Rigged Press Briefings? White House Reporters Claim Biden Team Asked About Their Questions in Advance
The Daily Beast is reporting that President Joe Biden’s communications staff has asked reporters more than once about the questions they planned on posing to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
During an informal Zoom call among the White House Correspondents Association, one reporter raised the issue as a cause for concern. According to sources with knowledge of the meeting, leaders told the reporters to push back or not respond to the Biden team’s question probing.
One source said that their probing “pissed off enough reporters for people to flag it for the [WHCA] to deal with.” One correspondent also said “the press can’t really do its job in the briefing room if the White House is picking and choosing the questions they want.”
“That’s not really a free press at all,” the correspondent added.
Biden’s team did not deny that they had asked about reporters’ questions in advance. They claimed instead that they’re attempting to build a better relationship with the press corps than the Trump press team.
“Our goal is to make the daily briefing as useful and informative as possible for both reporters and the public,” a White House spokesperson told the Daily Beast. “Part of meeting that objective means regularly engaging with the reporters who will be in the briefing room to understand how the White House can be most helpful in getting them the information they need. That two-way conversation is an important part of keeping the American people updated about how government is serving them.”
Almost two weeks into the Biden administration, press secretary Jen Psaki has received favorable reviews from the press corps and other reporters, which comes as no surprise given the leftist bias of the mainstream media. Conservatives have often poked fun at Psaki, however. Although touted as someone who calls on every reporter in the room, she has become known for saying she’ll “circle back” when asked a question she doesn’t want to answer.
Psaki once defended Biden’s ignoring of his own COVID-19 protocols on Inauguration Day because he was “celebrating.” And the Biden press team has recently floated the idea of restricting press briefings to mainstream outlets only, saying they would consider not tolerating “organizations or individuals who traffic in conspiracy theories, propaganda and lies to spread disinformation.”