Psaki Slammed Over Anonymous White House Briefings
Seemingly for the first time ever, White House press secretary Jen Psaki is facing criticism from the press.
The criticism is over her anonymous briefings with journalists. It came after Fox News’ Peter Doocy asked Psaki about the recent Politico report alleging VP Kamala Harris fosters an abusive work environment. The report relied on nearly two dozen anonymous staffers. Psaki responded that she tried “not to speak to or engage on anonymous reports or anonymous sources.”
According to the New York Post:
That reply initially faced criticism from Bloomberg News senior White House reporter Jennifer Jacobs, who tweeted video of the exchange alongside Psaki’s quote before noting how her “team regularly organizes anonymous briefings on topics in the news.”
Psaki replied to the criticism shortly after, writing on Twitter, “I think everyone knows the difference between attacking someone as an anonymous source and providing details on a policy announcement to reporters in an effort to provide information and answer media questions.”
Point taken. And this is true with every White House. But with all respect, why should "providing details on a policy announcement" be done anonymously in a transparent and open democratic society?
— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) July 2, 2021
Jacobs did not reply to Psaki’s tweet, but New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker did. Baker recognized Psaki’s point on the distinction between both, but asked why Psaki would have such briefings conducted from the White House anonymously. “Point taken. And this is true with every White House,” he tweeted. “But with all respect, why should ‘providing details on a policy announcement’ be done anonymously in a transparent and open democratic society?”
Psaki did not respond, though Bloomberg Senate reporter Steven Dennis echoed Baker’s position that briefings be public, writing, “The default should be briefings are on the record. I’ve never understood why WH’s insist on a process where transcripts are sent out quoting nameless SAOs,” referring to senior administration officials.
+1. The default should be briefings are on the record. I’ve never understood why WH’s insist on a process where transcripts are sent out quoting nameless SAOs.
— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) July 2, 2021
According to the report from Doocy’s question that sparked all this, 22 current and former aides to Harris and Biden describe a tense work environment where “Aides and allies, in an apparent effort to protect Harris, have instead created an insular environment where ideas are ignored or met with harsh dismissals and decisions are dragged out. Often, they said, she refuses to take responsibility for delicate issues and blames staffers for the negative results that ensue.” That report comes following two of Harris’ top travel aides resigning last month.
Matt Palumbo is the author of Dumb and Dumber: How Cuomo and de Blasio Ruined New York, Debunk This: Shattering Liberal Lies, and Spygate
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