The reporter who got into a heated exchange with Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday afternoon said President Donald Trump’s administration’s treatment of the media spurred his emotional flare-up.
“Six months of being bullied by this administration, being told we are the enemy of the people and how the administration supports the First Amendment – just not the people who practice it – and I’d had enough,” Brian Karem, the reporter, wrote in a blog post for Playboy. “I don’t like bullies and I don’t like the entire institution of the press and free speech being castigated for no other reason than we either get stories wrong – which happens, and it should be then responsibly corrected – or because we report news the president doesn’t like – which seems to happen even more often than getting stories wrong.”
The somewhat contentious exchange occurred shortly after Sanders was asked a question by a Breitbart writer about the recent retraction CNN had made in regards to a story it wrote about the Trump-Russia investigation.
Sanders then began pontificating on the state of modern journalism, claiming that “fake news” is rampant among those who covered the White House, particularly when it comes to the Trump-Russia investigation (a probe that both houses of Congress and law enforcement are actively involved in).
In one of the more bizarre moments of the press briefing, Sanders even encouraged the reporters in the room and the American people to watch a video that allegedly showed a CNN employee criticizing the network’s coverage of the Trump-Russia investigation despite admitting that she wasn’t sure it was even accurate or not.
So, when we are wrong we correct ourselves but when has POTUS ever done that? We are not FAKE news.
— Brian J. Karem (@BrianKarem) June 27, 2017
Things got heated from there, with Karem claiming Sanders’ comments were “inflaming” anti-press and anti-media sentiments across the country. Sanders countered that there was “dishonesty” in the media and called his assertion “outrageous.”
The video of the CNN employee, John Bonifield, was produced by notorious right-wing provocateur James O’Keefe, who has been criticized on numerous occasions for producing videos that are selectively edited to further his narrative.
CNN has said that Bonifield, a producer at the network, is not involved with the coverage of the Trump-Russia investigation, and the company praised the “diversity of personal opinion” at the network.
You can watch the exchange here.