New Press Secretary, Same MRC Hate: September 2022
The Media Research Center is still maliciously depicting Karine Jean-Pierre as an incompetent diversity hire, and Curtis Houck is still man-crushing over every utterance from Peter Doocy.
By Terry Krepel Posted 11/23/2022
Media Research Center writer Curtis Houck ended his August reports on the White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre's press briefings complaining that President Biden was about to give a speech calling out MAGA Republican extremist. He obsessed further over a speech that hadn't yet been given in his writeup of the Sept. 1 briefing:
On Thursday afternoon, White House reporters rallied from the embarrassing effort many gave the day prior in lobbying softballs to inept Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and showed skepticism that President Biden’s Thursday night address on how the American right poses a threat to the country wouldn’t be political.
Reuters’s Jeff Mason was one of those reporters who redeemed himself, starting with a short, Doocy-like question: “Is tonight a political speech?”
Jean-Pierre sowed her fate when she immediately show back: “No. It’s not a political speech. This is an opportunity again for the President to directly have a conversation with the with the the American people.”
Giving away the game, Jean-Pierre snarked that “we understand we hit a nerve” with the American right “trying to hide and we understand that ultra-MAGA officeholders want to play games here and dodge accountability for their extreme proposals and actions, but they're just telling on themselves.”
She falsely added that Biden has “always squarely targeted his criticism on elected leaders” and he would continue to “not...shy away” from slamming them though Thursday’s “speech...will be optimistic.”
Nicholas Fondacaro took over the mocking duties for the Sept. 2 briefing, whining heavily about the speech given by President Biden the night -- making sure to follow conservative framing of it as "extremely divisive" -- before calling out the danger MAGA Republicans pose to the country, and whining even harder that Doocy didn't get to ask a question. So Fondacaro was left to spout right-wing talking points about the speech in his stead:
In the wake of President Biden’s extremely divisive Thursday night speech featuring tinges of authoritarian themes, the Friday White House press briefing was noticeably lacking critical questions about the dangerous rhetoric in the address. And with Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre skipping over tough questioners like Fox News Channel’s Peter Doocy, the few questions that were asked about the speech only addressed how “political” it was and why they decided to use Marines as props.
Absent from the briefing room were critical questions about the optics of the President being wreathed in blood-red lights and inky shadows while waving his fists in the air as he claimed over 70 million Americans were a threat to the country and enemies of the state. Online, these optics drew comparisons to Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, V for Vendetta, The Hunger Games, the empire from Star Wars, and other popular media featuring authoritarian demagogues.
Diamond did dip into questions about the stagecraft of the speech, noting it “very much sounded like a politically charged speech as an official event” that was “taxpayer-funded, with two Marines in uniform, in particular, flanking him and visible on camera throughout his speech.”
“Denouncing political violence is not political. Defending rights and freedom is not political. Making clear the challenges facing the nation is not political. We don't call any of that political,” Jean-Pierre defended their arguably unethical actions.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stuttered a refusal to answer a question about the Biden administration’s alleged collusion with Big Tech to censor Americans.
Fox Business Network White House correspondent Edward Lawrence asked Jean-Pierre on Sept. 2: “On social media companies, did the administration give Twitter and Facebook, ah, talking points, um, over flagging what the president describes as misinformation?”
Jean-Pierre asked Lawrence to repeat his question. Lawrence did, adding, “How much coordination is there between the administration, um, and social media companies?”
Jean-Pierre then stammered, “So, III don’t have anything toto share with you on that, and I’m not going to comment onon that right this time.”
Salgado went on to reference "Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s revelations Thursday of a vast 'censorship enterprise' between Big Tech platforms and the federal government in colluding to censor Americans’ free speech online," touting how the so-called investigation "cited original research from Media Research Center and its unique CensorTrack database to support its underlying allegations." She offered no reason why a biased investigation from a Republican attorney general that seems to be merely parroting right-wing talking points should be trusted.
Return to Doocy-fluffing
Houck was practically orgasmic in his writeup of the Sept. 6 White House press briefing -- under the screaming headline "HE WENT THERE" -- cheering a personal attack his mancrush Peter Doocy made against Jean-Pierre:
Fox News’s Peter Doocy opened the short week with a bang during Tuesday’s White House press briefing as, after four months of silence from the entire press corps, he cornered Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre over her past tweets falsely claiming the 2016 presidential and 2018 Georgia gubernatorial elections were stolen by Republicans.
