African reporter booted from WHCA accuses KJP of trying to ‘silence’ him over tough questions

Today News Africa reporter Simon Ateba accused White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre of not only silencing him but punishing him for asking tough questions.

Ateba said he was removed from the White House Correspondents Association and he appeared on Fox News’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” to comment on the actions taken against him, pointing to Jean-Pierre and NPR reporter Tamara Keith, the current president of the WHCA, as his chief antagonists.

(Video: Fox News)

“They refuse to renew my membership,” Ateba said Thursday night. “They are trying to help the press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre because when you do the right thing, when you ask the right question, they try to silence you and try to censor you.”

“The only thing they are doing to me right now is trying to punish me for trying to be a real journalist for asking the question that the American people really care about,” he continued. “And it’s shameful. It’s a disgrace, and the president of the White House Correspondents Association, Tamara Keith, who worked for NPR, a publicly funded media organization, should be ashamed of herself.”

The irony here being that the WHCA, which controls access to the White House’s daily briefings, claims that its purpose is to protect the First Amendment right to cover the White House, with its tagline being: “To Ensure A Strong Free Press and Robust Coverage of the Presidency.”

Ateba posted on Twitter last week that he had been removed from the association.

“Today is a dark day for freedom of the press in the United States of America. The forces of evil who felt belittled have removed me from the White House Correspondents Association,” he said in a statement. “The removal had the approval of one journalist called [Tamara Keith] who is WHCA President and works for NPR funded by donors and taxpayers. They claimed that I do not have money and cannot be a member of WHCA.”

He shared a letter he received from Steven Thomma, the executive director of the White House Correspondents’ Association, in which Thomma said the committee “did not see evidence that you are ’employed on the editorial staff of a newspaper, periodical, wire service, radio, TV, or other news-gathering organization that reports on the White House’ as required by our by-laws.”

The reporter said during a Fox News interview with Tulsi Gabbard back in December that he had not received a salary for three years, and that it “has been hard covering the White House.”

“But I kept doing my job because I believe it’s a place between – a place of strength in the relationship between the U.S. and Africa,” Ateba said at the time.

The letter also cited his past behavior, which included multiple clashes with Jean-Pierre, “The committee noted repeated instances where your behavior violated the expectations for membership outlined in our bylaws, which have been detailed to you previously.”

“Karine Jean-Pierre, she’s totally incompetent, she can’t even answer basic questions,” Ateba told Fox News host Tucker Carlson. “She lies a lot… She’s lied repeatedly about the classified documents, even other things… I never believed that this could happen to me in the United States.”

“In Africa, when we look up to the U.S., we saw the beacon of light, the beacon of excellence, the beacon of free speech,” he continued. “But here I am, right in the White House, in the most powerful house in the world, being censored, being punished by Tamara Keith of NPR, the WHCA, who are totally incompetent and colluding with the White House to punish someone who is doing the right thing.”


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Tom Tillison


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