The MRC's War on Jen Psaki (And Man-Crush On Peter Doocy), Part 3
In April, the Media Research Center's Curtis Houck crushed harder (on Fox News' Doocy) and raged more viciously (against Psaki) than ever in his writeups of Psaki's White House press briefings.
By Terry Krepel
Houck's April 1 post was his usual rage/man-crush mashup:
For White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, it must be quite a life knowing you’re never going to be sternly fact-checked (or fact-checked at all) by the liberal media. Thursday’s briefing displayed her refusal to live in world of facts and straightforward answers as she deflected questions from Fox News’s Peter Doocy about the Biden team’s infrastructure plan and border policies and repeatedly lied to Fox Business’s Edward Lawrence about Georgia’s voter law.
By contrast, Kayleigh McEnany had quite a life knowing that right-wing sycophants like Houck would give her only the highest praise and never have to worry about being fact-checked, even though she aggressively refused to live in world of facts and straightforward answers. The rest of Houck's post once again displayed his man-crush on Fox News' Peter Doocy and other right-wing reporters lobbing hostile questions at Psaki.
The next day, Houck found a different right-wing reporter to crush on for hostile questioning and using to White House briefing room to push conservative talking points:
Capping off another week of repeated non-answers and outright lies, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was caught in another liberal double standard. Thanks to Real Clear Politics's Philip Wegmann, Psaki made clear the administration was opposed to the MLB All Star Game being in Atlanta, Georgia due to the state's voting law (which the MLB has since said it will comply) but will refuse to offer support for a boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China due to the country's putrid human rights record.
Weird, we don't recall Houck ever getting mad at McEnany for spouting "repeated non-answers and outright lies."
Houck was in full Doocy man-crush mode on April 5:
Monday’s White House press briefing picked up on many of Friday’s themes, including the Biden administration’s lies about Georgia’s voter law and their pressuring of MLB to move the All-Star Game out of Atlanta. Fox News’s Peter Doocy repeatedly hammered Press Secretary Jen Psaki with questions about Georgia, Biden’s falsehoods, and The Masters plus the separate issue of illegal immigration.Houck concluded by huffing that "Psaki cowardly ended the briefing so she could bring in the White House Easter bunny and say that reporters should be receiving a commemorative Easter egg to share with their families." Yes, Houck is mad that the White House secretary celebrated Easter. He would be cheering if his beloved McEnany had done it.
Houck was still man-crushing the next day:
Marking another day in the White House Briefing Room rotation, Fox News’s Peter Doocy had quite a Tuesday as he was able to both question Press Secretary Jen Psaki on the federal government’s border crisis and their voting disinformation campaign and President Joe Biden on China’s culpability in the coronavirus pandemic and Georgia’s voting law.
Proving that he's all about obsessively trashing Psaki at every opportunity, Houck cheered another right-wing reporter who pushed those hostile questions he so loves on April 7:
Without Peter Doocy and Kristin Fisher in the White House Briefing Room rotation, it fell to other reporters to offer tough questions to Press Secretary Jen Psaki and the New York Post’s Steven Nelson delivered by getting under Psaki’s skin over Vice President Harris’s travel schedule in light of her supposed role in helping to tame the border crisis.
Of course, Houck is just repeating a right-wing narrative that's nothing but a lame gotcha; if Harris actually went to the border as right-wingers demanded, they would still attack her for merely being a photo-op even though that visual is what they demand of her. When Psaki pointed out that Harris can do more than one thing at a time, Houck dismissed as her making a "personal jab." Again, McEnany did a lot of those and Houck never complained once.
Houck went back to gushing over Wegmann for the April 8 briefing:
Moments after President Joe Biden gave a lie-filled speech about gun control, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki held Thursday’s briefing with a room dominated by journalists supportive of the administration’s desire to harm millions of law-abiding gun owners.
We don't recall Houck ever objecting to the "lie-filled briefings" that Donald Trump issued.
Houck closed out that week with even more man-crushing over Doocy on April 9:
Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy joined the Briefing Room rotation on Friday to cap off another whirlwind week and, as the fourth reporter called on during Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s Q&A, he brought up President Biden’s past opposition to court-packing (as he seems to be moving toward doing just that) and the latest headlines from the Biden border crisis.
