By now we're all aware that President Trump is waging war on the mainstream media by calling pretty much every newspaper "fake news." And he seemed to have a small victory this week when CNN retracted a story about Trump's ties with Russia—three reporters even resigned over the incident.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 27, 2017
At the latest press briefing, Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was answering a reporter's question about the CNN tweet when she was interrupted by an outspoken and unapologetic reporter who called out the Trump administration for suppressing the press.
It started with a reporter asking Sanders if she actually expected the media not to cover stories about foreign countries influencing the presidential election. Sanders said, "I don't think it's expected that you're not to report on again actual news, if there's something there." She then pointed to other more important stories that she thinks the American people should hear about instead—ones that, you know, don't involve looking into potential criminal activities by the president's campaign, like job growth, tax reform or health care (though we know that's gotten huge push back from Democrats and Republicans alike). Sanders complained to the reporters that if she makes the slightest mistake, the reporters basically eat her alive in "an absolute tirade," but "news outlets get to go on day after day and cite unnamed sources, use stories without sources," AKA publish fake news, in Sanders' mind at least.
Interestingly, Sanders kept referring to the press as "we," like "what we are covering," which implies that she has some control over the press or that the government and press are supposed to be working together. Yet we know from the U.S. Constitution that the press—the only business explicitly named in the Constitution—plays a vital role in overseeing and keeping the government in check, acting as a watch dog to balance their power. Thus it was surprising to hear Sanders refer to the media and herself as "we," as if their goals are the same. They're not.
A reporter seemed just as frustrated by Sander's words, because out of nowhere Brian Karem of the Sentinel Newspapers called out to her from the back of the room. "Come on! You're inflaming everybody right here right now with those words. This administration has done that as well. Why in the name of heavens...any one of us if we don't get it right, the audience has the opportunity to turn the channel or not read us. You have been elected to serve four years at least—there’s no option other than that," he told her, in front of all the reporters.
“We’re here to ask you questions,” Karem said. “You’re here to provide the answers and what you just did is inflammatory to people all over the country who look at it and say, ‘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.”
“I disagree completely,” Sanders replied. “If anything’s been inflamed, it’s the dishonesty that often takes place by the news media. And I think it’s outrageous for you to accuse me of inflaming a story when I was simply trying to respond to his question."
Well, it looks like Sanders is following in Press Secretary Sean Spicer's footsteps when it comes to her adversarial relationship with the press. Now it all makes sense why the word "post-truth" was just added to the dictionary.