As we reported Sunday, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden announced an “all-female” comms team over the weekend that includes Jen Psaki, who Biden picked to serve in the role of White House press secretary (assuming current election results hold).
As is the case with many others Biden has selected as prospective cabinet members and administrative staff, Psaki is an alum of the Obama-Biden admin, where she was the comms director for the last two years of Obama’s presidency. Prior to that, Psaki served in various press secretary roles under Obama, including as a spokesperson for the State Dept.
Before joining the Biden team, Psaki was a CNN political contributor because of course she was.
CNN chief media correspondent Brian Stelter, one of many at the network who has complained often over the last four years about the supposed “revolving door” between Fox News political analysts and the Trump White House, eagerly tweeted about the news of Psaki joining the Biden comms team, and rushed to dutifully stand in line with other reporters who rapidly moved to make requests of Psaki:
We can’t wait to share what we are thinking as we get closer to inauguration, but @K_JeanPierre and I spoke just this am about taking the next few weeks to think outside of the box about how to ensure we are making the Biden-Harris agenda more accessible from the podium.
— Jen Psaki (@jrpsaki) November 29, 2020
The resumption of daily press briefings will be a welcome start 👍 https://t.co/IIZBtRD5jk
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) November 29, 2020
CNN political commentator Doug Heye, who has worked comms gigs for Republicans in the past, tweeted his praise for Psaki and the rest of the Biden comms team, which Stelter retweeted:
These are good, smart people and real pros. I’ll have my disagreements with them, but know they’ll be quality servants of the people, not the principal. https://t.co/T9mmPOMq7V
— Doug Heye (@DougHeye) November 29, 2020
Man, they are really looking forward to this vacation. pic.twitter.com/ZuPPwySgCw
— BT (@back_ttys) November 30, 2020
The problem with Stelter’s – and the rest of the media’s – obvious enthusiasm for Psaki and the Biden communications crew is that it reveals much about the state of the national political press, and none of it good.
For example, Stelter’s request that daily briefings “resume” is a sharp departure from the whiplash he gave Republicans over press briefings during the Trump administration. He’d complain when there weren’t any but would complain when there were. In several recent instances, his network outright refused to air any part of the briefings that involved press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and the president himself.
You complained that Trump wasn’t doing daily press briefings, so he started doing them.
Then you complained that he was doing daily press briefings, and he stopped.
Now you complain he’s not doing them?
Make up your effing mind! https://t.co/wMmRlKvlo1
— Timothy Tibbles (@TibblesTimothy) November 29, 2020
Too bad CNN won’t be airing them.
Or now that they’re Dem press briefings does that mean CNN is permitted to let their viewers see them? https://t.co/aybkcutKB9
— johnny dollar (@johnnydollar01) November 30, 2020
Another problem is the reality that press briefings under a Biden-Harris administration will mirror state-run media in many respects, as Stelter himself has as much as admitted.
“Coming soon: A restoration of normal relations between the president and the press corps?” he rhetorically asked after an interview he did with Biden’s national campaign secretary T.J. Ducklo. “A reset is about to begin,” Stelter predicted rather predictably.
Daily press briefings with all the fury of a knitting club. https://t.co/exjFqZdUXd
— Tim Graham (@TimJGraham) November 29, 2020
Shame press corps members won’t be acting like pompous, preening insufferable assholes anymore. https://t.co/abf3TMzicI
— Matthew D. Dempster (@dempstermd) November 30, 2020
What would the people do without you guys to ask the administration who’s getting a cat or a dog
— Mike The Mad Scientist (@MadMikeOfficial) November 29, 2020
4 years of "how's the cat doing" is going to feel weird
— Drew (@handrew86) November 30, 2020
If there’s any consolation to all this it’s that Stelter and his ilk are no longer holding themselves back from saying the quiet part out loud about what they feel their role is in covering presidential administrations they don’t like versus how they cover the ones they do.
For instance, just last month, Stelter revealed in his newsletter that he felt it was the media’s job to “protect the public from the American president’s dangerous, democracy-eroding lies” – because apparently he really believes it’s the MSM’s (and Twitter’s and Facebook’s) role to actually keep readers from being able to read about what dishonest “fact-checkers” like himself, Oliver Darcy, and Daniel Dale view as a “democracy-eroding lie.”
His colleague Chris Cuomo said the quiet part even louder a month later just a few days after the network declared Biden the winner in the presidential race.
“You know for people like us, we do the job based on who’s in power but this is going to be very interesting,” Cuomo blurted out to Anderson Cooper, who did not look amused that Cuomo said out in the open what CNN has tried to keep under wraps for decades.
It’s amazing how quickly the masks got completely ripped off, isn’t it? The meaning behind Stelter’s “normal relations between the president and the press corps” remark becomes more clear with each passing day.