New Press Secretary, Same MRC Hate: January-February 2023
The Media Research Center started the new year with the same tired attacks on White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, adding "inept" to the insult repertoire.
By Terry Krepel
After taking a lazy attitude toward her in the final few months of 2022, the Media Research Center suddenly decided to amp up its attacks on White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre as 2023 started. The year started a bit lame, with Curtis Houck writing up the Jan. 3 briefing with his usual blend of Karine-bashing and Doocy-fluffing:
Tuesday marked the first White House press briefing of 2023 and, in her ninth month as press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre continued to stammer and stonewall her way through even the most benign questions. Meanwhile, Fox’s Peter Doocy kept up the heat by wondering whether anyone in the White House could say with a straight face whether “the southern border is secure” and if President Biden lied about not being involved in his family’s corruption.
It was another week before the MRC wrote up another briefing -- and only because of the emergence of classified documents found at places once frequented by President Biden. And writing up the Jan. 12 briefing, Houck was positively gleeful he didn't have to cite only his biased right-wing buddies asking questions:
Thursday’s White House press conference was as contentious as you would’ve imagined after the announcement that President Joe Biden kept classified documents in the garage at his home in Delaware. The reckless disregard for America’s national security by carelessly leaving classified documents in three different places was such a big story that even the leftist media couldn’t hide it from their viewers and readers.
Houck made sure to faithfully document Doocy Time, of course, since portraying Doocy as a briefing-room stud surely helps him get on Fox News:
Last but not least, Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy referred to the Biden classified documents scandal as “GarageGate”. Doocy asked: “what is the White House trying to hide?”
Houck made sure to stick "GarageGate" in his headline, presumably hoping to draw the attention of his mancrush.
Houck's writeup of the Jan. 13 briefing purported to identify "the Smartest and Dumbest Questions on the Biden Docs from Friday’s WH Briefing." Of course, the "dumbest" questions were the ones that didn't ask about the documents.
Then, in a Jan. 16 post, Mark Finkelstein laughably complained that MSNBC's Joe Scarborough called out Republicans for smearing Jean-Pierre as an incompetent diversity hire:
Spit it out, Scarborough! Instead of making ugly, thinly veiled accusations against Republicans, have the guts to flatly say what you think!
Finkelstein didn't mention that his MRC colleagues have quite literally called Jean-Pierre an incompetent diversity hire, which completely supports what Scarborough said.
For the Jan. 17 briefing, Houck cheered that the "inept" Jean-Pierre was peppered with question from non-right-wing reporters even as he complained that she ignored right-wing outlets:
Tuesday’s White House press briefing marked another installment of a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day for the inept Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre as, while she ignored journalists from the Daily Caller, Fox News, and Newsmax about President Biden’s classified documents scandal, she ran into a proverbial buzzsaw from outlets such as ABC, the AP, CBS, CBS News Radio, NBC, and NPR with fiery questions about the scandal.
Houck complained further that Jean-Pierre wouldn't take the bait in his writeup of the Jan. 18 briefing, praising not only a current Fox News employee but a former one as well:
As we’ve documented over the last week (see here, here, here and here), Wednesday’s White House press briefing marked yet another tough day at the office for the empty and inept Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre as she kept up her stonewalling on President Biden’s classified documents scandal, while reporters from the likes of the ABC, the Associated Press, CBS, the Fox News Channel, Gray Television, NBC, and even an independent journalist from Angola fired off hardballs.
Houck did not offer evidence to back up his claim that Jean-Pierre declining not to answer questions made her "inept."
Meanwhile, Tim Graham gleefully touted criticism of Jean-Pierre from anonymous White House reporters (funny how anonymous sources are suddenly credible when they're spouting right-wing narratives, eh, Tim?) as reported by CNN's Oliver Darcy, whom the MRC normally hates and whom Houck himself obsessively denigrates as a "Benedict Arnold" for for the sin of escaping the right-wing media bubble. Graham went on to whine:
Then Darcy added a comical rebuttal from an anonymous White House source in a statement to CNN: "A lot of this sounds more like theater criticism than concern about ability to report facts for the American people’s benefit." Wrong! Reporters in this case are upset over lies about the Biden documents scandal.
We don't recall anyone at the MRC complaining when their beloved Kayleigh McEnany stonewalled reporters -- but then, her stonewalling was for the conservative cause.
Despite the MRC previously denying that Jean-Pierre was being attacked as a diversity hire, Kevin Tober did exactly that in his writeup of the Jan. 23 briefing:
During Monday’s White House press briefing, a handful of members of the White House press corps continued pressing the incompetent diversity hire, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre over the fifth batch of classified documents found in President Joe Biden’s home in Delaware and his regime’s lack of transparency over the scandal.
