New Press Secretary, Same MRC Hate: October-December 2022
Curtis Houck and Co. seemed to be getting bored with spewing hate at Karine Jean-Pierre and fluffing right-wing journalists, so the frequency of the Media Research Center's press briefing write-ups diminished toward the end of the year.
By Terry Krepel Posted 1/18/2023
It's so like Media Research Center writer Curtis Houck to blame others for his own laziness. In an Oct. 18 post, he complained that White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre had only given four press briefings in the month -- but this was the first briefing of the month that he bothered to write about. Apparently, his pet White House reporters from Fox News and other right-wing outlets were sufficiently trashing Jean-Pierre to his satisfaction, nor was he able to make up yet another reason to denigrate her as an incompetent diversity hire. (It's also quite ironic because he never complained at all that one of Donald Trump press secretaries, Stephanie Grisham, gave no press briefings at all during her tenure.)
Still, Houck gave it the ol' college try in generating his usual Doocy-fluffing:
In only the fourth White House press briefing this month, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre faced a litany of questions Tuesday about the left’s fixation on abortion (instead of crime or the economy).
As we’ve come to expect, Fox’s Peter Doocy and Real Clear Politics’ Philip Wegmann turned up the heat with Doocy asking if the White House is more concerned about abortions than struggling Americans and Wegmann wondering whether President Biden supports a limit on abortion.
CBS News Radio’s Steven Portnoy set the table by asking Jean-Pierre how many more Senate Democrats Biden needs Roe and, after Jean-Pierre repeatedly ducked, he instead asked if abortion would be Biden’s “top legislative priority in” 2023.
Jean-Pierre ducked, accusing him of engaging in “hypotheticals.” Portnoy pressed one last time by wondering if this abortion focus means it’s already his top issue, Jean-Pierre said Biden has “show[n]...how important Roe is to him, how important reproductive rights is because a majority of Americans believe that this right needs to stand.”
Jean-Pierre promptly stepped in it: “The President’s going to continue to talk about issues that matter to the American people and abortion is one of them. A majority of the American people disagree with the decision that that the Supreme Court made the Dobbs decision....When it comes to the economy...it is the his number one economic priority”.
Doocy picked up on Jean-Pierre’s description of inflation only being “his number one economic priority.” And when she suggested Biden has created a roaring economy, Doocy fired off a scorcher on how could that be the case when Bloomberg said a recession is indisputable (click “expand”):
Predictably, Jean-Pierre blamed oil companies for high prices:“There is no shortage of opportunities or incentive for oil companies to ramp up production. We’ve made that clear. Oil companies are ranking in record profits”.
Houck continued his laziness: Even though Jean-Pierre held three more briefings in October (plus several other informal "press gaggles" throughout the month), Houck couldn't be bothered to write about them either. If Houck continues such laziness in his hackery, what are we going to write about?
Having taken much of October off -- presumably to recharge the ol' hate machine -- the MRC got back into the Karine -hating, Fox News-fluffing swing of things. Kevin Tober maliciously trashed Jean-Pierre yet again as an incompetent diversity hire in his writeup of the Nov. 7 briefing:
Proving once again that she was only hired so the Biden administration could fill their diversity quota, President Biden’s press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre struggled through another painful and cringeworthy press conference where she had difficulty stringing coherent sentences together in order to answer simple questions from reporters in the briefing room.
Jean-Pierre’s troubles began when Fox News White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich asked her about Biden looking to hide from the press and not hold a post-midterm news conference as every President has for decades.
Addressing Biden’s refusal to commit to holding a post-election news conference, Heinrich said “An outside observer might conclude that he doesn’t want to have a press conference because he looks poised to lose control of one or both chambers.”
She then asked, “why the day before the midterms won’t the White House commit to holding that traditional post-midterms press conference the day after the elections?”
“You’ve been covering this administration for the past 20 months right?” Jean-Pierre nastily replied. She then made the laughable excuse that “it takes some time in any administration to lay out what the schedule is going to be.”
“I've been very clear. You're going to hear from the President. He always enjoys taking your questions,” she added.
