What!? Reporter Grovels Before Biden Press Sec
A press briefing in the White House was marred by an embarrassing incident on Monday, in which a reporter chastised press secretary Karine Jean–Pierre for allegedly discriminating against him. Simon Ateba, a correspondent for Today News Africa, began the press briefing by angrily accusing Jean–Pierre of not giving him an opportunity to ask questions over the past seven months. “You‘ve been discriminating against me and discriminating against some people in the briefing room,” Ateba shouted. “I‘m saying that this is the U.S. This is not China. This is not Russia.”
The outburst was met with criticism from other reporters in attendance. Jeff Mason from Reuters suggested that Ateba take his “legitimate questions“ to Jean–Pierre at another time, while Brian Karem scolded Ateba for “impinging on everybody in here.” This was ironic, given that Karem made headlines in 2017 for unapologetically shouting at then–press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
The incident was a prime example of the disrespectful tone that has been taken by some in the press towards the White House in recent years. This is a troubling development, as it is the responsibility of the press to ask questions on behalf of the American people and hold their government accountable. It is essential that the press maintains a level of decorum and respect when dealing with government officials, for the sake of the First Amendment.
Following the incident, Associated Press reporter Zeke Miller issued a groveling apology to Jean–Pierre. “I just want to express our apologies in the press corps to the folks watching at home for the display we saw earlier,” Miller said. “Our responsibility is to them. We’re here to ask questions on their behalf, to hold their government accountable because they can’t all be here. You know, this isn’t about us.”
Jean–Pierre accepted Miller‘s apology, claiming that the American people “appreciate“ it and the “important message“ it sends. This incident should be a wake–up call to the press and a reminder of the importance of maintaining respect in the White House briefing room.
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) March 20, 2023