Tensions flared during Tuesday’s White House press briefing, the first on-camera briefing in one week, as a frustrated reporter accused deputy spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders and members of the Trump administration of “inflaming” hostilities with the media.
The heated exchange came as Sanders was responding to a question regarding a recently retracted CNN story concerning President Donald Trump and Russia that quickly prompted the resignation of three staff journalists the day before.
“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 said. “But news outlets get to go on day after day and cite unnamed sources, use stories without sources,” she added.
“You’re inflaming everyone right here right now with those words,” Brian Karem of the Sentinel interrupted. “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.”
“What you just did is inflammatory to people all over the country who look at it and 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,” he continued.
Sanders also encouraged Americans to watch a newly released video by James O’Keefe, the conservative filmmaker notorious for using deceptive tactics to smear his subjects, to question the credibility of CNN and other media organizations that have been critical of Trump. Sanders did so while also admitting she could not vouch for the video’s accuracy.
The confrontation comes amid the ongoing war between the White House and news organizations, with Trump regularly portraying the mainstream media as dishonest and the “enemy” of Americans. Trump appeared gleeful in the wake of the retracted CNN story, seizing the incident to blast the news network and other media outlets as “fake news.”
Fake News CNN is looking at big management changes now that they got caught falsely pushing their phony Russian stories. Ratings way down!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 27, 2017
You can watch the full exchange from today’s press briefing below:
This story has been revised.