White House reporter claims he is being censored for asking 'real questions'

March 21, 2023
Jen Krausz

The same day Today News Africa correspondent Simon Ateba shouted out questions during a White House briefing and was shouted down by other reporters there, Dan Bongino wrote that Ateba was being censored and kicked out of the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) for asking Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre "real questions" she does not want to answer.

The briefing, which included actors who were brought in to talk about mental health, turned nasty when Ateba shouted, "It has been seven months" since he got to ask a question. "This is not China. This is not Russia. What you are doing you’re making a mockery of the First Amendment," he continued, adding that he was being "discriminated against."

Pushback against Ateba

Other reporters tried to shout Ateba down and prevent him from speaking during the briefing. Jeff Mason of Reuters said,  “If you have grievances, you should bring them to her later. Right now this is for the entire press corps and the press corps is tired of dealing with this.”

Brian Karem of CNN told Ateba, “Mind your manners when you’re in here.”

Ateba has had repeated clashes with Jean-Pierre and previous press secretary Jen Psaki over their reluctance to let him ask questions, and their refusal to answer questions he was able to ask.

Back in May 2022, Ateba was threatened that he could be removed from the WHCA because of his "disrespect."

“We note that you have been granted status as an Associate Member of our organization. With that comes a responsibility to act in a collegial manner with your fellow WHCA members,” then-WHCA president Steven Portnoy went on, according to Mediaite. “If you again demonstrate disrespect for your colleagues in the manner you did last Friday, the WHCA Board will act on behalf of the collective.”

Ateba says he is being removed from WHCA

Earlier in March, Ateba said he was being removed from WHCA through the refusal to renew his membership. He cited a letter in which WHCA claimed that he didn't meet their requirements for membership because he wasn't employed by a qualified news agency.

"The only thing they are doing to me right now is trying to punish me for trying to be a real journalist for asking the question that the American people really care about," he told Tucker Carlson. "And it's shameful. It's a disgrace, and the president of the White House Correspondents Association, Tamara Keith, who worked for NPR, a publicly funded media organization, should be ashamed of herself."

Fox News reported that a person close to the situation told the network that Ateba still has access to White House briefings and that his WHCA membership had not been revoked.

Ateba a thorn in WH's side

Indeed, Ateba caused a ruckus at Monday's press briefing when he shouted out that he had not been allowed to ask any questions for seven months.

Other reporters at the briefing tried to silence Ateba, but he continued to say that his First Amendment rights were being violated and that Jean-Pierre was "discriminating" against him.

Ateba is clearly a thorn in the White House's side, and let's hope he sticks around for a long time in that capacity.

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