No one in the press corps was feeling particularly friendly towards Sarah Huckabee Sanders in her first press conference in weeks. The prize for most heroic, though, goes to Jim Acosta from CNN. He had Sarah Huckabee Sanders pretty rattled by the end of his three questions - all digging deeper and harder at her and her boss' characterization of the press as the "enemy of the people."
ACOSTA: Shouldn't you reserve the term "enemy" for people who are actually the enemy of the United States rather than journalists?
SANDERS: The president is not referencing all media. He is talking about the growing amount of fake news that exists in the country. The president is calling that out.
By that, you mean Fox and Brietbart, right, Sarah?
ACOSTA: May I ask a follow-up, please. Since you mentioned that, the president said this morning, "The fake news media, the true enemy of the people must stop. They have a responsibility to report the news accurately and fairly." Can you state for the record, which outlets that you and the president regard as the enemy of the people?
SANDERS: I'm not going to walk through a list, but I think those individuals probably know who they are.
ACOSTA: Would that include my outlet which received the bomb threats?
SANDERS: I don't think it's specific to a generalization of a full outlet. At times there are individuals that is the president would be referencing.
So...you guys aren't referencing broad outlets, just individuals? And they know who they are? But do they rhyme with DEE-TEN-TEN?
ACOSTA: So you are not going to state for the record? The president is going to say the fake news media are the enemy and if you are going to continue to stand there and say that some journalists and news outlets in this country that meet that characterization, shouldn't you have the guts, Sarah, to state which outlets and which journalists are the enemy of the people?
SANDERS: I think it's irresponsible of a news organization like yours to blame responsibility of a pipe bomb that was not sent by the president and not just blame the president, but members of his administration for those heinous acts. I think that is outrageous and irresponsible.
Oooh. So, she and the Agent Orange DO consider CNN to be an enemy of the people. And no, she does not have the guts to say so. All she has is the impulse to deflect and gaslight, and demonstrate the deep cynicism that rots the core of this administration. The cynicism is reflected in her answer - which hopes those listening will think that placing a large portion of responsibility for these tragedies at her boss' feet is the same thing as saying he licked the stamps.
It's not though, and most grown-ups know it. If anything will combat the rot that emanates from the Press Secretary's podium, it's incisive and direct questions like the ones that came from Jim Acosta today that will do it.