The reporter who engaged in a tense exchange with a top White House spokeswoman this week accused the Trump administration on Wednesday of “undermining” journalists and said the media “can’t take the bullying anymore.”
“We’ve been called the enemy of the people from that White House, we’ve been told that we’re fake news. We are bullied and brow-beaten every day, and I pretty much have had enough of it,” Brian Karem, a White House correspondent for the Sentinel newspapers, a Washington-area chain of publications, told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“There are really only two ways to deal with a bully. You can either turn them into your friend, I don’t think that’s a possibility, or you can let them know exactly what’s up and that you’re not going to take the bullying anymore. And we can’t take the bullying anymore,” added Karem.
During the White House press briefing on Tuesday, Karem challenged White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders after she accused the media of perpetuating what she labeled the “Trump-Russia hoax.”
On Wednesday, Karem said the Trump administration was “undermining the Fourth Estate” and “undermining the First Amendment.”
“For the government to sit there and undermine, essentially, what is a very essential checks and balances in the system, it’s disheartening. It’s unnerving,” Karem said.
A day earlier, Karem attracted national attention after he criticized Sanders during the White House daily press briefing for constantly attacking the media.
The fracas began when Sanders criticized CNN for an article that was later retracted about a Trump transition team member’s alleged connection to a Russian executive. Three CNN journalists involved with the story resigned days after the retraction.
Sanders also attacked the broader news media for a “constant barrage of fake news directed at this President,” referring to reports with “unnamed sources, sometimes stories with no sources at all.”
Karem then responded by accusing Sanders of “inflaming everybody right here, right now, with those words.”
“Any one of us are replaceable, and any one of us, if we don’t get it right, the audience has the opportunity to turn the channel or not read us,” Karem said. “We’re here to ask you questions. You’re here to provide the answers, and what you just did is inflammatory to people all over the country.”
Sanders, whose boss has repeatedly lashed out at the media by calling it “fake” and “the enemy of the American people,” hit back, saying she disagreed “completely.”
"I think if anything has been inflamed, it's the dishonesty that often takes place by the news media," Sanders said.