Reporter issues groveling apology after colleague confronts Jean-Pierre for ‘discrimination’: ‘This is not China’
A reporter personally apologized to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Monday after one of his colleagues accused her of discrimination.
Simon Ateba, a correspondent for Today News Africa, began the press briefing by shouting his request that Jean-Pierre call on reporters who, like him, are rarely given an opportunity to ask questions.
“You’ve been discriminating against me and discriminating against some people in the briefing room,” Ateba accused. “I’m saying that this is the U.S. This is not China. This is not Russia.”
“What you are doing, you are making a mockery of the First Amendment,” he also said. “It’s been seven months. You’ve not called on me. You blow off my messages. I’m saying that that’s not right. That’s not right.”
How did the press corps react?
While Jean-Pierre refused to address the substance of Ateba’s concerns, other reporters did her bidding.
Jeff Mason, who works for Reuters, told Ateba to take his “legitimate questions” to Jean-Pierre at another time. Journalist Brian Karem shouted at Ateba to “mind your manners” and stop “impinging on everybody in here.” Karem’s criticism was ironic because he made headlines in 2017 for unapologetically shouting at then-press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
When the question-and-answer portion of the briefing finally began, 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 told Jean-Pierre.
“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,” he added.
03/20/23: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierrewww.youtube.com
The press secretary thanked Miller for his apology and claimed Americans “appreciate” it and the “important message” it sends.
“I appreciate that,” she said. “I think the American people appreciate that because that is an important message to send to all of them who are watching.”
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