Psaki Scrambles to Spin Ethical Questions About Her Reported Deal With MSNBC

Psaki Scrambles to Spin Ethical Questions About Her Reported Deal With MSNBC
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

As we reported on Friday, the word is that White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has worked out a deal with MSNBC to work there after she leaves the White House, although it’s not signed yet. According to Axios, Psaki was in “exclusive talks” with MSNBC to become a network pundit and to host a show on NBC’s online streaming platform around May. Psaki had allegedly been talking with both CNN and MSNBC for months about working for them, and MSNBC beat out CNN in a “bidding war” for her, according to Fox’s Jacqui Heinrich.

That’s hilarious that anyone would want to pay Jen Psaki to say anything. But the reason they do is not only because there is an incestuous relationship between Democratic politicians, and their staff, and media — she worked for CNN in between her time in the Obama Administration and the Biden Administration — but because the left has created this fantasy about Psaki’s fabulous ability to do her job and made her out to be a hero. This, despite her wretched ability to respond to questions and her filling in non-answers with having to “circle back.”

It’s one thing if such discussions/deals come as you’re going out the door. It’s quite another if they’ve been going on for months, while you are taking questions from the very people you are looking for a job from.

Psaki was asked about the ethical implications of all this by CBS’ Ed O’Keefe and NBC’s Kristen Welker.

“Well, I have always gone over and above the stringent ethical and legal requirements of the Biden administration and I take that very seriously,” Psaki claimed. “As a standard for every employee at the White House, I have received rigorous ethics counseling including — as it relates to any future employment. I’ve complied with all ethics requirements and gone beyond and taken steps to recuse myself from decisions as appropriate.”

This is a little ridiculous from O’Keefe, almost apologizing for asking the question.

But Welker, who works for NBC, did press her on the question, and Psaki just relied on the same fallback answer that she had abided by rules and refused to confirm anything.

Of course, there are ethical questions, and the fact that she wouldn’t even confirm the question when she reportedly has a deal is also concerning. That’s part of the problem. Isn’t she still taking questions from MSNBC and NBC reporters?

Obama ethics head Walter Shaub — who also had issues with the White House handling of Hunter Biden’s art show process — had concerns about Psaki’s actions.

“There are some things a press officer might normally participate in that do directly affect the financial interests of a media outlet, such as deciding which outlets get credentialed to participate in White House briefings or giving an exclusive to one outlet, so I’m guessing they’re requiring her to recuse from any of those types of activities,” Shaub told the Washington Examiner.

“I think the White House should take this opportunity to offer the public some transparency into its thinking,” he added. “The White House should tell the public what types of things they’re allowing her to do and what parts of her job she won’t be able to do as a result of this employment arrangement.”

But they don’t intend to — they’re blowing off the questions, just like they did with the Hunter Biden questions. As far as Psaki adhering to ethics rules, the Office of the Special Counsel has already found that she violated the Hatch Act when she endorsed Terry McAuliffe for governor of Virginia in her official capacity. That didn’t work out very well for him, with Glenn Youngkin winning in a big message to Democrats from parents and other voters in the state.

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