CNN Goes Nuclear on Sanders After WH Briefing; ‘She Has Lost Credibility’ with the Country

Conditions reached DEFCON-1 over at CNN on Thursday afternoon following a tense White House press briefing filled with questions about the administration’s credibility. These frenzied inquiries were sparked by Rudy Giuliani's stunning admission that the President reimbursed Michael Cohen for the Stormy Daniels hush payment. 

CNN political director David Chalian and senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson went ballistic over Sanders having "lost credibility with the American people” and bolstered the lewd claims about Sanders made by Michelle Wolf at Saturday’s White House Correspondents Dinner. 

 

 

This stands in contrast to how the liberal media treated then-White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry, who served during the height of Bill Clinton’s sex scandals and spent countless briefings arguing that at the end of the day, he knew nothing about Clinton’s exploits.

First, the 2018 shenanigans. Fill-in CNN Newsroom host Erica Hill started with a question for Chalian, wondering: “[H]ow can we trust anything we're hearing when this President has such a blatant disregard for the truth?”

Chalian unloaded, declaring that viewers should “[c]ircle May 3rd on your calendar because this is the day we will look back on in his briefing where Sarah Sanders made it so painfully clear she has lost credibility with the American people, with the reporters in that room.”

He continued uninterrupted (click “expand” to see more):

Well, when the spokesperson for the President of the United States of America comes to that podium and provides incorrect, false, bad information, they have no credibility to continue with that job. I'm not suggesting she's on her way out. I'm sure Sarah Sanders will stay there because she's pleasing an audience of one. But she has acknowledged she can only go out there with information, the best available. If the best available is false, bad, and untrue information, she's failing at her job and I think we saw that time and again in this press briefing today and I think it will go down as the real time that Sarah Sanders has lost her credibility with the American people. 

To Hill’s credit, she pushed back on Chalian’s diatribe, making the point that the blame lay with the President for lying and giving conflicting information.

Chalian dismissed that argument outright, telling Hill that “[i]f she can't verify what she's going out with to that podium to answer questions” with absolutely certainty, then “she shouldn’t be speaking about it at all.”

She remarked to Henderson that this scenario echoed Sean Spicer's actions at the behest of the President on Inauguration Day, in which he uttered  “a falsehood about something really small.” She further argued that Sanders' behavior lent credence Wolf’s crass routine from Saturday (click “expand”):

Here is Sarah Sanders, who, of course, was mocked, right? If you remember the White House Correspondents Dinner, I mean, this was part of the theme of that comedienne’s attack, the idea that Sarah Sanders had a problem with the truth. And I think we got plenty of evidence today and through these last couple of months that she does have a problem being candid and part of her job there is almost like a reporter, right? I mean, it's almost digging for as much information as she can get, verifying that information and presenting that information, right? And if she has doubts about that information, then she shouldn't go out there presenting that information as if it's truthful and that's what she has done and you saw here today basically deflect, go to outside counsel, I’m giving you the best information I can. But it's not the best information if it isn’t vetted if it’s a falsehood. That’s not good information. That’s terrible information. 

As for the press secretary's non-verbal cues, Chalian replied that Sanders was “wearing it on her face, in her words, that she knows because....she recognizes that working in that role in this White House under this level of scrutiny has demolished her credibility.”

Now back to the 1990s. When McCurry left the White House in 1998, then-Reliable Sources host Howard Kurtz offered a fawning October 1, 1998 piece for CNN.com. 

NBC’s John Palmer told him: “Reporters perceived Mike McCurry as a good and a decent person, first of all, and that counts for a lot. He has never, at least that we know of, lied to us, that counts for a lot.”

Using language that will never be heard on CNN to portray Spicer or Sanders in a positive light, Kurtz hyped that McCurry “bobbed and weaved his way through plenty of scandals” and during the Lewinsky scandal, “McCurry proudly proclaimed himself to be ‘out of the loop’” and thus “couldn't respond to questions.”

Here’s more from the post (again, click “expand”):

But his best efforts were overwhelmed by the Lewinsky scandal, leaving McCurry in the uncomfortable posture of President Richard Nixon's spokesman Ron Ziegler during the stonewalling of Watergate.

By the time the country learned that Clinton had been lying for seven months, McCurry had already announced his departure, turning over the job to his deputy, Joe Lockhart.

