The Washington press corps has made no attempt to hide its consternation over the way Sean Spicer conducts press conferences, and the frosty relationship between President Trump's press secretary and the mainstream media dropped to below-freezing temperatures on Tuesday when Spicer parted with long-standing tradition by not granting the Associated Press the privilege of asking the first question-- for the second time in as many days.

After Spicer called on a reporter from The New York Post to open the January 23 presser, many observers noted that it was the first time in recent memory that the AP was snubbed during a White House press conference.

The following day, Spicer once again refused to field a question from the AP at the start of the presser, instead giving the honor to LifeZette.com, the site created by conservative pundit Laura Ingraham.

Associated Press throws tantrum

This snubbing obviously ruffled the feathers of the AP because, shortly after the January 24 press conference, it rushed to publish an article attacking LifeZette. In the AP's haste to retaliate, the article was fraught with numerous factual errors.

Not only did the Associated Press manage to misspell the name of the LifeZette reporter who got to ask the initial question at the Jan. 24 presser (the AP article has since been edited to fix this error), but the AP's hatchet job claimed that LifeZette was responsible for propagating a conspiracy theory speculating that Bill and Hillary Clinton were directly responsible for the deaths of political opponents.

There was just one problem with the AP's accusation-- the LifeZette video in question was produced not as actual news, but as satire.

Details of the AP's puerile attack on the upstart news site were provided by Jim Stinson, the LifeZette reporter who tossed out the first question to Spicer during the Tuesday press conference.

In a rebuttal published on Wednesday, Stinson explained that the controversial video, 'Clinton Body Count', was made in jest. Stinson then cited examples of other satirical videos produced by LifeZette before accusing the AP of breaking the cardinal rule of journalism-- refusing to pursue the truth. The Associated Press, claimed Stinson, did not bother to contact a single LifeZette editor for its article.

Associated Press stands by it reporting

LifeZette confronted the Associated Press on Wednesday and asked why it was not contacted as a source. Shelley Acoca, an AP editor, refused to answer the question and said that the Associated Press stands by its reporting. Lauren Easton, a media relations director for the AP, issued a similar statement.

Stinson, however, also refused to back down. "There is reason AP should not stand by its story," wrote Stinson. "LifeZette has not published false or fake news".

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