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Friday, August 3, 2018

Is the press the enemy of the people?

Q I just wanted to follow up on Sara’s question from NPR. She asked you about Ivanka Trump’s statement that the press is not the enemy of the people. And she asked you whether or not the press is the enemy of the people.

You read off a laundry list of your concerns about the press, and things that you feel like are misreported, but you did not say that the press is not the enemy of the people. And I think it would be a good thing if you were to say, right here, at this briefing, that the press, the people who are gathered in this room right now, doing their jobs every day, asking questions of officials like the ones you brought forward earlier, are not the enemy of the people. I think we deserve that.

SANDERS: If the President has made his position known, I also think it’s ironic —

Q Would you mind telling us, Sarah, if you don’t —

SANDERS: I’m trying to answer your question. I politely waited, and I even called on you despite the fact that you interrupted me while calling on your colleague.

Q Well, you attacked our news organization —

SANDERS: I said it’s ironic —

Q — which is why I interrupted.

SANDERS: I’m trying —

Q But if you finish, if you would not mind letting me have a follow-up, that would be fine.

SANDERS: It’s ironic, Jim, that not only you and the media attack the President for his rhetoric when they frequently lower the level of conversation in this country. Repeatedly — repeatedly — the media resorts to personal attacks without any content other than to incite anger.

The media has attacked me personally on a number of occasions, including your own network; said I should be harassed as a life sentence; that I should be choked. ICE officials are not welcome in their place of worship, and personal information is shared on the Internet. When I was hosted by the Correspondents’ Association, of which almost all of you are members of, you brought a comedian up to attack my appearance and called me a traitor to my own gender.

Q We didn’t try to do that, Sarah.

SANDERS: In fact, as I know — as far as I know, I’m the first Press Secretary in the history of the United States that’s required Secret Service protection.

Q Tell that to the five dead people in Annapolis.

Q Brian, let her finish.

SANDERS: The media continues to ratchet up the verbal assault against the President and everyone in this administration, and certainly we have a role to play, but the media has a role to play for the discourse in this country, as well.

Q And, Sarah, if you don’t mind — hold on, if I may follow up. If I may follow up —

Q (Inaudible.)

Q — excuse me. You did not say, in the course of those remarks that you just made, that the press is not the enemy of the people. Are we to take it, from what you just said — we all get put through the wringer, we all get put in the meat grinder in this town, and you’re no exception. And I’m sorry that that happened to you. I wish that that had not happened.

But for the sake of this room, the people who are in this room, this democracy, this country, all the people around the world are watching what you’re saying, Sarah. And the White House, for the United States of America, the President of the United States should not refer to us as the enemy of the people. His own daughter acknowledges that, and all I’m asking you to do, Sarah, is to acknowledge that right now and right here.

SANDERS: I appreciate your passion; I share it. I’ve addressed this question. I’ve addressed my personal feelings. I’m here to speak on behalf of the President, and he’s made his comments clear.

From the August 2, 2018, White House Press Briefing

They tried to make it look like she would not repudiate the President's attack on people who are just “doing their jobs every day,” and the White House would not say anything to refute that.

In her response, without explicitly saying it, she turned their own question back on them. She showed exactly how they have been her enemy, and they said nothing to refute that. They said, “we all get put through the wringer, we all get put in the meat grinder in this town, and you’re no exception.” Does the press view itself as “the wringer” or “the meat grinder”?

This excerpt of yesterday's press briefing transcript gives a taste of how hostile the relationship is between the press and the Trump Administration. For now, “We didn’t try to do that, Sarah” may be as close as we get to an apology from the press for their injustices against this Administration.

May we pray, in Jesus' name, for a more civil relationship between the press and the Trump Administration. Our nation faces difficult challenges. We would all—including the press—do well to find ways to make things better and get through them than to tear each other down even more. As the press secretary said, “we have a role to play, … the media has a role to play for the discourse in this country.”

These are not just roles in a play. These are our own actions in a story that is directly affected by those actions. Our nation will be forever changed one way or the other by how we choose to act and respond.

The Gospel is needed to help shape and improve our interactions because, as offensive as this may be to some, we are all potential enemies of the people.

It's starts with the fact that we are all born enemies of God. There's enmity—hostility—in our relationship with him, and only when we make peace with God on His terms does that hostility subside.

That also, then, gives us grace to endure attacks from others who are not yet at peace with God.

Are you saying that the press are not at peace with God?

I'm saying no one—not me, not the press, not anyone—is at peace with God until they have come to Him through His Son, Jesus Christ, trusting in Him as their Savior from their sin. That's the Gospel. Once anyone does that, then they are at peace with God.

Once we are at peace with God, we then have a foundation on which to make peace with one another.

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