‘It Makes Me Angry’; CNN’s Baldwin, Cillizza Bewail Media Attacks by Sanders, Trump WH

If the meltdowns by CNN personalities inside Monday’s tense White House press briefing weren’t crazy enough, the reactions on CNN Newsroom were close as host Brooke Baldwin and CNN Politics editor-at-large Chris Cillizza admitted that Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders made them “angry” as she called out the media’s liberal bias.

“Look, it's both disheartening and — and it makes me angry to watch that, candidly, as someone who’s sent my entire professional career in journalism and in newsrooms, The Washington Post and now here,” Cillizza complained.

 

 

He explained how, in his mind, “[t]here’s a giant difference between making a mistake out of goodwill and making or trying to get it right and missing or making a mistake because you’re purposely doing it.” It sounds about par for the course in terms of CNN spin following their colossal error on Friday, which is: Trust us because we care!

Cillizza continued his pie-in-the-sky sermon, ignoring the fact that prominent sinners in journalism like Mike Barnicle, Brian Williams, and Fareed Zakaria still have jobs:

We do our best with the expectation that your best, like anybody's best, sometimes isn't perfect and when we screw up, Brian Ross is an example, there are other examples, there are penalties for screwing up. That's how it works. But the idea that that can be cited and Donald Trump did this in Pensacola over the weekend, he used almost the exact same words, which is they are purposely doing this. They are purposely getting things wrong out of some sort of partisan agenda. There’s just no evidence of that. Brian Ross getting it wrong — because what he reported was misleading does not mean it was intentionally misleading. Intent matters. They corrected it. He apologized. They suspended him and this — your actions have consequences.

“Yeah. No. It makes — it makes all of us angry. It makes all of us angry,” Baldwin later added in agreement. Tell me again now how most of CNN isn’t taking sides against the President.

Rewinding a few minutes, Baldwin started the festivities seconds after the briefing ended, declaring that it “was one of the sharpest exchanges we have seen between Sarah Sanders and members of that White House press pool in quite a while” as Sanders was left “rattled” and “back[ed] up against the wall.”

She also reaired Sanders’s clash with Jim Acosta and, as is customary after Acosta makes a scene, allowed him to continue his screed once the briefing ended:

Well, it's another day at the White House, Brooke. You know, I think what came up during this briefing was a pretty clear example of what the White House wants to do when it comes to the free press in this country. Every time there is a mistake, an honest mistake, it seems that this White House, this President wants to weaponize it and use it as a way to go after news outlets in this country. 

Acosta defended the error by The Washington Post’s David Weigel on the size of Friday’s Trump rally as merely “not an intentional attack on the President as a way to mislead the American people.” This was in contrast to Trump because, in Acosta’s view, “frequently puts out false information intentionally to the American people whether it's online, on the internet, on social media or just speaking to us at new events.”

“And, you know, the President has gone after this news outlet. He's gone after other news outlets after mistakes are made and, Brooke, you know, we are journalists and we are human beings. We’re going to make mistakes, but that doesn't mean that, you know, you throw people overboard every time a mistake is made with a news outlet, and the problem that I had during this briefing is that, you know, you have the President of the United States referring to news outlets that make mistakes as fake news. That's just totally inappropriate,” complained Acosta. 

Acosta continued the CNN PR push to emphasize that journalists only “make mistakes from time to time” and thus shouldn’t “delegitimize the entire...free press in this country” when something does happen. One exit question is this: Do Acosta and his colleagues feel the same way about Fox News when they make a mistake?

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Here’s the relevant transcript from December 11's CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin:

CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin
December 11, 2017
2:38 p.m. Eastern

BROOKE BALDWIN: That was one of the sharpest exchanges we have seen between Sarah Sanders and members of that White House press pool in quite a while. I mean, back up against the wall there. First couple of questions out of the gate on a topic she didn't want to talk about — about these three women, these three Trump accusers of some dozen plus. These three making news today — again — detailing their allegations of when President Trump was a private citizen and as they said groped and forcibly kissed them and other — and other things. They want a congressional investigation, and so, you saw that exchange quite testy from Sarah Sanders. David Chalian, I'm going to begin with you. She was rattled. 

DAVID CHALIAN; She clearly was taking a lot of incoming. There’s no doubt about that.

(....)

