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The Peter Doocy Protection Center

The Media Research Center went into full defense mode after President Biden muttered an insult at him -- then laughably denied it was obsessed with the story even after generating days of content about it.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 5/12/2022


Curtis Houck

he Media Research Center -- led by Curtis Houck -- has spent the past year being embarrassingly fawning over Fox News reporter Peter Doocy's biased, hostile questions at Jen Psaki's White House press briefings. Unsurprisingly, Houck fawned again over the hostile questions Doocy fired at President Biden at a Jan. 19 press conference.

Houck's summary piece was all about Doocy and other right-wing reporters -- not that he identified their ideology -- hurling hostile questions:

In a press conference Wednesday that ran nearly two hours, President Biden faced over 60 questions from 24 different reporters, but it wasn’t a surprise that the most contentious moments and questions that were most probing came from reporters that usually give Press Secretary Jen Psaki a run for her money in Fox’s Peter Doocy, the New York Post’s Steven Nelson, Real Clear Politics’s Philip Wegmann, and newly-minted Newsmax correspondent James Rosen.

Biden was ready to give up 77 minutes into the affair when he wondered: “How — how many more hours am I doing this? I'm happy to stick around.”

Doocy was then spotted by Biden, who offered the quip that Doocy “always ask[s] me the nicest questions” even though “none of them make a lot of sense to me.”

Doocy said he has “a whole binder here” and, though Biden would only grant him one quesiton, he made it count: “New year. Why are you trying so hard in your first year to pull the country so far to the left?”

Biden replied to this scorcher by saying he’s “not” because he doesn’t “know what you consider to be too far to the left if in fact we're talking about making sure that we have the money for COVID, to put together the bipartisan infrastructure, making sure we were able to provide for those things that...would significantly reduce the burden on working class people.”


Two reporters later, Rosen received his first crack at Biden. Saying he wanted “to raise a delicate subject, but with utmost respect for your life accomplishments and the office you hold,” the former Fox journalist invoked questions about Biden’s cognitive health:
A poll released this morning by Politico/Morning Consult found 49 percent of registered voters disagreeing with the statement, Joe Biden is mentally fit. Not even a majority of Democrats who responded strongly affirmed that statement.
“Well, I’ll let you all make the judgment whether they're correct, thank you,” said Biden.

Rosen wasn’t done as he invited him to speculate about “why...such large segments of the American electorate have come to harbor such profound concerns about your cognitive fitness.”

With a smirk, Biden blurted out that he had “no idea.”

Houck didn't mention the sexual harassment allegations that made Rosen a "former Fox journalist" (or why correspondents with questionable pasts tend to end up at Newsmax).

When Biden made a verbal stumble suggesting he might allow a "minor incursion" by Russia into Ukraine to go unpunished, Kevin Tober cheered that "all three evening news broadcasts were flabbergasted" by the misstatement from the "geriatric president," going on to huff: "This is stunning candor from the networks. The networks must’ve known there was no way to hide these comments from their viewers, so they were forced to report on them. We applaud them regardless."

The next day, Houck returned to take "a look at the other questions from more establishment, (supposedly) objective, and/or traditional outlets." Of course, no right-wing outlet asked any of the "worst" questions, and his "best" question came from a reporter from 'the delightfully objective and refreshing NewsNation." As ConWebWatch has noted, the idea that a "news" operation run by former Fox News executive (and short-lived Trump White House communications director) Bill Shine and staffed by other ex-Fox Newsers is no reasonable person's definition of "objective."

On Jan. 21, Houck joined his boss Tim Graham's podcast to slobber over Doocy and the other right-wing reporters -- Graham would only describe them as "our side of the media, as they would see it," and not having an unambiguous bias. Graham fawned over Doocy's highly biased gotcha question: "This question, Curtis, is a perfect summation of the kind of questions conservatives in general put to Biden. It putt the whole onus of the Democratic Party as a part of the left, you as president has been a part of the left. ... What on earth is Build Back Better? That's not a capitalist bill."

