Fox News correspondent John Roberts on Friday defended CNN and NBC News after President Donald Trump publicly disparaged the networks and their reporters during a live joint press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May in England on Friday.
Roberts, who came under fire after asking Trump a question after the president pointedly rejected ones from CNN’s Jim Acosta and MSNBC’s Kristin Welker, said descriptions of both networks as “fake news” were “unfair.”
“I know Kristin Welker of NBC. She is honest as the day is long. For the President to call her dishonest is unfair,” Roberts said in a statement to TheWrap. “I also used to work at CNN. There are some fine journalists who work there and risk their lives to report on stories around the world. To issue a blanket condemnation of the network as ‘fake news’ is also unfair.”
Roberts did not refer to Acosta by name — even though the veteran CNN reporter was the one who was rejected by Trump. “In today’s press conference, I paused while my colleague from CNN went back and forth with President Trump over a question,” Roberts explained. “When it became clear that the president wasn’t going to entertain a question from him, I proceeded with my question, as did my fellow colleagues in the press corps.”
Trump publicly derided Acosta’s network in declining to take his question. “No, No, CNN is fake news. I don’t take questions from CNN,” he said.
“John Roberts from Fox,” he continued. “Let’s go to a real network.”
Acosta attempted to respond by saying CNN was also a real network but was quickly cut off by Roberts, who moved on to his own question.
The Fox News veteran took heat online after many said he should have come to his colleague’s aid rather than ask his own question.
Online, CNN’s Jake Tapper chided Roberts, recalling an instance in 2010 when the press corps rallied around Fox News after President Barack Obama considered excluding them from an interview with a White House official.
“Old enough to remember when other networks came to the defense of Fox News WH correspondents during the Obama years. Such did not happen here,” Tapper tweeted. “Lesson for the kids out there: no one should ever try to do the right thing with the expectation it will ever be reciprocated.”
Old enough to remember when other networks came to the defense of Fox News WH correspondents during the Obama years. Such did not happen here.
Lesson for the kids out there: no one should ever try to do the right thing with the expectation it will ever be reciprocated. https://t.co/Ym7E94k2Wz
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) July 13, 2018