JIM ACOSTA: Well, it's another day at the White House, Brooke. You know, I think what came up during this briefing was a pretty clear example of what the White House wants to do when it comes to the free press in this country. Every time there is a mistake, an honest mistake, it seems that this White House, this President wants to weaponize it and use it as a way to go after news outlets in this country. You take a look at what was brought up just before that line of questioning that I had with Sarah Sanders. Somebody was asking about a tweet about crowd sizes that came from a Washington Post reporter that the President tweeted over the weekend, that is what started that whole exchange because my sense of it was that if the reporter with The Washington Post, Dave Weigel. when he put out the tweet of the crowd size, that was not an intentional attack on the president as a way to mislead the American people. That was simply a bad tweet and he deleted and he apologized for it over the weekend. And, you know, the President has gone after this news outlet. He's gone after other news outlets after mistakes are made and, Brooke, you know, we are journalists and we are human beings. We’re going to make mistakes, but that doesn't mean that, you know, you throw people overboard every time a mistake is made with a news outlet, and the problem that I had during this briefing is that, you know, you have the President of the United States referring to news outlets that make mistakes as fake news. That's just totally inappropriate, especially when you have a President in Donald Trump who frequently puts out false information intentionally to the American people whether it's online, on the internet, on social media or just speaking to us at new events. He does this frequently and, you know, I think there are a number of reporters in this room that are trying to ask the question, what about the President when he puts out false information? Oftentimes, Brooke, that is intentional on his part. That is a very different situation than when you have reporters who make mistakes from time to time. It doesn't delegitimize the entire, you know, free press in this country. It just means from time to time, journalists are human beings and they're going to make honest mistakes and that was the point I was trying to make to Sarah, and I tried to ask another question which I'm not sure we ever got an answer to, which is — and that is the accusers coming forward and accusing the President of sexual assault and you heard Sarah Sanders trying maneuvering around the question and saying, well, the president has denied these claims and she did not say that these claims are false. She simply has restated what the President has said in the past. I tried to get to the bottom of that at the end of that exchange there and she did not take that question. Brooke? 

BALDWIN: Nope, she didn't. Although, as we were discussing before, she, at least, was asked about it out of the gate and again, she said the President has addressed it, he's denied it that it happened before he was a private citizen before he was President. She seemed to broaden out her response just a little bit, which was certainly noteworthy. Jim Acosta, thank you, sir, as always. Just staying on, though, that initial point. Chris Cillizza, just wanted to hear your voice on this as well. You know, Jim’s whole point, listen, we make honest mistakes and his perfect word on the Trump administration was that they're weaponizing them, right? They’re exploiting these moments. 

CHRIS CILLIZZA: Yes. Look, it's both disheartening and — and it makes me angry to watch that, candidly, as someone who’s sent my entire professional career in journalism and in newsrooms, The Washington Post and now here. There’s a giant difference between making a mistake out of good will and making or trying to get it right and missing or making a mistake because you’re purposely doing it. It's the difference between striking out with two outs and the bases loaded in the World Series and trying to hit the ball and striking out with two outs and the bases loaded in the World Series because somebody gave you a hundred bucks to strike out — is a massive difference. We do the first. We do our best with the expectation that your best, like anybody's best, sometimes isn't perfect and when we screw up, Brian Ross is an example, there are other examples, there are penalties for screwing up. That's how it works. But the idea that that can be cited and Donald Trump did this in Pensacola over the weekend, he used almost the exact same words, which is they are purposely doing this. They are purposely getting things wrong out of some sort of partisan agenda. There’s just no evidence of that. Brian Ross getting it wrong — because what he reported was misleading does not mean it was intentionally misleading. Intent matters. They corrected it. He apologized. They suspended him and this — your actions have consequences. Your words, your reporting have consequences, but the idea that this is being done intentionally and the only thing I can hope is Sarah Sanders does not actually believe that and she’s just echoing Donald Trump because she knows Donald Trump believes that. If she does believe it, then she has less respect for reporters than any press secretary at the White House that I've ever come across because I guarantee you, having spent my whole career doing this, that is not how we operate. It is not how any of us operate. We are committed first and foremost to getting it right. The end. 

BALDWIN: Yeah. No. It makes — it makes all of us angry. It makes all of us angry.

NB Daily Media Bias Debate Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats CNN CNN Newsroom Video Government & Press Jim Acosta White House Press Briefing Brooke Baldwin Chris Cillizza Sarah Huckabee Sanders
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