Houck nonsensically insisted Doocy's gotcha question was "about important issues of the day." Houck also sneered that Biden "is clearly not in charge of his faculties," which led to both of them cheering Rosen's question, and Graham complained that this would be treated as a "Brian Stelter question," adding that it was "a challenging question. It could be seen as a rude question, but it was stated politely as the way James Rosen typically does these things." He too failed to mention why Rosen slid down the right-wing media food chain from Fox News to Newsmax -- apparently, sexual harassment is totally cool with Graham and Houck as long as the offender is polite about it. They also praised NewsNation without, again, mentioning that ex-Fox News staffers run it.

This was capped off with a Jan. 22 column by Jeffrey Lord declaring that Rosen "was doing his job as a journalist" with his hostile question about Biden's mental fitness, going on to whine that similar questions were asked about Donald Trump, which were not based on "facts in a poll" but on people's opinions. He added in another fit of whataboutism: "This is real journalism, something that was rarely to be seen in the Trump years as CNN and others spun, for example, the fantasy tale of Trump-Russia collusion." Lord didn't explain why, if there was no Trump-Russia "collusion," the Trump campaign met with Russian operatives dozens of times during the 2016 campaign. He too failed to mention the sexual harassment claims against Rosen.

Defending Doocy against Biden

So when Biden muttered a few days later that Doocy was a "stupid son of a bitch," you know the MRC had days of manufactured outrage to come (despite its embrace of the "Let's Go Brandon" insult and cheering Joe Rogan calling Brian Stelter a "motherfucker").Houck kicked off the faux outrage by setting the scene:

Early Monday evening, following remarks at the start of a White House Competition Council meeting, President Biden lashed out at Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy as “a stupid son of a bitch” and mocked inflation as “a great asset” to the economy.

It began when Biden finished his opening remarks and gave way to White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Brian Deese, who appeared to have hinted off-mic the press pool gathered would be leaving before the meeting could continue.


CBS’s Ed O’Keefe and The Wall Street Journal’s Catherine Lucey could be heard trying to ask about Ukraine, but Doocy stuck to the economy since that was the reason they were in the room to begin with: “Will you take questions on inflation then? Do you think inflation is a political liability ahead of the midterms?”

Biden barely hesitated in shooting back as White House aides kept shouting for reporters to leave: “That’s a great asset. More inflation? What a stupid son of a bitch.”

Houck was in full Doocy-fluffing form, touting how Doocy later went on Fox News to offer "his first-person account" and even lauding his press briefing appearance earlier in the day, where he hurled more biased questions at Psaki.

The next day, Houck ramped up the Doocy smarm by portraying the biased reporter as a mature man:

Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy continued to show on Monday night a level of class, light-heartedness, and professionalism most of the liberal media lack as he shared that President Biden called him to “clear the air” after blasting him as “a stupid son of a bitch” earlier in the day. In fact, Doocy told Sean Hannity that, now Biden said it was “nothing personal, pal,” it was “enough” and time to “move on.”

Yes, nothing says "class" and "professionalism" like Doocy rushing to talk about the incident with the hateful, hyperpartisan Hannity.

The MRC's "Editor's Pick" on Jan. 25 was an article from the right-wing The Blaze whining that CNN's Brian Stelter wouldn't make the insult the federal case that right-wingers want it to be. That was followed by Scott Whitlock complaining that "All three networks on Monday night and Tuesday morning offered sympathy for Joe Biden" over the insults, going on to sneer, "As Biden’s gaffes and 'hot mic' moments pile up, look for the networks to continue to argue for understanding and empathy towards our “frustrated” and sometimes bewildered President."

Houck returned later that day with a serious piece of dishonesty:

Appearing on Monday’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!, CNN host Jake Tapper falsely claimed to the eponymous ABC host that Peter Doocy’s employer in Fox News “would never come to my defense” if a president called him “a stupid son of a bitch” as President Biden did hours earlier to the Fox White House correspondent.

Tapper’s claim was not only a lie, but laughable one given the fact that Fox News repeatedly stood with CNN when the Trump administration repeatedly tried to bar them from events and even denounced Trump’s use of the term “enemy of the people.”

