White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was slammed to her face Monday for “making a mockery of the First Amendment” after one reporter queued up a clash, tired of the “discrimination.”
The latest PR stunt from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue hit a massive speed bump when the cast of “Ted Lasso” was confronted with the ongoing bias Jean-Pierre has subjected members of the press corps to in her time behind the lectern. Before she could begin her prepared remarks and introduce actor Jason Sudeikis, there in part to discuss mental health, Today News Africa White House correspondent Simon Ateba was determined, after months of being passed over, to have his voice heard.
“Karine, before — before you begin –” Ateba tried as the press secretary attempted to silence him once more, “No, no, no, no. Nope. That’s not — we’re not doing this. We’re not doing this.”
Through a back-and-forth, the correspondent could be heard requesting each member of the press corps have their questions heard, adding, “And I’m saying that this is the U.S. This is not China. This is not Russia.”
“It’s been seven months. You’ve not called on me,” Ateba reminded as another member shouted “Decorum!”
Undeterred by the suppression efforts and scolding from Jean-Pierre and a select number of peers, he accused the press secretary, “You’re making a mockery of the First Amendment,” all while the celebrity guests, including Hannah Waddingham, Brett Goldstein, Brendan Hunt, and Toheeb Jimoh awkwardly stood back as spectators.
The White House press briefing opens in total chaos as Simon Ateba berates Karine Jean-Pierre for not calling on him in months.
The cast of Apple TV+'s 'Ted Lasso' awkwardly stand behind KJP as Ateba made a scene. pic.twitter.com/hnZeUtjtMa
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) March 20, 2023
Eventually, Sudeikis did make his remarks before departing the room with the rest of the actors. It was then that Jean-Pierre behaved as a parent scolding children, rather than the public servant that she is in the role of answering questions, and she began to chastise the group as a whole for what transpired.
“All right. Guys, as you know — many of you know, this is the White House Press Briefing Room. A historic room. A room that should have the decorum. A room where folks should respect their colleagues and respect the guests that are here,” she said. “And I understand that there’s going to be give-and-take. That’s the way the press briefing has gone for — for decades before me. And I will always, always respect that.”
“But what I will not — what I will not appreciate is disrespecting your colleagues and disrespecting guests who are here to talk — who were here to talk about an incredibly important issue, which is mental health,” the press secretary added.
“And what has just occurred this last 10, 15 minutes is unacceptable,” she said before presenting an ultimatum, “So we’re going to — so we’re either going to continue the briefing or we can just end the briefing right here.”
Fox News host Tucker Carlson cast some light on the incident during his program and stated, “Outrageous doesn’t even describe what we just played for you.”
“So here you have the White House press secretary whose job it is to answer questions from journalists on behalf of the entire American population hijacking the event to promote a TV show and then screaming at a guy who wants his questions answered,” he added.
(Video: Fox News)
The host of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” continued by slamming the members of the press corps that took the side of Jean-Pierre and called them out by name.
“And then the other shills in the room don’t take the side of their fellow journalist, but take the side of the lady at the front to whom they were actually beholden and try and shut down Simon Ateba,” Carlson said. “Who did that? This is a partial list that would include: Jeff Mason of Reuters, who should be ashamed; Brian Karem of CNN; Associated Press correspondent Zeke Miller.”
Carlson brought in Ateba to give him the opportunity to speak that the press secretary refused to offer and the journalist, who detailed the lengths he had gone to in attempting to have his questions answered, further asserted that he was being discriminated against because he is African.
“The First Amendment says that I have the right to ask questions, to do my job, and the press secretary doesn’t need to like me, date me, marry me, have two black children with me. She doesn’t need all that,” he quipped. “She doesn’t even need to like my accent.”
“She doesn’t need to like what I look like or where I come from. They look down on me. They don’t respect the First Amendment,” Ateba charged.
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