It’s an easy question with a seemingly easy answer. “Is the press the enemy of the people?” CNN’s Jim Acosta asked White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders this question not once, but twice today and she refused to say no. Instead, she turned it around to make it about herself:
“It’s ironic, Jim, that not only you and the media attack the President for his rhetoric when they frequently lowered the level of conversation in this country. Repeatedly, repeatedly the media restarts personal attacks without any content other to incite anger. The media has attacked me repeatedly, said I should be harassed as a life sentence. I.C.E. officials are not welcomed in their place of worship. When I was hosted by the Correspondence Association you brought up a comedian to attack me. As far as I know, I’m the first press secretary in the history of the United States that’s required Secret Service protection. The media continues to ratchet up the verbal assault against the president and everyone in this administration and certainly, we have a role to play but the media has to role to play for the discourse in this country as well.”
She also said, “I think the president has made his position known.” His position has been that the press is the enemy so she is basically echoing that thought.
I walked out of the end of that briefing because I am totally saddened by what just happened. Sarah Sanders was repeatedly given a chance to say the press is not the enemy and she wouldn't do it. Shameful.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) August 2, 2018
After the briefing Acosta said:
“I think what you saw happen here at the end of that briefing was the true feelings of the president. The true feelings of many of the people that work in this administration laid bare, it seems in their heart of hearts that the journalists who cover this White House, the journalists who work in this city, who were just trying a few moments ago to hold some of these officials accountable about attacks on our democracy, that the people here who work at this White House all the way up to the president evidently believe that journalists are the enemy of the people. Literally the enemy of the people.”
He goes on to say:
“I’m tired of this. it is not right. it is not fair. It is not just. It is un-American to come out here and call the press the enemy of the people.”
Asked multiple times if press is the “enemy of the people”, @PressSec does not answer and instead refers to a prepared list of complaints about the media.
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) August 2, 2018
An extraordinarily disappointing moment by @PressSec just now… Her inability to acknowledge the role POTUS has played in all of this media bashing only hurts her own credibility…She had a chance to defend the institution and take the high ground and show leadership, instead..
— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) August 2, 2018
The irony is Sanders job is to talk to the press. So positioning the very people you work day in and day out with as the enemy isn’t in line with the job she is supposed to do.
One of Obama's former deputy press secretaries –> https://t.co/KBvGJwAZYJ
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) August 2, 2018
The press secretary for the president of the United States has essential said she feels the press is an enemy of the people. She should resign.
— David Rothkopf (@djrothkopf) August 2, 2018
Watch the full exchange above.