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Psaki-Bashing And Doocy-Fluffing At The MRC, April 2022

The Media Research Center's Curtis Houck has nothing but contempt for Jen Psaki and nothing but cookies for Peter Doocy and other biased reporters who advance right-wing narratives.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 6/22/2022

Curtis Houck

The Media Research Center's Curtis Houck got over his pouting at the end of March that he couldn't smear White House press secretary Jen Psaki because she was out with COVID just in time to mock her for preparing to leave for a job at MSNBC. For the April 4 briefing, Houck gave his man-crush Peter Doocy a cookie for staying on message by pestering Psaki with biased questions on the sex-obsessed right-wing outrage du jour:
Monday on The Psaki Show, Fox’s Peter Doocy made what could be one of his final cracks at White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki before her rumored move to MSNBC and he made it count with a tense exchange on transgenderism, the Florida parental rights in education law, and whether the White House thinks children at age six should learn sex ed.

Doocy pivoted from question about Russia’s war against Ukraine (more on that later) to one White House reporters had refused to ask: “A question about college sports. In some places like the Ivy League now, there are biological males competing against women. Does the White House think that is fair?”

Psaki began by saying the White House isn’t “the governing body for the NCAA or any other [sports] system out there” and, after acknowledging his question was in reference to transgender Penn swimmer Lia Thomas, she framed the need to endorse transgenderism as a way of “protect[ing] the dignity and identity of all Americans” as it relates to their mental health.

After she said the administration “hope[s] all leaders” join them, Doocy brought up Florida’s education bill that forbids sex education for children from pre-K through third grade: “At what age does the White House think that students should be taught about sexual orientation and gender identity?”

As we’ve learned, the left has shown that it indeed wants children that young to be exposed to such topics and Psaki was no exception as she said the law’s “a reflection of...politicians in Florida propagating misinformed, hateful policies that do absolutely nothing to address the real issues.”

Remember, for Houck it's all about Doocy staying on message and Psaki being purportedly destroyed by it (note the "Kaboom" in Houck's headline); it's not about whether Doocy's talking points are actually true.

Houck served up more Doocy-gushing for the April 5 briefing, this time for following the right-wing (and MRC) script du jour by asking about Hunter Biden:

Tuesday during a late-afternoon Psaki Show, Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy questioned the White House press secretary over calls for Attorney General Merrick Garland to appoint a special counsel to give full independence from the Biden White House to investigate First Son Hunter Biden and his life of corruption. Predictably, Psaki wanted nothing to do with this.

“A lot of stories about Hunter Biden surfacing this week. So, to ensure the independence of the investigation, would the President support the appointment of a special counsel,” Doocy asked.

Along with insisting the Department of Justice (DOJ) would make that call as they “make...decisions independently,” Psaki insisted the President has “abide[d] by” his campaign promise to not interfere with the DOJ and thus “has never had a conversation with [them] about any investigations into any member of his family.”

Houck then hyped Doocy still pushing the old right-wing narrative about U.S. sanctions against Russia being ineffective because they didn't stop Vladimir Putin from invading Ukraine:

Prior to his Hunter Biden questions, Doocy followed up on what CBS’s Weijia Jiang had astutely observed, which was whether, in Jiang’s words, “anything...can be done to stop Putin now, in the immediate” given the White House’s insistence that sanctions take time to reach their intended affect.

When Psaki gave an answer of nothingness, Doocy followed up in wanting to know “how much time do you guys think that these innocent Ukrainians have” until Russia’s economy is so crippled it hampers their war efforts.

Psaki cited the levels of inflation and projected economic contraction hitting Russia and the “historic...military and security assistance” to Ukraine, so Doocy cut deeper in his second Russia question: “But do you guys assess that anything you’ve done so far has prevented a war crime from happening?”

for the April 6 briefing, Houck again praised Doocy for staying on right-wing talking points about Hunter Biden and scary immigrants while actual reporters inquired about actual news (though that's not how Houck viewed it):

Wednesday’s Psaki Show marked a contrast between the constructive and the absurd as Fox’s Peter Doocy engaged the White House press secretary on questions surrounding President Biden’s son Hunter and brother Jim and, as other reporters would as well, immigration. But in contrast, others expressed discomfort with a lack of COVID restrictions, raised concerns about right-wing terrorism, and pleaded for more January 6 indictments.

Starting with the constructive, Doocy led with what one could call Bidenphones (following in the footsteps of Obamaphones “Our team in Texas is saying that you guys are starting to give smartphones to border crossers, hoping that they’ll use the phones to check in or to be tracked. I — which part of that is supposed to deter people from crossing illegally into the states?”

