Tags: Donald Trump | Media Bias | Trump Administration | press secretary | fake news | jim acosta | cnn

WH's Sanders Verbally Spars With Press Over 'Fake News'


By    |   Monday, 11 December 2017 04:52 PM

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders got into a testy verbal joust with reporters Monday over President Donald Trump's attacks on "fake news" and demands journalists be punished or fired for stories that are erroneous.

The back-and-forth mostly involved CNN's Jim Acosta, whose network has taken much of the brunt of Trump's anger at the mainstream media.

The questioning began with Politico's Matthew Nussbaum, who referred to Trump's twitter-rage over The Washington Post reporter Dave Weigel's misleading Twitter picture from the president's rally that showed a near-empty arena. He quickly deleted the picture.

"I wonder if you can explain the discrepancy to the 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," Nussbaum asked. "So both his silence on that, and does he recognize the difference between these two?"

Sanders replied Trump "is simply calling out a very direct and false accusation lodged against him."

"There was nothing more than an individual trying to put their bias into their reporting and something that, frankly, has gotten a little bit out of control," she said.

"We've seen it time and time again over the last couple of weeks a number of outlets have had to retract and change and rewrite and make editor's notes to a number of different stories and some of them with major impacts, including moving markets. This is a big problem and we think it should be something taken seriously."

But Nussbaum pressed, "The information campaign by a foreign government. Does he see a distinction there?" 

Sanders said she had not spoken to Trump about it, adding: "We would take any misinformation like that very seriously, but it's not something we're comparing the two on."

Acosta jumped in, however, saying, "Sarah, journalists make honest mistakes and that doesn't make them fake news."

"When journalists make honest mistakes they should own up to them . . . and a lot of times you don't," she replied.

The room erupted and Sanders scolded: "I'm sorry. I'm not finished."

"There's a very big difference between making honest mistakes and purposefully misleading the American people," she said. "Something that happens regularly," she continued. When questions kept getting shouted at her, she barked: "I'm not done."

"You can't say that it's an honest mistake when you are purposely putting out information that you know to be false or when you're taking information that hasn't been validated, that hasn't been offered any credibility and that has been continually denied by a number of people including people with direct knowledge of an incident."

She finally called on Acosta to ask his question.

"This is not the line of questioning that I was going down, but can you cite a specific story that you say is intentionally false that was intentionally put out there to mislead the American people?"

"The ABC report by Brian Ross," she replied. "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."

But when Acosta attempted to ask the question he intended, however, Sanders refused, telling him: "Well you used it on something else," but he pressed: "If I may . . . I needed to ask the question that I wanted to ask, which is . . ."

"Jim, I'm going to say once and for all that I'm moving on to Jim Stenson, and I'm not taking another question from you at this point," she declared.

Acosta asked anyway about "these accusations of misconduct against the president and you said he's denied them, whether or not they are false . . ."

Sanders waved him off without comment.

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White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to a flurry of angry journalists questions about President Donald Trump's disavowing "fake news" and calling out journalists for their politically weaponized mistakes.
press secretary, fake news, jim acosta, cnn
Monday, 11 December 2017 04:52 PM
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