New Press Secretary, Same MRC Hate: April-May 2023
The Media Research Center continued to praise conservative reporters who dutifully hurl biased questions on the right-wing talking point du jour to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
By Terry Krepel Posted 7/19/2023
The Media Research Center kicked off April's series of attacks on White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre with a writeup by chief Karine-hater Curtis Houck of the April 4 briefing, in which he whined that she wouldn't take a reporter's bait and continued the Biden White House's refusal to comment on Donald Trump's indictment:
During the media-wide prostration over New York City Tuesday for former President Trump’s arrest and arraignment, a White House press briefing took place and reporters such as The New York Times’s Michael Shear called out Jean-Pierre and President Biden for the double standard in refusing to weigh into some but not all criminal probes.
Shear came a few moments after Doocy Time as the Fox correspondent asked why the White House wouldn’t say more about something the country has never seen before. Shear latched onto Jean-Pierre’s ducks and dodges, noting Biden including “at least two major speeches that I can think of, and he’s talked at length” about it despite there being “more than 500 active legal cases going on.”
Noting that those “potentially could have been affected...by whatever his opinions were,” Shear questioned “what is different between his being willing to talk about...the issues presented by by what happened on January 6th and questions about” Trump.
“But there are issues that are presented people have been talking about it for weeks now when a former President any former President would be indicted for the first time and arrested for the first time. What is the White House’s reticence? And what’s the difference between that and this,” he added.
Jean-Pierre insisted Biden was within his bounds because “January 6th was a devastating day” and people “died” in a “devastating” “attack on our democracy” that “millions and millions of Americans...watched”.
“[A]nd so the President will never shy away when it comes to our democracy, when it comes to the fabric of who we are as a country and what makes this country who it what it is and so it it was a different, different moment and a different time,” she explained.
Jean-Pierre stuck to her talking points that January 6 “was incredibly devastating” and “people died on that day,” so it’s been necessary for Biden to weigh in on a subject such as “protecting our democracy” and has left “many people...scared”
Of course Houck had to sneak in his "Doocy Time" man-crush, even if it was only linking to a tweet.
In writing up the next day's briefing, he got mad that Jean-Pierre defended National Public Radio after Elon Musk arbitrarily changed its description on Twitter to "state-affiliated media":
Tuesday was a banner day for liberals and their media allies as not only did they see former President Trump arrested and arraigned in New York on 34 charges, but they flipped the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the far-left candidate won the Chicago mayoral runoff. But some still ended the day infuriated as Twitter chose to label National Public Radio (NPR) as “U.S. state-affiliated media.” As such, it came up at Wednesday’s White House press briefing.
Marek Walkuski of Polskie Radio which is NPR’s equivalent of state-run media in Poland bemoaned to Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre that the designation placed NPR “in the same category as Russia Today or Chinese media.”
Asked to comment, Jean-Pierre rushed to NPR’s defense, gushing that “there’s no doubt of the independence of NPR’s journalists and has been if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of their of their questions, you know this.”
She continued with the gag-tastic takes: “You know that they have their independence in journalism. NPR journalists work digitally [sic] to hold public officials accountable and inform the American people. The hard-hitting, independence nature of their coverage speaks speaks for itself and so I’ll leave it there.”
At the other end of the spectrum, Fox’s Peter Doocy did his thing in pushing Jean-Pierre, starting with this:“[D]oes it bug President Biden when former presidents suck up all the oxygen?”
For his writeup of the April 6 briefing, Houck complained that Jean-Pierre let John Kirby handle most of the questions about a new report on the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan:
On Thursday’s White House press conference, the incompetent Karine Jean-Pierre once again used National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby as a crutch by letting him brief the members of the White House press corps for nearly the entire time. The topic of the day was the conveniently timed release of the Biden regime’s post-mortem on the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. The reporters in the room skewered Kirby on the report’s findings as well as the pre-holiday news dump. During what WMAL radio talk show host Vince Coglianese refers to as “the grownup press briefing,” Kirby struggled with the rare barbs from all sides.
First up was CBS’s Ed O’Keefe who was furious at what he called the “major holiday news dump.” “I think I speak on behalf of my colleagues in this room when we want the record to reflect that this was sent to us about 10 minutes before the briefing began with little notice,” O’Keefe fumed.
“So, why today? And is this all we get? And is this a response to the studies that were done by the agencies? Or is this considered a summary of them?” O’Keefe asked.
Houck then ramped up his mancrushing over you-know-who:
Then came the moment everyone waits for at every press conference: Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy:
“Who’s going to get fired over this?,” Doocy demanded to know.
“The purpose of the document that we’re putting out today is to sort of collate the chief reviews and findings of the agencies that did after-action reviews,” Kirby responded in bureaucratic gibberish.
“Do you admit that the intel was bad? So how can President Biden ever trust, when they come into the Oval Office with the PDB, that anything in there is legit?” Doocy shot back.
“What I said was intelligence is hard business, and they get it right a lot too. There were some pieces here that weren’t accurate,” Kirby replied.
Then things got heated between Doocy and Kirby.
We suspect that Houck's definition of "everybody" who is waiting for Doocy to hurl biased questions at White House press briefings doesn't extend beyond the MRC's headquarters and may not even extend much farther than Houck's cubicle.
Houck spent an April 11 post cheering that Jean-Pierre was pressed on why President Biden wasn't holding the number of press conferences deemed to be sufficient by the White House press corps:
In the final White House press briefing ahead of President Biden’s trip to Ireland and Northern Ireland, a few reporters blasted the administration for yet again shielding the bumbling, stumbling commander-in-chief from even friendly questioners in the press corps. And seeing as how the Bidens would rather talk to Drew Barrymore and Al Roker, it’s safe to say anyone in their position would be miffed.
The Wall Street Journal’s Ken Thomas kicked it off with a simple question for inept Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre’s frequent crutch, John Kirby: “Do you expect a news conference on this trip? I’m sure the press corps would be interested in one.”
Kirby actually laughed at this idea, saying he doesn’t “expect there’ll be a news conference on this trip.”
The question came back when Kirby had left the room and the AP’s Zeke Miller sounded off: “It’s a four-day trip to two countries. You know, why can’t the President take questions from the press?”
Jean-Pierre tried to brush this off by reiterating there wouldn’t be any press availability for Biden even though he “always loves to take your questions.” Miller shot back, “Apparently not.”
She pushed back with mumbo jumbo:
Houck thinks anyone who fails to parrot right-wing talking points like he does is speaking "mumbo jumbo." And because Houck is apparently contractually obligated to fluff Fox News every time he attacks Jean-Pierre, he added: "Also in the briefing, Fox Business’s Grady Trimble questioned whether the Biden administration was concerned with China inserting its tentacles into the electric vehicle battery industry. Of course, Jean-Pierre ducked."
Houck's writeup of the April 19 briefing was all about the Doocy-fluffing:
Wednesday’s White House press briefing featured ever-inept Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre being super-glued to talking points about Republicans supposedly holding the country hostage over the debt ceiling, so it fell to reporters like Fox’s Peter Doocy to focus her elsewhere.
On his turn, he grilled her on China, economy anxiety, and exposing the White House for seemingly having little regard for the victims of the Covenant School shooting and instead all the care in the world for the so-called Tennessee Three.
Doocy’s third question focused on Jean-Pierre’s announcement at the top of the briefing that the three far-left lawmakers would be rewarded for their disruptive antics with a White House visit on Monday. This led Doocy to wonder: “Have any of the victims or the victims’ families been invited to the White House?”
This stopped Jean-Pierre in her tracks: “I don’t have anything to read out to you about any invite.”
When Doocy followed up with “why,” she did as leftists have done in abandoning the victims and the wider Covenant Presbyterian Church community and instead lifted up the dark-blue Democrats demanding mass gun control.
Houck didn't mention that the connective link to the string of gun massacres over the past few years is guns, and he didn't explain why wanting a certain level of gun regulation is a bad thing.
Kevin Tober served up his usual malicious incompetent-diversity-hire narrative on Jean-Pierre in writing up the April 20 briefing, apparently believing like Houck that failure to parrot right-wing talking points is "sub-par":
Another day, another sub-par performance from incompetent Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre (KJP) during Thursday's White House press briefing in which Jean-Pierre struggled through basic questions ranging from the recent IRS whistleblower in the Hunter Biden tax fraud investigation to the looming fight over the debt ceiling. Each time, KJP mumbled her way through the briefing. Even her frequent crutch, John Kirby couldn't save her.
After what WMAL radio host Vince Coglianese calls the "adult press briefing" conducted by Kirby concluded, it was KJP's turn to butcher the English language and stonewall reporters in the room. The first reporter to challenge her was the Associated Press's Chris Megerian who brought up the IRS whistleblower who alleged the Biden administration is protecting Hunter Biden from the consequences of his own actions.