Psaki argued “you of all people” should “recognize that we need to take steps to ensure that we know where individuals are and we can track...them” as one of the “alternatives to detention programs” with phones allowing for facial and voice recognition and GPS tracking.

Doocy followed up: “With the telephonic, though, any concern by folks around here that these migrants will take the phones and just toss them?”

When Psaki countered with a question as to whether he knows of “people throwing phones away,” Doocy hit back that he was merely asking a question.


On a second matter, Doocy wanted to know whether it was accurate that, as per emails (from Hunter’s laptop), Joe “was officemates with Hunter and his brother Jim here in D.C.” during Hunter and Jim’s business venture with a Chinese energy company.

Psaki insisted three times that it wasn’t “accurate” and “they were not officemates” despite Doocy noting the fact that Hunter had emailed the landlord asking for keys to be made for Jim as well as the then-former Vice President and wife Jill.

Houck then uniroinically whined about "four fear-mongering COVID-19 questions from The New York Times’s Katie Rogers" regarding the COVID pandemic. He didn't complain about Doocy scaremongering about "illegals" carrying "Obamaphones" -- which, as ConWebWatch documented way back in 2012, never was a thing beyond right-wing narratives.

A busy news cycle was not going to keep Houck from his Doocy-fluffing rounds, so he devoted an April 11 post to lavishing the praise he couldn't do earlier regarding briefings on April 7 and 8:

Given the busy news week, we wanted on Monday morning to recap the best and the worst from Thursday and Friday’s episodes of The Psaki Show and hone in on Fox’s Peter Doocy sparring with Press Secretary Jen Psaki over COVID cases around the President and Vice President and then free cellphones for illegal immigrants.

In contrast, other reporters came at Psaki from the left, expressing fear of the virus, regardless of how many shots one might have had.

Doocy began his Thursday questioning with this zinger about Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) positive COVID test following a White House event: “How can you guys say that President Biden was not a close contact with Speaker Pelosi when there is video of the Speaker kissing him?”

Psaki insisted the Center for Disease Control’s “definition of it is 15 minutes of contact within a set period of time within six feet” and they “did not meet that bar.” Thankfully Doocy pressed on the insanity of this and whether a rash of cases among key officials could be “a national security problem.”

Psaki noted the importance of boosters and the availability of working from home, so Doocy closed the circle with a question about Friday’s celebration of incoming Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson before moving on to immigration and what’s expected to be an explosion of people at the border.


Going to Friday, Doocy similarly began with a bang, sarcastically asking whether there’s “a carve-out in CDC regulations for COVID for the Vice President.”

Psaki invited him to “[t]ell me more” as “I’m sure this is going somewhere” even though she wasn’t entirely certain of what he had for her “on a Friday.”

Take note below of how Psaki had the gall to note Harris was emotional as she had important business to attend to, which led Doocy to question whether this was a case of “rules for thee but not for VP”[.]


On immigration, Doocy wanted to know whether free smartphones could be given “to U.S. citizens that way them” for free with “a free monthly plan” seeing as how they’re being doled out to illegal immigrants.

Psaki wasn’t having it, asking how instead should they be tracked and also inviting Doocy to provide “an alternative suggestion.” Doocy was a good sport, stating he “unfortunately, [has] not been asked to make...policy.”
Houck didn't have Doocy to fluff for the April 13 briefing, so he found a way to get off on Psaki being asked tough questions (something he never did regarding his beloved Kayleigh McEnany): "Hump Day marked a tough day for Jen Psaki as she reportedly careens toward the series finale of The Psaki Show as the White House press secretary faced tough questions on inflation and another off-the-cuff remark from President Biden about Russia’s unprovoked war against Ukraine, including one that questioned whether there needs to be 'an asterisk next to anything that the President says.'" He did give a shout-out to the Fox News employees that were in the room, Jacqui Heinrich and Edward Lawrence.

The writeup was assigned to Kevin Tober for the April 18 briefing, but he knew how to follow Houck's Doocy-fluffing template:

Another day another wild episode of the final season of the Psaki Show. This time with a well-deserved grilling by Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy, and some rather bizarre questions from a couple of other reporters in the room.


Next up, is the moment you’ve all been waiting for with Peter Doocy firing off a number of hard-hitting questions for Psaki:
You said about this mask ruling out of a federal court in Florida that it’s a disappointing decision and you say you continue to recommend that people wear masks. Why is it that we can sit here in the White House briefing room with no masks, but people can't sit in an airplane cabin with no masks?
In response, Psaki sassed Doocy by claiming she’s “not a doctor” and neither is he: “You're not a doctor that I'm aware of.”

