Poor Fox News. The stridently right-wing network, and Republican Party they shill for, have been having an extraordinarily difficult time finding mud to throw at President Joe Biden. Consequently, they have resorted to laughably fantastical tales of Biden plotting to eliminate meat, or phantom links on the White House website, or Vice-President Kamala Harris profiting on her books being distributed to migrant children.
Or Dr. Suess, or Mr. Potato Head, or Snow White, or any of a dozen other ludicrous trivialities. The easily debunked book “scandal” inspired CNN’s Jim Acosta to label Fox News a “Bullshit factory.” Which is something most Americans had already concluded about Fox “News.” As a result, they wouldn’t be surprised by a new story by Fox that deliberately mischaracterizes remarks made by Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki.
The headline of the piece on Fox’s website reads: “Jen Psaki admits Biden taking impromptu reporter questions is ‘not something we recommend’” The framing in that sentence relies on the word “admits” to imply something that was previously done in secret, but has now been revealed. The problem is that Fox’s framing is typically dishonest and devoid of relevant context.
The sentence fragments that Fox obsessed over referred to Biden taking spontaneous questions from the press. Psaki was quoted as saying “that is not something we recommend. […] In fact, a lot of times we say ‘Don’t take questions,'” To Fox News that was an “admission” that Biden was incapable of handling media inquiries. Of course, he has done so quite often with a measure of clarity, accuracy, and honesty, that Donald Trump could never get close to.
Psaki also added that, despite their advice, Biden would take questions anyway because he’s “going to do what he wants to do because he’s the president.” That should have silenced Fox’s scandalizing, as it affirms that Biden is definitely not afraid of the press.
CNN provided more context to this matter in an article noting that Psaki was being interviewed by David Axelrod for his CNN podcast “The Axe Files.” A segment of that interview shows Psaki elaborating on why taking spontaneous questions wasn’t recommended. It had nothing to do with ability, but everything to do with a rational, communications driven strategy:
“You’re never gonna satisfy the White House press corps and their desires for access, and I think there have been mistakes made in the past of trying to do that. If you do a press conference every other week, or once a week, that doesn’t satisfy them, they’re going to push for more, that’s their job. What we’ve tried to do, which has also been maddening I know for the press corps at times, is kind of not get pulled in by distractions.
“He likes the press corps and likes that back and forth and that engagement. But what we’ve tried to do in general, in thinking about how we use his time, is really think about what the public cares about, right? The public cares about the pandemic, the economy.”
On a new #AxeFiles, WH @PressSec Jen Psaki speaks candidly about the daily tug-and-pull with the media and the administration’s determination to avoid getting knocked off message. “We’re never going to satisfy the White House press corps.” pic.twitter.com/v6sFyiD5sw
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) May 6, 2021
In other words, the Biden press team is focused on serving the public. That’s a massive departure from Trump and his press team who were focused on satisfying his voracious ego with undeserved bragging, infantile insults, and flagrant lies. Public service is something that Trump and company could never aspire to – or even comprehend. And the difference between Trump’s narcissism and Biden’s compassion is both refreshing and beneficial to the nation.
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How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.