Reporter Spars With Jean-Pierre During Briefing: ‘You Should Be Ashamed’


OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

A reporter and White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre exchanged heated words during her normal briefing on Wednesday after he complained that she continues to ignore him despite his outlet’s size and readership.

New York Post correspondent Steven Nelson complained that Jean-Pierre had ignored his questions for “two seasons” as he interrupted her during the briefing when she tried to call on another reporter.

“You haven’t called on me in two seasons, Karine,” Nelson said, according to Fox News.

“And I’m not calling on you today,” Jean-Pierre responded as she pointed to another reporter, saying, “Go ahead.”

Nelson fired back: “You should be ashamed of that. That shows disrespect to a free and independent media to blacklist one of our country’s largest and most widely read newspapers, Karine. That shows contempt for a free and independent press.”


“I’m calling on somebody who I haven’t called on for a long time as well. Go ahead,” the press secretary responded, as she took a question from a different reporter.

Later, Nelson commented on the exchange in an X post.

“The @NYPost is our country’s oldest daily newspaper. We have 4th-largest print circulation and only NY Times has more web traffic @PressSec last called on me in May, and on a colleague in July. The May exchange was also about press freedom issues,” he wrote in a post where he linked to a story about the Biden administration’s pre-screening process for reporters at exclusive events.

Asked for a comment by Fox News, Nelson responded that he would “let what [he] said stand.”

KJP has a history of getting into it with reporters who pose tough questions she doesn’t want to answer. She has also had exchanges with other reporters after refusing to call on them.

In June, for instance, Jean-Pierre scolded a reporter and threatened to cut short her briefing after a testy exchange, during which he accused her of “discrimination.”

The exchange began following an outburst by Today News Africa correspondent Simon Ateba following a previous briefing by National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, who provided an update on the Wagner Group, a Russian mercenary organization whose leader was reportedly marching on Moscow before the situation was diffused.


Before she took any questions, Jean-Pierre discussed an earlier topic – the online harassment experienced by Wall Street Journal reporter Sabrina Siddiqui after she questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi about India’s human rights record during his White House visit last week.

“As Jean-Pierre condemned the harassment while affirming the Biden administration’s commitment to the freedom of the press, Ateba was heard speaking over Jean-Pierre, claiming she has ‘discriminated against me for the past nine months,’” Mediaite reported. “This prompted another reporter to demand that Ateba explain ‘how is she discriminating against you?’”

Jean-Pierre tried to move on, but the arguing between reporters continued, with her threatening to end the briefing prematurely.

“You’re being incredibly rude,” Jean-Pierre told Ateba while accusing him of speaking over fellow reporters.

Ateba and the press secretary have had several tense exchanges over the past several months. In January, for instance, when she was being grilled on President Joe Biden’s classified documents scandal, her refusal to answer questions on the issue did not sit well with many in the media. In one exchange, Ateba grew frustrated with Jean-Pierre and called out her ability to perform the job of White House press secretary, telling her she was not fit for the job.

In March, he announced plans to take legal action against Jean-Pierre over claims that she discriminated against him during press conferences. Also, he sought to take action against the White House Correspondents Association for allegedly banning him “since they made false claims against me and my company and did not abide by their own membership guidelines.”

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