White House Makes BBC Sit Next to Breitbart for Vatican Press Conference

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By Kieran Corcoran | 4:56 am, May 25, 2017
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You would struggle to find two news outlets more ideologically opposed.

But the White House made unexpected desk buddies of the BBC and Breitbart News yesterday, forcing to two to share desk space at a press conference.

The BBC’s North America editor Jon Sopel – who is believed by colleagues to have firmly left-wing views – has been following Trump on his first foreign trip as President, and took the Corporation’s spot in the Vatican.

It is not immediately clear who was representing Breitbart – presumably Rome bureau chief Thomas D Williams, whose byline is on most of their reporting of the visit.

A bemused Sopel noted the unusual seating plan on Twitter, organized by the White House. It may have been intentional, or just a product of alphabetical arrangement:

White House officials got the spelling of Breitbart’s name wrong, leaving out a label marked “Brietbart” instead – poor treatment for an outlet which has consistently backed Donald Trump through thick and (very) thin.

A dispatch from Breitbart was unsurprisingly upbeat about the Trump-Pope summit, reporting that “contrary to mainstream media predictions” the event “can only be described as a cordial, successful meeting”.

BBC analysis from Sopel was less obliging – he noted that Trump smiled much more than Francis, and the president looked like he was “going for a job interview”.

He acknowledged the two were looking for common ground, but insisted there are “real differences” which the two may struggle to reconcile.

There is likely no love lost between Trump and Sopel, whom the President insulted to his face at a press conference days after his inauguration:

When introducing himself as a BBC man, Trump derided the Corporation as “another beauty”.

When Sopel claimed the BBC is “free, impartial and fair” Trump hit back, saying “yeah, just like CNN”.