Hey, Melania: Your communications director might be cyberbullying reporter April Ryan. Maybe you should tell her to #BeBest.
Over the weekend, the first lady’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, started a Twitter spat with Ryan, a White House correspondent and CNN contributor, over a story she shared on Twitter from The Root. From the outset, it was clear that Grisham hadn’t bothered to actually read the story before she went after Ryan. Or, maybe she did and just didn’t care about facts.
The best part about the entire exchange is Grisham’s glaring hypocrisy. Grisham, whose boss is married to one of the most prolific liars on the planet, had the nerve to question Ryan’s honesty and ethics—over an article focused on honesty and ethics.
“If you’re a journalist w many followers & a @CNNPolitics contributor...is it ok to retweet any headline you want, regardless of if it’s true? Remember: ‘The core purpose of a journalist is to research, document, write, & present the news in an honest, ethical, & unbiased way,’” Grisham self-righteously tweeted on Saturday (apparently quoting JournalismDegree.com?).
The story that Ryan shared, written by The Root’s Jason Johnson, is titled “Is the Trump Administration Running a Child-Trafficking Ring or Nah? Follow Me Down the Rabbit Hole.” It discusses the many conspiracy theories Trump and his administration have embraced and promoted over the years. It also focuses on the issue of immigration and the 1,500 missing undocumented children. Essentially, it is an argument in favor of being honest. Johnson even writes, “Trump has shown America that you can get away with whatever salacious, ridiculous and unfounded conspiracy you want as long as you say it loudly enough and find enough other people to repeat it.”
And then Grisham proved Johnson’s point. Fox News, on cue, picked up the story and used it as an excuse to criticize Ryan and rile up the base. It’s worth noting that Melania Trump’s spokeswoman didn’t appear to go after the actual author of the story, but rather Ryan.
April Ryan, however, won’t be bullied. “Really! Did you read the story? I guess not per usual. You and many in this admin work to discredit us in the press. What happens when you all tweet crazy stories. Where is the accountability there?” Ryan responded.
Grisham could’ve backed down at this point. Instead, she doubled down. “Thanks April. I specifically referenced the headline that you retweeted w zero context, but ok. Hope you’re having a lovely weekend,” she passive-aggressively tweeted.
“And that is what I am talking about. Just reading headlines is not the story and you went after me for not knowing what the story was. Not cool!” Ryan fired back.
Meanwhile, Grisham’s griping has probably brought at least twice as many pairs of eyes to The Root’s post than if she had just kept her faux outrage in check over a holiday weekend. Johnson, for his part, seems appreciative for the opportunity to refocus attention back on the original issue: