White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany lashed out at reporters on Thursday in response to what she described as their effort to purposefully misrepresent comments she made at a press conference earlier the same day.
According to the Washington Examiner, McEnany said the incident was a “case study in media bias” and involved a mainstream media outlet taking her words out of context to make it appear as though she said the opposite of her actual message.
“He wants schools to open”
McEnany’s comments came in response to a question from one White House correspondent, who asked about the president’s message to parents worried about the upcoming school year amid a continued public health crisis.
“The president has said unmistakably that he wants schools to open,” she responded, as the Examiner reported. “I was just in the Oval talking to him about that, and when he says open, he means open and full, kids being able to attend each and every day at their school. The science should not stand in the way of this, and, as Dr. Scott Atlas said — I thought this was a good quote — ‘Of course, we can do it. Everyone else in the Western world, our peer nations, are doing it.”
Her comment that “science should not stand in the way” sparked an array of assertions that the administration wanted to ignore science in the pursuit of reopening school.
McEnany has since made it clear that she did not intend to deliver any such message, and the remarks she made immediately after that comment appear to support her.
“The science is very clear on this, that, for instance, you’ve got the JAMA pediatric study of 46 pediatric hospitals in North America that said the risk of crucial illness from COVID is far less for children than that of seasonal flu,” she said, according to the Examiner. “The science is on our side here, and we encourage for localities and states to just simply follow the science.”
“Our schools are extremely important”
The press secretary went on to cite multiple reasons the administration wants to reopen schools, including reports of elevated risks for abuse, depression, and suicidal thoughts or actions.
“Our schools are extremely important,” she said. “They’re essential, and they must reopen.”
Nevertheless, The Washington Post tweeted a video clip of McEnany’s comments along with its own selective partial quote.
“White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on school reopenings: ‘The science should not stand in the way of this,'” the Post tweeted.
While the attached video included the context critical to understanding her true point, many Twitter users will not take the time to watch the entire quote. Considering the excerpt used in this tweet and in headlines by other news outlets, it is hardly surprising that she sees it as a “case study in media bias.”