Houck surprisingly whined more about a reporter who dared to deviate from questioning about Biden documents than about Jean-Pierre for the Jan. 24 briefing:
Tuesday afternoon’s White House press briefing brought about plenty more hardballs on President Biden’s classified documents scandal that the ever-inept Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre refused to answer, but along the way, Angolan reporter Hariana Veras temporarily brought the briefing to a halt with two long stemwinders of leftist commentary demanding gun control.
The next day, Houck once again tried to dunk on Jean-Pierre by praising a national security expert who was brought in, though he too was denigrated as a "crutch":
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre brought in National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby Wednesday afternoon to serve as a crutch amid weeks of hardballs on the Biden classified documents scandal and, sure enough, Kirby ended up exposing Jean-Pierre’s repetitive, tiresome answers by actually providing general explanations for why handling classified information is incredibly serious.
Any excuse to take a shot at Jean-Pierre, it appears.
Houck's hate for Jean-Pierre spewed forth again in his writeup of the Jan. 27 press briefing in which he ranted about the idea that a future White House chief of staff might not be a white male:
Friday’s White House press briefing saw more hardballs about President Biden’s documents scandal, but also plenty of eye-rolling questions lobbying for a female person of color to become White House chief of staff, how Biden processes racial tensions, whether “the culture of policing” has “a comfort with violence and” implants inside the minds of police officers “an entitlement to use violence” as was the case in Memphis with Tyre Nichols.
Wow, Houck really does not like people who aren't white.
Houck was less racist (but no less hateful) in his write up of the Feb. 1 press briefing:
Wednesday afternoon marked the week’s first White House press briefing and, for the ever-inept Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, she must have been ever-thankful for the lighter load as, hours earlier, White House Counsel spokesman Ian Sams offered globs of nothingness on the White House driveway.
Houck left buried in a transcript the fact that officials had found classified documents in the custody of former Vice President Mike Pence -- the discovery of which caused the MRC to lose interest in the whole Biden classified documents thing. He then wrote a second post on the briefing complaining that a reporter asked a question he didn't like:
Voice of America correspondent Anita Powell provided another example Wednesday of how, using our hard-earned tax dollars, government-run media results in a product heavily tilted to the left. During the White House press briefing, Powell used her time to inform Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre that “people both inside the United States and outside are...asking, is the United States a racist society.”
The anti-Karine hatefest even spread to Mark Finkelstein, who complained in the midst of a Feb. 2 post that was already complaining that former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was allowed on "Morning Joe":
Question: what's an obvious subject that an honest journalist would have raised with former White House spokesman Gibbs? Naturally, it would be Karine Jean-Pierre's pitiful performance, particularly in the context of Biden's classified documents scandal. Trick question! We said "honest" journalist. Scarborough predictably didn't breathe a word with Gibbs about the documents scandal or Jean-Pierre's undeniable incompetence. They needed 12 minutes to praise Obamacare.
In his writeup of the Feb. 6 briefing, Houck surprisingly praised a non-right-wing outlet for stooping to asking Peter Doocy-like questions of Jean Pierre:
Monday’s White House press briefing largely revolved around President Biden’s State of the Union preparations and, as part of that, The New York Times’s Michael Shear surprisingly trotted out a brutal line of questioning that pressed the ever-inept Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on the reality that Democrats didn’t win the midterms because of President Biden but in spite of him.
Houck spewed even more hate at Jean-Pierre in a Feb. 13 post personally attacking her for failing to speak perfect English:
The ever-inept White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre joined MSNBC on Sunday morning for a softball sit-down with leftist Sunday Show host Jonathan Capehart where, despite his gentle questions, Jean-Pierre still struggled to use complete sentences and even made up a new name for Canada.
As if Houck ever spoke perfect English all the time.
Houck used his writeup of the Feb. 14 briefing to hype a particularly dumb line of questioning from a right-wing reporter (whose ideology he did not identify, though he insists on labeling "liberal" reporters):
Tuesday’s White House press briefing featured some strong questions and softballs (such as one from a Polish radio reporter about President Biden’s Valentines Day plans), but the penultimate exchange was the most intriguing as Newsmax’s James Rosen pressed Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on whether the administration believes certain mediums of communication are weaker than others for Biden and whether he’s “woke.”
Apparently, Houck's idea of an "always shrewd" person is one who effectively got fired from his previous employer for sexual misconduct.
Houck then got lazy again and took the rest of the month off from his anti-Karine hate campaign.