Meet Brian J. Karem, the Reporter Who Just Scolded Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Karem once went to jail for protecting a source

Last Updated: June 27, 2017 @ 3:23 PM

Brian J. Karem suddenly became one of America’s most divisive journalists Tuesday when he interrupted Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders by accusing her of “inflaming” feelings against the news media.

Sanders was chiding the news media for using anonymous sources and criticizing a retracted CNN story that led to the resignation of three CNN staffers on Tuesday when Karem decided he’d had enough.

“You’re inflaming everybody, right here, right now with those words,” he said at the White House press briefing. “Any one of us [reporters] are replaceable, and any one of us, if we don’t get it right, the audience has the opportunity to turn the channel, or not read us. You have been elected to serve for four years at least — there’s no option other than that!”

Liberals loved it. Conservatives did not.

So who is Karem? He doesn’t just talk the talk on defending press freedoms: He once went to jail for refusing to name confidential sources, for which he won the National Press Club’s Freedom of the Press Award.

According to his Twitter bio, he’s a “producer/writer/ best selling author/ humorist/ father/ musician/ television personality/ White House reporter/ stand up comic.” His LinkedIn profile says that for the last 13 years he’s served as the executive editor of The Sentinel Newspapers, two newspapers in the Washington, DC suburbs that have a staff of 35 and 10,000 subscribers. 

His Harper Collins author page lists him as a former correspondent for the TV show “America’s Most Wanted.”

“He was the first American reporter allowed inside Pablo Escobar’s palatial prison after Escobar’s escape from Colombian authorities, and he was one of the first reporters to enter Kuwait City after its liberation during the first Gulf War. A regular contributor to People magazine, Mr. Karem has also interviewed James Carville, Mary Matalin, and G. Gordon Liddy for Playboy,” the bio also says, adding that he “lives outside of Washington, D.C., with his wife and three children.”

He wrote a book, “Shield the Source,” about going to jail. Here is its description: “When police officer Gary Williams is gunned down in the streets of San Antonio, reporter Brian Karem’s sources help him obtain the sole interview with Henry Hernandez, who confesses to killing the officer, but swears it was self-defense. Karem is subpoenaed, but refuses to reveal his sources. Cited for contempt, he becomes the first reporter in more than a decade to be jailed for protecting a confidential source.”

Karem followed up his press briefing debate with Huckabee Sanders by tweeting Tuesday, “So, when we are wrong we correct ourselves but when has POTUS ever done that? We are not FAKE news.”

She responded to him during the briefing: “I disagree completely. First of all, if anything has been inflamed, it’s the dishonesty that often takes place by the news media.”

Karem was praised on Twitter by some, while others said he seemed unhinged and demanded to know who he was. A sampling of the comments are below: