Conservative Writer Says the 'White House Press Corps Should Walk Out' of Briefings If Sarah Sanders Continues Her McCarthy-Style Smears
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders has allowed the number of "daily briefings" she delivers to dwindle down to a nearly non-existent amount, but when she does hold televised appearances, she makes sure to fill them with enough lies and vitriol to make up for her time away.
Exhibit A in the phenomenon is Monday's briefing, in which she repeatedly insulted reporters and twisted President Donald Trump's attacks on the press in a contorted effort to deflect blame for the violent and bigoted atmosphere he has contributed to.
Conservative writer Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post argued Tuesday that Sanders' performance, claiming that Trump doesn't call the whole media the "enemy of the people" even as he constantly derides the establishment with an extremely broad brush, should inspire reporters to abandon the briefing entirely.
"Let me start with a suggestion," Rubin wrote. 'If Sanders continues to call the press the enemy of the people, the White House press corps should walk out and end coverage of the briefing. She has admitted it’s a smear (only some of them are enemies!), and yet she propagates an accusation that influenced a bombing attempt against a news outlet and is used as justification for violence against journalists around the world."
Sanders' tactics were completely disingenuous, arguing that Trump never blamed the media for the attacks, even though he did, and saying that the first thing the media did in response was blamed the president, which was a lie.
When asked which outlets or reporters the president considers "the enemy of the people," Sanders dodged the question.
"I’m not going to walk through a list, but I think those individuals probably know who they are," she said.
Rubin argued that this rhetorical move echoed the tactics of the late Sen. Joe McCarthy, who whipped up wild fears about communists infiltrating the government, often with no evidence: "In other words, you’re not all traitors, but the president will keep saying so since traitors know they are traitors," Rubin wrote. "(Perhaps she will take her McCarthy imitation one step further by holding up and waving a list of 'enemies.')"
It's not clear how helpful Rubin's proposed suggestion would be. If White House press corps did launch a full-scale walkout, conservative outlets would stay behind, and Sanders and the administration's allies would use the event to excoriate the press even more. Perhaps the smarter play would be to stop attending the briefing entirely — they've been all but discontinued anyway — and stick to digging for the real story, not whatever disingenuous spin is coming from the press secretary who is all too happy to lie and slander on the president's behalf.