Like president, like administration. Much like Donald Trump’s regular meltdowns on Twitter, his staff seems to take a similar path when it comes to dealing with the press.
Today during a press conference, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders openly sparred with CNN’s Jim Acosta over the definition of Donald Trump’s favorite phrase, “fake news.” Acosta asked Sanders point blank to give an example of when a journalist refused to correct an error they reported, and her reply was nothing short of rash, yet unsurprising.
“Journalists make honest mistakes,” Acosta told Sanders, “and that doesn’t make them fake news.”
Sanders interrupted him, stating ““when journalists make honest mistakes, they should own up to them.”
Acosta insisted, “they do,” while Sanders continued to disagree.
“Sometimes,” Sanders said. “And a lot of times you don’t.”
— NBC News (@NBCNews) December 11, 2017
Acosta attempted to continue his questioning, but Sanders interrupted him yet again, stating: “I’m not finished! There is a very big difference between making an honest mistake and purposefully misleading the American people, something that happens regularly.”
Another journalist attempted to chime in but Sanders cut them off, and attempting to refuse to comment further:
“I’m not done. You cannot say that it’s an honest mistake when you are purposefully putting out information that you know to be false. Or when you are taking information that hasn’t been validated, that hasn’t been offered any credibility, that has been continually denied by a number of people.”
However, Acosta did not let her try to avoid the matter. He tried to press her further on the matter and asked her to “cite a specific story that you say is intentionally false, that was intentionally put out there to mislead the American people.”
Sanders pointed to an incident with ABC reporter Brian Ross where he incorrectly stated former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was prepared to testify against Trump. However, Sanders was mistaken in her information, as ABC did remedy Ross’ mistake. The New York Times reported that ABC had not only suspended Ross, but did, after several hours, correct the report. Though Sanders acknowledged ABC suspended Ross, she did not mention the network’s correction of the error:
‘I think that was pretty misleading to the American people, and I think that it’s very telling that that individual had to be suspended because of that reporting. I think that shows that the network took it seriously and recognized that it was a problem.’
Sarah Huckabee Sanders addresses allegations of sexual conduct against President Trump:
"The American people knew this and voted for the president, and we feel like we're ready to move forward" pic.twitter.com/Oj7NHOcV9o
— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) December 11, 2017
In spite of her inability to tactfully address the press on the matter of “fake news,” Sanders more artfully dodged questions surrounding allegations of sexual assault against Donald Trump. When pressed on the matter by journalists, Sanders retorted: “the American people knew this and voted for the president, and we feel like we’re ready to move forward.”
After White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders dodged questions about Trump sexual misconduct allegations, a reporter asked if she had ever been sexually harassed pic.twitter.com/g0A5czjufB
— VICE News (@vicenews) December 11, 2017
During the same interview, a journalist questioned Sanders about whether or not she had been sexually harassed and whether she has a sympathy for those women who have been sexually assaulted. Sanders stated that she has “an empathy for anyone who has been sexually harassed, and that would certainly be the policy of the White House.” On the matter of her own experience, Sanders avoided the question and said she was not there to speak to her own experience.
Featured Image by Win McNamee via Getty Images.