Topic: Media Research Center
When it was rumored in February that White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was thinking of leaving her position, the Media Research Center's Curtis Houck -- whose hatred for Psaki has been reinforced every day he smears her and fluffs Peter Dopocy -- was eager to [pounce in a Feb. 28 post:
According to Puck News’s Dylan Byers on Wednesday, a real Psaki Show could soon become a reality as CNN and MSNBC have been jockeying to hire the current White House press secretary as a full-time host (and not as a commentator, like she did from 2017 to 2020 at CNN).
Byers — formerly of NBCNews.com and the CNN Media team — wrote that, “earlier this month,” Psaki had respective lunch meetings with “CNN interim co-president Amy Entelis and CNN+ programming lead Rebecca Kutler” and then “NBC News Chairman Cesar Conde and MSNBC President Rashida Jones.”
For CNN, they’re hoping to nab “a marquee star” amidst chaos within the company. As for MSNBC, they’re aiming to find someone to fill the void that’ll be left by Rachel Maddow.
Because Houck can't abide anyone saying nice things about Psaki, he grumbled that "Byers gave syrupy praise for Psaki" by putting her in the company of other former White House staffer who have gone on to greater things, then whined that "Of course, Byers left out the affable and widely-respected Dana Perino of Fox News." He then complained that "Byers boasted that 'many of whom credit her with restoring dignity to a lectern that had been ravaged and abused by Sean Spicer, Sarah Sanders and Kayleigh McEnany. And her daily briefing has become appointment viewing for fans who eagerly await her pithy retorts to reporters[.]'"
He did, however, repeat Psaki tweaking Doocy during that day's press briefing:: "On Friday afternoon, Today News Africa’s Simon Ateba asked Psaki about the report, to which she replied with a nod to Fox’s Peter Doocy: 'I have more than enough on my plate here and so, you can't get rid of me quite yet. Sorry, Peter, for you on that.'"
When Psaki's next gig at MSNBC was reported on April 1, Houck made sure to insult her on the way out the door, though no departure date was announced:
Psaki — host of what we’ve referred to as The Psaki Show — has spent the entirety of the Biden presidency as perhaps its most public face (aside from the President himself), left to answer, lie, and spin her way through the many controversies, crises, and gaffes.
And, of course, it’s safe to argue Psaki’s stock wouldn’t be anywhere near where it is without her viral back-and-forths with Fox News’s Peter Doocy, who’s been able to hold the administration accountable without scooping to the juvenile levels we saw with a host of liberal journalists to Trump press secretaries.
So, whether it’ll be called The Psaki Show, Circle Back with Psaki, or Psock It, or Put a Psock in It, White House reporters will soon face a new face on a day-to-day basis at the podium.
Actually, the only juvenile behavior we saw in the White House briefing room during the Trump years were attempts to expel reporters whose aggressive reporting press secretaries like Jim Acosta and Brian Karem.
Since he gets paid to trash Psaki at every opportunity, Houck used his briefing writeup that day to trash her for not confirming reports about her departure and purported ethics questions about negotiating a new job while still in the old one:
Hours after Axios’s Sara Fischer broke news that White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki would be joining MSNBC, Psaki faced a slew of questions in Friday’s briefing about the ethics behind such a swift move and negotiating a job while still in government. CBS’s Ed O’Keefe broke the ice, but he was followed by future Psaki colleague Kristen Welker of NBC, who questioned whether she should be allowed to stay at her post.
O’Keefe stepped up after most of the briefing had been dominated by the March jobs report, gas prices, and Russia’s war against Ukraine: “[O]ne little bit of housekeeping. Is it true that you are leaving the White House to work for MSNBC?”
Psaki tried to get away by quipping that “you can’t rid of me yet,” but that fell on deaf ears as she went onto say she couldn’t “confirm” anything “about my length of public service or planned service or anything about consideration about next plans.”
As Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) correctly noted, it’s all but certain “[e]very reporter in that room knew that Psaki was negotiating with several networks,” so it’s worth pondering a question he raised: “They all just went on with the charade of asking and answering questions from a known future colleague.”
By contrast, Houck was completely silent when his beloved Kayleigh McEnany arguably violated ethical employment practices by refusing to do her job at the end of the Trump administration, holding absolutely no press briefings lest she be forced to answer questions about the Capitol riot her boss helped to incite.
When Psaki's departure date of May 13 was announced, Houck unsurprisingly took a shot at her -- while, of course, engaging in a little Doocy-fluffing -- in a May 5 post, claiming that "ending a 17-month run that saw her become a household name with spin of the administration’s struggles and presidential gaffes and viral exchanges with Fox’s Peter Doocy."
Houck then obsessed over the sex life of Psaki's replacement, Karine Jean-Pierre -- whom he has previously smeared as a diversity hire because she's black and LGBT -- making sure to highlight that "Jean-Pierre is the partner of longtime CNN correspondent Suzanne Malveaux (with whom they share a daughter)."