The incoherent press secretary’s next struggle session with the English language came during a question from CBS News digital’s Kathryn Watson who asked about Biden’s comments over the weekend where he said he wanted to shut down the coal industry and Jean-Pierre’s insistence the President’s words were “twisted” by Republicans or others who are hostile to Biden.
“You mentioned a couple times or repeated, a couple times today that those words were twisted. So who twisted them? Did Manchin twist them? Did someone else twist them?" Watson asked.
“It’s how it was reported out was being twisted,” Jean-Pierre responded. “If you read the full transcript, the President was very clear. Commenting on a fact of economics and technology,” she added.
Last but not least, Real Clear Politics White House reporter Phillip Wegmann sought clarification on Biden’s intentions when it comes to the coal industry. Wegmann asked Jean-Pierre, “you said that the President is fighting for coal communities. But just to follow up, that doesn't mean that he's fighting to keep these coal mines open. Does it?”
Jean-Pierre, in broken English, claimed Biden “has put forward plans that are bringing new energy and manufacturing jobs to states, like West Virginia, to states like Pennsylvania,” and that “he has secured critical investment through the Inflation Reduction Act to support coal communities, as well.”
Houck found a different Fox News reporter to fawn over in his writeup of the Nov. 10 briefing:
After Bloomberg’s Jenny Leonard asked President Biden on Wednesday afternoon about whether he thinks Twitter boss Elon Musk is a national security threat, CBS’s Weijia Jiang and Fox’s David Spunt followed up during Thursday’s White House press briefing and whether Biden actually meant that and how that’d square with his campaign promise to have an independent Justice Department (DOJ).
Spunt was far more aggressive, using a rare pinch-hit appearance in the Briefing Room to point out that CFIUS involves the Justice Department and thus would mean Biden yet again meddled in the DOJ process like he has with January 6 subpoenas[.]
Spunt also tucked in a question about COVID-19 origins and whether Biden would bring that up with Chinese President Xi Jinping at next week’s G-20, especially considering that’s something Republicans would look to investigate if they take control of Congress.
Jean-Pierre hilariously claimed Biden “has always been clear on getting to the bottom of COVID,” but wouldn’t commit to having them discuss it.
Remember: for the MRC, it's all about gushing over right-wing reporters being jerks and finding new ways to denigrate Jean-Pierre.
Houck was full of anti-Karine hostility -- and gushing for a new right-wing reporter -- in his writeup of the Nov. 22 briefing that also featured Anthony Fauci:
Between the run-up to the midterms and President Biden’s lengthy foreign trip, White House briefings have been few and far between. But there was one Tuesday and it devolved into a near riot with Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre repeatedly excoriating Daily Caller’s Diana Glebova and her defenders when she tried to shout questions to Dr. Tony Fauci about his role in the origins of COVID-19.
Glebova had a point to intervene considering questions for Fauci looked like this from ABC’s Karen Travers: “You became a household name in large part because of your appearance is here at the early stages of COVID. What do you want Americans to remember about your service in government?”
Glebova interjected after Fauci’s answer, asking what he was doing in relation to the “investigations into the origins of COVID,” but Fauci and Jean-Pierre ignored it.
Fast-forward and there was more stupidity from the likes of theGrio’s April Ryan lamenting that the country isn’t “talking about mask-wearing” anymore since “[m]asks and the word masks have become a pejorative in some parts of this nation,” and thus invited him to “talk about the importance of mask-wearing as you’re worried about the holidays and people gathering together.”
After Fauci insisted masks were one of “multiple actions...to protect ourselves” and Ryan followed up on masks “being a pejorative,” Glebova tried again to bring up “the origins of COVID.” Ryan promptly screeched at Glebova: “Don’t be disrespectful.”
Jean-Pierre said the same, so the New York Post’s Steven Nelson intervened and called on Fauci to given them “an answer.” Jean-Pierre squashed that, saying she didn’t call on him either.
