Press Find the Real Problem With Karine Jean-Pierre's Briefings: The Black Guy

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

From the moment Karine Jean-Pierre entered her position as White House press secretary, it was clear she wasn’t qualified for the job. Sure, Jen Psaki was dishonest, but she at least had a sense of professionalism in her gaslighting. You could tell she had at least thought through how she was going to mislead people on any given day.

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On the other hand, Jean-Pierre comes off as an amateur, stumbling through scripted answers to questions she’s not even being asked. She’s also abandoned any pretense that she has any duty to deliver information to the public. Most briefings devolve into Jean-Pierre non-sensically referring reporters to other departments. Cocaine found at the White House? Well, that’s not within the purview of the White House to answer questions about.

You’d think that kind of obfuscation would frustrate the press and that maybe they’d decide to push harder in an effort to demand transparency. But nah, they’ve found the real problem: The black guy.

(Related: All Hell Breaks Loose During Briefing After Karine Jean-Pierre Has Reporter Removed)

Simon Ateba was at it again the other week. As White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre addressed journalists during her daily briefing, Ateba spoke up, out of turn. He was a victim, he insisted, of “discrimination” because Jean-Pierre hadn’t called on him to ask a question.

Jean-Pierre frowned wearily. “If this continues, we’re going to end the press briefing,” she said, as Ateba’s fellow reporters began to argue with him. “You’re being incredibly rude.”

The brief outburst wasn’t unusual. On several occasions over the past year, Ateba has interrupted Jean-Pierre and her predecessor, Jen Psaki, to demand that he be called on. In March, he interrupted a briefing room photo op with the cast of “Ted Lasso” to insist that Jean-Pierre take his question. His complaint was met with shouts of “Let it go!” and “Decorum, please!” from his fellow journalists.

Ateba’s repeated demands for recognition — unusual even in a press room with a long history of memorable characters — have frustrated both press officials and the organization that represents reporters, the White House Correspondents’ Association.

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Jean-Pierre doesn’t call on Ateba because he asks uncomfortable questions. That’s what it comes down to. Anyone could understand how that could be frustrating, especially when reporters from other outlets are continually chosen. Further, you’d think that the White House Correspondents’ Association would demand more equal treatment in the briefing room.

You’ve got a press secretary who literally won’t answer how many grandchildren the president has, but the Post is too busy attacking a reporter to critique that. It’s so blatantly transparent. It’s also blatantly hypocritical.

We all remember the constant outbursts from CNN’s Jim Acosta during the Trump administration. He even yelled at the president multiple times, refusing to allow movement to another reporter’s question. Instead of being alienated and criticized, though, Acosta was treated as a journalistic hero. He was said to be holding truth to power by tossing decorum out the window.

But Ateba? He’s a black guy that stepped out of line against a Democrat administration, and that means he gets the knife in the back. It’s more evidence of how pathetic the mainstream press is. The entire industry is made up of groveling partisans who would side with the White House spitting in their faces rather than back a fellow reporter trying to ask tough questions. Ateba isn’t the problem. The administration’s misleading obfuscations about serious issues are.

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