Jeff Mason, a reporter with Reuters, defended his journalistic conduct during a Wednesday press conference this week that featured an extended and contentious exchange with President Donald Trump — one that is still being discussed and debated.
Those who completely agree with the House Democrats’ pursuit of an impeachment inquiry against Trump fully agree with Mason — and have blasted Trump for his behavior at the press conference.
Some even say Mason’s conduct should be studied by up-and-coming journalists.
Many others, however, say the reporter went far out of his lane, was disrespectful, and should have moved on sooner in his line of questioning.
Some of those folks are also angry at a Fox News anchor on Saturday for the compliments he gave — journalist to journalist — to Mason.
“It’s our job to do follow-ups and it’s not our job to grandstand. And I wasn’t in that case,” Mason, a White House correspondent, insisted on Saturday during a very friendly interview on Fox News’ “America’s News Headquarters.”
Anchor Eric Shawn of Fox News offered extensive praise for Mason — saying Mason, in his repeated questioning of Trump, was not “rude in any way.”
“You just were diligent and kept on asking to try to get to your point,” Shawn added.
Plenty of folks on Twitter didn’t agree with Shawn.
@EricShawnTV I turned of YOUR show just now. Shame on you for glorifying Jeff Mason, saying he was diligent and a class act! Jeff WAS rude and disrespectful to President Trump! Jeff does not know how to shut up when his time is over, sat next to Acosta no wonder! Bye to Fox.
— Patti (@blewskys) October 5, 2019
@EricShawnTV thanks to you and Shep, Fox is becoming as annoying as CNN. Trump treated Jeff Mason tough but fair. You Diva’s need to get off those high horses and man up.
— Broad Daylight (@rickrickrick64) October 5, 2019
Glad to see our President standing up for himself and not taking any crap off that snot nosed, spoiled brat of a reporter. Great job Mr. President!!!
— Captain Khor (@captain_khor) October 5, 2019
Many people who watched the exchange when it happened live on Wednesday felt the reporter overstepped.
Others, again, felt it was entirely appropriate.
Mason tried to ask Trump precisely what he was seeking from the nation of Ukraine on the phone in July when he spoke to the nation’s newly elected president about former Vice President Joe Biden and corruption.
The White House released a full transcript of that phone call.
Trump’s initial response to Mason focused on his longstanding complaint that foreign nations have been taking advantage of the United States for years — and that the United States long has been paying more than other countries.
Trump said he didn’t — and doesn’t — like giving money to countries that are corrupt. “I don’t like being the sucker country … European countries are helped far more than we are, and those countries should pay more to help Ukraine.”
But Mason pressed him further, following up with the same question several times.
“I’ve given you a long answer,” replied Trump as Mason persisted on the topic of Biden and what Trump actually wanted President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to do about the Biden situation.
“Ask this gentleman a question. Don’t be rude,” Trump ultimately told Mason, referring to Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, who was standing right beside him all this time.
Mason responded that he didn’t want to be rude.
“I just wanted you to have a chance to answer the question that I asked you,” Mason persisted.
You can see the exchange below.
ICYMI: President Trump lashed out @Reuters reporter @jeffmason1 when he asked about what he wanted his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to do when Trump raised the Ukraine business ties of Joe Biden’s son Hunter https://t.co/3aiSLeOfBL pic.twitter.com/fT5dHns85n
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) October 5, 2019
But Mason told Shawn on Saturday that he was just “trying” to do his job as a reporter — and that the president hadn’t answered his question.
“He didn’t answer the question, and I wanted to follow up and followed up a couple of times, and that’s our job in those situations,” Mason declared.
After playing a clip of the exchange on Saturday, Shawn called Mason “cool,” “collected,” and “professional.”
Shawn also praised Mason’s conduct earlier in the interview as well.
“I would be utterly remiss in my professional responsibilities if I did not praise your diligence, your dedication,” Shawn said.
See these tweets on the matter — and share your thoughts.
— Michael Yonker (@theyonks) October 5, 2019
The Finnish president looks uncomfortable… pic.twitter.com/4yUa9QtRpM
— Jeff Mason (@jeffmason1) October 2, 2019
It is crystal clear what your position is with this tweet and you bullied POTUS, you can come on TV and the hosts congratulate you but you were out of order when there is another dignitary. You did not do that to Obama! What else did you expect POTUS to say?
— norma007 (@norma0071) October 5, 2019
— DCN News 🌐 (@DietColaNation) October 5, 2019