Over the weekend, Donald Trump called out Dave Weigel of the Washington Post for a tweet that misrepresented the crowd size at his Pensacola Florida rally — a tweet that Weigel admitted was inaccurate and deleted it shortly after. Despite the fact that it was an individual reporter’s tweet and not a Post news report, Trump demanded an apology and retraction from “FAKE NEWS” WaPo.
During Monday afternoon’s press briefing, Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked by Matthew Nussbaum of Politico about the president lashing out at Weigel’s tweet and the discrepancy between these sort of incidents and actual Russian disinformation campaigns, which he has always seemed unconcerned with. Huckabee Sanders responded by making a broad statement about what Trump considers to be biased reporting, insinuating that any accidental misreporting by news outlets — such as the recent error made by Brian Ross of ABC News — is done intentionally and maliciously.
She next called on CNN’s Jim Acosta, who was not having her response. “I would just say Sarah, that journalists make honest mistakes and that doesn’t make them fake news,” he said. Huckabee Sanders then interrupted him to retort, “Well when journalists make honest mistakes they should own up to them.” “They do!” exclaimed someone else in the room. “Sometimes, sometimes you don’t,” she claimed.
Over audible protests, Huckabee Sanders continued. “There’s a very big difference between making honest mistakes and purposefully misleading the American people, something that happens regularly,” she said, yelling “I’m not done” at those who attempted to interject. “You cannot say it’s a mistake when you’re purposely putting out information you know to be false.”
When asked by Acosta if she could cite a story that was intentionally false, she named the Brian Ross story, which — while stunningly egregious — the network did in fact own up to. You can watch the entire heated exchange, above.