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New Press Secretary, Same MRC Hate: October-November 2023

In addition to the usual Peter Doocy mancrushing, the Media Research Center also cheered when a neglected right-wing reporter started going all "Fatal Attraction" on press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 3/1/2024

In his writeup of the Oct. 2 White House press briefing, the Media Research Center's Curtis Houck served up huge dose of Doocy-fluffing, insisting that only biased right-wing reporters like Peter Doocy were asking "real questions":
Monday’s White House press briefing started on a pathetic note with the first flurry of questions consisted of the press corps sticking up for and asking questions on behalf of the Ukrainians, not the American people. Eventually, there were real questions asked, thanks in part to Fox’s Peter Doocy and wife Hillary Vaughn of the Fox Business Network.

Vaughn came first: “New York Governor Kathy Hochul says the border is too open right now. Does the President think that the border is too open?”

Jean-Pierre launched into a hilarious answer that began with the token point that Biden “put forward a comprehensive piece of legislation to deal with immigration reform” when he took office, but Republicans won’t acquiesce.

She then added that Biden’s tackled the border through “enforcement,” “detergence,” and “diplomacy.” On the second point, she comically bragged that “we’ve made clear that attempting to cross the border unlawfully will result in prompt removal, a five-year ban on — on reentry, and potential criminal prosecution.”


A few minutes later, Doocy drew some laughs at the White House when he alluded to Congressman Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) pulling a fire alarm on Saturday that delayed a House vote to keep the government open:“Would President Biden ever try to get out of a meeting by pulling a fire alarm?”

Jean-Pierre jokingly replied: “Are you talking about something specifically?”

Doocy then became more direct: “A Democratic member of Congress pulled a fire alarm around a series of votes. No fire. Is that appropriate?”

Jean-Pierre said she hadn’t “spoken to the President about this and” thus wouldn’t “comment.”

Doocy’s other questions focused on a possible strike of health care workers and riots last week with looters ransacking stores in Philadelphia[.]

In Houck's right-wing bubble, press questions are only "real" if they advance conservative narratives.

Houck's Doocy-fluffing continued the next day:

On Tuesday afternoon, the Fox News Channel’s Peter Doocy wasn’t having it as the ever-inept White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre reverted back to a years-long, cartoonish, pants-on-fire fable that Republicans are the true anti-cops, defund-the-police party in light of Monday night’s carjacking of Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX) in the Navy Yard section of Washington D.C.

It started with a question from The Wall Street Journal’s Catherine Lucey, who was not only the penultimate reporter called on, but shamefully only the first to bring up Cuellar: “[D]oes the White House any comment on the carjacking of Representative Cuellar? Has the President reached out to him? And more broadly, does it say anything about safety and crime in the District?”

After confirming that Biden “did have an opportunity to speak with the congressman today,” that the White House is “grateful and relieved” he was okay, and calling the attack “unacceptable,” she launched into blaming the GOP for cities not being fully staffed with police (click “expand”):


Doocy went straight to the obvious the left writ large — in or out of office — won’t admit, which is that they run nearly all of these major cities spiraling into lawlessness: “Well, the first follow up would be, how are you going to blame Republicans for this? Isn’t D.C. run by a bunch of Democrats?”

Jean-Pierre doubled down that Biden “has been very, very straightforward about” ensuring “communities are safe” whereas Republicans wouldn’t support giving “communities...funding” to “hire more police officers”.

Doocy hit back with this stinging hypothetical: “So, if President Biden’s policies are helping bring crime down, would he be comfortable with somebody borrowing his Corvette and parking it on the street overnight in Southeast D.C.?”

The Press Secretary refused to go there, saying she’d only “get into the facts about what this President has done” and brought up the gun control legislation from last year.

Apparently for Houck, "stinging hypotheticals" 'are the same as "real questions" when Doocy says them.

