Psaki-Bashing And Doocy-Fluffing At The MRC, March 2022
The Media Research Center's Curtis Houck makes sure to reward biased right-wing Fox News employees like Peter Doocy for advancing anti-Biden talking points in the White House briefing room.
By Terry Krepel
In the days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Houck continued to push the anti-American attitudes he had started at the end of February by emphasizing Biden-bashing over unity. His lashing out at press secretary Jen Psaki during a March 1 Fox News appearance was typical:
Previewing President Biden’s State of the Union address, White House press secretary Jen Psaki joined FNC’s America’s Newsroom on Tuesday and squared off against co-hosts Bill Hemmer and Dana Perino over President Biden’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and specifically the administration’s refusal to budge on domestic oil and gas production and the timing of the CDC dropping its mask recommendations.
Note that Houck did not accuse Hemmer and Perino of pushing talking points -- perhaps because he's singing from that very same script. He also didn't mention that he, Hemmer and Perino were setting up Psaki and Biden -- despite blaming Biden for not moving quickly enough to cut off oil exports from Russia, they would also blame Biden for the gas price spike once that oil was cut off. It's the right-wing script that Biden must always criticize him no matter what he does -- even if he does what right-wingers told him to do.
Houck did an ever-so-brief section at the end of his item touting how "reporters also came loaded for bear"at that day's press briefing, giving an seemingly MRC-mandated shout-out to Fox News reporter Jacqui Heinrich.
Houck gave Heinrich a more extensive gushing-over in his summary of the March 3 briefing for pushing that same talking point:
After having two days off for President Biden’s State of the Union and trip to Wisconsin, Thursday brought the return of The Psaki Show and, with the Biden administration still refusing to ban the import of Russian oil, the questions were fierce.
Houck went on to sneer that "Psaki stuck to her previous answer, blaming oil companies for allegedly thousands of unused leases." He didn't disprove Psaki's statement, but instead he continued his Heinrich-fluffing:
Psaki engaged in a bait-and-switch, ignoring Heinrich’s point about money coming into Russia from U.S. oil purchases and instead saying Russian oil only makes up “about ten percent of what we're importing” even though cutting it off “would...raise prices.”
Houck's summary of the March 7 briefing was devoted to reporters -- with special attention given to right-wingers Steven Nelson of the New York Post and (credibly accused sexual harasser) James Rosen of Newsmax -- complaining that reporters didn't get to ask enough questions. After noting that White House Correspondents Association president and CBS News Radio correspondent Steven Portnoy pointed out that Psaki “made a conscious decision to try to honor the long-standing traditions of the room” since “the people before [her] [had] a different view.” Houck huffed in response: "This was a swipe at press secretaries for then-President Trump." Of course, Houck thought it was cool that those press secretaries wouldn't take questions and acted like jerks toward reporters.
Houck also made sure to get in his "Doocy Boom" fluffing from that briefing in a separate post:
Prior to Monday’s explosive post-briefing kerfuffle (which NewsBusters was able to audio from), the regularly scheduled Psaki Show featured the return of Doocy Time as the Fox News correspondent battled the press secretary over who or what’s to blame for high gas prices and why there’s been, at best, an apprehension to increased domestic oil and gas production as Russia’s war on Ukraine rages on.
Houck then decided he could read Psaki's mind:
To Psaki’s chagrin and pleas to “let me finish,” Doocy reminded here that “President Biden signed an executive order his first week that halted new oil and gas leases on public lands.”
Houck censored the fact that the moratorium on new oil and gas leases has been left and, as a result, the Biden administration has issued more leases than the entire Trump administration.
Houck filled his cheerleader role for Doocy and another Fox News employee in his summary of the March 9 briefing, ridiculously headlined "News Team, Assemble!":
A day after President Biden announced a ban on Russian oil and as gas prices surged to record highs, The Psaki Show featured hardballs Wednesday afternoon on the impact of the Biden economy on consumers. Chiefly, questions from Fox News’s Peter Doocy and Fox Business’s Edward Lawrence led Psaki to struggle to defend the White House’s policies on inflation, gas prices, and a refusal to support expanded domestic energy production.
Houck then linked to an article from the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, that pretended a lobbying group's PR campaign was a "fact-check."
Houck also dutifully transcribed how Doocy pushed his employer's right-wing talking points about the Keystone pipeline:
Doocy tried to make things simpler, wondering “a restart of the Keystone XL construction” is “completely off the table as long as Joe Biden is President.”
Only a right-wing hack like Houck would describe a factual statement as "sniping." (And no mention, of course, of Rosen being a credibly accused sexual harasser.)
For his writeup of the March 14 briefing, Houck had a new pair of right-wing reporters to gush over:
Monday’s episode of The Psaki Show featured Fox News’s Jacqui Heinrich and Newsmax’s James Rosen grilling Press Secretary Jen Psaki over the Biden administration showing weakness when dealing with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the lead up to his invasion of Ukraine as well as their reluctance to provide Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy with the military support he needs.
Notice that it's always Psaki who has an "attitude" and never the right-wing reporters hurling biased questions at her. And, again, no mention of Rosen's slimy history.
Houck gushed over Heinrich again playing pedantic word games in his writeup of the March 16 briefing:
If you can believe it, Wednesday marked the 200th episode of The Psaki Show (as per the AP’s Chris Megerian) and it featured some of everything, including a quintessential softball question about whether President Biden’s a morning or evening person and hardballs from Fox’s Jacqui Heinrich and Gray TV’s Jon Decker on the latest Biden White House word games.
Houck made sure to fold in his employer's Hunter Biden Derangement Syndrome into his near-daily attacks on White House press secretary Jen Psaki as seen through biased right-wing reporters. His summary of the March 17 briefing focused on the former:
After scores of COVID and Ukraine questions at Thursday’s White House press briefing, Real Clear Politics’s Philip Wegmann and Daily Mail’s Rob Crilly finally broke through with one question each about Hunter Biden in light of a New York Times report that all but admitted the New York Post was right in 2020 about his infamous laptop. Unfortunately, Press Secretary Jen Psaki wanted nothing to do with them.
A second report from Houck on that day's briefing mocked reporters for still being concerned about COVID, dismissing it as "fear porn" (as if his employer's obsession with Hunter Biden was not that):
Thursday’s Psaki Show reminded viewers of a sad but necessary reminder that too many in the liberal media will never relent on fear porn surrounding the coronavirus and their penchant for restrictions on everyday life. Such was the case with numerous reporters pushing the press secretary from the left to reinstitute them due to a new omicron variant and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff’s positive test.
As if the right-wing reporters Houck loves don't offer commentaries masquerading as questions. Indeed, for the March 18 briefing, he called those biased questions "hardballs":
Try as she might to ignore them and find favor with liberal reporters who won’t join in, Hunter Biden questions aren’t stopping anytime soon for White House press secretary Jen Psaki with Friday’s Psaki Show being the latest example in the form of a tense back and forth with the New York Post’s Steven Nelson.
Houck didn't complain that Nelson was straight-up repeating Republican talking points the way he likes to portray non-right-wing reporters for repeating Democratic talking points. He also didn't mention that Psaki served up a detailed rebuttal of Republican Sen. Josh Hawley's false smears of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson on sentencing child porn offenders.
Psaki then came down with COVID again, and Houck once again lost interest in doing briefings for a while because a non-Psaki (deputy press secretary Chris Meagher) was on the podium in her stead. Houck somehow refrained from mocking Psaki for not being able to "move on" from COVID.