The back page of the New York Times magazine typically features a liberal journalist (often Audie Cornish of NPR) interviewing a liberal hero. This Sunday it was April Ryan, the Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks and analyst for CNN notorious for her anti-Trump attacks in the White House press room, and her denial of certain realities, in “April Ryan Asks Political Questions No One Else Will.” No matter how ridiculous, ideologically charged, or conspiratorial they may be.
Cornish ignored Ryan’s previously displayed ignorance of the economic term “stagflation” and her embarrassing conspiracy theory about a pecan pie that White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders made for Thanksgiving (those both from Ryan’s Twitter account). Not to mention her fierce defense of Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential campaign. Cornish asked about hostility in the White House press corps:
Cornish: You’ve been a White House correspondent for 21 years. To some extent, there’s always been an adversarial role between the White House and reporters. How do you feel about the tenor of things now?
Ryan: It used to be friendly-adversarial. There would be retaliation for stories they didn’t like, but nothing compared with this. There’s a war going on. For a president to come out with the term “fake news” -- he’s putting targets on our heads. He has moved the goal posts when it comes to how politicians and people deal with the press.
Cornish actually seems to fault the White House for allowing Ryan so many questions (and would surely blame the White House for ignoring her).
Cornish: Given how much you tangle with this particular administration, why do you think you get called on so much? Have you felt like a target?
Ryan: Yes, I have. But I have to shake that off, because I have to go in and do my job. I cover the White House. I cover all issues, particularly those that affect black and brown Americans. Now, what if they didn’t call on me? A certain segment of America would not get the answers to some of their pressing questions. If I don’t ask, who will?
Cornish glided by Ryan’s unreasonable hostility toward the administration. Was Ryan truly obliged to ask Trump about slavery, or was it just to score ideological points?
Cornish: Do you find yourself surprised by the questions you ask? You had to ask whether this president believed slavery was wrong.
Ryan lumped in the (justified) mocking of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s myth about her Native American roots as Trump “racism”: I recently asked him, “Are you a racist?” It’s a sad day when you have to ask a sitting president that. There has been a series of comments or lack of action, from calling Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas” to how he dealt with Charlottesville to his comments on Norway versus Haiti, Africa, El Salvador, black and brown nations....