August 1, 2018

At a hastily-organized press briefing today, topics ranged from new sanctions on Turkish officials, to whether identification is required to buy groceries, to Trump's simmeringly hostile rally in Tampa Tuesday night.

David Martosko of the Daily Mail, also formerly from the Daily Caller lobbed a question at Sarah Sanders that should have been a slam dunk.

First question, paraphrased: Does Trump support the QAnon and Blacks for Trump whack, or no?

Second question: "Is the White House willing to say in view of what happened to one of our TV colleagues last night he thinks it's wrong for vocal supporters to be menacing towards journalists doing their job in a situation like that or any situation?"

Remarkably, Sanders could not simply answer the second question. The first one she gave the stock answer to, where Trump "condemns and denounces any group that would incite violence" yada yada.

This, of course, is a lie. We have an unapologetic Trump on video calling for protesters at rallies to be beaten up, others where he incited violence against Hillary Clinton, and still others where he offered to pay the legal bills for supporters who committed violent acts against those who oppose him.

On the second question, which should also have been a simple answer, she whipped out a statement and read it. Clearly, she was prepared for this question.

"The president, as I just said, does not support violence against anyone or anything. We've been very clear every single time we've been asked about that," she said, before adding the BIG BUT.

She qualified her previous statement by saying, "When it comes to the media, the president does think that the media holds a responsibility,"

Reading from a prepared statement, she continued, "We fully support a free press. There also comes a high level of responsibility with that. The media routinely reports on classified information and government secrets that put lives in danger and risk valuable national security tools. This has happened both in our administration and in past administrations. One of the worst cases was the reporting on the U.S. ability to listen to Osama bin Laden's satellite phone in the late '90s. Because of that reporting he stopped using that phone and the country lost valuable intelligence. Unfortunately it's not standard to abandon common sense ethical practices."

She added, "This is a two-way street. We certainly support free press, condemn violence against anybody but we ask people act responsibly and report accurately and fairly."

Martosko lost all patience, yelling back, "Sarah, nobody was being violent last night. They were trying to prevent a broadcaster from getting a broadcast out and yelling his network sucks. Is that right or wrong?"

After making him repeat the first part of his question -- the part about no one being violent -- Martosko reiterated that "no broadcaster was broadcasting state secrets."

Disgusted, he told her, "They were trying to do standups at a rally and people were yelling over them trying to keep them from doing their jobs."

And even then -- even then -- when she was asked directly whether she supported that or not, she could not condemn the vile language and behavior toward CNN's Jim Acosta.

"While we certainly support freedom of the press, we also support freedom of speech," she said. "We think those things go hand in hand."

In other words, it's just fine for rallygoers to get in live shots and behave like two-year-olds because free speech.

So fine. It's incumbent upon the media to simply send a pool camera, leave the reporters to other assignments, and ignore these hatefests.

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