Biden's decision to build parts of a border wall gave Houck the chance to spread the right-wing narrative that the president caved and to chortle that Jean-Pierre was asked a lot of questions about it at the Oct. 5 briefing:

Karine Jean-Pierre, the Biden White House’s ever-inept press secretary, had a rough go of things Thursday afternoon as she took a plethora of brutal questions from the left and right over President Biden’s sudden capitulation to sanity and allow for the construction of just over 20 miles of new border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Given it was more than just Fox’s Peter Doocy and Real Clear Politics’s Philip Wegmann pressing, you knew it was a grilling.

He didn't forget his Doocy-fluffing, though:

Doocy Time ended the briefing, starting with: “As a candidate, President Biden didn’t say, ‘there will not be another foot of wall constructed that — except what was appropriated in 2019.’ He said, ‘there will not be another foot of wall constructed [in] my administration.’ So, something changed. What?”

This left Jean-Pierre furious (click “expand”):


Doocy’s last question was spicy but pertinent: “If you have to build a border wall but you don’t think that it’s going to work, then once it’s done, are you just going to tear it down?”

Of course, Jean-Pierre scoffed at the idea of “getting into hypotheticals”.

Such partisan hackery from Doocy, remember, is what Houck considers to be "real questions" to ask the White House.

In writing up the Oct. 10 briefing, Houck accused any reporter who asked a question that dared to raise concerns about Palestinians getting caught in the crossfire of war between Hamas and Israel as being "pro-Hamas":

Tuesday’s White House press briefing was largely clear-eyed about the horrors caused Friday by Hamas terrorists in Israel with over a dozen Americans dead and nearly two dozen unaccounted for. There were some tough questions from usual corners, but also some predictably pro-Hamas questions standing up for the plight of modern-day Nazis.

And, amid that chaos, two reporters in the front row had the wherewithal to ask about news from late Monday that President Biden spent the previous two days being interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Hur into his handling of classified documents.

The worst question was actually the last one of the briefing as Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre heard this question from Anita Powell of taxpayer-funded Voice of America:
Can you guarantee that members of the Muslim diaspora or immigrant communities can still feel safe, can still exercise their civil liberties, and exercise their criticism of — of Israel’s behavior? Was — was that part of the conversations and can you ensure those communities that they have all those rights?
That, readers, is your tax dollars at work in ensuring those supporting mass murder, rape, beheadings, and mutilation have rights.

Yes, Houck really thinks that not reflexively hating Muslims means that you somehow support terrorists. Meanwhile, he gave cookies to Fox News employees who asked conservatively correct questions: "At the other end of the spectrum, Fox’s Jacqui Heinrich pressed National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on how Hamas ally Iran had recently been greenlit to receive $6 billion in frozen funds," adding that "Fox News reporter Ryan Schmelz made sure that America’s porous southern border was invoked."

Neglected reporter goes all 'Fatal Attraction'

In his writeup of the Oct. 11 briefing, Houck helped a right-wing reporter go all "Fatal Attraction" on Jean-Pierre for not giving him the attention he demands:

The tail end of Wednesday’s White House press briefing was marked by a contentious moment when the White House’s ever-inept Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre refused to call on the New York Post’s Steven Nelson despite having skipped over him for nearly five months and his paper since July 7.

Jean-Pierre was searching for a final reporter to call on when Nelson chimed in, “[y]ou haven’t called on me in two seasons, Karine.” Before he could finish another thought, Jean-Pierre scoffed with a smirk on her face that, “I’m not calling on you today.” Instead, she picked the Washington Examiner’s Christian Datoc.

Datoc started to ask his question (instead of let Nelson speak), but Nelson began ripping Jean-Pierre as she repeatedly told Datoc to “go ahead”:


Nelson relented when she again called on Datoc and told Nelson that she was “calling on somebody who I haven’t called in a long time as well.”