Weird how Houck believed that Kayleigh McEnany could be as snarky as she wanted to be, while Psaki gets shut down for allegedly making a "weak dad joke." It's almost as if his severe right-wing bias influences these posts of his.
On April 12, Houck didn't have to man-crush on Doocy because "New York Magazine correspondent Olivia Nuzzi put Press Secretary Jen Psaki on the defensive as she asked about whether the Biden administration’s continued mask usage despite having been vaccinated and discouragement of social interaction has contributed to vaccine hesitancy." Houck failed to mention that one of the groups with the largest rate of vaccine hesitancy is Republican men, who likely aren't taking their cues from Biden.
Houck whined of the April 15 briefing that "Thursday’s White House press briefing quickly devolved into a predictable pattern of near emptiness in terms of answers from Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who ducked questions on issues such as the debunked Russian bounties story, the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine, and her party’s attempt to pack the Supreme Court." Of course, Houck loved when that "emptiness" from the podium emanated from McEnany.
Houck grew outraged that pressers from both Biden and Psaki on April 16 didn't entertain hostile right-wing reporters -- and, because he's incapable of seeing anything in other than black-and-white terms, he pushed the MRC narrative that if you're not a hostile right-wing reporter like Doocy, you must be a far-left pro-Biden sycophant:
The White House press corps has never been a fan of guns or the Second Amendment, so it was no surprise on Friday when multiple reporters hammered President Joe Biden and Press Secretary Jen Psaki from their left flank on gun control. In one instance, a reporter compared gun violence to the coronavirus pandemic and demanded their responses be of equal vigor.
Houck had a different hostile Fox News reporter to cheer on -- and even more sneering hatred of Psaki -- for the April 19 briefing:
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki began her week with a briefing so bad that there’s no way to go but up. On Monday’s episode, Psaki arrived with a short fuse and clashed with multiple reporters over basic immigration questions, and blew a gasket at the Fox News Channel’s Kristin Fisher over the administration’s mixed messaging on the refugee cap.
Remember: In Houck's world, Fox News reporters are always right and Psaki is always wrong. That's because narratives are more important at the MRC than the truth is.
Even when Houck doesn't have Doocy to man-crush over, he can still indulge in the ol' MRC tradition of trying to play cancel culture on public broadcasting. For Psaki's April 20 briefing, Houck declared his outrage at PBS' Yamiche Alcindor refusing to play along with right-wing narrative by screeching "DEFUND PBS" in the headline:
Hours before the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial, White House reporters stepped up Tuesday afternoon and did their due diligence in a briefing filled with harsh questioning. At least six reporters went toe-to-toe in slamming Press Secretary Jen Psaki over President Biden’s earlier comments demanding a guilty verdict and the White House’s refusal to call out Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) for comments threatening the jury.
Houck found another right-wing reporter to fawn over for the April 21 briefing:
Near the end of Wednesday’s White House press briefing, the New York Post’s Steven Nelson irked Press Secretary Jen Psaki with a basic question about whether President Biden “acknowledge[s] his own role” in major crime legislation that leftists argue contributed to the “systemic racism” his administration has claimed they will work to eradicate[.]
Houck never described his other crush, Kayleigh McEnany, as having been "perturbed and stumped" by "probing questions" from reporters -- he was too busy attacking the reporters who asked them.
Houck then skipped a few days of briefings because they were "uneventful" -- meaning that
Doocy and Co. weren't there to ask hostile questions. But for the April 27 briefing in which Doocy made his first appearance back from his honeymoon, Houck excitedly squealed, "He's Back!":
After a few uneventful White House press briefings, Monday’s episode drew a number of interesting exchanges on the border crisis, the coronavirus pandemic, masking, schools, and President Biden’s Wednesday address to a Joint Session of Congress.
This was the briefing writeup that Houck later stealth-edited to obscure the fact that Doocy pushed fake news by repeating a false claim that federal officials were giving copies of a book written by Vice President Kamala Harris to immigrants. And Houck hates Psaki so much that he refused to even acknowledge that Psaki congratulated Doocy on his marriage (or that Psaki blew up Doocy's mask questions).
This was followed the next day by Houck pushing (through another right-wing reporter, Wegmann) another bogus story, about "former Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly selling out Israel to his friends in the terrorist-loving Iran." In doing so, Houck joined his MRC buddies in choosing to trust an enemy of the United States over a Democrat.
So predictable. So ridiculously biased and hateful.