African reporter claims repeated discrimination in Biden's White House press briefing room

On his very first day at the White House, Joe Biden laid down the rules about the work environment he wanted.

"If you are ever working with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, or talk down to someone, I promise you I will fire you on the spot.”

Almost two years later, those promises have melted into thin air.

Biden frequently attacks his political opponents and their followers merely for having a differing worldview.

When on the rare occasion the press poses questions that are deemed to be tough, they face the wrath of Biden and his spokespersons.

The latest casualty in Biden’s war on the adversarial press is a journalist named Simon Ateba, who works for Today News Africa, a news organization focusing on U.S.-Africa ties.

During last Thursday’s press briefings, Ateba asked Jean-Pierre why she wasn’t taking questions from him about Biden's upcoming three-day summit with 49 African leaders.

This incurred Jean-Pierre’s displeasure, and she summarily rejected Ateba’s premise that she wasn’t taking his questions. She then pretended to attempt to answer but in seconds moved on to the next reporter claiming that Ateba had shut her down.  

Finally, she stormed out of the room, implicitly blaming Ateba for causing such chaos. 

Ateba told Tucker Carlson that he felt discriminated against.

He has good reason to feel that.

Last month, Ateba clashed with Jean-Pierre after she brushed off another reporter's question about the origins of COVID during Dr. Anthony Fauci's final briefing. 

'She has a valid question about the origin of COVID,' said Ateba. 'Dr. Fauci is the best person to answer!' 

But Ateba’s requests fell on deaf ears.

Part of this discrimination is owing to the fact that Ateba belongs to a small new organization.

The White House press briefing room has a hierarchy that dictates the seating arrangements.

Members of the press who belong to major media outlets have assigned seats in the front rows.

The likes of Ateba who represent smaller news outlets are given random seats in the back rows.

Journalists in the front rows usually are allowed questions every day.

But the backbenchers are often ignored especially those such as Ateba who have developed a reputation for asking tough questions.

The other component of the discrimination was deemed to be racial and xenophobic by Ateba.

Ateba revealed to Tucker that African reporters are generally not invited to ask questions by both Jean-Pierre and her predecessor Jen Psaki. Ateba also said that he has been attempting to get a question for the past three months.

Ateba told Tucker that his notable Cameroonian accent was perhaps why he was discriminated against.

Ateba expressed shock that Jean-Pierre despite being a black immigrant like him had no empathy for his situation. Jean-Pierre was born on the Caribbean island of Martinique, France and moved to the U.S. as a young child while Ateba was born in Cameroon prior to relocating to the U.S.

In the past, Ateba also asked tough questions of Jen Psaki and was usually ignored.

In May, at Psaki's final briefing, he repeatedly asked 'will you take a question from the back of the room?'

In February, Ateba asked Psaki about her move to MSNBC after leaving her White House post, but he was ignored. Back then Psaki hadn’t officially announced her move to MSNBC. 

Even White House Director of Strategic Communications for the National Security Council, John Kirby, talked down to Ateba ordering him to be more respectful and moving on to another reporter.

The biggest stand-off between Ateba and Psaki occurred last December when the omicron COVID-19 variant was discovered by South African scientists. The Biden administration reacted by imposing a travel ban on eight southern African countries. That ban was significant because 57 countries had reported omicron cases, yet only the African nations were penalized.

Simon Ateba challenged Psaki about the irrational travel ban and even suggested that the ban was racist..

A displeased Psaki shut him down and attempted to move to another correspondent in the room for a question. But Ateba persisted in trying to extract a satisfactory answer and even questioned Dr. Fauci who was also in the room. He was disruptive, but he had no other option since he was among the few African reporters in the room. But no answers were given.

A frustrated Ateba went on Tucker Carlson’s shows to narrate his ordeal.

This was obviously too much for Biden's White House to tolerate.  

First, Ateba dared to challenge Psaki and his holiness, Dr. Fauci, then he appeared on T.V. alongside Tucker Carlson.

Ateba faced reprisals.

Psaki refused to take questions from Ateba despite him raising his hand. Perhaps she passed the secret blacklist to Jean-Pierre who dutifully followed it.

So where did Ateba err?

Orwell observed that "speaking the truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act."

In an era of perpetually obsequious news media, Ateba is doing his duty by asking obvious hard questions and is pressing the powerful until satisfactory answers are given. This is seen by the White House as an act of rebellion, who are accustomed to slobbering.

The fact that Ateba felt discriminated against should have been taken seriously by both the White House and the press.

The White House should invite him for a meeting to find a resolution.

The White House press corps should have refused to participate in future press briefings until Ateba’s concerns are addressed.

Since the Democrats claim to believe in diversity and inclusiveness, the hierarchical seating arrangement should be abandoned in favor of a flexible rotating seating arrangement. This will enable every press member, irrespective of the size of their new organization, to be in the first rows. Perhaps members of the press who are mostly Democrats could initiate this change.

The self-appointed guardians of racial minorities such as Joy Reid, Al Sharpton, etc. should have made a lot of noise that a black man felt discriminated against merely doing his job.

But nothing of the kind happened or will ever happen, because the Democrats and the media are part of the same echo chamber. This is a totalitarian cult that respects only those who follow orders. Only submissive fawning is allowed and dissenters are scoffed and scorned at.

If the dissenter happens to be a person of color, the treatment is considerably harsher. We just have to recall the treatment meted out to Black Republicans such as Herschel Walker, Larry Elder, Candace Owens, Herman Cain, etc.

Since the press refuses to report on this most of the country will remain unaware of this instance of bigotry from Biden's White House. Obviously, if an identical event had happened in Trump's White House it would have been covered for weeks, and Ateba would have been a national hero and would have been interviewed by every major news outlet.

This is a frontal assault on the freedom of the press, the fact that it has racial and xenophobia makes it much worse.

It is ironic that this is occurring at the heart of one of the world’s largest democracies i.e. the White House press room in Washington.

Image: Screen shot from Forbes Breaking News, via YouTube

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