Question: If this were, say, CNN, or another leftist outfit during the Trump years that was being ignored, do you think the rest of the press corps would have ceded ground to let them rant? If so, why didn’t the press corps rise up in the New York Post’s defense?

As you might suspect, Houck treated a similar situation differently when it happened under the Trump administration. In his writeup of the a Nov. 20, 2020, press briefing, Houck wrote that "White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany held a formal press briefing for the first time in almost two months and, as expected, she didn’t disappoint," in part by "smacking down the hurt feelings of liberal reporters like CNN’s Kaitlan Collins after they weren’t called on":

Following her trademark closing statement (more on that shortly), McEnany closed her binder and thanked those called on for “very good and substantive questions,” but still irked by Thursday’s Coronavirus Task Force briefing, reporters began screeching (including Brian Karem blabbering about sedition).

When Collins complained about there not having been more Q&A, McEnany leaned back into the podium microphones to say,“I don’t call on activists.”

Collins replied: “I’m not an activist and you haven’t taken questions since October 1st and you just took about five.”

Needless to say, Houck is not about to admit that Nelson is the activist he clearly is, even though he works for a highly biased right-wing rag that's still operating only because of the largesse of Rupert Murdoch.

Houck went on to whine about Jean-Pierre's supposed "pettiness" and that "May 31 was when Jean-Pierre last let Nelson ask questions," but he had no complaints when McEnany went to months without even bothering to hold a briefing, and he certainly didn't call her petty for deliberately ignoring a reporter. Talk about a double standard.

Houck had to take an enforced break from insulting Jean-Pierre and fluffing right-wing reporters in the briefing room like Peter Doocy, but when the briefings returned, so did Houck's highly biased takes. He wrote about the Oct. 23 briefing:

Monday marked the first White House press briefing in 11 days, so the press corps had plenty to say about the Middle East crisis triggered by Hamas’s October 7 terror attacks in Israel. While some tried to‘both sides’ the situation, Fox’s Grady Trimble and Real Clear Politics’s Philip Wegmann battled National Security Council figurehead John Kirby and Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre over the rising anti-Semitism in America, especially on college campuses.

Wegmann pressed both on the issue, starting with Kirby. Noting there’s been more Republicans (but led by 2024 GOP presidential candidate and Governor Ron DeSantis) “who have called for students or foreign nationals who are demonstrating demonstrations or...allegedly pro-Hamas demonstrations to have their student visas pulled or to face deportation.”


The two went back-to-back during Jean-Pierre’s portion. Citing Wegmann’s exchange with Kirby, Trimble went further: “[D]oes the President view anti-Israel protests and sentiment on college campuses as anti-Semitism?”

Jean-Pierre shamefully refused to denounce it specifically and declined “to get into what’s happening across the country and — and different universities” given “the First Amendment...and peaceful protest is part of — part of our democracy, being able for folks to — to — to be able to express their feelings.”

She took a more esoteric track and sought to put equal weight on anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, arguing Biden “has been very clear in wanting to make sure that Jewish Americans, wanting to make sure that Arab Americans, Muslims are protected here” and “any type of violence” is unacceptable.

Trimble called out the mealy-mouthed answer and noted Biden’s bought into the idea on injustices that “silence” on such issues “is complicity,” so why wouldn’t Biden denounce “anti-Semitic letters being sent by students or [anti-Semitic] sentiment at protests.”

As if she were malfunctioning, Jean-Pierre doubled down even though FBI crime statistics show attacks on Jews account for 51.4 percent of religious-based hate crimes whereas those against Muslims tally only 9.6 percent.

To apply the MRC's narrative on late-term abortions to Houck's point: Just because hate crimes against Muslims are allegedly not happening at the rate they occur against Jews doesn't mean they're not happening at all.

In writing up the Oct. 24 briefing, Houck touted the biased questioning of another right-wing reporter:

Towards the back-end of Tuesday’s White House press briefing, the Fox Business Network’s Edward Lawrence got under the skin of the ever-inept Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre by asking whether President Biden’s energy policies are helping to expand Iran’s oil coffers and thus leaving them with more money to fund terror groups like Hamas.