A final review for the Mike McCurry show?

He was, of course, an unwitting participant in the Monica Lewinsky coverup, but he was far more helpful to reporters in private conversations, when the cameras were turned off.

To see the relevant transcript from May 3's CNN Newsroom, click “expand.”

CNN Newsroom
May 3, 2018
2:54 p.m. Eastern

ERICA HILL: David Chalian, I'm not sure where to begin here, but I will say. A few things that stuck out from the very beginning. There is this obvious question which we cannot ignore and we've been talking about now for — I would say since the campaign the fact that the President is continually changing stories and what we're hearing, the “facts” seem to keep changing. Sarah Sanders said today and quoting here “I would always advise against giving false information” and yet there's a question, David, of how can we trust anything we're hearing when this President has such a blatant disregard for the truth? 

DAVID CHALIAN: Well, and of course, and if the President does, then that infects the people on his behalf. Circle May 3rd on your calendar because this is the day we will look back on in his briefing where Sarah Sanders made it so painfully clear she has lost credibility with the American people, with the reporters in that room. She completely would sidestep and say that she could only give the best information she has. She was acknowledging to Jim Acosta’s question that she came out and provided incorrect information. Well, when the spokesperson for the President of the United States of America comes to that podium and provides incorrect, false, bad information, they have no credibility to continue with that job. I'm not suggesting she's on her way out. I'm sure Sarah Sanders will stay there because she's pleasing an audience of one. But she has acknowledged she can only go out there with information, the best available. If the best available is false, bad, and untrue information, she's failing at her job and I think we saw that time and again in this press briefing today and I think it will go down as the real time that Sarah Sanders has lost her credibility with the American people. 

HILL: But, David, let me press you on that for just a moment because, yes, there is a fact that she said repeatedly, as you point out today, I'm giving you the best information I have at the time. Is this Sarah Sanders failing in her job or is this Sarah Sanders doing her job? She's giving us the information that she has at the time, which then continues to change based on the giver of that information, the President. 

CHALIAN: But Erica, she's speaking on behalf of the President of the United States. If she can't verify what she's going out with to that podium to answer questions with is truthful, accurate information, she shouldn't be speaking about it at all. That's not the case here. She spoke with bad information because we are now learning it was not truthful when she walked out there in March and delivered those answers and she — I thought she was clear in acknowledging that today. 

HILL: There’s also — maybe if you look at sort of, as you point out, circle this date on our calendars, May 3 and Nia-Malika, the question is where do we go from here in terms of information and being able to trust anything that comes out of this White House? 

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON: Well, I mean, I think you go back to day one with Sean Spicer, right? Blatantly going out and telling a falsehood about something really small, right? Crowd size and from what we could tell, he was basically sent out there by the President who was unhappy about the comparisons of his crowd size to Obama's crowd size. So this is a book end and echo event. Here is Sarah Sanders, who, of course, was mocked, right? If you remember the White House Correspondents Dinner, I mean, this was part of the theme of that comedienne’s attack, the idea that Sarah Sanders had a problem with the truth. And I think we got plenty of evidence today and through these last couple of months that she does have a problem being candid and part of her job there is almost like a reporter, right? I mean, it's almost digging for as much information as she can get, verifying that information and presenting that information, right? And if she has doubts about that information, then she shouldn't go out there presenting that information as if it's truthful and that's what she has done and you saw here today basically deflect, go to outside counsel, I’m giving you the best information I can. But it's not the best information if it isn’t vetted if it’s a falsehood. That’s not good information. That’s terrible information. 

CHALIAN: And, Erica, just to add to what Nia is saying there, I think Sarah Sanders is wearing it on her face, in her words, that she knows because she is totally — to Nia’s point, she’s completely changed her approach to all this. It is all now about go to outside counsel, go to outside counsel, I can only give the best information I had at the time. That is a shift because she recognizes that working in that role in this White House under this level of scrutiny has demolished her credibility. So she's taking a different approach. 

HILL: And I will say to your point, David, I thought there was definitely a change in her demeanor today. 

NB Daily Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Sex Scandals Trump-Russia probe CNN CNN Newsroom Video David Chalian White House Correspondents Dinner Erica Hill Howard Kurtz Nia-Malika Henderson Sarah Huckabee Sanders
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