Tober was also annoyed when the MRC's transgender enemy of the moment got mentioned:
By far the dumbest question of the entire briefing was when CBS's Nancy Cordes complained about people being mean to transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney after he appeared in that preposterous Bud Light ad campaign. To make matters worse, Cordes played into his delusions and referred to Mulvaney as "she."
"The transgender actor and influencer Dylan Mulvaney has been the target of a barrage of attacks from anti-trans individuals online after she did an ad with Bud Light a couple of weeks ago," Cordes whined before asking if "anyone here at the White House reached out to her since she became the target of these attacks?"
Jean-Pierre replied by lecturing that "When a transgender American posts a video about a brand of beer they enjoy and it leads to bomb threats, it’s clear that that level of violence and vitriol against transgender American has to stop."
But hate and vitriol against transgender people is pretty much all theMRC has.
Houck sounded much more like a PR flack for Kevin McCarthy than the "media researcher" he's supposed to be in his writeup of the April 21 press briefing:
Prior to the weekend, more Hunter Biden headlines, and Monday’s media tsunami regarding Tucker Carlson and Don Lemon, there was Friday’s White House press briefing and it began with a rant from White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre ghoulishly claiming House Republicans want to “fill our cities with smog,” “give asthma to our children,” and allow oil companies to use chemicals that would “melt bones.”
This rant represented no basis in reality, but not one White House reporter stepped up to the plate to condemn this, including the front row of NBC’s Peter Alexander, ABC’s Mary Bruce, CBS’s Nancy Cordes, Reuters’s Steve Holland, CNN’s Kevin Liptak, and Darlene Superville of the Associated Press. There wasn’t even an installment of Doocy Time to call this out.
The plan spearheaded by Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) would only, among other things, roll spending back to 2022, ax new spending for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and impose additional work requirements for certain welfare programs. So, yes, Republicans would be going back to the dark, old days where bones were melted and cities were filled with smog in....2022?
Jean-Pierre had been hawking Biden’s “bold climate and environmental justice agenda” when she argued it “could not stand in starker contrast to the dangerous proposals MAGA House Republicans are putting forward.”
Citing a pants-on-fire chart behind her, she declared McCarthy’s “ransom note” would mean the party wants “to kill jobs, fill our cities with smog, and give asthma to our children.”
“The proposal would repeal the Inflation Reduction Act’s green energy tax credits,” she continued, “sending thousands of jobs back to China” and “make it easier for oil companies to use toxic chemicals that cause severe burns, damage people’s eyes, and quite literally melt bones.”
Houck offered no actual evidence anything Jean-Pierre said was wrong -- he just mocked her and repeated similar mocking from his fellow right-wingers.
Houck spent his writeup of the April 24 press briefing whining that everyone was talking about Fox News firing Tucker Carlson and nobody was talking about Hunter Biden, and that a right-wing reporter asked about an old story:
While media observers, Twitter, and cable news viewers were lighting their hair on fire Monday over the monumental shakeup with CNN firing Don Lemon and Fox News axing Tucker Carlson, the Biden White House held its near-daily press briefing and there were a few moments that slipped under the radar, including one about Hunter Biden.
The New York Post’s Steven Nelson took advantage of National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan serving as Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre’s crutch for the day and asked about an April 11 revelation from a former Obama-Biden official that alleged Sullivan then a top Biden aide called for support to the Ukrainian gas industry just after Hunter Biden signed on with Burisma.
Houck's April 27 briefing writeup was heavy on the right-wing scandal du jour (let's call it "Questiongate"):
Thursday’s White House press briefing featured an embarrassing performance by the ever-inept Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre as she tried to defend and explain away an infamous photo captured of President Biden holding a card Wednesday afternoon with the name of a reporter he called on (Courtney Subramanian of the Los Angeles Times) and a typed-out question that was close to the one she asked.
Fox’s Jacqui Heinrich brought it up, but treaded carefully: “The LA Times said that their reporter did not submit any questions in advance of yesterday’s press conference, so, to people who saw that pocket card, can you explain how that ended up there and why the President needed something like that?”
Jean-Pierre thanked Heinrich for bringing it up and, sure enough, had comments. She insisted “[i]t is entirely normal for a president to be briefed on reporters who will be asking questions at a press conference and issues that we expect they might ask about” and thus “it is not surprising” to hear the White House anticipated questions about 2024 and semiconductors.
Adding that press briefings also serve as a way of gleaning what reporters are interested in, Jean-Pierre proclaimed: “[W]e do not have specific questions in advance. That's not something that we do. And in fact, I would point out the questions that was asked was different than what it was on the card that you all saw.”
