The White House communications staff is being accused of asking reporters to pre-screen the questions they will ask press secretary Jen Psaki prior to media briefings, according to a report.
An account from The Daily Beast implies the administration has attempted to rig briefings, which one would assume would give the embattled Psaki a leg up as she flounders in front of the cameras. Although Psaki and the Joe Biden White House seem to be in great standing with the media’s activist reporters, apparently even those people have some boundaries.
The left-wing outlet reported Monday that it had spoken to sources who were peeved by Biden’s communication team’s allegedly unethical behavior. Surprisingly, the outlet alleged that some spoke out against the administration, albeit anonymously.
“According to three sources with knowledge of the matter, as well as written communications reviewed by The Daily Beast, the new president’s communications staff have already on occasion probed reporters to see what questions they plan on asking new White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki when called upon during briefings,” The Daily Beast’s Maxwell Tani reported.
The White House communications team didn’t deny the rumors, either, according to Tani.
“Biden’s press team did not deny that staffers had solicited questions from reporters. But the White House contended that it has tried to foster a better relationship with the press corps than the previous administration, and has tried to reach out to reporters directly in order to avoid appearing to dodge questions during briefings,” the reporter said.
Psaki, who is known for dodging questions by promising to “circle back” to them with reporters, is allegedly presiding over a comms team that is attempting to pull a Donna Brazile over the entire media.
One reported White House correspondent dinged the new commutations team while still managing a parting shot at the outgoing team, which was led by former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
“While it’s a relief to see briefings return, particularly with a commitment to factual information, the press can’t really do its job in the briefing room if the White House is picking and choosing the questions they want,” the reporter reputedly told the Beast. “That’s not really a free press at all.”
Translation: As much as I enjoy being a lap dog, I might have a conscience buried deep down somewhere, and something tells me this is unethical.
Another one of The Beast’s sources reportedly went as far as to say there was anger during a recent Zoom call between members of the establishment media over the reported attempts by the White House to manipulate briefings. As the outlet noted, reporters “are sensitive to the perception that they are coordinating with political communications staffers.”
“It pissed off enough reporters for people to flag it for the [White House Correspondents’ Association] for them to deal with it,” a person with knowledge of the call said, according to the article.
Despite allegedly probing reporters to get their questions in advance, the apparent ploy is not working out well for Psaki. In fewer than two weeks, she’s made a mockery of her position and a joke of daily media briefings.
At least for now, some of the country’s activist reporters are reportedly demanding some semblance of balance and accountability — which is actually quite stunning. Then again, it’s apparently self-serving and done out of the knowledge that they are viewed as working for Biden.
The situation for Psaki and the rest of her team must be worse than imaginable if they’re already alienating some members of the press corps. This is the same bunch of people who made almost every second of former President Donald Trump’s term in office combative while burning all bridges with critical thinkers.
A Biden White House was supposed to be a walk in the park for most of these people, and instead, they’re reportedly being asked to have their softball questions pre-screened.
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