Finally getting around to answering the question, the belligerent press secretary tried to explain how the mask decisions are made: “these determinations, remember the masking guidance is there are is green, yellow and red. We are currently in a green zone in Washington, D. C. So they're not recommending it.”

Doocy promptly asked without skipping a beat “then would the President support if a flight is leaving from an airport in a green zone, those people don't have to wear masks?”

The next briefing writeup didn't happen until April 27, in which Houck referenced a briefing he previously ignored and praised Fox's Heinrich for pushing the right-wing talking point du jour on Hunter Biden:

A day after PBS’s Lisa DeJardins asked White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki for comment on the latest Hunter Biden finding by the New York Post, Fox’s Jacqui Heinrich came into Tuesday’s briefing with a question that’ll be worth revisiting as the Biden probe in Delaware moves along as she wanted to know whether President Joe Biden still stands by his claims that he never discussed Hunter’s business dealings with him or with other people.

Heinrich wrapped her questions with one about Hunter in context of the Post’s story from this past weekend that said a Hunter Biden associate had visited the White House 19 times while Hunter’s father was Vice President:


Prior to her Hunter question, Heinrich brought up the CDC order Title 42 and its use at the southern border and whether it was true that the President’s “looking forward to lifting Title 42, describing it as an excuse to keep people out of the country and anti-immigrant.”

Psaki replied that while he “never felt that Title 42 was a — an effective immigration policy...the authority has always rested in the CDC to make that determination.”

And on a topic semi-related, Heinrich questioned whether the supposed drying up of government COVID-19 funding could soon result in a scenario with illegal immigrants receiving vaccinations and pandemic-related care free of charge while American citizens aren’t[.]

The next day, Houck served up more Heinrich love for staying on message over Hunter Biden:

For the second day in a row on Wednesday, Fox’s Jacqui Heinrich pressed lame duck White House press secretary Jen Psaki on both Hunter Biden’s life of corruption and the ongoing crisis at the border as the Biden administration continues to divert resources away from American citizens and toward illegal immigrants.

Heinrich sandwiched her Hunter Biden questions in between back-and-forth’s on Saturday’s White House Correspondents Dinner (WHCD) and Title 42, stating she “want[ed] to take another stab at a question I tried yesterday.”

“We’ve heard the President say over and over again that he has never spoken to his son about his business dealings. Has he ever spoken to his son’s business partners about his son’s business dealings,” she asked.

Psaki made it as clear as day for the U.S. Attorney and grand jury in Delaware, saying “nothing has changed about what I said yesterday” in that President Biden “does not get involved in the business dealings of his son.”

Heinrich twice followed up to have Psaki repeat herself:

Houck didn't think Heinrich was a bad reporter for asking questions that elicited the same answers from Psaki -- she stayed on message with the right-wing agenda, and that's all that matters to him.

For the April 28 and 29 briefings, Heinrich was again the beneficiary of Houck's praise:

On Thursday and Friday’s editions of The Psaki Show, Fox News White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich repeatedly took the outgoing White House press secretary to task over the appointment of Nina Jankowicz, a far-left Resistance fiend to run what many have deemed a real-life Ministry of Truth out of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Heinrich wrapped her Thursday Q&A by invoking the so-called “Disinformation Governance Board” that’s set to fight “misinformation ahead of the midterms” and “Hispanic communities especially.”

After she asked about “what this board is going to be doing” and the depths of “their authority,” Psaki claimed she hadn’t “dug into this exactly” other than to state “there has been a range of disinfo out there about a range of topics — I mean, including COVID, for example, and also elections and eligibility.”


The Fox reporter kept up the pressure by citing her TikTok profile and comments in one video in which she accused conservatives and Trump voters of “laundering [disinformation]” and “not support their lies with our wallet, voice, or vote.”

Psaki countered by again blaming Trump and insisting the real mission of the board is “protecting privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties and the First Amendment” while also countering “disinformation.”

The future MSNBC analyst added that examples include combating terrorism and “misinformation...spread by human smugglers that prey on vulnerable populations attempting to migrate to the United States.”

Heinrich noted it all “sound[s] very worthy, but you've got someone in — from the Department Homeland Security telling people how they should vote,” so it’s worth considering the fact that “critics...say that doesn’t sound right.”

Of course, Psaki ducked by brushing off Jankowicz as just someone “overseeing the work of that board” conceived by Trump.

Again: Pushing conservatively correct narratives, not asking professional journalistic questions, is all Houck cares about.

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