Watch: White House Sanitizing The News, 'Screening' Questions Now Standard Press Briefing Practice

Written By BlabberBuzz | Monday, 08 February 2021 11:30

A new, eyebrow-raising report indicates the White House communications team attempted to screen questions for press secretary Jen Psaki in advance of daily briefings, as media watchdogs caution that the Biden team will have to walk a fine line given the way reporters treated President Trump's spokespeople.

Spectator USA editor Amber Athey, who used to be a White House correspondent for The Daily Caller, never experienced anything resembling what Biden’s communications staff has been accused of.

"The Trump administration certainly never asked me for questions in advance and I suspect there would have been universal outrage from reporters if they had done so," Athey told Fox News.

When reached for comment, a White House spokesperson provided the following response, "Our goal is to make the daily briefing as useful and informative as possible for both reporters and the public. 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."

Psaki, a former CNN pundit who is typically praised by the mainstream media, needs to tread lightly if she’s probing reporters for the wrong reasons, according to DePauw University professor and media critic Jeffrey McCall.

"The White House press office needs to balance this matter carefully. It does make sense, on one level, for the press secretary to be prepared in advance to best respond to topics on reporters' minds. On the other hand, gathering questions in advance could well appear to veteran reporters that press secretary Psaki is pre-screening questions or pre-preparing spin," McCall told Fox News.

"Every press briefing is a risk situation for the White House and Psaki should, indeed, want to be responsive and prepared for reporter questions. The key here, it seems, is whether this process is being used to stage the briefings or simply to prepare for them."

Media Research Center vice president Dan Gainor believes most White House reporters go easy on Biden and his team already, but knowing questions in advance is another way the administration could benefit from a cozy relationship with the media.

"The left demands 100 percent loyalty from the press, not the 99 percent they already get," Gainor told Fox News.

"In this case, Jen Psaki needs all the help she can get," Gainor continued. "It’s obvious she’s minor league even in the game of softball the press corps is playing with Team Biden."

"In today's culture, journalists don’t dare be open in their criticism, so that’s why this story is all whispers," Gainor said.

The White House Correspondents’ Association did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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