After she insisted such preparation was done in order to shape the news coverage, the Daily Caller’s Diana Glebova wasn’t having it: “How are the reporters decided?”
Jean-Pierre actually replied, explaining the White House “reach[es] out to a number of reporters who who were going to who we know are going to be at the press conference and that's what we did yesterday and also...who has not gotten a question in a while.”
Houck censored the fact that Heinrich and Glebova work for right-wing outlets -- thus demonstrating their bias -- or that it's standard procedure for presidents and other officials to be briefed on what reporters are likely to ask them at a press briefing.
When Jean-Pierre stood up to Doocy's biased questioning, Doocy-fluffer Houck spent his writeup of the May 2 press briefing freaking out over his man-crush being besmirched and framing it instead as Jean-Pierre being "triggered":
The Fox News Channel’s Peter Doocy triggered ever-inept White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre Tuesday for the basic crime of fact-checking her after she falsely claimed during Monday’s briefing that illegal immigration had plummeted 90 percent since Joe Biden became President. While other White House reporters chose to ask process questions about the banking system, the border, and the debt limit, Doocy came to correct the record on a bold-faced lie.
As he usually does, Doocy started with a short, simple question: “If the border is secure, as the administration has said, then why would we need to send 1,500 active-duty U.S. troops down there?”
Doocy shifted to her comments from Monday: “You said yesterday that, when it comes to illegal migration, you've seen it come down by more than 90 percent. Where did that number come from?”
Doocy started to explain that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has told Fox the number for this fiscal year so far has been up 136,000 people, but Jean-Pierre tried to shout him down and keep the facts from coming to light by saying she would “answer” him.
Jean-Pierre came out of left field by trying to rattle Doocy’s cage by twice telling him to have “the dramatics...come down just a little bit.”
Doocy was incredulous and attempted to ask what was “dramatic about asking a question”(and seeing as how he wasn’t channeling Jim Acosta).
Jean-Pierre’s answer made little sense as she insisted she was referring “the parolee program” the Biden regime had “put in place...to deal with certain countries on on ways that we can limit illegal migration” and “the data has shown us, that is gone down by more than 90 percent.”
Tober took the hate baton for his writeup of the May 8 briefing, again maliciously smearing Jean-Pierre as an "incompetent diversity hire":
At Monday's White House press briefing, the incompetent diversity hire press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre took fire from all sides over President Biden’s ineffectiveness to push his agenda through Congress and his lack of focus on the issues that matter to the American people. First out of the gate was CBS News Radio’s Steve Portnoy who chastised KJP over Biden’s lack of engagement in the left’s war on the Second Amendment in light of a recent shooting in Texas.
“The President’s position is known, but can you describe his engagement on this crisis today? What’s he doing about it today?,” Portnoy asked. “Because many Americans, they’re certainly happy to hear that he’s engaged on airline prices and airline compensation, but what about this issue that many Americans agree with you is a crisis?”
“The President has signed more than a dozen executive actions to deal with this issue, more than any other President,” KJP responded. “This is a President that has worked on this issue as a Senator, as Vice President, and as President. He has done everything that he can, using the tools that are in front of him, to deal with this issue,” she proclaimed.
Houck returned to write up the May 9 briefing, in which he put the spotlight on a Doocy colleague for dutifully spouting Republican talking points:
In an otherwise pedestrian questioning Tuesday of White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on the looming debt battle, Fox’s Jacqui Heinrich actually made something out of the gathering by grilling her on her rhetoric smearing 260 members of the House and Senate as domestic extremists and threats to the country for either supporting or voting spending cuts tied to raising the debt ceiling.
Heinrich’s first question had serious bite: “43 Republican senators signed onto a letter opposing raising the debt ceiling without budget reforms, and 217 members in the House voted for that bill to raise the debt limit with cuts to spending. Does the White House consider all of those members to be dangerous, MAGA Republican extremists?”
Jean-Pierre replied that many members of Congress are, indeed, dangers to the country, arguing House Republicans have “voted for cuts that's going to hurt American families...22 percent cuts to veterans, healthcare, schools, that's what they voted for.”
Heinrich recognized the divisive tact against tens of millions of Americans.
Jean-Pierre doubled down, accusing Republicans of “cut[ting]...programs that are incredibly important for the American family.”
Heinrich interjected with a fact-check: “Their bill would raise the debt limit. They passed a bill to raise the debt limit.”
