When a leftist administration has lost CBS News, you know it’s in trouble.
Yesterday’s press briefing, if it can even still be called that anymore, consisted primarily of press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre alternating between explaining why she couldn’t answer whatever question she was asked and claiming that the Biden administration is and has been “transparent” on the issue of the classified documents discovered in unsecured locations on President Joe Biden’s watch.
It was too cringy to be actually funny, although at times the irony was so thick that it almost rose to the level of humorous self-satire. Almost.
And even CBS News recognized what was going on.
For example, when senior White House and political correspondent Ed O’Keefe finally — two years in — asked a probing question during yesterday’s briefing, he got such a word salad in response that he could have tossed in a handful of garlic croutons and a little oil and vinegar and gotten at least two meals out of it.
Here’s how the exchange was recorded in the official White House transcript, in which “Q” represents O’Keefe:
Q And to button this up, the first set of documents were found in November at the Penn Biden Center here in Washington, but why did it take until yesterday and until this morning, apparently, for whoever it was to inform Robert [sic] Lausch that that final document was found? Was that because there were press reports earlier this week —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Again, there’s —
Q — and the hope was that nobody would find out?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Again —
Q Or was it because —
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: — there’s a process — an ongoing process that is occurring. We did this by the book. And what I mean by that is: The moment that the lawyers discovered that the papers were there, or the documents were there, they reached out to the Archives, they reached out to Department of Justice, and they immediately — rightfully so — reached out to them to let them know what — what they had discovered.
And that is the process. That is what we — that is what his lawyers did. And, again, it’s an ongoing process.
As you stated in your question, I am limited in what I can say. It is now in the hands of the Department of Justice. They are reviewing this. As you know, the special counsel was announced by the Attorney General. And so I will leave it there.
Note that this question came directly following Jean-Pierre’s refusal simply to provide the name of the president’s personal attorney, hardly a controversial issue. Either she just didn’t know — which is borderline incompetence on her part, especially in the current situation — or she didn’t want to be transparent about it.
Either way, it wasn’t what anyone would call a good look.
You can see more of the exchange here:
— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 12, 2023
Lana Zak and Errol Barnett, discussing that exchange later on the CBS News Streaming Network, called Jean-Pierre out for her obfuscation.
“For a second straight day now, the White House struggling to answer any questions related to classified documents discovered at locations associated with President Biden, citing — Karine Jean-Pierre there, the press secretary — simply reading a statement where she says the president was surprised by the discovery, takes this matter very seriously, the documents were inadvertently misplaced and he doesn’t know what’s in them,” Barnett said.
“But, Lana, we’ve been listening here. She has not answered a single question outside of a pre-written statement by the president’s lawyers.”
“Exactly,” replied Zak, who is a former member of the White House Press Corps herself. “And continuing, then, to say the same thing again and again, even in response to very simple questions about the timeline, about the specific location. Clarifying questions.
“And continuing to use the word transparent and saying that they did things in a transparent manner. You heard our own — CBS’s — Ed O’Keefe really trying to pin her down on what she means by transparency. When she’s saying that she has been transparent, does that mean legal transparency, governmental transparency as required by law, or public transparency.”
Watch: CBS anchors call out Karine Jean-Pierre’s transparency on Biden docs: “She has not answered a single question” pic.twitter.com/V4eG9UB5BS
— TV News Now (@TVNewsNow) January 13, 2023
Reaction on social media was mixed, but one theme appeared consistently: It might be time for Biden to find himself a new press secretary — you know, before he completely loses his allies in the establishment media.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.