Fireworks and Chaos Erupt in White House Press Briefing Room as Karine Jean-Pierre Storms Out


In a chaotic scene at the White House press briefing room, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre abruptly ended a session after repeatedly refusing to call on Today News Africa reporter Simon Ateba. The incident occurred on Thursday when Ateba pressed Jean-Pierre for a question, which led to a heated exchange and the briefing being cut short.

The tension began as John Kirby, a spokesman for the Biden administration, stood at the lectern. Ateba, frustrated by being ignored for over a year, demanded, "It's so crazy that you don't take a question from an African journalist." Jean-Pierre, visibly irritated, threatened to end the briefing if decorum was not maintained. She ultimately walked out, saying, "Thanks, everybody!" as she closed her binder and exited the room.

Ateba expressed his dismay on social media, highlighting the ongoing neglect he faces from the Biden administration. He noted that even on a day when President Biden was meeting with the President of Angola, an African journalist was denied the opportunity to ask questions. Ateba stated, "I am highly disappointed and even heartbroken that in the citadel of democracy, and in the most powerful house in the world, I’m being discriminated against for a year for trying to do my job while journalist colleagues remain silent".

This incident is not isolated. In previous briefings, reporters have repeatedly questioned Jean-Pierre about President Biden's cognitive health and other sensitive topics, leading to similar chaotic scenes.

For instance, during a September 2022 briefing, several reporters grilled Jean-Pierre on Biden's confusion regarding the late Rep. Jackie Walorski, who he mistakenly believed was still alive. Jean-Pierre's attempts to deflect these questions only fueled further outrage among the press.

The ongoing friction between Jean-Pierre and the press corps has been exacerbated by new White House rules for press passes that resulted in the removal of more than 442 reporters. Simon Ateba has been vocal about these changes, which he argues are aimed at silencing dissenting voices. Earlier this year, Ateba initiated a federal lawsuit against Jean-Pierre and the Secret Service, alleging that his press badge was unjustly revoked, infringing on his First and Fifth Amendment rights.

The broader implications of these confrontations reflect a deepening mistrust between the White House and the media. Critics argue that the Biden administration is increasingly intolerant of tough questioning, especially from non-mainstream journalists. This latest incident with Ateba underscores the challenges faced by journalists who strive to hold the administration accountable.

While the White House has not officially commented on the specifics of this incident, it raises important questions about transparency and the administration's commitment to an open dialogue with the press. As the 2024 elections approach, such incidents are likely to draw even more scrutiny from the public and the media alike.


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