With much of the political discourse still fixated on the 2020 election results, it was pertinent for each and every reporter from the AP seat to those in the back corners, but those from the left to the right skimped. And, as Stephen L. Miller wrote, it’s an abject failure that it hadn’t come up.
Doocy took his turn by, as usual, asking a basic question with underlying motivations: “A follow up about that MAGA Republican attention. So, we're all in agreement that it is incorrect to say the 2020 election was stolen, what about the 2016 election?”
Jean-Pierre walked right into the trap by insisting she wasn’t “going to go back to where we were or what happened in 2016” and would instead “focus on the here and now we're going to focus on what's happening today this inflection point that the President pointed out very clearly, very decisively, and in a few speeches about what the country needs to do...to bring the country together.”
Having been caught, Doocy explained he was “just in trying to understand the new attention on the MAGA Republicans” given her past tweets, but Jean-Pierre interjected to wonder why he hadn’t asked this yet:
JEAN-PIERRE: Oh, I knew this was coming. I was waiting, Peter, when you were going to ask me that.
DOOCY: well, great. Here we go. You tweeted, Trump stole an election. You tweeted Brian Kemp stole an election. If denying election results is extreme now
DOOCY: why wasn’t it then?
Despite having allegedly spent months anticipating this question, Jean-Pierre’s answer landed with a thud. First, she claimed “that comparison that you made is just ridiculous,” leaving Doocy in a predictably exasperated state and wondering why.
Jean-Pierre argued she was allowed to say elections were stolen (even though “Kemp won the election in Georgia” and “Trump won the election of 2016”) because she “was talking specifically at that time of what was happening with voting rights and the what was in danger of voting rights.”
Unsurprisingly, Jean-Pierre further defended questioning election results because at least her side didn’t storm the Capitol in “an attack on our democracy” like on January 6
That's a perfectly valid answer, of course, but Houck will never admit it because that would interfere with his maliciousnarrative of painting Jean-Pierre as an incompetent diversity hire. And he's certainly not going to call out his beloved Doocy by name for waiting this long to bring up the issue.
And despite that perfectly valid answer, the MRC turned into an right-wing attack narrative anyway. The misogynistic Nicholas Fondacaro used a Sept. 7 post to attack the co-hosts of "The View" -- who he again hatefully smeared as a "cackling coven" -- for siding with Jean-Pierre:
Doing their part to endanger our country on Wednesday, the cackling coven of ABC’s The View largely defended White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and her denialism that former President Donald Trump legitimately won the 2016 election. Although, unusual battle lines were drawn as co-host Sunny Hostin took on co-hosts Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar. But co-host Sara Haines argued that it’s “always okay” to “question” and “challenge” election results.
After playing a soundbite of Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy pressing Jean-Pierre on her election denialism tweets, Goldberg defended the Press Secretary by saying it didn’t count because “she was not an elected official.”
Goldberg also declared that Jean-Pierre “was doing her part as an American citizen saying how she felt about an election. Whether you like it or not, everybody talks about everybody has the right [to] freedom of speech.”
“Doing her part?” What is this, Starship Troopers? Goldberg’s argument itself was an exercise in hypocrisy as she and The View attacked and smeared Ginni Thomas, a private citizen who just happens to be married to Justice Clarence Thomas, for her past beliefs about the 2020 election.
That would be the same Ginni Thomas whose aggressive efforts to attempt to overturn the 2020 election -- something Jean-Pierre has never been accused of trying to do -- became so pervasive that even Fondacaro's fellow MRC co-workers stopped trying to defend her. Fondacaro also provided no evidence that Thomas' "beliefs" on the 2020 election are, in fact, "past."
If wouldn't be Fondacaro if he wasn't also spewing hate at Alyssa Farah Griffin for not being right-wing enough, so when she made an obvious point, he was enraged: "'Conservative' Alyssa Farah Griffin noted that Democrats like Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Hillary Clinton engaged in election denialism over 2016, but beclowned herself again by arguing what they did was 'a far cry from what Donald Trump did.'" Fondacaro didn't dispute the accuracy of Farah Griffin's statement.
