“so the press secretary could have advance notice and time to prepare”
For the last four years, we watched as journalists in the White House press room treated Trump’s press people with outright hostility. Now we are learning that the Biden White House has allegedly been asking reporters to submit their questions in advance, presumably so there won’t be any surprises.
If you watched how the Biden campaign dealt with the press before the election, none of this would surprise you.
Jordan Davidson reports at The Federalist:
White House Asked Reporters To Share Questions With The Administration Before Pressers
President Joe Biden’s White House communications staff directed reporters to share their questions for the administration ahead of press secretary Jen Psaki’s press conferences, according to a report from The Daily Beast.
Shortly after Biden assumed office, Psaki’s team indicated to members of the White House press pool that they should consider communicating their questions before the regularly scheduled briefings so the press secretary could have advance notice and time to prepare.
The report comes just a few weeks after Psaki expressed a “deep respect for the role of a free and independent press” and told reporters that the Biden administration shares the “common goal” of communicating “accurate information with the American people.” Journalists, however, reportedly did not appreciate Psaki’s directive and encouraged each other to push back on the communications team during a White House Correspondents’ Association online meeting on Friday.
“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,” one anonymous White House correspondent told The Daily Beast. “That’s not really a free press at all.”
Mark Moore of the New York Post has more:
The report noted that the Biden press office has tried to draw contrasts with the Trump administration’s more contentious relationship with the press corps, and Psaki makes an effort to call on every reporter at the daily briefings.
And she has said that the White House and reporters covering it have a “common goal, which is sharing accurate information with the American people.”
The White House did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment, but a spokesperson did not deny the practice to the Daily Beast, saying it’s reaching out to reporters to gauge their interests so they don’t appear to be sidestepping questions at the briefings.
“Our goal is to make the daily briefing as useful and informative as possible for both reporters and the public,” a spokesman told the Daily Beast.
If Psaki is getting questions in advance, it doesn’t seem to help her have any answers at the ready. See the supercut below where she repeatedly offers to “circle back” on all the questions for which she has no response:
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) January 26, 2021
Dare I suggest this makes her look like an amateur?
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