In a tense exchange at Wednesday’s White House press conference, tensions flared between White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and New York Post reporter Steven Nelson. Nelson, frustrated by what he perceived as a prolonged period of being overlooked, interrupted Jean-Pierre as she sought to direct a question to another journalist.
“You haven’t called on me in two seasons, Karine,” Nelson asserted.
“I’m not calling on you today,” Jean-Pierre retorted, deflecting the query by pointing to another reporter.
As Nelson persisted, accusing the press secretary of disrespecting a “free and independent media” by seemingly blacklisting the New York Post, Jean-Pierre remained firm in her decision to prioritize other reporters.
“You should be ashamed of that. That shows contempt for a free and independent press,” Nelson insisted.
Attempting to navigate the situation, Jean-Pierre reiterated her intent to call on someone she hadn’t addressed in a long time before moving on to a different question. The heated exchange unfolded against a backdrop of heightened tensions between the Biden administration and certain media outlets, including the New York Post.
Taking to his X account, Nelson expressed his frustration, highlighting the historical significance and reach of the New York Post as the country’s oldest daily newspaper with the fourth-largest print circulation.
“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,” Nelson tweeted, providing a link to an article discussing concerns about the Biden administration’s pre-screening process for reporters at exclusive events.
Nelson, known for previous confrontations with President Biden, raised eyebrows in June when he questioned the president about allegations of involvement in a bribery scheme with Ukrainian officials. Biden’s response was to deflect the question, dismissing it as a “dumb question.”
This recent incident follows Jean-Pierre’s decision to ignore Nelson’s question about CNN’s polling data, indicating that over half of voters believed President Biden was involved in his son’s business dealings.
The contentious atmosphere in the White House press room continued last week when Jean-Pierre sharply responded to another reporter who claimed to have waited four months to ask a question, telling him, “You’re wasting our time, sir.”
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: https://t.co/lNhoE8KSfD https://t.co/4FdRDZvlQ3
— Steven Nelson (@stevennelson10) October 11, 2023