Reporter April Ryan: Sean Spicer Is “Discrediting Credible Media”

Ryan: Are The New People At Press Briefings “Journalists Or Are They Spectators Posing As Journalists?”

From the March 29 edition of CNN's New Day:

Video file

ALISYN CAMEROTA (CO-HOST): What was going through that head of yours when Sean Spicer was wagging his finger and shaking his head? 

APRIL RYAN: Disbelief. I was just asking a question, trying to get an answer, and I found myself trying to defend myself. But I'm a reporter just trying to get answers, and it was a simple question. It was a legitimate question. And I just wanted an answer. And I dropped my head. I didn't shake my head at first, and I reviewed the tape. I did shake my head towards the end in disbelief. But at the end of the day, I'm a reporter, he's a press secretary. We both have jobs to do. I'm going back today to do my job, and he's going to do his job, and I take it for what it is. And as an administration is calling us the enemy of the people, I guess we saw some of that thought process yesterday. 

CHRIS CUOMO (CO-HOST): I do not think you needed to review the tape to see whether or not you were shaking your head. I think you are allowed to shake your head whenever you want, especially when Spicer is doing what he does most often right now, which was giving a bogus response to your question. You said, you've got wiretapping, you've got Russia, and he said, “No, no, no, you do.” Look, we all know where the wiretapping thing came from. That was the premise for your question, and you asked it. He didn't like it, and that was the treatment that you got. Do you believe what he did to you, April, is different than what he does to other reporters? 

RYAN: Well let me say this. There was a young lady from Politico over the weekend, a white woman, who was called an idiot by Sean. It made headlines. We are the press who's under attack. We are under attack by this administration. It is about discrediting credible media. And, at this point, I happen to be a black woman, but I'm part of the press. So this is -- I guess this is part of a series of two women this week who have been in the news over something with the press secretary. 

CAMEROTA: And do you think he treats women differently in the press room? 

RYAN: I just know how he deals with me. I don't -- I'm not sure yet because when he first came out, that was one of the five. I was, I think, the fifth person he called on the first day of the press briefing. I am going to watch more closely now. I just know there are attacks on the press, but I'm going to watch more closely. And I just see from the weekend that reporter from Politico who he called an idiot and then this situation, it's showing a pattern, at least this week. But, yeah, they have made attacks on the press. I am saying overarching the attacks on the press have happened, but now I'm looking more closely thinking about what you're saying at the issue of women. 


CAMEROTA: April, quickly, do you feel as though there is more of a personal attack from Sean Spicer? When he calls somebody an idiot, when he says to you stop shaking your head, is that -- look, there's always been an adversarial relationship between the press secretary and the press, but is there something on a deeper, more personal, level happening now? 

RYAN: That's a tough one, and I want to believe that what Mike McCurry said, the former press secretary for Bill Clinton. He said there is a friendly adversarial relationship. I believe the friendly piece is gone now, as you said, Alisyn. It is getting personal, but it should never get personal in that room. It should be about the issues. I have no agenda, calling people out by name. If you get personal, it could go back and forth for days, and it's not about the issues. And it's about the issues. This is the White House. This is the home, the workspace of the president of the United States, the leader of the free world. People want to know what he's thinking, what he's doing. I cover all things presidential. It's not about me, but if it becomes about me, it's a sad day. And -- or any other reporter. It is about the issue for the American people. We cover the president of the United States for the American people. It's not about us. It's about you, the people. It's just -- it's turning into a different day. 

CUOMO: You get a big amen about that from a lot of people. Certainly your brothers and sisters in the media. But interesting -- what is your take on this? The president tweeted, hey if only people could see how viciously and inaccurately my administration is covered by the media. Do you think that those adjectives are applying more to the White House press secretary these days than it is to the media in terms of accuracy, which Spicer has struggled with, and that's a generous assessment, and the kind of personal attacks that you, the Politico reporter, our Jim Acosta that we see on a regular basis that have a feel of viciousness to them. 

RYAN: Jim is a great reporter. I love Jim Acosta. First of all, there is a lot of credibility issues when it comes to this administration. But that's where the press comes in, and we have to cover the issues and get all sides of the stories. Not just two sides, all sides of the story, to find out what it is and what is real versus fake. Now, when it comes to fake news, oh yeah, there's some fake news organizations out there reporting on them. Also supporting some of the spin that's offered from this White House and maybe other White Houses. But I will tell you this, too, as well. In that room that I have been sitting in for 20 years and to see it recently, you just wonder about some of the people that are coming into the room now. Are they really journalists or are they spectators posing as journalists? So there's a lot of stuff going on in that room right now, and in this mosh that we call reporting at the White House right now, the dynamic has changed. But there is fake news out there, but I am going to say those who have covered the White House who are covering -- credible, credentialed journalists who come there every day -- are doing their jobs, and I'm telling you, it's a fight. And it should not be this way. But they -- I'm telling you. I stand by the First Amendment and those journalists who are in there covering this president and other presidents. 


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