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White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stormed out of the briefing room as Today News Africa reporter Simon Ateba confronted her for refusing to call on him to ask a question. Ateba was trying to ask KJP about the upcoming U.S. Africa Summit, where President Joe Biden intends to meet with 50 African leaders. He wanted to know why Jean-Pierre would not take his question or call on him.
“Why is it so hard to give me a question?” he asked.
“It is not hard, would you let me answer the question?” she began before he started asking his question. The press secretary attempted to call on a separate reporter.
Ateba continued to ask why she will not take his question, causing Jean-Pierre to snap.
“I just tried and you wouldn’t let me, sir,” she said. “So your colleague is gonna ask a question.”
KJP abruptly ended the briefing and stormed out of the room as Ateba continued asking why she would not call on him or answer his question.
Jean-Pierre made headlines earlier this week when she snapped at Fox News White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich after she accused the reporter of “mischaracterizing” her comments about Twitter with Elon Musk as the CEO.
“Real fast, Karine? Just real quick, on Twitter, because you guys said you’re keeping a close eye on Elon Musk’s ownership. And I’ve — this is the first time we’ve talked to you since he released the files a few days ago. Is it the White House view that decisions at Twitter were made appropriately in terms of decisions to censor this reporting ahead of the election?” the reporter said.
“Let me — you see — you mischaracterize, actually, what I — what I actually said, and took it out of context when you asked your question,” the press secretary snapped back.
“Look, when I answered the question — and I already — I actually already addressed this — about how the White House and the administration is seeing what’s happening on Twitter, we were — we follow also what’s going on just like you guys are reporting it, just like you guys are seeing,” she said.
“And what I was commenting to is like, yes, we’re seeing what is happening, just like you all are seeing what’s happening with Twitter. So, just want to clear that up because you definitely mischaracterized what I said or put it out of context.
“And so, can you ask your question again?” she said.
In November during a White House press briefing a reporter asked Jean-Pierre if the administration was monitoring the situation at Twitter for “misinformation.”
“Just a question about Twitter. You know, there’s a researcher at Stanford who says that this is a critical moment, really, in terms of ensuring that Twitter does not become a vector for misinformation. I mean, are you concerned about the — you know, Elon Musk says there are more and more subscribers coming online? Are you concerned about that? And what tools do you have? Who is it at the White House that is really keeping track of this?” Reuters reporter Andrea Shalalsaid.
“So, look, this is something that we’re certainly keeping an eye on. And, look, we — you know, we have always been very clear and — that when it comes to social media platforms, it is their responsibility to make sure that when it comes to misinformation, when we — when it comes to the hate that we’re seeing, that they take action, that they continue to take action,” the press secretary said.
“Again, we’re all keeping a close eye on this. We’re all monitoring what’s — what’s currently occurring. And we see — you know, we see it with our own eyes of what you all are reporting and, just for ourselves, what’s happening on Twitter,” she said.
“But again, social media companies have a responsibility to prevent their platforms from being used by any user to incite violence, especially violence directed at individual communities, as we have been seeing. And the President has been very clear on calling that out. He’ll continue to do that. And we’re going to continue to monitor the situation,” she said.
This caught the attention of Musk who appeared to be furious with it.
“Absolutely insane watching The Machine go after @elonmusk for defending free speech. This whole exchange is kabuki theater, from the ridiculous leading question by the ‘journalist’ to KJP’s obviously pre-planned response,” journalist Dave Rubin said.
“Why are so many in the media against free speech? This is messed up,” the witter CEO said.
Why are so many in the media against free speech? This is messed up.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 28, 2022