The "fireworks" promised in Houck's headline came when Jean-Pierre had to deal with notoriously rude reporter Simon Ateba, who works for something called Today News Africa and who actually is as annoying as the MRC insisted Jim Acosta and Brian Karem were during the Trump years. But Houck has flip-flopped on briefing room rudeness because Ateba appears to be a right-wing ally and endorsed the question Glebova shouted at Jean-Pierre, Ateba shouted some more, and Houck made it look like Jean-Pierre was the bad guy: "Jean-Pierre snapped while also going back to [CNN's Jeremy] Diamond: 'I’m done. Simon, I’m done. I’m Simon, I’m done. I’m done with you right now...You’re taking time away from your colleagues.'"
Houck didn't forget his mancrush, though, making sure to note that "Doocy Time made a brief return when he pressed [White House COVID response coordinator Ashish] Jha on reports of shortages on key antibiotics and antivirals."
Gabriela Pariseau took over attack duties for the Nov. 28 briefing:
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre sent a veiled threat Monday to Twitter owner Elon Musk when she claimed that the The White House is “monitoring” Twitter after Musk took over the platform.
When asked about the White House’s concerns that a Musk-owned Twitter might become a “vector of misinformation,”Jean-Pierre made it clear that the White House has all eyes on Musk.
“This is something that we're certainly keeping an eye on,” she said. “It is [social media platforms’] responsibility to make sure when it comes to misinformation, when it comes to the hate that we’re seeing, that they take action, that they continue to take action. [W]e're all keeping a close eye on this. We're all monitoring what’s currently occurring."
Despite identifying no actual threat by Jean-Pierre, veiled or otherwise, Pariseau went on to play the whataboutism card:
The White House didn’t seem interested in “monitoring the situation” after social media companies allowed posts threatening violence after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson overturned Roe v. Wade. The administration was similarly silent when it first took office following a violent summer of BLM and ANTIFA riots, many of which proliferated on social media platforms.
For the Nov. 30 briefing, Houck brought full frontal Doocy-fluffing and unveiled contempt for Jean-Pierre:
Doocy started with the border and this fable that Biden has visited the border (which has been debunked: “Kevin McCarthy says that he invited President Biden down to the border. How has the President RSVP?”
Jean-Pierre and her fellow liberals in the press corps laughed, but Doocy kept asking: “We know we know the President has never been down to the border. The possible next speaker says that he wants him to go with him, so is he going to?”
Jean-Pierre twice replied with the lie that he has “been there,” so Doocy interjected to ask “when did he go to the border.”
Naturally, she didn’t answer and insisted Biden has been working since day one “to fix our immigration system and secure our border” while, on the other side, Republicans have shown zero “willingness to work with us on...fixing a situation that's been around for decades now” and instead engaged in “political stunts.”
Doocy pivoted to Twitter and what would be a natural conclusion to the premise that the White House is somehow concerned about Twitter’s safety: “When are you guys going to delete the White House Twitter account?”
Jean-Pierre fell right into his trap and wondered why they’d do that. He then let her know why he asked that: “Well, you're saying that you're keeping an eye on Twitter because it might not be a suitable platform, so why use it?”
Using one of her catchphrases that she “want[ed] to be very clear,” Jean-Pierre argued that, while she didn’t “have anything to share on any policy,” Biden “has been very, very clear in his belief that it is important social media platforms to continue to take steps to reduce hate speech and misinformation.”
Doocy tried one last time with another natural conclusion (which the White House admitted they were doing last year with Facebook on alleged coronavirus disinformation): “When you say that you're going to be monitoring some of the speech on there, if you see something that you don't like, would you try to shut Twitter down?”
Jean-Pierre clownishly thought she could put this to rest with some sarcasm, “I hate to break it to you, Peter, just like everybody else we very much monitor the news.” She continued by reiterating that the White House “pay[s] close attention to everything that you all are reporting and Twitter is in the news a lot and so that's what we're paying attention to.”
Houck went on to laughably and bizarrely describe the NAACP and the Anti-Defamation League as "far-left, pro-censorship groups" who are also monitoring Musk-era Twitter. Unsurprisingly, no explanation was given to justify the wacky description, or when fighting anti-Semitism as the ADL became a "far-left" position. (Probably around the time the MRC had trouble denouncing the anti-Semitism of Kanye West.)
