Deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders delivered the White House press briefing on Tuesday, and it was an enthralling affair, with tough questions for a communications shop that has rolled back press access in recent weeks.
Following a fierce exchange over “fake news” between Sanders and Sentinel reporter Brian Karem, Sanders called on Jim Stinson, a reporter from Laura Ingraham’s obscure blog LifeZette for a little relief.
And boy did Stinson deliver.
He asked Sanders about CNN’s retracted story detailing ties between a Russian investment fund and Trump-ally Anthony Scaramucci, and wondered if there are other stories the White House would like to see retracted:
Given the news about CNN’s erroneous story about Anthony Scaramucci, does the White House believe there are other Russia-related stories from major outlets that have not been retracted, and are just as false, including the February 14th story in The New York Times about collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia which James Comey called into question, which many believe the CNN story was based upon?
The curious question, which could have been written by Sanders herself, provided a nice respite from the tense grilling she received from other reporters. She responded by noting there are a number of stories in the Times that the White House disagrees with, including any report insinuating collusion between Trump and Russia, which she called “a hoax.”
But Stinson wasn’t finished with his spectacular display of sycophancy. He devoted his second question to asking whether media organizations should go back and review “anonymously sourced stories on Russia and Trump, and, you know, maybe start a review process and retract where necessary?”
“I think that would be a great idea,” beamed Sanders. “I certainly don’t think that you would get arguments from us if there were retractions from outlets on fake stories,” before noting that “we can all do better.”
The irony of a reporter from LifeZette — which frequently traffics in anything from innuendo to outright conspiracy — using precious briefing time to demand further retractions from press outlets was not lost on the rest of the press corps:
Lifezette: Do you think the NYT also has fake stories like CNN?
— Adrian Carrasquillo (@Carrasquillo) June 27, 2017
A fellow from LifeZette, Laura Ingraham’s right-wing website, asks @SHSanders45 if news orgs ought to be retracting reporting on Russia.
— Michael M. Grynbaum (@grynbaum) June 27, 2017
Some reporters are throwing Sarah Sanders softballs here in briefing room. Would you like to trash us and run clock? She is happy to do so.
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) June 27, 2017
— Tara Palmeri (@tarapalmeri) June 27, 2017
You can watch the exchange above, via CNN.
[image via screengrab]
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.