President Joe Biden’s communications team asked reporters for their questions in advance before being addressed by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki at press briefings, according to a report by The Daily Beast.
The Daily Beast referred to “three sources with knowledge of the matter, as well as written communications reviewed by The Daily Beast” who implied Biden administration officials asked this favor of reporters.
EXCLUSIVE: Biden's communications staff have already probed reporters to see what questions they plan on asking White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki during briefings, according to three sources and written communications reviewed by The Daily Beast https://t.co/vmpl4HpGxT
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) February 2, 2021
The Daily Beast: ‘Biden’s Press Team Did Not Deny That Staffers Had Solicited Questions From Reporters’
“One reporter raised the issue during an informal White House Correspondents Association Zoom call last Friday,” the outlet reported.
“According to multiple sources, leaders at the meeting advised print reporters to push back against requests by the White House press team to learn of questions in advance, or simply to not respond to the Biden team’s inquiries,” The Daily Beast noted.
This apparently – and rightly – ruffled the feathers of many reporters.
“It pissed off enough reporters for people to flag it for the [WHCA] for them to deal with it,” One source told The Daily Beast.
“Those staffers had no input into this story whatsoever,” the news outlet continued.
“The reporter who wrote this story was not bound by the terms of the call’s agreement,” the Beast reported. “All of the information in this article was independently gathered, and without his colleagues’ knowledge.”
Worth noting: “Biden’s press team did not deny that staffers had solicited questions from reporters.”
Things that make you go 🤔:
“According to 3 sources with knowledge of the matter, as well as written communications…the new president’s comms staff have already on occasion probed reporters to see what questions they plan on asking…during briefings.” https://t.co/RkqYlKZUx0
— Ken Farnaso (@KLF) February 2, 2021
This Is Unethical
This is unprecedented in modern politics. A journalist’s job is to keep politicians honest by asking them poignant and challenging questions.
Their job is not to give politicians questions in advance so they can prepare and look better than they would have otherwise.
A White House spokesperson reportedly said to The Daily Beast, “Our goal is to make the daily briefing as useful and informative as possible for both reporters and the public.”
Jen Psaki answered a question about Biden's hopefulness by saying, "As President, you always have to be hopeful. That's your role as a leader."
Remember when President Trump received lavish praise for being hopeful?
Oh, right…he was ruthlessly vilified for it.
— J. Hogan Gidley (@JHoganGidley) January 26, 2021
The White House Scrambles With Statement
“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,” the spokesperson reportedly said.
They continued, “That two-way conversation is an important part of keeping the American people updated about how government is serving them.”
Is such a request serving “the American people?” Or the Joe Biden administration?
This piece originally appeared in ThePoliticalInsider.com and is used by permission.
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