The MRC's increasingly sporadic attacks on Jean-Pierre (running out of insults, perhaps?) continued into December. Houck's writeup of the Dec. 5 briefing was centered on the first "Twitter files" release that the MRC had been aggressively hyping:
Over the course of Monday’s 48-minute-long White House press briefing, Fox’s Jacqui Heinrich was the only member of the press corps called on who asked the ever-stammering Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre about Friday’s release of the Twitter Files by Twitter boss Elon Musk and journalist Matt Taibbi. Whether it be reporters for the Associated Press, CBS, or USA Today to name a few, they all remained silent.
Not surprisingly, Jean-Pierre dismissed the matter as a “distraction...full of old news” as Twitter’s facing “very serious questions about the rising volume of anger, hate, and anti-Semitism” that “they're letting...happen” (which Musk has vehemently denied).
Heinrich broached the subject by first highlighting the fact that Jean-Pierre said last week that the Biden administration would be “keeping a close eye on” Musk and then asking: “Is it the White House’s view that decisions at Twitter were made appropriately in terms of decisions to censor reporting ahead of the election?”
Jean-Pierre feigned outrage and ignored her question, lamenting she “mischaracterize[d], actually, what I what I actually said took it out of context” when what she meant was “we follow also what's going on just like you guys are reporting and just like you guys are seeing and what I was commenting to is, like, yes, we're we’re seeing what’s happening with Twitter.”
Jean-Pierre then leveled the false claims about Musk and illustrated how the administration is indeed dead set on surveilling Musk:
And at the same time, Twitter is facing very real and very serious questions about the rising volume of anger, hate, and anti-Semitism on their platform and how they're letting it happen. And you know, the President said last week more leaders need to speak out and reject this and it's a very alarming and very dangerous.
Instead, she argued, Biden is focused on “helping...American families” and job creation since talking about censorship is (allegedly) “won't do anything to help a single American improve their lives.”
Actually, Musk "vehemently denying" the claim that hate and anti-Semitism have increased on Twitter since he took over is not the same thing as that claim being false (it isn't).
Houck returned to his old, malicious incompetent-diversity-hire narrative in his writeup of the Dec. 19 briefing, complaining that Jean-Pierre was dodging biased questions from right-wing reporters:
Shortly before Chief Justice John Roberts stepped into temporarily thwart the end of Title 42, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre fumbled her way Monday afternoon through the latest briefing with basic questions from reporters about the administration’s plans to (allegedly) deal with their ongoing crisis they’ve exacerbated.
The ladies representing Fox News brought the heat, however, with Jacqui Heinrich drawing her ire on the border and Hillary Vaughn having Jean-Pierre dodge a question about the truly bombshell findings of Twitter Files part seven.
Amid all the border questions, Vaughn’s Twitter files question was whether the administration is concerned the intelligence community squashed “a legitimate news story”:
VAUGHN: The latest Twitter Files show that the intelligence community was actively involved in discrediting the Hunter Biden laptop story. Does it bother the President & those at the White House that a govt agency like the FBI was involved in suppressing a legitimate news story?
JEAN-PIERRE: Again, I'm just going to refer you to the FBI. I'm not going to comment from here about that.
A few moments after Jean-Pierre swatted down a reporter’s queries about whether Biden would visit the border, Heinrich started with a simple request for reaction to “El Paso’s Democratic mayor...declar[ing] a state of emergency” because “he felt he could no longer keep his community or the asylum seekers safe.”
Jean-Pierre insisted that “Biden has taken steps to reduce disorderly migration while expanding legal pathways for orderly migration” since being inaugurated, but Heinrich wasn’t having it and noted border facilities are well beyond capacity with one being stretched by a factor of four.
Houck finished out the year with a wrap-up item of his favorite Karine-bashing and fluffing of various Fox News reporters pushing their biased narratives over the past 12 months:
Inside the White House Briefing Room, 2022 began with more mountain-sized word salads and dodges from Jen Psaki before shifting in May to former MoveOn.org spokeswoman and former MSNBC contributor Karine Jean-Pierre, who made waves for her stunning ineptitude and using her binder as a life raft.
Dozens of NewsBusters blogs were dedicated to the topic, so it was a challenge to narrow down to 12-ish examples, but we did our best to sift through the many Doocy Times and Jacqui Times and moments from other reporters across the spectrum.