But Tapper referred to himself in the first person -- not CNN as a whole. Houck is being very dishonest by trying to play gotcha by deliberately misreading what Tapper said.

Nicholas Fondacaro mixed his Doocy-fluffing with sexist insults:

Even with Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy being a class act and asking everyone to “move on” from President Biden calling him a “stupid son of bitch,” the cackling coven on ABC’s The View kicked off Tuesday’s show by suggesting Doocy got what was coming to him because he asks “endless stupid questions,” with unhinged co-host Joy Behar predicting Doocy would be “fired pretty soon” for acting like an adult in response to Biden’s childishness.


Behar had her own immature outburst against Doocy last week when she mocked his name as Peter “Douchey.”

Is that more or less immature than referring to "The View" hosts as a "cackling coven"? Fondacaro didn't elaborate.

Fondacaro had more insults to hurl later in the day:

Of course, the liberal hacks and Democratic Party lackeys at CNN thought Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy had earned President Biden’s insult. And that’s exactly the argument CNN’s anti-Fox hatchetman Brian Stelter made on Tuesday’s CNN Newsroom, suggesting Doocy’s question about inflation and the midterms was a “provocation” as he lamented “Biden took the bait.”

According to Stelter, “ the question was less a question and more a provocation” to elicit that kind of reaction from the President.


After co-hosts Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell, and Stelter sympathized with Biden over having “hot mic” moments, Stelter compared Biden’s insult to the ones former President Trump would throw out and not apologize for.

It's quite difficult for Fondacaro to be credibly outraged over Biden's insult when he can't stop insulting people who say things he doesn't like.

Jorge Bonilla took the faux outrage to Spanish-language media, first being complementary that "For a brief moment Univision, the nation's leading Spanish-language network, showed moral clarity by reporting a story unfavorable to Democrats in an unbiased manner" before devolving into whining whataboutism regarding the channel's alleged "framing of Fox as being constantly critical of Biden, as if we are somehow expected to forget Univision's behavior over the past decade."

Whitlock went full whataboutism in a Jan. 26 "flashback" post:

Don’t look to Chuck Todd to speak truth to a swearing Joe Biden. The MSNBC journalist on Tuesday offered no response to the President lashing out at Fox reporter Peter Doocy as a “stupid son of a bitch.” He tweeted nothing about it. This is quite the contrast from when then-President Donald Trump spewed his own vulgarity in 2018.


Now, it’s true that Trump unloaded public vulgarities much more frequently than Biden. Also, what he said was about Todd. But on MTP Daily Todd has nothing (so far) to say about the January 24th exchange between Biden and Doocy[.]

Houck may have been slacking off on his self-appointed job of Doocy-fluffing and Psaki-bashing so far this year, but his writeup of the Jan. 26 briefing only referenced the insult in passing in order to fluff Doocy anew about how "it was back to business Tuesday in the White House Briefing Room a day after President Biden called Fox’s Peter Doocy 'a stupid son of a bitch' and then called him to hash it out. Doocy led the way in shifting focus back to the news, battling Press Secretary Jen Psaki over illegal immigration and the crisis at the Russia-Ukraine border."

Denying the obsession

Tim Graham spent his Jan. 26 podcast insisting that the kerfuffle "is not the biggest thing in the world ... it's kind of a one-day story," even though by this time the MRC was on Day 3 of writing about it, and Graham's podcast was the 10th NewsBusters post referencing it. He then gave a pass to Donald Trump calling NBC's Chuck Todd a "sleeping son of a bitch" because he purportedly did it "to get laughter and claps at a rally," going on to whine that journalists think they're immune from criticism. This from a guy who runs an organization that repeatedly runs to the defense of Fox News because it thinks the channel should be immune from criticism.

