The White House live feed was cut off Wednesday after President Joe Biden asked to take questions during a discussion with House Democrats.
The video clip (see below) has gone viral, racking up over 1.6 million views by Thursday morning.
Newsweek reported on the video:
During the session from the White House briefing room on Wednesday, Biden had urged fellow Democrats to make the case for the COVID relief package to their constituents.
At the end of the speech, Biden said: “I’m happy to take questions, if that’s what I’m supposed to do Nance,” referring to the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who had introduced him at the start of his address.
“Whatever you want me to do,” he added, looking ready to field questions. But then the feed abruptly ended and a graphic of the White House appeared on screen.
The video clip likely went viral because of a perceived lack of transparency from Biden, who has still not hosted a solo presser with the media, more than 40 days into his presidency.
Even liberal media critic Brian Stelter of CNN has highlighted Biden’s lack of press conferences and encouraged reporters to continue their push for increased access to the president.
“There are many ways to measure an American president’s accessibility. One way is by counting press conferences. Right now, by that count, President Biden looks invisible,” he wrote in his newsletter.
“In my view, reporters are right to be pushing for more Q&A access, and they shouldn’t let up the pressure,” added Stelter. “Biden should use the press conference setting to tell the public about what he’s doing…”
Stelter also highlighted criticism of Biden from CNN White House reporter Kevin Liptak.
“As we await word on when President Biden will hold his first solo press conference, an analysis of the past 100 years shows he is behind his 15 most recent predecessors, who all held a solo press conference within 33 days of taking office,” Liptak said.
“While he has taken questions from reporters on a few occasions, including during sprays and a more formal Q&A session following an event in January, he has not held a formal press conference,” noted the White House reporter. “That includes both a solo press conference or a 2+2 news conference during his two virtual ‘bilateral’ meetings with the leaders of Canada and Mexico.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki responded to an inquiry about the lack of access from Stelter, “We look forward to holding a full formal press conference, but in the meantime the President takes questions from the reporters covering the White House regularly, including this morning,” she said. “And his focus day in and day out is on getting the pandemic under control and putting people back to work. That’s what people elected him to do.”
As noted by The Daily Wire last month, President Donald Trump, during his tenure, did not shy away from hitting back at the media. The adversarial relationship was often comically translated by the media as routine “chilling attacks” on free speech.
Trump, however, routinely made himself accessible to journalists. In fact, an opinion piece for The Washington Post, appropriately titled, “President Trump is extremely accessible,” highlighted Trump’s accessibility to the press.
“According to Martha Joynt Kumar, director of the White House Transition Project and emeritus professor at Towson University, Trump has racked up 338 ‘short question-and-answer’ sessions over his time in office, which hits the two-year mark on Jan. 20.,” the Post piece said, which was published in January 2019. “Compare that to 75 for President Barack Obama over his full first two years in office, and 243 for President George W. Bush. ‘I think that it’s always good to have the opportunity to ask questions of the president,’ says Olivier Knox, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association. ‘It doesn’t replace the usefulness of a regular or daily briefing, which can serve to clear out what I call the underbrush of news’ — such as scheduling and logistical stuff.”
BIDEN: "I'm happy to take questions if that's what I'm supposed to do…"
*White House feed cut* pic.twitter.com/y5BHhgXWOB
— The First (@TheFirstonTV) March 3, 2021