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ABC News White House correspondent Jonathan Karl ripped White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany in an op-ed on Monday, claiming her briefings were “political shows” rather than opportunities to provide information to the public.
Karl, who wrote a book disparaging the administration called, “Front Row at the Trump Show,” complained in his Washington Post piece that McEnany regularly reprimands “the media” and that she would not directly answer a question about President Donald Trump’s criticisms of NASCAR.
Joining CNN’s Brian Stelter Monday, Karl, who is also head of the White House Correspondents Association, doubled down on his piece and used the appearance to future denigrate McEnany’s performances.
“ I believe very firmly that the White House press secretary is a public servant, his or her salary paid for by the taxpayers, has a job to inform the public by informing the reporters that the public uses to get information,” Karl said, noting he’s covered four different presidents and around 14 different press secretaries.
“Of course the press secretary serves at the pleasure of the president, but this is a different job,” Karl said. “She’s not the spokesperson for a campaign, she’s not the spokesperson for a political party, she’s the spokesperson for the executive branch of the federal government of the United States.
“It is a different job, it is not a purely political job and those briefings have begun to look purely political,” Karl said.
Indeed, McEnany’s contentious relationship with the press has involved some occasions where she has chastised reporters for focusing on what she believes are inane, unimportant subjects most Americans don’t care about.
Like NASCAR and the issue of whether or not the Confederate flag should have been banned.
Last week, after reporters — including Karl — continually pressed her on tweets President Trump wrote blasting the decision by NASCAR and suggesting its lone black Cup driver, Bubba Wallace, apologize for helping to perpetuate a noose “hoax,” McEnany pushed back.
“I was asked probably 12 questions about the Confederate Flag. This president is focused on action. I’m a little dismayed that I didn’t receive one question on the deaths this weekend. I didn’t receive one question about New York City shootings doubling for the third straight week, and over the last seven days, shootings skyrocket by 142 percent. Not one question,” she said.
Earlier this month, a Politico reporter, Ryan Lizza, actually asked McEnany if President Trump was glad the South lost the Civil War.
“Well, your first question is absolutely absurd. He’s proud of the United States of America,” McEnany replied.
— Eric Trump (@EricTrump) June 29, 2020
Last month, McEnany ripped into CNN’s Jim Acosta for asking questions that appear to be more focused on self-aggrandizing than expeditions for information the American public would find useful.
“Last night, the president tweeted out some fake videos, one of which was labeled ‘manipulated media’ by Twitter,” Acosta began at Friday’s White House press briefing.
“Why is the president sharing fake videos on Twitter about two toddlers who are obviously showing a lot of love for one another? It seems as though he is exploiting children to make some sort of point,” he asked.
The tweet in question contained a meme by Carpe Donktum that was aimed at ridiculing the mainstream media’s false narrative that the president and his supporters are racists and white supremacists.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) June 19, 2020
Twitter, which has been subjectively censoring and ‘fact-checking’ the president’s tweets recently, flagged the tweet as “manipulated media.”
“He was making a point about CNN specifically,” McEnany responded, a reference to the network’s many erroneous and often outrageous claims about the president and his administration.
“He was making a point that CNN has regularly taken him out of context,” she continued. “That in 2019, CNN misleadingly aired a clip from one viewpoint repeatedly, to falsely accuse the Covington boys of being ‘Students in MAGA gear harassing a Native American elder.’”
After Acosta continued to interrupt her, McEnany stood her ground. “You got to let me finish, Jim, this isn’t a cable news segment. I’m answering your question right now from the White House podium.”
During a May briefing, Acosta repeatedly tried to criticize the president under the guise of trying to ask questions after the country reached the grim milestone of 100,000 coronavirus deaths, though the manner in which they are determined is controversial.
“Shouldn’t the president be fact-checked, especially this president who has made so many false and misleading statements that has put fact-checkers to work across the world?” Acosta asked.
“These 18,000 false or misleading statements according to the Washington Post, if there’s any president out there we should be fact-checking, or political leader that should be fact-checked, isn’t it President Trump? Aren’t you trying to silence fact-checking by going after Twitter like this?” he added.
“First, I would say that I disagree with all, if not almost all, of those assertions that you’re making there,” McEnany responded.
“If you’re going to get into the fact-checking business, there is no one that should be fact-checked more than the mainstream media that has been continually wrong about a number of things,” she continued, listing several.
“So if anyone needs to be fact-checked, I think it should be the media.”
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