White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders got into a very combative exchange with CNN’s Jim Acosta over whether the media intentionally misleads the American public when reporting on the Trump administration.
Here’s the entire exchange:
Here’s a transcript of part their exchange:
“Look, the president is simply calling out a very direct and false accusation lodged against him,” Sanders said, responding to a question about President Donald Trump’s weekend Twitter habits. “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, we’ve seen it time and time again.”
She referred to this tweet from the president:
.@daveweigel of the Washington Post just admitted that his picture was a FAKE (fraud?) showing an almost empty arena last night for my speech in Pensacola when, in fact, he knew the arena was packed (as shown also on T.V.). FAKE NEWS, he should be fired.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 9, 2017
“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, some of them with major impact, including moving markets,” she continued, apparently responding to the ABC News story that tanked the stock market but was later “corrected.”
“This is a big problem and we think it’s something that should be taken seriously,” she concluded.
When she was pressed on whether Trump took Russian misinformation as seriously as he does the “fake news” from American media, she answered, “We would take misinformation like that very seriously, but it’s not something we’re comparing the two on.”
Acosta jumps into the debate
“I would just say Sarah,” Acosta said, jumping into the conversation, “that journalists make honest mistakes and that doesn’t make them fake news, but the question that I have-“
“But when journalists make honest mistakes they should own up to them,” she said, interrupting Acosta. Many journalists shouted that they did own up to mistakes.
“Sometimes, and a lot of times you don’t,” she replied.
“I’m sorry, I’m not finished, there’s a very big difference between making honest mistakes and purposely misleading the American people,” Sanders added. “Something that happens regularly.”
Huckabee Sanders berates the media for their bias
“You cannot say that it’s an honest mistake when you’re purposely putting out information that you know to be false,” she continued, “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 instance.”
When asked to give an example of the media purposely misleading the public, Sanders cited the same ABC report by Brian Ross, where former national security adviser Mike Flynn was said to have told the FBI that Trump asked him to contact the Russians before the elections.
“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.”
Sanders then refused to take another question from Acosta, who continued to ask his query before she moved on to another journalist.
Ross was suspended over the false report that ABC News said didn’t follow their journalistic standards. He was also later banned at ABC News from reporting on stories involving Trump, fueling accusations from critics that the mainstream media has a left-wing bias.