During the four years Donald Trump was in the White House, the toughest job in his administration was arguably held by the White House press secretary.
Four people held that role. Sean Spicer for 182 days, Sarah Sanders for almost two years, Stephanie Grisham for 281 days, and Kayleigh McEnany for 288 days.
The official role of the White House press secretary is to act as the spokesperson for the executive branch. Officially, they are responsible for collecting and sharing information regarding the statements and actions of the president and their administration, and the president’s position regarding events on the national and international stage.
Unofficially, the role of the press secretary is to advocate on behalf of the administration’s policies, often employing obfuscation and diversionary tactics to achieve an optimal outcome. In simple terms, this can involve lying to protect the president, or make the administration look more palatable.
Under the Biden administration, the role of press secretary is now filled by Jen Psaki, who becomes the 34th person to take that position. Prior to her current role, Psaki was a member of the Obama administration, having served as White House Deputy Press Secretary, Deputy Communications Director, Spokesperson for the United States Department of State, and White House Communications Director.
Here is what we should expect from the next four years of Jen Psaki as the public face of the Biden administration.
Throughout President Trump’s tenure, the press jumped at every opportunity to uncover any falsehood or mischaracterization promulgated by the president or his press secretary.
CNN’s Jake Tapper raised eyebrows in late 2020 after saying he would not bring Kayleigh McEnany onto his show because she told “lies the way that most people breathe,” and Aaron Rupar of Vox published a piece titled “Kayleigh McEnany has made a mockery of her promise not to lie. Tuesday’s briefing was case in point.” Fact checking organizations also rallied to track Trump’s press secretaries.
After Jen Psaki assumed the role, the legacy media pivoted and assumed that — by nature of her Democratic party allegiance — she would tell the truth. CNN’s Brian Stelter shared a chyron from his show “Reliable Sources” that read, “Psaki promises to share ‘accurate info’ (How refreshing).” During her first press briefing, Psaki promised to bring “transparency and truth” back.
Of course, this is nonsense. Firstly, because Psaki exists in the political realm, and truth-telling in politics paves the path to unemployment. Secondly, Psaki has already promoted several obvious falsehoods since Biden assumed power, with one such example being the claim that the Biden administration did not inherit a vaccine distribution plan from the outgoing administration.
Then there are the normal style of basic mathematical lies that we all know and love.
.@PressSec is asked if lowering the checks from $2,000 to $1,400 is a broken promise:
"There were $600 payments in the package that passed in December. This is $1,400. Together, that is $2,000. So it would be delivering on the promise he made." pic.twitter.com/ClofdkQoTx
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) February 3, 2021
Jen Psaki will lie because all press secretaries lie. Since press secretaries are also required to cover for the lies of their presidents, and Joe Biden has an intimate relationship with falsehood, we should assume that her “transparency and truth” will be far from realized.
Prior to the four years of fervent and “dedicated” activism in the form of journalism against the Trump administration, members of the legacy media spent eight years massaging the Obama administration. Now, they’ve earned a break, and will slip back into old habits as Biden — their chosen candidate — assumes office.
Such adoration comes in a variety of forms. The first involves hero worship of Jen Psaki herself, and an obvious attempt to defend the press secretary from any criticism. Forbes published a piece titled “Reporters Keep Asking Jen Psaki Weirdly Random Questions During White House Press Briefings,” and another titled “White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki Is Providing Key Crisis Communication Lessons.” The Washington Post went with “Get ready for reality-grounded White House press briefings,” in the first few days of the Biden administration. The Guardian? “Jen Psaki’s first White house press briefing heralds return to normality,” published on Inauguration day.
This normality is a system where difficult questions are scorned, Democrats are celebrated as authorities without evidence, and truthfulness is assumed.
Media coordination and collusion
After four years of close coordination and collusion between the legacy media infrastructure and the Democratic party, the focus has now shifted to keeping Biden in power beneath glowing reports of his competence. For this to be achieved, the legacy media are engaging in a three-part strategy.
Firstly, press briefings are now an opportunity to share empty, meaningless, and sycophantic questions of embarrassing proportions. Just in the first few weeks of the Biden administration, we have witnessed multiple pearls of journalistic inventiveness. “On a lighter note, will [President Biden] keep Donald Trump’s Air Force One color scheme change?” Selecting questions from Twitter users, Psaki was sure to address the issues that mattered, such as “President Biden is a big ice cream fan, so: does that giant freezer full of ice cream really exist?”
Secondly, Biden’s press team are reportedly asking for questions in advance of briefings. In an exclusive story from the Daily Beast, “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.” After all, it’s easy to push propaganda if you can prepare your answers.
Lastly, having achieved their goal of placing a Democrat in the White House, many in the legacy media have signaled their intention to ignore Psaki and the Biden administration completely. This strange act of career-suicide is not unlike a worker bee who has performed its task and now happily shrinks away, with CNN’s Brian Stelter announcing his four year vacation plans by asking “Is Biden making the news boring again?”
In a moment of instant meme-fodder, Jen Psaki demonstrated her core strategy when asked difficult, problematic, or presumably unexpected questions: evasion.
In the form of a corporate slogan, “I’ll circle back,” the internet is buzzing with montages of her promise to get back to journalists while avoiding the question.
Jen Psaki loves to "circle back."pic.twitter.com/jkDeVMvhJE
— Michael Knowles (@michaeljknowles) January 31, 2021
Only after waves of legitimate criticism, Psaki deigned to “actually” circle back, saying that “I hate to disappoint conservative Twitter,” gleefully reading a prepared answer to a previous question.
Jen Psaki circles back: ‘I often note, ‘I’m going to circle back’ — I hate to disappoint conservative Twitter, but I’m going to circle back on a number of things’ pic.twitter.com/HD88LVNxi5
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) February 2, 2021
Fellow Leftists were also delighted to use the phrase “circle back” in their apparent roles as objective journalists.
This "circle back" thing has extended to the liberal press corps as a point of mocking conservatives and defending their bestie Jen Psaki.
Here was NBC's Geoff Bennett invoking "circle back" and playfully asking if he can use the term himself. pic.twitter.com/xjvbKCpCAo
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) February 1, 2021
Of course, let’s not forget that Psaki prefixes every answer and non-answer with “that’s a good question,” as if the press briefing is a middle school classroom filled with students clamoring for validation. In many ways, such a characterization is quite apt.
Finally, and perhaps most alarmingly, Psaki has already demonstrated a shocking inability to convey an understanding of breaking events or issues of importance unless she has been warned in advance by the media or has a written response prepared.
As GameStop stock prices soared amid a once-in-a-generation market event, Psaki’s only thought on the subject was that Treasury Secretary Yellen was female.
The White House’s economic team, including Treasury Sec. Yellen, is monitoring the Reddit-stock market drama that sent GameStop, AMC, and Blockbuster prices soaring pic.twitter.com/64CG6BlWAM
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) January 27, 2021
When asked a serious question about Biden’s plans regarding Space Force, Psaki’s response was to mock the journalist. “Wow! SpaceForce! It’s the plane of today.”
— Ian G Haworth (@ighaworth) February 3, 2021
In conclusion, we can expect many things from Jen Psaki and Biden’s press team, but fact-based transparency and truth are not among them.
Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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