White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Wednesday defended the Trump administration’s treatment of the press in light of the United States falling two places on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index, from 43 to 45 out of 180, in 2018.
Still, she didn’t address a reporter’s question about what affect President Donald Trump’s attacks on the press may have had on that ranking.
“According to Reporters Without Borders, much of the blame for that goes to the President for his attacks on the media,” a reporter asked Sanders during the press briefing Wednesday. “What’s the reaction of the White House, and does it accept that the President’s comments has [sic] denigrated freedom of the press in the United States?”
“Certainly would reject the idea that the President or this administration has halted freedom of the press,” Sanders replied. “I think we’re one of the most accessible administrations that we’ve seen in decades. I think by my mere presence of standing up here and taking your questions unvetted is a pretty good example of freedom of the press. And I think it’s ridiculous to suggest otherwise.”
She added later, responding to a different question: “I certainly think that, as I stated a moment ago, we support a free press, but we also support a fair press. And I think that those things should go hand-in-hand, and there’s a certain responsibility by the press to report accurate information.”
In 2017, following Trump’s election, the same organization dropped the U.S. from 41 to 43 in its ranking.