If you’re one of the two or three people who read Playboy for the articles and don’t just say that as a feeble attempt to cover up your pornography use or as a joke that was shopworn in the 1970s, you’re no doubt familiar with the work of Brian Karem, who’s also a CNN contributor.
If you watch White House news conferences, you also probably are, since few people try to draw attention to themselves so nakedly (pun unintended) as Karem does.
How desperate is Karem for attention? Take Thursday, for example, when Karem decided to go on an unprompted outburst while Sarah Huckabee Sanders was trying to call on somebody else.
Sanders was explaining, for the eleventy-billionth time, why children were being “separated” at the border from their parents, which is one of those narratives that has stuck in the media’s craw ever since their erroneous reporting on it began a few weeks ago.
In response to another reporter (I would like to reiterate that nowhere in the exchange you are about to read was Karem ever called upon by Sanders) who said that “there is not law that requires families to be separated at the border,” Sanders responded that it was a matter of enforcement.
“Again, the laws are the ones that have been on the books for over a decade, and the president is enforcing them,” Sanders said. “We would like to fix the broken system that our immigration — and fix our immigration problem. However, until Democrats are willing to actually fix this problem, it’s going to continue. But we would like to see it fixed.”
“That’s been this administration’s policy since the day we got here,” Sanders said later in her answer. “Our administration has had the same position since we started on day one that we were going to enforce the law. I know it was something that wasn’t high on the priority list in the previous administration, but it is on ours. We’re a country of law and order, and we’re enforcing the law and protecting our borders.
“We would like to fix these loopholes, and if Democrats want to get serious about it, instead of playing political games, they’re welcome to come here and sit down with the president and actually do something about it,” she added.
As Sanders tried to move on, Karem made his move.
“You’re a parent! Don’t you have any empathy? Come on, Sarah, you’re a parent!” Karem shouted. “Don’t you have any empathy for what these people are going through? They have less than you do. Sarah, come on, seriously. Seriously.”
Sanders told Karem to “settle down,” which worked as you might have expected.
“But you’re sitting there telling us it’s a law. And they have — these people have nothing. They come over here with nothing!” Karem continued.
“Hey, Brian, I know you want to get some more TV time, but that’s not what this is about,” Sanders responded. Nevertheless, he persisted.
“Honestly, answer the question. It’s a serious question,” Karem said. “These people have nothing. They come to the border with nothing and you throw children in cages. You’re a parent. You’re a parent of young children. Don’t you have any empathy for what they go through?”
Good grief. After that morsel of objectivity and journalistic excellence, Sanders was able to move on to the next questioner.
I feel like I’ve been through this ridiculous immigration gambit more than enough times, both at an empathetic and a legal level. While I feel bad for any children who are caught up in the process, perhaps it’s wise to remind ourselves that one of the signs of poor parenting skills is bringing your child along while you commit a federal crime.
The “children in cages” thing is 100 percent fake news; this was basically started by now-debunked tweets featuring Obama-era accommodations for unaccompanied minors.
As for parents seeking asylum from Central American nations undergoing violence, it’s worth noting two things. The first is that there are any number of Central American countries that they may also seek asylum in and are nearer to them. If they choose to show up at the border, enter illegally with their children and then claim asylum, ICE rules stipulate children can only be held for 20 days.
Who made this rule? The Obama administration, of course. I don’t remember Josh Earnest, my favorite Dickensian-named White House press secretary, answering any questions about his levels of empathy.
This story has mostly been drummed up by the media on the theory that emotion sells better than facts. The idea that the Trump administration is “ripping families apart” sounds a bit different when you consider that the families involved are committing a crime which the parents have almost certainly suborned the children to commit. (I don’t hear many stories about 8-year-olds plotting to trudge their families through the desert.)
Of course, I’m probably wasting my keystrokes here. The point of Brian Karem’s “But what about the children?!” maudlin-o-rama in the James Brady Room wasn’t about empathy. It was about, as Sanders astutely pointed out, getting more TV time. (Astute watchers of the briefing will note that Karem always manages to set himself up on the right side of the room, which has better camera angles.)
So, in the interest of not giving Brian Karem any more attention than needed, I will only say in conclusion that he’s a cloying, transparent hack who has somehow managed to work his way onto CNN. I do quite hope he stays there, if only because he makes the excuse that one reads Playboy for the articles more embarrassing than simply saying that one bought it for the pictures.
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