“Murphy Brown” put politics front and center again in the rebooted comedy’s second episode Thursday when the title character infiltrated a White House press briefing and took aim at press secretary Sarah Sanders.
The episode, titled “I (Don’t) Heart Huckabee,” featured a fake cameo by Sanders — culled from actual clips of Sanders’ real interactions with real reporters.
Brown, a fictional journalist played by Candice Bergen, is banned from all press briefings but sneaks into one wearing a disguise. Her appearance briefly embarrasses her son Avery, a journalist for the conservative Wolf Network.
In the roughly two-minute scene, Brown interrupts another reporter before Sanders calls her actions “really inappropriate.”
Brown fires back, “If you really want to talk about what’s inappropriate, how about the way you do your job?,” she says. “The role of the White House press secretary is to create transparency in the government and tell the American people the truth, but that’s not what’s happens in this room.”
— Murphy Brown (@MurphyBrownCBS) October 5, 2018
She then cites President Trump’s ever-changing story about the notorious Trump Tower meeting, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and the separation of immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“It all comes down to the same thing,” Brown says before brazenly asking Sanders, “So here’s my question: Why do you lie?,”
Sanders attempts to move on before Brown pushes back on the Trump administration’s hostility toward the press.
“The most basic principle of journalistic integrity, to report the facts, is totally out of reach,” she said. “If we can’t get to the truth, why are we even here?”
She then tries to inspire the press corps by staging an impromptu walk-out — to no avail.
Show creator Diane English said it “took a village” to transform Sanders onto the TV screen.
“We dedicated one of our writer’s assistants to pulling every press conference with Sarah Huckabee Sanders,” she told Vulture. “We found five of them where she was wearing the same dress and her hair was the same, so we had a lot of choices for facial expressions and words.”
Producers also hired a body double. Rachel Butera, who came under fire for making fun of Christine Blasey Ford’s voice during her Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, played Sanders’ voice double.
In the show’s first episode of the season, Hillary Clinton made a real-life cameo where she played someone applying for a job who happened to resemble the former first lady.