White House chides media: ‘You have a responsibility to tell the truth’

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders boiled over with frustration at the press during Thursday’s news briefing, telling CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta that “you have a responsibility to tell the truth.”

Acosta, who has been a persistent critic of the administration, asked Sanders whether President Trump believes the First Amendment protecting free speech and press rights is as important as the Second Amendment, which enshrines protections for gun owners.

"Absolutely,” Sanders said. “The president is an incredible advocate of the First Amendment. With the First amendment ... with those freedoms also come responsibilities. You have a responsibility to tell the truth. To be accurate.”

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Earlier in the day, Trump tweeted that the Senate Intelligence Committee should investigate “Fake News Networks” to see “why so much of our news is just made up.”

 

Sanders was pressed on whether the president believes the committee should investigate American media organizations.

“I don’t know that that’s the case,” she responded. “But I do think that we should call on all media to a higher standard. I think you have a lot of responsibility, and a lot of times false narratives create a bad environment, certainly aren't helpful to the American people, and you have a responsibility to provide and report fair and accurate details. When we don't, that's I think troubling for all of us.”

Sanders pointed to a recent Pew Research study that found only 5 percent of news coverage of the Trump administration has been positive, a figure that is well below what the organization found for Presidents Obama, George W. Bush and Clinton.

She accused the media of ignoring positive stories about the stock market, economy and fight against terror.

“You've only found 5 percent of your time to focus on those big issues,” Sanders said. “Frankly those are the issues the American people care about, not a lot of the things you cover, not a lot of the petty palace intrigue that you spend your time on. I think we need to move toward a certainly more fair, more accurate and frankly a more responsible news media for the American people.”