Media’s Rocky Relationship with White House Press Shop Worsens

Karine Jean-Pierre Holds Press Briefing At The White House
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

President Joe Biden’s infamous debate performance appears to have deepened the rift between the establishment media and the White House press shop.

The media, which Republicans accuse of once covering for Biden, appeared to turn against the White House after they apparently felt exposed following Biden’s unforeseen debate performance.

Axios’s Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen, thought leaders in the establishment media, reported Saturday that Biden’s performance confirmed observations of his decline that many establishment media reporters ignored.

What Was That?! Biden Coughs, Stumbles, Rambles His Way Through Debate After Week of Rest and Prep

Courtesy of CNN Presidential Debate

The conflict between the media and the White House reached a boiling point on Monday when White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre refused to confirm if a Parkinson’s expert visited the White House multiple times in 2023, a revelation widely reported based on White House visitor logs, Axios reported Tuesday:

  • Several White House reporters Axios spoke with noted that Jean-Pierre’s handling of the question felt unnecessarily deflective.
  • Instead of assuring the press they would get more details later, Jean-Pierre argued that providing details about the purpose of the visits would be a security and privacy issue.
  • The White House later Monday released a letter from the president’s doctor stating that Biden has never been diagnosed with or treated for Parkinson’s and that the expert regularly visited the White House “as part of this General Neurology practice… in support of the thousands of active-duty members assigned in support of White House operations.”

The episode left White House reporters wishing that Jean-Pierre’s predecessor, Jen Psaki, was the press secretary, Axios reported, citing Psaki’s alleged skill at handling sensitive questions.

White House spokesman Andrew Bates pushed back against the Axios report and defended Jean-Pierre, saying she “takes hard questions day in and day out, giving thorough answers and representing President Biden and his agenda for the American people with grace and integrity.”

The feud between the White House press shop and the media is an ongoing issue. Communication staffers in the White House reportedly have a rocky relationship with the New York Times, which they accuse of unfair treatment and entitlement. In turn, the White House refuses to allow the Times to interview Biden, whom the paper suspects of being unfit for office, Politico’s Eli Stokols reported in April.

“[O]nly an interview with a paper like the Times can verify that the 81-year-old Biden is still fit to hold the presidency,” Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger believes, two people familiar with his private comments told Politico.

Since the debate, the Times has printed multiple leaks against the president. The White House disputes the allegations.

Wendell Husebo is a political reporter with Breitbart News and a former GOP War Room Analyst. He is the author of Politics of Slave Morality. Follow Wendell on “X” @WendellHusebø or on Truth Social @WendellHusebo.


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