White House Briefing Turns Chaotic as Journo Blasts Press Sec for 'Mocking' First Amendment

© Sputnik ScreenshotWhite House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre argues with several reporters shouting question at White House pandemic response chief Dr. Anthony Fauci on November 22, 2022.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre argues with several reporters shouting question at White House pandemic response chief Dr. Anthony Fauci on November 22, 2022. - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.03.2023
No stranger to calling out officials, reporter Simon Ateba has become a known figure for his outbursts during White House press briefings under the Biden administration.
Simon Ateba, the White House correspondent for Today News Africa, struck a hard chord in the White House briefing room on Monday after interrupting proceedings while the cast of "Ted Lasso" stood awkwardly on the sidelines.
Ateba claims that in his seven months of going to White House briefings, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has refused to call on him to ask questions.

“Before you begin,” Ateba said as Jean-Pierre stood at the podium, “I would like to request that you call on everyone from across the room. You have been discriminating against me and against some people in the briefing room … you are making a mockery of the First Amendment. It has been seven months, you have not called on me, you have ignored my messages, I’m saying that’s not right.”

Jean-Pierre then asked for “decorum” and apologized to the cast of "Ted Lasso" before the briefing continued for a period of time before Ateba interrupted again after the actors departed the room. The second outburst saw Ateba reiterate his previous accusations that he and other journalists are being ignored by the White House press secretary.
During the second interruption, some of the journalists chided Ateba for his interruption. Brian Karem, the White House correspondent for Playboy and a political analyst for CNN told Ateba to “mind your manners while you are in here, if you have a problem bring it up afterwards. You are impinging on everyone else here who is only trying to do their jobs.”
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany arrives to deliver a statement at the White House, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021, in Washington - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.03.2021
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Ateba noted the journalists who were telling him to be quiet are called on frequently by the White House spokesperson.
“Understand that you get questions all the time,” Ateba said to Reuters reporter Jeff Mason. “You don’t have to sit here for eight months and be discriminated against. Understand that you are in the front row and you’ve been comfy, and you get questions all the time. There are people in the back who don’t get any questions.”
At least two reporters apologized to Jean-Pierre for Ateba’s outburst, including NBC News correspondent and White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) Vice President Kelly O’Donnell.
Jean-Pierre called the outburst unacceptable. “As you all know, this is the White House press briefing room, a historic room, a room that should have decorum, a room where folks should respect their colleagues, and respect the guests who are here,” she said.
This is not the first time Ateba complained about a lack of attention during briefings. He complained about it at former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s final briefing, and was warned by the WHCA for shouting over another reporter.
He also interrupted a question by a reporter from The Hill in December 2022, complaining about not getting called on enough. That incident prompted Jean-Pierre to end the briefing early.
The Ted Lasso cast was at the briefing to talk about mental health.
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