Breitbart News’ Charlie Spiering asked the first question, challenging Sanders on why CNN’s retraction of a recent story was not sufficient enough for the president, who on Tuesday took to Twitter and said: “Wow, CNN had to retract big story on “Russia,” with 3 employees forced to resign. What about all the other phony stories they do? FAKE NEWS!”
CNN had retracted a story linking a Trump adviser to a Russian investment fund. Three journalists involved in the story’s publication have since resigned and CNN issued an apology to the Trump adviser.
“I don’t know if that response is good enough,” Sanders said Tuesday. “It’s the barrage of fake news directed at the president that has garnered his frustration. … We have gone to a place where if the media can’t be trusted to report the news, then that’s a dangerous place for America.”
Sanders added that the media has been “going on [the] Russia, Trump-hoax for the better part of a year now,” and that “America is looking for something more.”
But Spiering pushed back, asking if the president expects the media “not to report on stories of a foreign country trying to influence the election?”
“I don’t think it’s expected you’re not to report on actual news, but I think there are a lot of things happening in the world that people would like to hear about—job growth, deregulation—those things deserve more coverage,” Sanders said. “I think we should take a good look at what we are focused on and making sure it’s accurate.”
Sanders added, “If we make the slightest mistake, it is an absolute tirade from a lot of people in this room, but news outlets get to go on, day after day, and cite unnamed sources, and use stories without sources.”
Sanders did not take questions from a CNN reporter at the end of the briefing.
The briefing came just a day after president of the White House Correspondents Association, Jeff Mason, also a Reuters correspondent, met with Spicer and Sanders to discuss the issue of White House press briefings.
“The WHCA’s position on this issue is clear: we believe strongly that Americans should be able to watch and listen to senior government officials face questions form an independent news media, in keeping with principles of the First Amendment and the need for transparency at the highest levels of government,” Mason wrote in a letter to his fellow White House correspondents.
Changes are also in the works for the White House communications team.
The Trump administration confirmed to Fox News last week that Spicer would be taking on an expanded role, overseeing both White House communications and press offices, and would not run every on-camera press briefing.