Newsmax TV host Sean Spicer railed at a CBS News reporter over a claim she made regarding an alleged “new tradition” begun by Biden press secretary Jen Psaki in calling on remotely located journalists during White House briefings.
During Friday’s briefing, Psaki accepted a question from a local reporter in Juneau, Alaska, via teleconference. In reacting to that, CBS News correspondent Kathryn Watson took to Twitter to claim that Psaki “announces a new tradition of taking a question from a regional reporter who can’t physically be at the White House.”
Psaki announces a new tradition of taking a question from a regional reporter who can't physically be at the White House. This reporter is in Alaska. pic.twitter.com/fUY2XVxmWz
— Kathryn Watson (@kathrynw5) April 9, 2021
Another reporter, CNN correspondent Kate Sullivan, also appeared to suggest that Psaki taking questions from regional reporters was something new.
“White House press secretary Jen Psaki says she is going to start taking questions from regional reporters who do not live in Washington in her briefings. The first reporter to appear virtually at the briefing is from Alaska,” she wrote.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki says she is going to start taking questions from regional reporters who do not live in Washington in her briefings. The first reporter to appear virtually at the briefing is from Alaska. pic.twitter.com/98CxmDyIEb
— Kate Sullivan (@KateSullivanDC) April 9, 2021
But Spicer, former President Donald Trump’s first press secretary who carried on the tradition during his time in the White House, clapped back at Watson and accused her of shilling for Democratic political leaders.
“A ‘new tradition’, are you kidding. I get CBS News is in the tank for Dems but at least try to fake it better,” he responded on Twitter.
— Sean Spicer (@seanspicer) April 9, 2021
A Newsweek reporter, Elizabeth Crisp, took to the social media platform in support of Spicer, noting that she got one of his “Skype” questions when she was a local reporter working in Louisiana.
I had a Skype question from Louisiana during the Spicer days.
— Elizabeth Crisp (@elizabethcrisp) April 9, 2021
Watson returned to Twitter later to chastise her critics.
“As other reporters pointed out, the Trump White House did this in the early days of the administration. I meant new to the Biden White House. Chill, folks!” she wrote.
As other reporters pointed out, the Trump White House did this in the early days of the administration. I meant new to the Biden White House. Chill, folks!
— Kathryn Watson (@kathrynw5) April 9, 2021
Spicer’s rejoinder was not the first time CBS News correspondents have been called out this week.
On Sunday, the famed “60 Minutes” newsmagazine was blasted by critics for deceptively editing a video segment featuring an explanation by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, about why the state awarded grocery retail chain Publix with COVID-19 vaccine contracts.
In an exchange with DeSantis, correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi accused DeSantis of engaging in a “pay-for-play” scheme because Publix donated $100,000 to his PAC in December.
“That’s a fake narrative,” DeSantis responded. “I met with the county mayor, I met with the administrator, I met with all the folks at Palm Beach County and I said, ‘Here’s some of the options: We can do more drive-through sites, we can give more to hospitals, we can do the Publix.’ And they said, ‘We think that would be the easiest thing for our residents.”
The clip then cut back to Alfonsi making the same pay-for-play accusation.
“And it’s wrong, it’s wrong,” the governor quickly corrected the reporter. “It’s a fake narrative. I just disabused you of the narrative. And you don’t care about the facts. Because, obviously, I laid it out for you in a way that is irrefutable.”
The newsmagazine’s editorial team left out about 2 minutes’ worth of footage, however, where DeSantis explained the “multifaceted” approach that was utilized to settle on Publix, initially, because of the fact that there are more than 800 stores in the state.
Democratic officials in the state including Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner and state emergency management coordinator Jared Moskowitz spoke out and backed DeSantis while railing at CBS and “60 Minutes.”
“They are hellbent on dividing us for cheap views and clicks. 60 Minutes should be ashamed,” Kerner said in a statement.
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