Last Updated on February 2, 2021
The Biden White House’s press team has started prescreening the questions reporters will be able to ask Press Secretary Jen Psaki during the daily White House press briefings following widespread mocking of her many promises to “circle back” when she is unable to answer a question.
Psaki has, in a noticeably short period of time, become infamous for deflecting tougher questions from the White House Press Corps by saying she will “circle back” with more in-depth information on a particular question.
When one journalist attempted to follow up on Psaki’s promise to “circle back”, the befuddled secretary spent 30 seconds shuffling through paper before promising, again, to circle back with more information.
Now, multiple reports indicate Psaki is screening questions from reporters.
Three sources cited by the far left outlet The Daily Beast, along with written communications, revealed that Biden staffers had “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.”
EXCLUSIVE: White House reporters say Biden's staff is asking for their questions in advance, before Jen Psaki's televised press briefings. https://t.co/Mf15jFBrRm
— Noah Shachtman (@NoahShachtman) February 2, 2021
This revelation necessarily suggests that Psaki would have inside information on what reporters plan to ask her prior to presenting their questions to her on camera. It also means that she would be able to huddle with her team to craft potent-sounding answers to specific questions the administration deems sensitive.
The identities of the colluding reports in the White House Press Corp remain unclear but the disclosure of the collusion resulted in leaders of the White House Correspondents Association urging reporters not to facilitate the administration in that capacity.
The report of the unethical collusion between Press Secretary and White House Press Corps has led to some paranoid concern among the more objective reporters who cover the White House.
— Tara Palmeri (@tarapalmeri) February 2, 2021
During an informal White House Correspondents Association Zoom call last Friday, the issue was front and center and resulted in leaders at the meeting advising print reporters to “push back against requests by the White House press team” to learn of questions in advance. Another suggestion on how to handle these unethical inquiries was simply to not respond to the Biden team’s requests.
“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 White House correspondent said. “That’s not really a free press at all.”
So the White House is pre-screening questions from their reporter fanclub in the briefing room and still Jen Psaki has to find and read most of her answers from her notebook?https://t.co/hZijhNbx93
— Matthew RJ Brodsky (@RJBrodsky) February 2, 2021
In an interview over the weekend, Psaki, who refuses to wear a COVID mask at her press briefings despite the 78-year-old President’s order for masks to be worn in all federal building and on all federal property, revealed that she views White House reporters as “patients in an insane asylum.”
“[W]hen reporters are getting really loud, or they’re starting to ask crazy questions, I just slow down my pace, and I talk very quietly, and I treat them like I’m an orderly sometimes in an insane asylum,” she said, adding she does not technically consider them people in an insane asylum.