White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters on Monday during her press briefing that mistakes made by the media are not actually "honest mistakes." Sparring with CNN reporter Jim Acosta, Sanders said, "You cannot say it's an honest mistake when you're purposely putting out information you know is false." Sanders tried to continue when Acosta interrupted. When reporter Brian Karem cut in, she said, “I’m not finished.”

Relations between the White House and CNN have continued to escalate. Last week, CNN had to walk back a story in which the network claimed that the president's son, Donald Trump Jr., had access to emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee by WikiLeaks more than a week before they were leaked to the public. That allegation has been offered as evidence of collusion with Russians during the campaign. CNN lhad to correct that story, saying then that someone unaffiliated with WikiLeaks had emailed Trump Jr. to notify him that WikiLeaks had already published the hacked emails online. President Trump repeatedly criticized CNN over the weekend. On Monday, the president referred to CNN anchor Don Lemon the “dumbest man on television.”

In a statement to The Hill, CNN accused the president of bullying. “In a world where bullies torment kids on social media to devastating effect on a regular basis with insults and name-calling, it is sad to see our president engaging in the very same behavior himself,” a spokesperson said. “Leaders should lead by example.”

The exchange between Sanders and the reporters began when a reporter asked Sanders about Trump's comments about a Washington Post reporter whose tweets asserted that there was a small turnout for the president's rally in Pensacola on Saturday. The tweet was deleted when it turned out that the photo in question was taken before, not during, the event. Trump has called on him to be fired.

“This was nothing more than an individual trying to put their bias into their reporting and something that, frankly, has gotten a little bit out of control," Sanders said. "We've seen it time and time again over the last couple of weeks a number of outlets have had to retract and change and re-write and make editor's notes to a number of different stories and some of them with major impacts including moving markets. This is a big problem and we think it should be something taken seriously.”

Acosta disputed the notion that reporters were intentionally getting stories wrong to harm the administration. “Journalists make honest mistakes and that doesn't make them fake news,” Acosta said. “When journalists make honest mistakes they should own up to them,” Sanders responded.

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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