Related articles on ConWebWatch:

Curtis Houck's War On Jen Psaki (And Man-Crush On Peter Doocy), The Series:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4 (May 2021)

June 2021

July 2021

August 2021

September 2021

October 2021

November/December 2021

January/February 2022

The Profiles

Keeping up that pattern, Graham lashed out at people like Seth McFarlane and Jimmy Kimmel for criticizing Doocy (he's immune from MRC criticism like every Fox News employee, after all). He then defended Doocy as polite in his right-wing biased, especially compared with longtime MRC enemy Jim Acosta: "Peter Doocy is no Jim Acosta. Jim Acosta was the guy who said obnoxious things. Peter Doocy asks questions, and he generally asks questions respectfully. He's a lot more respectful of Joe Biden than Jimmy Kimmel's been ever respectful of anybody with an R after their name." He then rehashed the MRC's earlier false attack on CNN's Jake Tapper for saying Fox News wouldn't come to his defense by citing examples of Fox News defending CNN -- even though Tapper didn't reference defending CNN, just himself.

In the 11th post referencing the story, on the fourth day of the MRC covering it, Houck devoted a Jan. 27 post to bashing NBC's Seth Meyers for arguing that Republicans have been "triggered" by the Biden-Doocy story:

Even though President Biden and Fox White House correspondent Peter Doocy have both moved on after the former called the latter “a stupid son of a bitch” on Monday, ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel and NBC’s Seth Meyers decided on Thursday to spend nearly 15 minutes falsely claiming that the Republican Party has spent the week obsessing over Biden’s expletive when, in reality, it’s the far-left “comics” who seem to have nothing else to talk about.

Later that day, P.J. Gladnick grumbled that a Politico piece argued that Biden should do more trash-talking: "Right now Joe Biden and his administration are deeply unpopular . So how to reverse this situation? Return to enforcing immigration laws at the border? Cut wild spending in order to rein in inflation? Open up the Keystone pipeline and encourage drilling to lower the cost of gasoline? Naw! The secret is... TRASH TALK!"

On day 6 of the MRC's coverage, Graham devoted his Jan. 28 column to whining about the kerfuffle he earlier insisted was just a one-day story:

When Joe Biden called Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy a “stupid son of a bitch,” he didn’t need to borrow from a speechwriter. But he’s not “well-equipped” to demonstrate decency or empathy to a journalist who isn’t obsequious to him.


When Trump called the press “fake news” or mocked individual reporters as terrible people, Jim Acosta & Co condemned this was not only somehow undemocratic, but would lead to violence against reporters. The problem with Biden’s angry cursing at Doocy is that it violates that campaign promise of decency. It also allows conservatives to remind liberals that this used to be painted as a violence-inducing offense against the First Amendment.

People sticking up for Doocy don’t have to insist that Trump was civil with reporters. It’s just that they all pretended Biden was going to be so much more “pro-press,” which is transparently false, both in tone and in media access.

Even more than a week after the story started, Graham couldn't let this"one-day story" go. In a Jan. 31 post, he whined that a New York Times reporter called it s feel-good moment," huffing further: "The most annoying part of this spin is how it exploits Doocy's willingness to shrug it off, and not pose righteously as some sort of Wronged Statue of Liberty like Jim Acosta." And on Feb. 3 -- 12 days after the story began -- Graham cranked up the whining in the 14th post referencing it, this time over a game show referencing the story:

National Public Radio airs a weekly game show on Saturdays called Wait! Wait! Don't Tell Me! Over the years, we've found liberals on that show making fun of ads promoting Jesus and church-going, smearing George W. Bush as a White House drunk, and playing along as Obama adviser David Axelrod "joked" that socially conservative Miss California Carrie Prejean was tried out for White House dog. The latest episode included jokesters adoring President Biden calling Fox News correspondent Steve Doocy a "stupid son of a bitch."

Regular host Peter Sagal was off, so they replaced him with Negin Farsad, an Iranian-born Muslim comedian -- oh, but she defines herself as a "social justice comedian." That's apparently the funniest kind.