The ever-inept press secretary displayed her lack of a grasp of basic English:
They've connect I hear you, but they are connecting passing whatever this debt limit, to cuts 22 percent cuts to veterans, to seniors that's what they are threatening cuts to our schools. That's what the that's what is connecting that's what their budget plan is.
Heinrich responded with even more fact-checking: “The bill doesn't have any appropriations in it, actually and the the Speaker has, you know, ruled out a number of those things including defense, veterans benefits, senior entitlement programs.”
She then concluded with this outstanding query: “I mean, you have Mitt Romney saying there's got to be a conversation here. Is he a MAGA Republican extremist?”
Houck concluded by gushing over yet another Fox reporter: "The Fox Business Network’s Edward Lawrence followed immediately after and asked whether Biden even possess the ability to travel outside his silo."
Remember, Houck cares only that right-wing talking points were advanced and Jean-Pierre was made to look bad -- not that anything important happened.
Jean-Pierre apparently didn't sufficiently offend Houck, so he spent his writeup of the May 11 press briefing lashing out at her special guest:
Thursday’s White House press briefing was a barn burner ahead of Title 42’s expiration with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas playing stand-in for the ever-inept Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. Not surprisingly, Mayorkas spun a fantastical tale of border security, order, and speedy deportation of illegal immigrants who fail to have their ducks in a row. And, also not surprisingly, some reporters came with substance while others came lacking a noggin.
Below are some of the best (and worst) questions/exchanges from the briefing, including far-left hack April Ryan resurrecting false claims about border agents whipping illegal immigrants and, at the other end of the ledger, Fox Business’s Edward Lawrence on how much illegal immigrants have strained our country’s education and welfare systems.
If Lawrence really is on "the other end of the ledger" from Ryan, why didn't Houck call him a "far-right hack"? You know, for the sake of fairness and balance? Needless to say, Houck's "best" questions for Mayorkas came almost exclusively from reporters from right-wing outlets, while the "worst" questions came from non-right-wing outlets.
From there, we must skip to the May 23 briefing, in which Houck manufactured more outrage at Ryan:
theGrio.com’s April Ryan is always carrying water for the far-left Black organizations and doesn’t take too kindly when called out. But examples like Tuesday afternoon fall into the former column as she used the NAACP’s faux “travel advisory” for the State of Florida to cue her up to trash “misguided” and “discriminatiary [sic] policies” put forth by “extreme Republicans,” led by Governor Ron DeSantis (R).
“NAACP has made a move a travel advisory from the State of Florida after several issues, against ‘the other,’ if you will, from Governor Ron DeSantis. And they’re saying that the hate that is coming out of this political season is dangerous,” Ryan pontificated without a strain of neutrality.
Only then did she ask what she viewed as a question: “What do you say to what the NAACP has done? I mean, they're following behind other groups, be it groups on race, on LGBTQ+, but they’re making a bold statement. What do you say to that?”
Jean-Pierre insisted she wouldn’t “comment on travel advisories specifically,” but proceeded to do just that.
We don't recall Houck ever accusing Doocy or Philip Wegmann of "carrying water for far-right organizations," despite their clear ideological bias and pontificating without neutrality.
For the May 31 briefing, Houck's tone was much different as he praised a right-wing reporter for inserting his preferred narratives:
Wednesday’s White House press briefing featured, among other happenings, a rare feat with not one but two bouts featuring Biden flunkies and the New York Post’s Steven Nelson as well as a sudden curiosity surrounding Tara Reade now that she’s emerged as a flunky herself for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.
Nelson’s first bout came during National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby’s latest appearance as ever-inept Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre’s crutch with Nelson doing what few White House reporters will focus on for more than a few seconds (if at all): Biden family corruption.
After citing the “many developments in the House investigations into the First Family’s international business dealings recently,” Nelson explained how, “[a]mid all of this, there was a Harvard/Harris poll this month that found that 53 percent of the public, including a fourth of Democrats, believe, ‘Joe Biden was involved with his son in an illegal influence peddling scheme.’”
Nelson then asked: “There’s, of course, evidence that the President interacted with his relative’s associates from China, Mexico, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine, so what do you say to the majority of Americans who believe that the President is himself corrupt?”
Kirby was more than a little incredulous, blurting out “wow” while someone else (perhaps Jean-Pierre) in his vicinity could be heard muttering, “Jesus.”
Houck didn't explain why nobody should have asked about Reade -- you'd think someone whom the MRC has lavishly praised for her evidence-free claim about Biden misbehavior defecting to a country currently waging unprovoked war against a neighbor would be newsworthy. But apparently not; this article is the only reference at the MRC to Reade's defection.