Tim Graham devoted his Sept. 9 column to this non-controversy, rehashing Houck's and Fondacaro's posts to indict Jean-Pierre anew -- though he did GO THERE and mildly criticize Doocy for waiting so long to ask his biased question:
Jean-Pierre tried to call the comparison “ridiculous,” that “I was talking specifically at that time of what was happening with voting rights and the what was in danger of voting rights.” That changes absolutely nothing. The hypocrisy remains. The only leg these liberals have to stand on is they didn’t riot at the Capitol. They spent most of Trump’s presidency treating him as a Russian-imposed fraud, but that’s somehow not being a dangerous “election denier.”
Conservatives quickly pointed out the obvious: if the press secretary had long anticipated this question, why was the answer so remarkably insufficient?
It’s a rollicking part of our democracy that Democrats seek to keep their minority voters activated and lining up to vote by scaring them relentlessly about Republican conspiracies of “Jim Crow” voter suppression and even “they want y’all in chains,” to quote Vice President Biden. The “independent fact checkers” fail to pounce and the Big Tech platforms won’t squash them for “disinformation” and dangerous election-denier messaging.
Karine Jean-Pierre was only acting like every other cynical liberal playing this game. Doocy could have thrown this question at her when she took over for Jen Psaki in May. Her answer would have been just as lame then.
This was followed by a Sept. 10 "flashback" post by Scott Whitlock that rehashed her comments yet again, whining that "The revolving door between radical MSNBC analyst and Biden White House Press Secretary shows just how little difference there really is between the two leftist outfits." He won't mention the revolving door between the MRC and Fox News.
It was Gabriela Pariesau's turn to take a whack at Jean-Pierre over her Sept. 8 briefing:
When in doubt, point to the Trump administration! That’s what White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre did Wednesday when she dodged a question about alleged collusion between the Biden administration and social media companies to suppress free speech.
When asked about the allegations Jean-Pierre said, ”[t]here has been ongoing work dating to the Trump administration to provide accurate COVID information where folks get their news.”
Her comments came in response to Fox Business reporter Edward Lawrence who asked Jean-Pierre about a pending lawsuit. Attorneys general Eric Schmitt of Missouri and Jeff Landry of Louisiana brought a lawsuit against members of the Biden administration for allegedly colluding with Big Tech to censor so-called “misinformation.”
Pretending that misinformation is subjective and deserves scare quotes is an MRC narrative to protect right-wing misleaders and liars from suffering the consequences of their behavior.
Houck returned to do his usual dirty work out hyping right-wing reporters' biased attacks on the Sept. 9 briefing:
Prior to White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre using Thursday afternoon’s breaking news of Queen Elizabeth II’s death to end that day’s briefing, she was asked by reporters from two ends of the political spectrum how President Biden and his family have been affected by record-high inflation and gas prices and whether they’ve cut back on anything. Of course, the stammering, yammering Jean-Pierre had nothing to offer.
Fox Business Network’s Edward Lawrence noted that, seeing as how Jean-Pierre has “talked about trying to get costs down,” “a new Gallup poll show[ed] that” Americans have been forced to do so with 24 percent of the country revealing they’re “spending less” and “17 percent traveled less or canceled vacations” due to the high living costs.
Despite that, Lawrence noted that Biden “has been to his beach house six times” and gone on vacations to the Carolinas. “Is he considering any spending cuts for the administration or for himself personally because of inflation,” he asked.
We don't recall Houck or anyone else at the MRC demanding that the Trump family act and spend like the "real Americans" he reference in his headline. The right-wing stenography continued:
Real Clear Politics’ Philip Wegmann had a series of probing questions about leaks from the Mar-a-Lago raid, Energy Secretary Granholm praising California’s energy policies days ahead of concerns it could fail, and why has it been over 200 days since President Biden last gave a (television) interview.
On that last one, Jean-Pierre responded in much the same way Psaki did when similar questions were raised: “The President loves talking to you all. He takes your questions all the time...He is happy to talk to you all. As you know, he does it multiple times during the week.”
We also don't recall that the MRC was in any way bothered that Trump press secretary Stephanie Grisham gave no press briefings at all during her tenure.
Houck lashed out at the Sept. 15 briefing under the nasty headline "KJP Rides Struggle Bus Through Basic Questions from Heinrich, Welker on the Border":
Amid the left’s collective meltdown over Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) sending illegal immigrants to far-left, rich, white Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre struggled with questions from both her allies in the press corps and actual reporters about the move, including a Kamala Harris-like answer and a general attitude painting Martha’s Vineyard as some sort of Third World outpost.
