CNN’s Brian Stelter to White House Press Sec Jen Psaki: How Do You ‘Stay as Close to the Truth in This World of Lies?’

Brian Stelter
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for CNN

CNN’s Brian Stelter hosted White House Press Secretary Jennifer Psaki on Reliable Sources on Sunday morning, and asked a series of obsequious questions, including “advice” for journalists “about trying to stay as close to the truth in this world of lies.”

Here is the full list of hard-hitting “journalistic” questions that Stelter posed to Psaki on Sunday:

  • “What does the press get wrong when covering Biden’s agenda — when you watch the news, when you read the news, what do you think we get wrong?”
  • “There were times in your briefings where you seem so comfortable, then there’s times when you seem frustrated by the lines of questioning, so I want to know what the job is like, versus what you expected it to be like?”
  • “So those questions, that are based on falsehoods — they come from brands like Newsmax, which does sometimes get called on in the . I know a lot of liberals don’t want Fox News to get called on. I think they should be, but I know a lot of liberals, lot of Democrats, don’t want it. So why do you call on Fox News and Newsmax?”
  • ‘He said in his Inaugural, we all have a duty to defend the truth and defeat the lies. Five months in, do you feel you’ve made any progress with that, defeating the lies?”
  • “Obviously the press corps wants to talk to the president more often. why haven’t you held more than one press conference — one big press conference?”
  • On Friday, a reported shouted a question. It was answered. But the setting for a formal press conference that demands the country’s attention, you all have chosen not to go that route. He doesn’t give many interviews either. Is that an attempt to lower the temperature, be less visible, be boring?
  • “You know, you used to be on this side of the camera. You were a CNN commentator in between your time working with the Obama administration and now working for Biden. What did you learn here? What did you take from CNN and how does it apply to your job now?”
  • “There is a version on the liberal blogs of something that goes like this: ‘Psaki smacks down; Psaki shuts down a questioner.’ It’s this narrative that we’re seeing, and people celebrate you for doing it. And yet and that kind of reminds me of cable news and the way that cable news engages. I’m not sure that is always good for the country, even though it might be entertaining.”
  • “And speaking of inaccurate information, you were asked on Friday at the briefing about Facebook and the ban against former President Trump that is in effect now for almost two more years. You said the Biden White House wants the platforms to crack down on disinformation. But what does that actually mean, in practice? What do you envision that looking like?”
  • “For other PR professionals who watch what you do, for journalists who watch what you do, what is your advice for them about trying to stay as close to the truth in this world of lies?”
  • “I know this is often adversarial, but it also has to be functional. Is the relationship between the White House and the press corps now at least functional in ways it wasn’t in the Trump years?”
  • “You recently told David Axlerod that you envisioned being in this job for about a year, and that’s partly because, you know, it is a grind. And then you’re going to hand it off to the next person. Is that still what you’re thinking, timing wise, so does that mean next January is when you envision handing it off?”
  • “I appreciate thinking like you’re in a relay race. You have the torch, you’re going to hand it off to the next person, we’re all bigger than our own individual role, so I get that. I wonder if also you think about the history-making aspect of this job right now, the historic time that we’re in, in the midst of a pandemic. You started in that briefing room with social distancing. Now it’s at 50% capacity. When will the briefing room return to what we would call normal, 100% capacity?”
  • “Do you feel like there is going to be other moments like that, where you’ll feel like we’re working under more normal conditions and not in the midst of a crisis?”
  • “I saw Annie Leibowitz was spotted at the White House, taking your photo for a portrait for a magazine [Vogue] feature. Has it all gone to your head a little bit? Is there ever a moment where you feel like it has?”
  • “You mentioned your kids, you have a daughter going into kindergarten. I have a daughter going into pre-K, and I think to myself, ‘what kind of country is this going to be when they are our age?’ Do you fear that, given the craziness we’re seeing from the GOP — do you fear that for our kids, your kids and mine?”
  • “When I hear the former president is talking about trying to get ‘reinstated,’ thinking he’s going to be back in the White House, I think to myself, what kind of country are we creating?”
  • “So you’re saying that you have a reality-based circus at the White House currently?”

Last week, Fox News reported that Vogue magazine was preparing a possible profile of Psaki. Vogue never once featured then-First Lady Melania Trump, a former international model, throughout her four years in the White House.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new e-book, We Told You So!: The First 100 Days of Joe Biden’s Radical Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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