For White House reporters like Playboy’s Brian J. Karem, the tone of Jen Psaki’s White House press briefings is remarkably different from that of those helmed by Donald Trump’s press secretaries. For starters, the tone these days is a lot friendlier.
And that’s good news for members of the White House press corps who are suffering from PTSD:
The WH press corps is haunted by Trump. Some are suffering PTSD after covering him the past four years. A reprieve from that along with the affable nature of the new press secretary, is why the press corps seems to be going easy in the first weeks of Bidenhttps://t.co/vWPNckAqaT
— Brian J. Karem (@BrianKarem) February 4, 2021
The PTSD line is obnoxious, but it’s worth pointing out that Karem is not arguing that the press corps should go easy on Jen Psaki. In fact, he’s arguing that Psaki’s grace period appears to be drawing to a close before she’s ready:
Biden fans are cheering for Psaki on social media—comments include “She’s dynamite” and “What a breath of fresh air—a real briefing.” But not everyone is happy. Questions have arisen about the extent of Psaki’s actual access to the president, though she told me Tuesday afternoon she talks to him “nearly every day.” And while she sticks to the administration’s talking points without lying or having a tantrum like a hysterical toddler—hallmarks of Trump’s last press secretary—that is still a far cry from providing the depth of information the people of the country need.
The White House press corps is haunted by the former president. We suffer from PTSD from having to cover Trump over the past four years. A reprieve from that, in conjunction with the affable nature of the new press secretary, is why the press corps has gone easy on Psaki and the administration in the first two weeks of Biden’s term.
But the trauma of Trump will fade. And if Biden’s communication team doesn’t get better at what they do, they’re in for a rude awakening.
Those Biden fans cheering for Psaki on social media are pretty annoyed with Karem for not “YAAAAS KWEEN”-ing all over Psaki:
I understand Psaki’s request for some questions up front. It would allow her to get answers and understand what direction the presser may go.
— MikeNeu (@MikeNeu17) February 4, 2021
Are they really going easy, though? You seem to be trying to create controversy where there is none, and it has the air of bothsidesism to it.
— Rejecting Anti-Democracy (@BDRUK) February 4, 2021
Is there any information the press has asked for that she has refused to answer or if she doesn’t know the answer, hasn’t circled back to provide the information? Isn’t that what they are supposed to be doing? I’m not understanding what the problem is.
— m o z e ? (@moz6212) February 4, 2021
Brian you are one of the WHPC folks I admire most. I am genuinely flabbergasted by this article and the complaints of you and your colleagues. I have watched all briefings. Press Sec is way too often being asked irrelevant Qs that are obviously only asked for dramatic effect.
— Mac Lewis (@maclewis22) February 4, 2021
I'm sorry, but Jen Psaki looks good, because she is doing a fantastic job as Press Secretary. Period.
— Rhonda Jones Levy (@RhondaJonesLevy) February 4, 2021
I've been watching the press conferences and they are not going easy on Jen! They seem to be asking a lot of questions that the right wing media would ask.
— Lorelai Rory (@LorelaiRory1) February 4, 2021
Is that supposed to make liberal media outlets look good? Because it doesn’t.
Anyway, Psaki is starting to get questions like this now sometimes, and she doesn’t like it:
REPORTER: "If it comes down to a binary choice, who would the president choose — the kids or the teachers?"
PSAKI: "I think that's a little bit unfair how you posed that question." pic.twitter.com/e6mO7Bw4aE
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 4, 2021
“It’s unfair for you to ask me a question about a scenario that’s becoming more and more likely every day!”
I think it's actually a realistic question, it's just an uncomfortable one. https://t.co/2gnpA7layY
— Kathryn Watson (@kathrynw5) February 4, 2021
Part of being a White House press secretary is being willing to answer uncomfortable questions. Jen Psaki just keeps promising to circle back, and the media may eventually tire of the spin.
They should tire of it, anyway.