After Jean-Pierre had worked her way around the room a few times, it was finally Jacqui Time. Fox’s Jacqui Heinrich started a short, probing question in the mold of her colleague, Peter Doocy: “Do you think that Americans believe that the border is secure?”
Jean-Pierre kept to her binder (which earlier had her referring to Ted Cruz as the governor of Texas) about there being a “process” the Biden regime has followed “to secure the border” and “fix[ing] a broken system” is not like “flipping a light switch”
Heinrich then fired off this fastball about whether there’s “risk...that voters might feel like they’re being lied to” about the porous border and whether border conditions are “humane”[.]
Remember, Houck cares only that right-wing reporters play gotcha, not that their questions are fair or informative -- and, apparently, he loves that Heinrich is just as biased as Doocy.
A Sept. 15 post by Tim Graham whined about fact-checkers again, parroting a Fox News report claiming that "nearly every major fact-checker has completely ignored White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre since she took over for Jen Psaki. Fox has energetically pointed out KJP preposterously claimed no one walks across the Southern border, which no 'fact checker' touched." Kevin Tober pushed the malicious incompetent-diversity-hire angle in a Sept. 20 post:
On Tuesday night's edition of Alex Wagner Tonight on MSNBC, host Alex Wagner brought on White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre for a wide-ranging interview on everything from the ongoing Biden border crisis to President Joe Biden's claim on 60 Minutes that the COVID-19 pandemic is over. Comments that sent his own public health advisors into a frenzied clean-up afterward. Yet Jean-Pierre's incoherence when answering questions no matter how simple isn't just displayed during press briefings when pressed by the White House press corps, she even struggles when given softballs by friendly press.
In light of the controversy of Governors Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and Greg Abbott (R-TX) sending migrants to liberal states, Wagner asked about a report that "DHS officials have presented the White House with some options including flying migrants to the country’s northern border with Canada to alleviate overcrowding on the U.S. Mexico border." Wagner then asked, "how that is meaningfully different than what DeSantis and Abbott are doing?"
Proving how she is nothing but a diversity hire, Jean-Pierre mumbled and fumbled her way through that very simple question without actually answering it in any comprehensible way:
Wagner never corrected her for her many false statements like claiming the border "is not open" and that Republicans are playing games on immigration. Neither of which is true.
Tober offered no proof to support either claim. Meanwhile, Houck was on the attack again in his writeup of the Sept. 20 briefing:
The inept White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre continued her penchant Tuesday for stumbling her way through press briefings with the latest topic being Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) flying illegal immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard and Governors Greg Abbott (R-TX) and Doug Ducey (R-AZ) bussing them to liberal cities.
And, for once, NPR put your tax dollars to work in a positive manner as correspondent Franco Ordoñez grilled Jean-Pierre on the Biden administration’s refusal to work these governors to secure the border.
For the Sept. 23 briefing, Houck cheered his mancrush Peter Doocy being nastier than usual to Jean-Pierre (which he baselessly insisted was "rare" of him):
Friday’s White House press briefing sent viewers into the weekend with a bang as Fox’s Peter Doocy showed a rare moment of anger as White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre blatantly and repeatedly refused to answer his question as to whether President Biden believes in any limit to abortion.
Doocy began as he always does with a basic, rather innocuous question. This time, it touched on her opening remarks lambasting the 15-week abortion ban proposed by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC): “Following up on your topper, does President Biden favor any limits on abortion?”
Jean-Pierre said “[w]e've been very, very clear” in “talking specifically about” Graham’s plan, but Doocy interjected to push her along: “And your position on his plan is clear. 15 weeks is unacceptable.”
She then continued: “I was speaking to directly to what Republicans are trying to do. They are calling they are calling they are calling for a national ban, which takes us backwards.”
Continuing to stammer her way along, Doocy fact-checked her by noting Graham’s proposal is only for 15 weeks and not an outright ban.
Jean-Pierre continued to lie, claiming “it's a national ban, which will take us backwards and will put at risk the health of women” and would be the first step by “extreme Republican officials” in ending “privacy” and “contraception” and attacking “marriage” (as in gay and interracial marriages).
“I'm not going to get into specifics here. I’m just going to lay out what what they have said that they’re going to do,” she hilariously added.
Doocy seized on that nonsense: “Why not get into specifics? The Republicans are saying we don't want abortion after 15 weeks. Why can't you say how many weeks the President thinks the limit is?”
