An African reporter has turned to his Twitter followers for help as he continues to be ignored by President Joe Biden’s press secretary.
Simon Ateba of Today News Africa has been trying to get White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre to answer questions about continued Chinese influence on the African continent.
A desperate and frustrated Ateba took to Twitter to make his voice heard on Monday, asking his followers for advice on how to get Jean-Pierre to call on him.
“Hello guys, what should I do for [press secretary] Karine Jean-Pierre to call on me and other overlooked reporters during press briefings to ask the questions you all care about?” Ateba asked.
Hello guys, what should I do for @PressSec Karine Jean-Pierre to call on me and other overlooked reporters during press briefings to ask the questions you all care about? Any advice? Kindly write below. Thanks! pic.twitter.com/pNxJw3ffHj
— Simon Ateba (@simonateba) January 16, 2023
Speaking with Tucker Carlson on his primetime Fox News show on Sunday, Ateba revealed that Jean-Pierre has not called on him in four months.
According to Ateba, Jean-Pierre has promised to meet with him but said that such a meeting will have to wait until next year. In the meantime, questions about Chinese involvement in Africa will presumably remain unanswered by the administration.
Ateba said Jean-Pierre has “no clue what is happening in Africa” and accused her of not taking “serious questions,” only ones that she has prepared for in advance.
Ateba has earned a reputation at White House media briefings for speaking up from the back of the pressroom and asking hard-hitting questions that people in both Africa and elsewhere want answers to.
This has led to some contentious moments between him and White House press secretaries.
Back in May, on the last day of Jen Psaki’s tenure as press secretary, Psaki chastised Ateba after he interrupted her to ask why she had never taken questions from the back of the room.
In November, during Anthony Fauci’s last news conference as White House chief medical adviser, Ateba and Jean-Pierre got into a heated exchange about how she was conducting the session.
After a Daily Caller reporter attempted to ask Fauci about the origins of COVID-19, Jean-Pierre shot down her question. “We have a process here. I’m not calling out on people who yell,” she explained.
This prompted Ateba to yell from the back of the room, loudly asking why the reporter’s question should be ignored.
“She has a valid question! She’s asking about the origin of COVID, and Dr. Fauci’s the best person to answer that question,” the African reporter exclaimed.
“I hear your question, but we’re not doing this the way you want it! … Simon, I’m done!” Jean-Pierre said. “I’m done with you right now! … You’re taking time away from your colleagues.”
Last month, Jean-Pierre abruptly ended a briefing after Ateba criticized her for not taking questions on the U.S.-Africa Summit.
Ateba’s concerns about growing Chinese influence in Africa are not a new development in global politics.
Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang wrapped up a tour of African nations on Monday, making 2023 the 33rd consecutive year that Chinese diplomats have visited the continent, according to the Global Times.
China has invested heavily in infrastructure projects and trade deals in Africa, becoming a major arms dealer to African militaries. With Russia busy in Ukraine, China has consumed a large part of Russia’s market influence on the continent.
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