White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Tuesday was in the middle of a press briefing on COVID-19 with Chief Medial Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, when Diana Glebova, White House Correspondent for the Daily Caller, a right-wing publication founded by Tucker Carlson, interrupted the proceedings. Glebova called out at Dr. Fauci to respond to the fact that she had asked him several times what he had done to investigate the origins of the virus.
But instead of allowing the good doctor to respond––was it a viral evolution in nature that jumped to Chinese people who ate infected bats? Was it weaponized in a Chinese lab? Was the global spread of COVID-19 an accident? Was it intentional? There’s a lot to investigate here––Jean-Pierre took back the podium and gave Glebova a lesson in good manners. Honestly, she stopped short of threatening not to let her in again without her parents.
“Hold on one second, we have a process here,” national kindergarten teacher Jean-Pierre snapped at the insolent reporter. “I’m not calling on people who yell. You’re being disrespectful to your colleagues and you’re being disrespectful to our guest. I will not call on you if you yell, and, also, you’re taking time off the clock.”
The New York Post’s Steven Nelson and Simon Ameba from Africa News defended Glebova. Ateba said, “She’s asking a good question, she’s asking a very good question… You need to call on people across the room, she has a valid question, she’s asking about the origins of COVID.”
Jean-Pierre took the podium again and announced she heard the question but won’t respond, on account of the rude thing.
When Fauci took the podium again, he smiled at the rebuked reporter and told her he had no problem testifying on the origin of the pandemic should an investigation be launched. He also reminded Glebova that he had testified hundreds of times before congressional committees during his long tenure.
Now, I went to the White House transcript of Tuesday’s press briefing, and, to my knowledge, the entire exchange was deleted from the record. If I’m wrong, please correct me. The transcript only features one related question: “Dr. Fauci, what did you do to personally investigate the origins of COVID?” It was briskly interrupted by Jean-Pierre, who urged White House bureau chief Toluse Olorunnipa: “Toluse. Toluse. Go ahead, Toluse. Go ahead, Toluse.”
Twitter user Thomas Schumacher wondered: “Since when is it disrespectful for a journalist to question someone in power? The whole reason for their job is to question those with power and hold them accountable. Watching the White House shout down journalists like this is not how our Constitutional Republic works.”
And Sandra Carusetta tweeted: “It’s disgraceful to scold professional journalists as if they’re children when they are looking for answers that the people need and want to hear. A real man would stand at the podium, take and address the questions and not let some fussy mommy run cover for him.”