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On Wednesday, the day CNN’s New York office was evacuated after a bomb was found in the mailroom, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said all the right things.
“We condemn the attempted violent attacks recently made against President Obama, President Clinton, Secretary Clinton and other public figures,” she said in a statement. “These terrorizing acts are despicable, and anyone responsible will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. The United States Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies are investigating and will take all appropriate actions to protect anyone threatened by these cowards.”
An hour later, she took to Twitter to clarify that “our condemnation of these despicable acts certainly includes threats made to CNN as well as current or former public servants.”
But, her tone changed later on Wednesday, after CNN president Jeff Zucker released a statement attacking the White House’s anti-media rhetoric. She shared Zucker’s statement, and said, “You chose to attack and divide. America should unite against all political violence.”
On Thursday, Sanders was on the anti-CNN war path again, lashing out at the network in a pool spray with White House reporters.
First, she said it’s “absolutely ridiculous” for anyone in the media to suggest that her boss’ rhetoric could be responsible for the bombs sent to his detractors Wednesday.
When asked a question by a CNN reporter, she incorrectly characterized the network’s response to the bomb threat, maligning anchors like Jim Sciutto and Poppy Harlow, who co-anchored the coverage.
“Yesterday, the very first thing that the president did was come out and condemn the violence,” Sanders said. “The very first thing your network did was come out and accuse the president of being responsible for it. That is not OK. The first thing should have been to condemn the violence.”
Sciutto, anchoring Thursday, immediately pushed back on what Sanders said. “What the press secretary of the White House said there is not true,” he said. “That’s not the first thing we did as this happened. We reported the news, in fact. And Poppy and I can attest to that because we were on the air live reporting the news as it happened.”
Sanders also claimed that CNN “continued to focus only on the negative” in covering the Trump White House, leaning on a study of negative coverage conducted by the conservative Media Research Center.
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