The first game was called "Who's Bill This Time?" Announcer Bill Kurtis -- formerly an anchor for CBS News -- impersonates a public figure saying something in the news. So they started with "stupid son of a bitch," and predictably, the liberals joked that many thousands of people agree Doocy is an idiot:


The panelists then made jokes about Biden's angry insult. Josh Gondelman, who writes comedy for Desus & Mero on Showtime, said "I was surprised. Like, I feel like Joe Biden's public persona is so folksy. Like, you could run over his foot with a motorcycle, and he'd just be like, 'taffy on a stick,' you know?"

Alzo Slade of Vice News added "I feel like Joe Biden is that old dude that just can say whatever he feels like saying, and because... Of his age, nobody is going to care. It's like, yeah, just - you know, that's Uncle Joe. Just let him be. And sometimes you got to call it like it is. If you think he's a son of a [expletive]..."

This is exactly how the liberal media have dismissed Biden's gaffes -- isn't Uncle Joe a character?

Remember, Graham is the guy who gets mad that right-wing satire site Babylon Bee gets fact-checked (but hides the fact that it gets fact-checked because right-wingers have a bad habit of presenting its satire as fact).

Graham concluded by adding, "NPR is paid for by ... you." But he offered no proof that any tax money actually went to the show's production.

Then again, who cares about facts when there is a right-winger to defend?

More Doocy confrontations with Biden

Having milked that for all it was worth (and then some), Houck made sure to hype future Doocy confrontations with Biden.

Houck hyped "Doocy Time" with Biden upon he Russian invasion of Ukraine in a Feb. 24 briefing derisively headlined "You Awake Now, Joe?" in which he also touted other reporters "call[ing] out the likelihood the latest round of economic sanctions would do all but nothing to deter Putin":

Following Vega, it was Doocy Time as the Fox News correspondent first touched on the economic impact in the U.S.:
[M]arkets are down and gas prices are up. I know you always stress the difference between Wall Street and main street, but everybody seems to be in for some economic pain. How economically painful is it going to get for people in this country?
Biden replied “markets will respond,” but it’s “highly unlikely” to have a long-lasting impact “as long as” the U.S. and its allies “stay resolved in imposing the sanctions.”

Doocy continued to press, asking whether Biden “underestimate[d] Putin” and if he’s “confident” these sanctions will “be as devastating as Russian missiles and bullets and tanks.” In both cases, Biden answered in the affirmative.

For Houck -- and, presumably, Doocy's Fox News bosses -- it's all about Doocy landing punches on Biden, not whether the questions are unfair in a time of conflict.

Houck covered a March 28 press briefing by Biden in great anticipation of another hot-mic moment. Instead, Houck had to settle for crushing on Doocy for hurling more right-wing narratives at Biden and treating him has a returning hero after a two-week absence from the White House briefing room (which Houck didn't explain):

Making his first appearance during a White House Q&A since March 10 (when he asked Jen Psaki whether President Biden owns an electric car), Fox News’s Peter Doocy went toe-to-toe with Biden Monday over numerous statements the latter made during last week’s European excursion that drew condemnations from international leaders and White House walkbacks.

Doocy surfaced partway through the 13-minute availability with “an important question” after Biden needled him about “ask[ing] a really nice question”: “Are you worried that other leaders in the world are going to start to doubt that America is back if some of these big things that you say on the world stage keep getting walked back?”

Biden was incredulous, wondering: “What’s getting walked back?”

Doocy ran through three examples before Biden interrupted to say “none of the three occurred”:
It made it sound like, just in the last couple days, sounded like you told U.S. troops that they were going to Ukraine, it sounded like you said it was possible the U.S. would use a chemical weapon, and it sounded like you were calling for regime change in Russia.
On the threat of chemical weapons, Doocy asked again and Biden demurred. But when Doocy asked “what...that mean[t],” Biden quipped: “I’m not going to tell you. Why would I tell you? You gotta be silly.”

Doocy wrapped by saying it’s something “the world wants to know,” but Biden wouldn’t budge: “The world wants to know a lot of things. I'm not telling them what the response would be. Then, Russia knows the response.”

Remember that Houck's metric is Doocy successfully delivers his right-wing talking points and making Biden look bad, not whether they have any basis in reality. If Biden can be harmed, that's good enough for a right-wing activist like Houck.

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