The MRC's War on Jen Psaki (And Man-Crush On Peter Doocy): October 2021
The Media Research Center's Curtis Houck pulls back a bit on his obsessive, predictable Doocy-fluffing and Psaki-bashing.
By Terry Krepel
In Monday's White House briefing, Fox reporter Peter Doocy prompted White House press secretary Jen Psaki to restate that the massive "progressive" spending package being debated costs "zero."
Graham then found someone else to man-crush over: "Minutes later on Fox News Channel, former Bush strategist Karl Rove pulled out his whiteboard to mock Psaki and her defense of the Biden plan."
But Houck was back to Psaki-bash and Doocy-crush for the Oct. 8 briefing:
The Psaki Show went into the weekend on Friday with a bang as Fox’s Peter Doocy and a cadre of liberal White House reporters blasted away at Press Secretary Jen Psaki with questions over the disappointing September jobs report and continued concerns over gas prices, inflation, job openings, and even shipping lanes affecting the supply chain.
Of course. And Houck continued to fluff Doocy some more:
The Fox reporter’s final exchange was most interesting as he honed in on Biden having claimed on Thursday that he, in Doocy’s retelling, “cold-called a Pennsylvania hospital to ask the desk-receiving nurse why it was taking so long for a good friend's wife to be seen.”
Of course Houck thinks Psaki is being "condescending" to Doocy -- he's incapable of admitting that Psaki might be right and Doocy's being the jerk. Meanwhile, a more honest, less sycophantic reporter noted that the White House had just released a report "showing the effectiveness of vaccine requirements, which also showed very few people refusing to comply."
Doocy wasn't in the house for the Oct. 12 briefing, but Houck found some other right-wing reporters to suck up to:
Tuesday saw a return of The Psaki Show and, without Fox’s Peter Doocy and questions from Real Clear Politics’s Philip Wegmann, someone had to bring the heat to Press Secretary Jen Psaki and that came thanks to the New York Post’s Steven Nelson, who brought questions about the ever-corrupt Hunter Biden and allegations that President Biden owes back taxes.
Houck is fluffing other reporters while his man-crush is away! What would happen if Doocy found out about this?
Houck went on to gush that Nelson asked "an extremely long question about the President and back taxes," but buried Psaki's response that the story is "debunked" and that Biden has released "many years of his tax returns so people can check them out" in a collapsed transcript excerpt that fewer people will read. That's how Houck does it when he knows Psaki is right but is afraid to admit it.
He picked a different reporter to fawn over for pushing partisan talking points during the Oct. 14 briefing:
With Thursday’s White House press briefing continuing to focus on the supply chain crisis amid rapid gains in inflation triggering price increases on basic necessities affecting all Americans, Fox’s Jacqui Heinrich blasted Press Secretary Jen Psaki over Chief of Staff Ron Klain’s “tone deaf” tweets from Wednesday agreeing with a statement that such problems are “high class issues.”
Houck and his MRC used to hate it when White House reporters obsessed over tweets during Trump's presidency. Wonder what changed...
Houck was a Doocy-gasm mood for his summary of the Oct. 18 White House press briefing with a round of mask gotcha:
On Monday’s Psaki Show, Fox News’s Peter Doocy returned to the Briefing Room (after colleague Jacqui Heinrich took a turn last week) and, as usual, he didn’t make it easy on Press Secretary Jen Psaki as they went toe-to-toe over President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden walking maskless in a Washington D.C. restaurant despite a citywide mandate and the President’s hypocrisy in calling for prosecution of those who defy January 6-related subpoenas.
Doocy (and Houck) would never have treated his sainted Kayleigh McEnany the same way or played a similar gotcha game with Donald Trump, and Houck would never concede that a hated "liberal media" reporter "wasn't having it" regarding anything McEnany ever said. But Houck devoted his entire post to fawning over Doocy, going on to gush over his badgering Psaki about the idea of prosecuting Trump administration officials and various hangers-on who are defying subpoenas from the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
On Oct. 19, Houck cheered that Doocy was pushing more right-wing talking points:
On Tuesday, it was a spicy day inside the White House Briefing Room as Fox’s Peter Doocy brought the heat against Press Secretary Jen Psaki on coronavirus vaccine mandates, flights for illegal immigrants, and the Treasury Department monitoring our bank accounts. And as we’ve seen plenty of times, Doocy received help as other reporters tackling Biden’s influence on the Justice Department, his Build Back Better plan, and the supply chain crisis.
Houck quickly added at the end: "At the back end of the briefing, the penultimate exchange featured Newsmax’s Emerald Robinson talking about [Transportation Secretary Pete] Buttigieg’s unannounced paternity leave, but instead of engaging, Psaki made clear that she, at best, loathes her. But as a less biased reporter pointed out, the reason Psaki didn't "engage" with Robinson was that she continued to shout questions after her allotted time had ended while Psaki moved on to another reporter. And, really, Robinson has amply earned the contempt of people by spewing COVID conspiracy theories, which means she has never earned the respect Houck demands she receive simply for being a right-wing reporter.
For the Oct. 21 briefing, Houck had a different target in deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, but was having the same old Doocy-gasms over his slavish recitation of right-wing talking points -- mixed in with praise for Doocy's wife, also a biased Fox News reporter, which sounds a bit awkward:
With The Psaki Show off on Thursday, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary and former MSNBCer Karine Jean-Pierre filled in, but it wasn’t an easy day as she faced incoming fire from not only Fox’s Peter Doocy, but Doocy’s other half in wife Hillary Vaughn of the Fox Business Network as the two brought the heat with hardballs on inflation, the supply chain crisis, and our country’s overall economic malaise.
Houck gave Doocy and Vaughn more cookies for spouting right-wing narratives in the Oct. 22 briefing:
After a day off and a guest appearance by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, The Psaki Show was back with a new episode on Friday and, for the second day in a row, the Fox News Channel’s Peter Doocy and wife Hillary Vaughn of the Fox Business Network applied the heat to the Briefing Room podium.
Houck did cheer other right-wing messaging as well: "In two other notable moments, the New York Post's Steven Nelson called out the White House's ongoing curtailing of press access for Biden events in the East Room and the Daily Caller's Shelby Talcott inquired about the Department of Homeland Security investigation into the (fake) whips story that's now a month late." Cookies all around for staying on message!
And with that, Houck didn't churn out a briefing summary the rest of the month, apparently believing he'd sufficiently beat up on Psaki and fawned over Doocy.