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White House correspondent April Ryan tells Stephen Colbert why “fake news” is nonsense

(Photo: Scott Kowalchyk/CBS)

In a country where the press is under attack (figuratively and, as of this week, physically), White House correspondent and American Urban Radio Networks Washington bureau chief April Ryan has endured more than her share of abuse from the Trump administration, and Trump himself. As shown in clips on last night’s Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Ryan has been on the receiving end of some truly epic white guy condescension while doing her job in the press room, with press secretary Sean Spicer lecturing her about daring to shake her head at Spicer’s incessant spin, or Donald Trump responding to Ryan’s question about meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus by repeatedly snapping at her to set up such a meeting, barking, “They friends of yours?” (As a black woman asking tough questions to some notoriously touchy and fragile-egoed white guys, the peremptory nature of these conflicts is pretty telling.)

Not that the stalwart and professional Ryan let any lingering resentment slip, either in her confrontations with those in power or with Colbert in her interview, despite the host’s repeated attempts to get her to dish some dirt. Instead, Ryan explained that there’s no war between the White House and the press, but a war on the press by those attempting to obscure vital truths from the American people. “People in that room are very serious, and the stakes are so high,” asserted Ryan, continuing, “If one side wants to war, the other side has to be serious to get the information.”


Sure, that’s a little bit of shade at Trump and company’s fight against fact (about the environment, science, CBO scores, crowd sizes, electoral margins, abysmal poll numbers, wall-building, the totally not-bigoted nature of Trump’s “travel ban,” and pretty much everything inconvenient). And Ryan does speculate that the increasingly sweaty and embattled Spicer isn’t long for the job (and that he’s not talking to her). Still, considering everything, she spends most of the interview resisting Colbert’s bait and walking the high road. Sounding a note of rationality and even-temperedness in evidence exactly nowhere in the Trump administration, Ryan maintains that the prime and only purpose of the press is, “To get accurate information, facts for the American public. It’s not about us, it’s about freedom of the press. It’s about informing the masses.”

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