Accuracy in Media

Sarah Huckabee Sanders made a simple request before her briefing the Monday before Thanksgiving – that reporters say what they are thankful for this holiday season before they ask their questions.

Most played along, creating a lighter environment on a holiday week when little news is made. Most were “grateful for their children, their spouses, their health and the privilege of getting to ask questions at the White House,” reported Dana Milbank, a columnist for the Washington Post.

But Sanders’ critics in the mainstream media were not amused.

“The president of the United States is a bully who makes a mockery of his office, democratic institutions and the English language,” wrote the New Yorker’s Masha Gessen. “It’s the job of reporters to ask questions, and it is Sanders’ job to answer them. That was why they were all gathered there: to do their jobs of asking and answering.

“Of course, this is merely a matter of convention; there is no law or rule to prevent Sanders from rejecting questions or from setting conditions for their asking. One might assume that the reporters in the room have the power, given that they serve as the informal representatives of the voting public. But this is not how this administration interprets the relationship, and Sanders was reminding the press corps that she has the power to respond to their questions or not.”

Gessen did not point out the previous administration did not even let reporters who wanted to ask hostile questions attend the briefings, or that it dodged – with the cooperation of the reporters who had no qualms cozying up to that administration – anything resembling a tough question for eight years.

Milbank added that he prefers “to share my thoughts of gratitude with my family at the Thanksgiving table, rather than when commanded to by a Trump mouthpiece,” then proceeded to unveil a long list – in the paper and not at the aforementioned table – of what he was thankful for.

Milbank was thankful for the “many men and women who, often at great personal cost and risk, have stood up to the authoritarian in the White House;” for Jim Comey, Rod Rosenstein and Robert Mueller for dragging on their investigations into the Trump administration, for other world leaders filling “the void in world leadership left by Trump’s retreat;” for the Republicans who criticize him and even for Heather Heyer, “killed in Charlottesville as she protested white supremacists.”

A reporter who attends briefings regularly told the Washington Examiner the complaints were overwrought. “Clearly, if you pay attention to what happened in the room, everyone participated,” the reporter said. “I just don’t see it as that bad.”

Reporters seem to see little downside in ripping into the president’s press secretary in some spectacularly personal ways. One columnist for the Los Angeles Times was forced to apologize and to remove some portions of a column on Sanders – he called her a “slightly chunky soccer mom” who does not “look like the kind of woman Donald Trump would choose as his chief spokesperson” – because even his left-leaning colleagues in the press found them offensive.

It was unlikely this would receive fair treatment in the press, which has unloaded an unusually large amount of personal commentary on Sanders.

Also last week, Sanders tweeted that she had been visited in her office by the turkeys Trump later pardoned.

“We had a surprise visitor in my office today and got to live a real-life version of an episode of the West Wing,” Sanders wrote.

Bradley Whitford, who played presidential aide Josh Lyman on the series, tweeted that the show’s press secretary, whose name was C.J. Cregg, would not have approved.

“I know C.J. Cregg. C.J. Cregg is a friend of mine. You’re no C.J. Cregg,” Whitford wrote.

“Thanks for having my back, Josh,” responded Allison Janney, the actor who Craig but whose career has gone downhill since. “Love, C.J.”

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  • There is zero journalism from the left, ideology gets in there way. They are as bad as the mafia was, correction they are worse than the mafia was, they have a audience and they can fill that audience with FAKE NEWS and lies and the stupid audience is to dam lazy to look for the truth. That is what happened to Germany in the 30’s and now you have the alt left so called journalist trying to take down our great country! They are hateful a-holes!

  • worried for future

    If these self proclaimed “journalists” want any respect they have to also give it. These lackeys for the Left are only interested in making themselves look clever or brave among their peers. These so called reporters are so slanted they can’t walk straight. We all know honest reporting of the news is not their goal. These liars all have a biased agenda and it’s anything but honest. Except for most of Fox News reporters these fakes have abandoned the public good and aren’t worth a damn.

  • samo war
  • oat21

    Dana Milbank, a columnist for the Washington Post and the New Yorker’s Masha Gessen are amongst the biggest morons on the planet who owe the respect of being allowed to ask questions of the Presidents Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders. During the 8 years of Obama’s attempted destruction and push of America into his abyss these types of questions and rudeness from any reporter would have been fired from their left wing liberal socialist news outlets. People, and I won’t refer to them as reporters like Dana Milbank and Masha Gessen are left wing media sharks on the attack that has anything to do with President Trump, his administration or his Press Secretary. They and any other left wing media individual should be fired and not allowed into the White House press room because of their rudeness and unprofessional behavior.

  • TED

    Huckabee was out of line. She dodges and skirts questions like some kind of automaton … but wants reporters to answer a question relevant ONLY to their private lives away from the job?