White House

WH Press Secretary Slams Claim Trump Has Damaged Freedom of Press

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders takes questions during a daily briefing, March 5, 2018. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders dismissed the idea that President Trump has corrupted freedom of the press with a rebuke to a reporter’s question Wednesday.

“I certainly would reject the idea that the president or this administration has halted freedom of the press. I think we’re one of the most accessible administrations that we’ve seen in decades,” Sanders said. “My mere presence of standing up here and taking your questions unvetted is a pretty good example of freedom of the press, and I think it’s ridiculous to suggest otherwise.”

The reporter noted that the non-governmental organization Reporters Without Borders bumped the U.S. down to 45th out of 180 countries in its annual World Press Freedom Index, released on Wednesday.

“Hostility towards the media from political leaders is no longer limited to authoritarian countries,” the report stated. “More and more democratically-elected leaders no longer see the media as part of democracy’s essential underpinning, but as an adversary to which they openly display their aversion.”

The organization cites Trump, a “media-bashing enthusiast,” as the reason the “country of the First Amendment” fell in the press-freedom rankings this year.

“We support a free press, but we also support a fair press and I think those things should go hand in hand,” Sanders said, echoing Trump’s complaint that the American media has not always covered him and his administration fairly.

Sanders reminded reporters of their “responsibility to report accurate information.” She also expressed exasperation with the “tone” of some reporters’ questions, calling it “totally unnecessary” and adding that it “doesn’t help further the conversation or help the American people get any more information.”

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