A tense interview between a CNN host and a Trump official appeared to go off the rails over the weekend, and a media analyst says it's an example of the Trump administration aggressively dueling with a hostile media.
There was plenty of grist for the CNN meat grinder on Sunday after the release of the dubiously-sourced book "Fire and Fury," and State of the Union host Jake Tapper lost no time in flinging some of that mud at Trump policy advisor Stephen Miller, who is ridiculed in the book and says events described in the book are untrue because he was present at them.
In the tense CNN exchange, Miller returned fire by defending his boss who may have been watching the argument unfold.
President Donald Trump, Miller said, is a "a self-made billionaire who revolutionized reality TV and changed the course of politics."
"I'm sure he's watching," Tapper retorted, "and he's happy that you said that."
"No, no, you can be condescending," Miller replied during cross talk. "That was a snide remark. It's part of your M.O."
The interview devolved from there. Tapper eventually ended it and cut to a commercial, and Miller reportedly had to be escorted from the building.
A Fox News story, however, reports that Miller was escorted from the live set because it was moving on after a commercial break.
“You should be ashamed of yourself, honestly,” Miller told Tapper, according to a off-camera transcript obtained by Fox News.
Curtis Houck of Media Research Center says taken by itself, the combative interview was an embarrassing moment for both parties.
"No one came off looking good in this interview," he tells OneNewsNow.
But Miller's not the first – starting with Sean Spicer's very first press conference the day after the election, and most notably the President himself – to give as good as they got from an antagonistic press.
The news media, and in particular CNN, are "openly hostile" to Trump, says Houck, who likens them to "partisan hacks" seeking a chance to attack.
"That just tells Trump supporters and signals to them and gives them more of an inclination to believe and argue that CNN is pro, I guess, coup, almost," says Houck.
To witness the administration fighting back in its first interview of 2018, President Trump may be sending a signal to the base.
"It makes the president's job so much easier," says Houck, "to rally his supporters ahead of the midterm election."