Media Figures Rip Fox’s John Roberts For Not Defending CNN After Trump’s ‘Fake News’ Attacks
Besides calling his on-the-record interview with The Sun “fake news,” President Donald Trump continued unleashing on his favorite punching bag during Friday’s joint press conference with UK Prime Minister Theresa May. When CNN’s Jim Acosta tried to ask the president a question, Trump brushed him off by saying he won’t take “questions from CNN” because “CNN is fake news.”
Trump then called on Fox News’ John Roberts, saying the Fox correspondent came from a “real network.” Roberts would go on to ask the president his questions, causing many in the media to express disappointment with Roberts for not ceding his time to Acosta or adding Acosta’s questions to his.
CNN’s Jake Tapper, who defended Fox News in the White House press room during the Obama administration, obviously was miffed that Roberts didn’t follow suit here.
Old enough to remember when other networks came to the defense of Fox News WH correspondents during the Obama years. Such did not happen here.
Lesson for the kids out there: no one should ever try to do the right thing with the expectation it will ever be reciprocated. https://t.co/Ym7E94k2Wz
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) July 13, 2018
NBC News’ Ken Dilanian stated that he really would have liked for Roberts to have stood up for his colleagues there.
I really wish @johnrobertsFox had taken a moment there to defend his colleagues.
— Ken Dilanian (@KenDilanianNBC) July 13, 2018
Mic’s Emily Singer noted that the Fox News correspondent did the “wrong thing” at the presser.
John Roberts did the wrong thing there. https://t.co/PD2PXb6gBV
— Emily C. Singer (@CahnEmily) July 13, 2018
NBC News’ Mike Memoli pointed out that it sure would be nice to see Fox News “return the professional courtesy” after the rest of the press corps came to their defense during the Obama years.
There was a period when the Obama press shop iced Fox in briefings. The rest of the press corps backed them up in the interest of free press and 1st Amendment.
It’d be great to see them return the professional courtesy
— Mike Memoli (@mikememoli) July 13, 2018
Columnist Will Bunch didn’t mince words.
John Roberts of Fox is an asshole for taking the mike off a Trump attack on a free press. He should have declined
— Will Bunch (@Will_Bunch) July 13, 2018
The New York Times’ Alex Burns felt that those at Fox News have no problem being Trump’s chosen media outlet.
That Fox doesn’t push back on this, and shows no sign of discomfort at being treated as the president’s pet network, tells you all you need to know https://t.co/aiua2w0zMI
— Alex Burns (@alexburnsNYT) July 13, 2018
Meanwhile, BuzzFeed’s John Stanton felt Roberts wasn’t the only one who deserved criticism.
Shout out to all the other reporters who gave the mic to CNN after John Roberts didn’t.
— john r stanton (@dcbigjohn) July 13, 2018
Watch the encounter above, via CNN.
UPDATE: Roberts released the following statement about his lack of defense at the time, saying he and other journalists proceeded with questions when it became apparent that Trump wasn’t going to entertain a question from Acosta.
“In today’s press conference, I paused while my colleague from CNN went back and forth with President Trump over a question. When it became clear that the president wasn’t going to entertain a question from him, I proceeded with my question, as did my fellow colleagues in the press corps. I know Kristen Welker of NBC. She is honest as the day is long. For the President to call her dishonest is unfair. I also used to work at CNN. There are some fine journalists who work there and risk their lives to report on stories around the world. To issue a blanket condemnation of the network as ‘fake news’ is also unfair.”