New York Post reporter Steven Nelson told White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre it was "anti-democratic" for her to ignore his questions, the Daily Caller reported. Nelson said this after Jean-Pierre left a briefing Tuesday without calling on him.
"It’s anti-democratic to refuse questions from one of our country’s four largest newspapers, Karine," Nelson shouted to her. The Post indeed holds that distinction among newspapers, with a circulation of almost 136,000 as recently as March 2023.
The news outlet was founded by Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton in 1801 and is an American institution. However, the White House has a history of ignoring its reporters during briefings.
"That shows disrespect to a free and independent media to blacklist one of our country’s largest and most widely read newspapers, Karine," Nelson said earlier last month when he wouldn't acknowledge him during another briefing. "That shows contempt for a free and independent press."
Jean-Pierre's predecessor, Jen Psaki, similarly overlooked Simon Ateba, the chief White House correspondent for Today News Africa, the New York Post reported. During her last briefing in her role, Ateba confronted Psaki about the practice.
Following her farewell remarks, Psaki called on Zeke Miller of the Associated Press for her first question when Ateba interrupted. "Why don’t you take questions from across the room?" he shouted.
"Why don’t you take questions from across the room? Because that’s not what you’ve done for the past 15 months," Ateba continued.
Psaki stayed the course, but Ateba wouldn't back down. "Jen, can I ask you a question from the back?" he shouted at her later in the briefing.
"Jen, can I ask you a question from the back?" he said again. Fellow journalist Tamara Keith of NPR chided Ateba and asked him to stop.
Psaki used this to attempt to silence Ateba. "Simon, if you can respect your colleagues and other media and reporters in here, that would be greatly appreciated."
Perhaps the administration has a disdain for the Post since it broke the story about the laptop full of incriminating evidence that was abandoned by President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden. The New York Post published its bombshell findings on Oct. 14, 2020, just before the presidential election.
The story was dismissed using a letter undersigned by 50 people in the intelligence community who said that the laptop "has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation." The Post's social media accounts were suspended in an attempt to silence the story.
Of course, the laptop was real, and Twitter even knew it at the time, according to the National Review. One poll found that honesty about the laptop's authenticity would have changed the election results, suggesting that the Post was very close to keeping Biden out of office and perhaps explaining the hostility from the Biden administration.
Jean-Pierre's unwillingness to answer any challenging questions is partly because she's terrible at her job. However, ignoring an established news outlet based on partisan politics is petty and beneath the dignity of the office, even for Jean-Pierre.