Jeff Mason Calls Out Kayleigh McEnany for Trying to ‘Make the Media a Scapegoat’ in Clash Over Reopening Houses of Worship

The Reuters correspondent who forcefully pushed back on White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany’s baseless claim that the press corps doesn’t want the nation’s churches reopened, expounded on the incendiary moment during an appearance on CNN.

Speaking with Erin Burnett on Friday night, Reuters reporter Jeff Mason discussed his objections to the Trump spokesperson’s rhetoric and what the thought drove he to make such a disrespectful claim. McEnany’s comments came in the wake of questions about President Donald Trump’s bold threat — that flies in the face of the Tenth Amendment — to “override” state governors who continue to keep houses of worship shuttered for public health reasons amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

To start her segment, Burnett played a slip of Mason interrupting McEnany’s stereotyping of the press to note that he, personally, attends church and is eager to be able to safely attend worship services again.

“So, Jeff, let me just ask you, what went through your mind when the press secretary said what she said?” Burnett asked. “The  tone in your voice was pretty clear, you’re dying to go back to church.”

“I happen to be somebody who goes to church and felt very much like she was giving a broad-brush statement about everyone in that room,” Mason calmly explained. “Truth is we were in that room and are every day to ask questions and get to the truth, to get to the facts behind these decisions. And the president didn’t address that. Kayleigh didn’t address it under good questioning from me colleagues, then made that statement we don’t want churches, synagogues and mosques to be open. It’s simply not true. Lot of people in that room go to those places of worship and would like to go back, I’m one of them.”

“Why do you think she said that?” Burnett pressed.

“I don’t know. I think it’s part of an effort by this White House and President Trump’s campaign to make the media a scapegoat or encourage his supporters to object to our reporting with statements like that,” Mason said. “I think it’s consistent with that kind of an effort. President often works particularly well when he’s got a boogeyman or somebody else to blame and this seems to be part of the same playbook Kayleigh was using.”

Watch the video above, via CNN.

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