The reporter who unloaded on White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders during Tuesday’s briefing says that he’s “had enough” of being “bullied” by President Trump’s administration.
“We can’t take the bullying anymore,” Brian Karem, a reporter for the Sentinel Newspapers, said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Wednesday. “We’ve been called the enemy of the people from that White House. We’ve been told that we’re fake news. We are bullied and browbeaten every day.”
Karem, who has worked for the Washington, D.C.-based news organization since 2004, said he’s been alarmed by the administration’s treatment of the press.
“For the government to sit there and undermine what is essentially checks and balances in the system, it’s disheartening,” he said. “It’s unnerving. I can’t take it anymore. It’s nuts.”
During Tuesday’s briefing, Sanders scolded reporters over the use of unnamed sources and complained about “the constant barrage of fake news” aimed at the administration.
“If we make the slightest mistake, if the slightest word is off, it’s just an absolute tirade from a lot of people in this room,” she said. “But news outlets get to go on day after day and cite unnamed sources.”
The comments set off Karem, who was standing near the back of the briefing room.
“Come on — this administration has done this as well,” he told Sanders. “If any one of us doesn’t get it right, the audience has the opportunity to turn the channel or not read us. You have been elected to serve four years at least — there’s no option other than that.”
“We’re in here asking you questions,” Karem continued. “You’re here to provide the answers and what you just did is inflammatory to people all over the country who look at it and say, ‘See, once again, the president’s right, and everybody else out here is fake media.’ And everybody in this room is trying to do their job.”
“I disagree completely,” Sanders shot back. “I think if anything’s been inflamed, it’s often the dishonesty that takes in the news media. And I think it’s outrageous for you to accuse me of inflaming a story when I was simply trying to respond to [a] question.”
On Tuesday night, Karem wrote a blog post for Playboy magazine explaining his decision to lash out.
“The president has never admitted one mistake,” he wrote. “The current administration sells half-truths and lies like they’re day-old cookies at a bake sale.
“The fact is: I like Sarah Sanders. I like Sean Spicer. I like most of the people I’ve met who work in this administration. They’re personable and, as far as I can tell — with a few notable exceptions — decent people,” he added. “But I don’t like bullies and I don’t like the entire institution of the press and free speech being castigated for no other reason than we either get stories wrong — which happens, and it should be then responsibly corrected — or because we report news the president doesn’t like — which seems to happen even more often.”
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