Biden doesn't trust his own lapdog press
After promising a new era of "trust and transparency," it's now come out that the Biden administration is stage-managing even its spin.
According to the Daily Beast:
If you're a reporter with a tough question for the White House press secretary, Joe Biden's staff wouldn't mind knowing about it in advance.
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.
So now for Team Biden, it's all pick and choose. And according to the Beast, the White House spin is only to better serve us all:
"Our goal is to make the daily briefing as useful and informative as possible for both reporters and the public," a White House spokesperson said. "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."
Translation: Got a question about ice cream? Glad to answer. Got a question about Hunter's business dealings? To heck with you, deplorable. The press conference format of supposedly spontaneous ask-and-answer from officials and reporters is now a relic, left in place just for show. Get ready for lots of dog and ice cream questions to follow.
And that's bad stuff.
Number one, Biden already has a lapdog press eager to flatter and fawn. He's locked reporters in closets in the past and still manages to draw only the most flattering of questions and coverage. Apparently, he can't trust even the people asking those.
Number two: This isn't doddering Biden living in fear of being caught in a senior moment. This is Biden's tried and polished professional press team, the people who should be up to the task of taking all comers. Somehow, they're not. They're afraid. They've already made quite a few embarrassing mistakes. Now they imagine they can fix this by literally picking and choosing which questions to answer and which questions to ignore. Seems that merely pre-selecting reporters to call on in press scrums, which they did before, is just too dangerous. Now they've got to see all questions in writing, the better to control the news. That's not a press conference they've got. That's a trained-seal flipper-beating show.
Number three: Probably worst of all, there's very little pushback from the press. The Daily Beast, a left-wing house organ with Bernie Sanders sympathies, did manage to put out its piece with leftist reporter sources. But they're a relatively small boutique operation. Where's the outrage from the corporate media? The New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, and the nets? Where are the angry tweets from reporters? Where's the thundering rage from the Columbia Journalism Review? Fox News, which is one of the few to pick up the story, noted that the White House Press Association, which was always quick on the draw on controversies surrounding President Trump (one of which was letting an OANN reporter into Trump briefings), is now curiously silent. On the far more serious matter of pre-screened questions, which affects them directly, they've got nothing to say. It rather makes them sound like court eunuchs.
Nevertheless, there seems to be a remnant of discontent, given that the Beast had its sources, and they undoubtedly weren't conservatives. Fox News reported murmuring under the surface from some, with nobody wanting to be named. Kind of like red China. Or the old Soviet Union.
Here's three things the press can do to counter this if it has any measure of self-respect:
One, refuse to show up. Let the press briefing room go empty. This will take some unusual coordination, but if the press can manage it, especially without warning, it will say much. After that, accompany it with a thundering condemnation from the White House Press Association about the pre-screened cherry-picking questions, and the meaning will be clear — and noted on the global stage.
Two, this has a whiff of the old Soviet satellite states of Eastern Europe, a hint of Milan Kundera: everyone go to the press briefings, and everyone ask solely ice cream questions. Make them even stupider than ice cream questions; make them questions about whether Biden's shoelaces are comfortable. Send the message that if only stupid questions will be answered, then only really stupid questions will be asked. Make Psaki play catch-up. Make it embarrassing for Psaki.
Three, and this might be most useful of all: Come in to the White House press briefing room, and do the job normally. Everyone submit written questions, but after the spin-show ice cream questions are answered, publish a list of all the actual questions submitted, the better to report the matter of which issues are being stonewalled. That would yield actual news to report upon, meaning reporters doing their jobs.
Bottom line here is that Biden is a fraudulently elected president, now attempting to cover up his original sin with now fraudulent press conferences. He has to do that; he knows the truth can't come out.
No president should be afraid to answer reporter questions. Biden is doing this because on so many things he has no answers. His laughable defense of Hunter Biden's emails, claiming that the presidential son did "nothing wrong," is his basic go-to brush-off. And Biden is brushing off a lot these days; his flip answer to Fox News's Peter Doocy about what he discussed with Russia's President Putin is example. Jen Psaki's GameStop answer about Janet Yellen's speech earnings from bigfoot banks and hedge funds, all summed up as Yellen being a female Treasury secretary, is yet another. This is an administration that can't let questions be asked lest the truth get out. And that's disgusting.
Image: Screen shot from The Hill/Hill.TV video via shareable YouTube.