WH Reporter That Biden Admin Can't Stand Searches Name on Google, Can't Believe Whose Picture Appears
Simon Ateba is a Cameroonian journalist who is the chief White House correspondent for Today News Africa, a small publication dealing with the intersection of U.S. and African politics. He’s reportedly been in the White House press briefing room for months without being allowed to ask a question.
Out of frustration, he blew up at White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre during a media briefing last week which involved the cast of Apple TV+ dramedy “Ted Lasso.” The scene went viral and suddenly, Ateba and his publication were very much in the spotlight.
But, do you know who Google thinks Simon Ateba is? Karine Jean-Pierre.
So, a bit of background: Last week, Jason Sudeikis and other cast members from the hit soccer (or “football,” for those of you unlucky enough not to be born in a country where “Immaculate Reception,” “Hail Mary Pass,” “Helmet Catch” and “The Minnesota Miracle” are part of the sporting vernacular) show were in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room with the Notorious KJP to promote mental health for reasons I still cannot fathom.
Before the briefing could begin, however, an aggrieved Mr. Ateba interrupted the proceedings. You see, he’s been trying to get a word in edgewise during the entire Biden administration; in November, he lambasted Jean-Pierre by saying she “call[ed] on the same people every single time,” and in December, she stormed out after he repeatedly tried to ask a question about the U.S.-Africa Summit.
Well, instead of waiting to be called on, this time he decided to — excuse the pun — lasso Jean-Pierre’s attention before she could get going:
The cast of Ted Lasso is at the White House Press Briefing and it began with @simonateba telling Jean-Pierre “you’re making a mockery of the First Amendment.” pic.twitter.com/PxZnRBvTWI
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) March 20, 2023
“You’re making a mockery of the First Amendment!” Ateba cried as the “Ted Lasso” folks looked more than a little discomfited.
Ateba was eventually quieted down, and Jean-Pierre asked the room, “Are we ready? Are we going to behave?”
Well, at least for the rest of the day, yes. However, it’s worth noting that Ateba, who hasn’t been granted a question in seven months, is currently suing the White House Correspondents Association “since they made false claims against me and my company and did not abide by their own membership guidelines.”
According to Fox News, his membership in the WHCA is being revoked; the group said the revocation has to deal with his behavior and qualifications, while Ateba said it has to do with his willingness to ask Jean-Pierre tough questions.
“I will fight like hell because as they sit in the briefing room collecting salaries, they don’t know there are people like me who build companies from scratch. Pray for me,” he wrote in a tweet earlier this month.
I have decided to take legal action against the White House Correspondents Association @whca since they made false claims against me and my company and did not abide by their own membership guidelines. From now on, I will let my lawyer talk about the case but I will fight like… pic.twitter.com/sEnzaKDHh3
— Simon Ateba (@simonateba) March 4, 2023
So anyway, we know who this guy is, right? A simple Google search should turn up his picture. I mean, it’s the most powerful search engine there is and Simon Ateba isn’t an unknown.
Yeah, not so much:
For God’s sake, Google, how is this my picture? pic.twitter.com/fK4qJxMKFO
— Simon Ateba (@simonateba) March 28, 2023
According to a tweet from Ateba, a picture of Karine Jean-Pierre is what he found when he searched his own name. Not even the same gender. If Google is indeed going to be our digital Big Brother, it’s got a ways to go.
Some folks thought I was joking when I wrote that if you google Simon Ateba, this is what you see. How is @PressSec KJP me? She does not even call on me, so how on earth are we the same person? Wikipedia page also full of errors and bad faith. May God help us! pic.twitter.com/6Z7gW9anbf
— Simon Ateba (@simonateba) March 28, 2023
Now, to be fair, these pictures were tweeted on Tuesday. By Wednesday, a search for Ateba did, indeed, turn up a picture of the journalist. And, for what it’s worth, the contretemps provided Ateba the ability to air his grievances with the administration.
“So what has been happening in the White House is in the past seven months, I’ve done all the right things. I’ve not been called on. I’ve gone to [Jean-Pierre’s] office to seek meetings. She said that she would meet with me next year,” he told Tucker Carlson in an interview on Fox News on March 20.
“I’ve sent questions about the Nigerian election, about, you know, the problems, challenges in Africa. And they’ve not called on me. Even as the vice president is going to Africa, even as the first lady, Jill Biden, went to Africa, even when they receive 50 African leaders for the U.S. African summit in Washington, D.C. The guy who covers the White House, the African guy who covered the White House, is looked down upon in the greatest country in the world, in the most advanced country, where freedom of speech is protected.”
Well, most advanced country? Not exactly. Just ask Google, after all.
Perhaps this was a way of protesting the fact that Ateba is a fly in the ointment of the White House. This is what the media is supposed to look like. The Trump administration wasn’t all that long ago. Remember those media briefings? There were no happy-clappy “Ted Lasso” moments back then. Jim Acosta and Yamiche Alcindor became folk heroes less for being fair and accurate White House correspondents than for being Orange Man-seeking missiles, set to destroy every time they were able to fire.
Call this a stunt — but my guess is that Ateba sticks around a bit longer and gets a few more questions in, if just out of abject embarrassment on the White House’s part.
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