On Monday, the White House briefing room devolved into chaos as a conservative reporter accused press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre of dismissing or not calling on correspondents who disagreed with the administration.
Correspondent Simon Ateba, who had previously expressed similar concerns, called out Jean-Pierre during Monday’s briefing.
As Jean-Pierre was about to introduce Ted Lasso, a guest scheduled to speak on mental health, Ateba yelled from the floor, demanding that he and other conservatives not be excluded from discussions.
“Karine,” Ateba said, “you can’t keep discriminating against some people in the briefing room because you don’t like them. You have discriminated against me and a number of other people in briefing room and I’m saying that that’s not right. This is not China, this is not Russia, this is the White House.”
White House columnist Brian Karem sided with Jean-Pierre and charged Ateba with disrupting the briefing and disrespecting fellow journalists.
Another journalist siding with Jean-Pierre told Ateba to “Shut up!”
“The Press Corps is tired of dealing with this,” Karem complained as several in the room shouted over each other.
The disgruntled Ateba shot back: “It’s not like you get questions all the time, and you don’t have to sit here for eight months and being discriminated against.”
Karem pressed: “Don’t make assumptions about what the rest of us do, mind your manners when you’re in here, and if you have a problem, you bring it up afterwards.”
Ateba redirected his comments to Jean-Pierre: “I’m saying that you shouldn’t discriminate against some people because you don’t agree with their question.”
Karem jumped in again, “You’ve made your point,” he said.
Jean-Pierre let the scene play out for several minutes before threatening to end the briefing.
She chided reporters, saying, “What had just occurred this last 10, 15 minutes is unacceptable. We’re either going to continue the briefing or we can just end the briefing right here.”
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