Jean-Pierre again diverted by invoking House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and the House GOP’s Commitment to America, but Doocy wasn’t having it, saying he’s “not asking about Kevin McCarthy” and instead about “Joe Biden and his position on abortion.”
After being asked one last time “how many weeks,” Jean-Pierre filibustered with a meandering answer about Republicans “trying to take away the rights and freedoms of Americans.” Doocy tried to push back, but Jean-Pierre moved on to Bloomberg Government’s Courtney Rozen.
Doocy almost always complies when Jean-Pierre (or Jen Psaki) would move on, but not on this day as he exclaimed, “[y]ou did not answer my question”(click “expand”):
Only in Houck's right-wing bizarro world could a biased reporter like Doocy be seen as asking almost exclusively "innocuous question."
Fondacaro took over the Doocy-fluffing (and Karine-hating) duties for a post on the Sept. 26 briefing:
With crime soaring in American cities across the country as a result of extreme progressive district attorneys turning criminals loose without bail or without charges (including crimes involving firearms), safety is a major concern for Americans who call those places home. So, one would think the Biden White House would have a serious answer when asked if they think “America’s big cities are safe?” But, of course, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was as unserious as ever as Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy asked the simple question.
Putting off Doocy to near the end of the Q&A portion of the briefing, he asked the question as simply as possible: “Does President Biden think America’s big cities are safe?”
Jean-Pierre was rendered confused by the simple premise of the question, asking in return, “Can you say more?” “Well, we know that thefts and robberies are up about 20 percent in the first half of this year. So, I’m wondering if he thinks America’s big cities are safe?” he elaborated.
Still, Jean-Pierre felt like she was blowing in the wind in need of more solid information. Of course, Doocy obliged with more examples of runaway crime:
She proceeded to suggest Biden had “secured historic funding” for local police “in the face of opposition from Republicans.” She also blamed former President Trump, saying Biden “inherited a rising crime rate from the previous administration,” despite the fact the rising crime was in predominantly liberal jurisdictions.
“So, I guess, just the original question: Does President Biden think America’s big cities are safe?” Doocy plainly asked again in the face of her non-answer. “It is not it is not a um It is not a yes or no question,” Jean-Pierre stammered.
Houck returned to his hateful duty for the Sept. 28 briefing:
In what might be her worst performance as White House press secretary (in what’s already been dominated by ineptitude), Karine Jean-Pierre faced searing heat Wednesday from across the ideological spectrum of the press corps after President Joe Biden called out to Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (R-IN) at a global hunger event despite the fact that Walorski died nearly two months ago.
ABC’s Cecilia Vega broke through as the second reporter called on, wondering “what happened at the hunger event” as Biden “seemed to indicate she might be in the room.” In response, Jean-Pierre claimed Biden was simply “acknowledging her incredible work” on food insecurity and, because her family will meet him on Friday, “she was on his mind” and “top of mind.”
Vega wasn’t moved: “He said, ‘Jackie, are you here? Where is Jackie? She must not be here.’”
Jean-Pierre doubled down that “she was on top of mind,” so it fell to CNN’s Phil Mattingly a few minutes later, who admitted he was “trying to get my head around” her excuse.
“Why was he looking for her? I’m not trying to be snarky here,” he added. Unfortunately, Jean-Pierre stuck to her explanation for what should otherwise be viewed as a sign of cognitive decline.
In the back rows, some reporters decided they had enough, including Newsmax’s James Rosen: “I have John Lennon top of mind just about every day but I'm not looking around for him anywhere.”
Jean-Pierre thought she had him caught with this dead fish of a zinger: “When you sign a bill for John Lennon Lennon as president, then we can have this conversion.”
From there, chaos ensued. EWTN’s Owen Jensen first wondered “why don’t you just apologize” and continued as Jean-Pierre tried to escape by calling on a friendly reporter in USA Today ’s Michael Collins.
A few minutes after things calmed down, Real Clear Politics’ Philip Wegmann had the last Walorski question and tried to see if Jean-Pierre would return to reality: “Does he believe he handled that reference appropriately or is this something that he would like to get back?”
Jean-Pierre played dumb and, after acknowledging it's “a question...many of you have had,” proclaimed “my answer is certainly not going to change.”
We don't recall Houck ever criticizing his beloved Kayleigh McEnany for making excuses for her boss, Donald Trump -- indeed, he cheered every time she refused to answer questions from reporters. Houck didn't explain why this is no different.