A Playboy White House correspondent (who knew the mag had one?) suffered what Newsbusters called a total meltdown Tuesday, resenting Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders' characterization of the current state of journalism as a “barrage of fake news.”
Brian J. Karem, who looked like he slept in his car the night before the press conference, lost his cool after Sanders lectured the roomful of journalists that “If we [in the Trump administration] make the slightest mistake, the slightest word is off, it is just an absolute tirade from a lot of people in this room. But news outlets get to go on, day after day, and cite unnamed sources...” She continued:
"I think that we have gone to a place where, if the media can't be trusted to report the news, then that's a dangerous place for America, and I think if that is the place that certain outlets are going, particularly for the purpose of spiking ratings, and if that's coming directly from the top, I think that's even more scary. And certainly more disgraceful. And I hope that that's not the direction we're headed. I hope that outlets that have continued to use either unnamed sources, sometimes stories with no sources at all, we've been going on this Russia/Trump hoax for the better part of a year now with no evidence of anything. Things like the success at the VA barely get covered. They may get covered for an hour at a time, but this story gets covered day in, day out, and I think America is frankly looking for something better. They're looking for something more. And I think they deserve something better from our news media."
Without waiting to be called upon, Karem jumped in angrily: “Come on! You're inflaming everybody right here right now with those words!... We're here to ask you questions. You're here to provide the answers and what you just did is inflammatory to people all over the country who look at it and say, ‘See, once again, the President's right and everybody else out here is fake media.’ And everybody in this room is only trying to do their job."
Sanders responded: "I just — I disagree completely. First of all, I think if anything has been inflamed, it's the dishonesty that often takes place by the news media and I think it is outrageous for you to accuse me of inflaming a story when I was simply trying to respond to his question."
Karem later went on Chris Matthews' show Hardball, where the host gushed in giddy admiration of Karem's boldness:
Brian, thank you. I was very impressed by that. What got you? What made you do it today? Cause nobody else has done it before. It should have done, I think. You find it because they turn that, supposedly a service to the American people with people paid by American taxpayers to give us answers to questions which you have a right. That’s what a briefing’s supposed to — it’s not supposed to be a PR campaign of trashing everybody who disagrees with the President.
To his credit, Karem confessed his respect for people like Sanders and Press Secretary Sean Spicer because they have to "face the likes of us every day and I'm not the easiest person in the world to get along with."
But Matthews pressed, "Are they truth tellers? Are they truth tellers?" This kind of hypocrisy from an MSNBC fake news network is simultaneously unsurprising and breathtaking.
Karem went on to say that he's fed up -- "tired of being paddled," as he put it -- with all journalists being lumped together as fake news, and Matthews interjected his sympathy for poor White House correspondents who "have to sit there and be props, basically props for the White House press secretary, to use them and yell at them and treat they will like high school kids or grade school kids that were disobedient and didn't get their homework in on-time and they’ve got to sit there."
Wow, who knew the news media were such helpless victims?
"I don't like being paddled," Karem repeated. "I don't like being spanked."
"Well, you made some noise," Matthews concluded, gushing again to Karem that "In the regular, normal, truth-telling media, you'll be talked about and tomorrow."
It's a wonder that Matthews didn't finish off the segment with a Keith Olbermann-style, "Resist!"