the weekend to a Washington Post reporter’s tweet about crowd size that was quickly deleted. I’m wondering if you could help explain the discrepancy between the President’s reacting to incidents like this, which he calls ‘fake news’ and talks quite a bit about, and his silence on actual disinformation campaigns like Russia ran during the 2016 election to deliberately spread false information. So, both his silence on that, and does he recognize the difference between the two?”
Sanders didn’t want to compare Trump’s blatant silence and consent with Russian propaganda to his attacks on the credibility of the US media. Instead, she said that American news media bias “is a big problem and something that should be taken seriously.”
She claims the American media is “out of control,” but says she hadn’t even spoken to Trump about the Russian disinformation campaign, which in itself is completely stunning.
When she moved on to CNN’s Jim Acosta, Sanders quickly became defensive. Acosta said:
“I would just say, Sarah, that journalists make honest mistakes, and it doesn’t make them fake news.”
Sanders fired back:
“When journalists make honest mistakes they should own up to them,” she said. “There is a very big difference between making honest mistakes and purposefully misleading the American people, something that happens regularly.”
The Washinton Post reporter actually did own up to his mistake, but that admission was exploited as a weakness by Trump.
Acosta asked her to cite a story that was intentionally misleading the American people, and she cited the ABC report from Brian Ross. ABC suspended Ross over his incorrect reporting on former National security adviser, Michael Flynn. His information had come from a confidant of Flynn’s, but it wasn’t fully vetted before it was shared widely and then deleted on Twitter.
From The New York Times:
“ABC said the confidant later clarified that Mr. Trump’s request to Mr. Flynn during the campaign had been to find ways to repair relations with Russia. The directive to contact Russian officials on topics that included working together against the Islamic State came after the election, the network said.”
Oliver Darby, also of CNN, tweeted that in that case, ABC hadn’t intentionally misled people either.
Sanders cites botched story from ABC's @BrianRoss.
But ABC didn't intentionally put out report with aim of misleading ppl…
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) December 11, 2017
When Jim Acosta tried to move on to to the question he originally wanted to ask, Sanders refused to let him speak, saying:
“I’m moving to a different Jim.”
Acosta wanted to ask her about the accusations of misconduct against the president, but she was simply done with Acosta.
Acosta later tweeted something very disturbing about what it looks like when the government controls the media:
Look around the world and check out the countries that have government control over the media. They are not places where you want to live.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) November 27, 2017
See the fiery exchange in the video below:
Featured image: Screenshot via YouTube.