“So, Iran makes 70 percent of its revenue from oil. It’s doubled that oil output since 2019, adding $40 billion to revenues. So, are the President’s current energy policies giving Iran enough money to fund terror groups,” Lawrence asked.

With an incredulous look on her face, Lawrence noted that the “price of oil has gone up under this President” from an “average price of...$58” under Donald Trump to $83 now and thus gives Iran even more “money to fund these terror groups in the Middle East.”

Jean-Pierre finally responded in disgust: “I wholeheartedly disagree that we’re — we’re — you know, we’re — our actions are giving — is that what you’re saying? Can you say that again?”


Over in the Fox News chair, Jacqui Heinrich questioned frequent Jean-Pierre crutch John Kirby if the White House “agree[s] with the U.N. Secretary-General’s statement today that the Hamas attacks, ‘did not happen in a vacuum’” and defended Hamas by arguing “[t]he Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation.”

Houck chortled that "at the beginning of the briefing, Jean-Pierre offered an embarrassing mea culpa of sorts to make clear she believes anti-Semitism is a problem. However, she naturally still had to have the qualifier about Muslims and Arab Americans facing scorn because, as expected, she had to both-sides the issue." Houck didn't explain why he wants to pretend that other side doesn't exist.

Houck took a shot an Arabic journalist in his writeup of the Oct. 31 briefing:

Tuesday’s White House press briefing brought about more of the same with a slew of journalists standing up for Hamas and their civilian supporters in Gaza following an Israeli airstrike in Jabalia on a refugee camp allegedly posing as a giant human shield for Hamas operations. But within the questions was a curious question from one Arab reporter in which he shockingly claimed he’s lost 160 family members in the war.

The reporter was Sohail Al Shaer from the Egyptian TV station Alghad TV and he made the claim to the National Security Council’s John Kirby: “Mr. Kirby, thousands of Palestinian civilians have fallen so far, including 160 of my own relatives.”

Houck offered no evidence that Al Shaer was lying. He went on to whine that non-right-wing reporters didn't hate Muslims enough:

Providing another example of how American tax dollars aren’t being used wisely, the government-funded Voice of America’s Anita Powll [sic] told both Kirby and Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre that Muslim Americans are furious with President Biden for supporting Israel and not supporting Hamas’s demands for a ceasefire.

In her question to Jean-Pierre, Powell wanted to know if any “outreach” was being done to assuage the “very many angry Muslim Americnas” and Jean-Pierre offered an eye-roller of a reply about Muslims “hav[ing] endured a disproportionate number of — certainly, of hate-fueled attacks”.

Houck made sure to show some love to his mancrush: "Doocy Time provided a contrast to all this leftist nonsense as he grilled Kirby about the way our porous southern border could lead to concerns about a terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Like most answers on this issue from the administration, Kirby ducked." He also hyped the continuing temper tantrum from another right-wing reporter:

And, as Jean-Pierre walked off the podium, the New York Post’s Steven Nelson lashed out at her for continuing to ignore him as, earlier in the briefing, he asked to be called on despite a five-month-long freeze whenever she’s been at the podium: “It’s anti-democratic to refuse questions from one of our country’s four largest newspapers, Karine!”

Again, he wasn't nearly as sympathetic when Trump White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany refused to call on major media outlets because they weren't Trump stenographers.


Houck began his summary of the Nov. 2 White House press briefing by smearing non-right-wing reporters who ask about the plight of civilians in Gaza as pro-terrorist -- and, of course, fluffing his mancrush:

Thursday’s White House press briefing devolved into the liberal press corps consistently showing concern for Hamas terrorists and their citizens in Gaza and increasing scorn for Israel’s right to take out Hamas for their October 7 terror attacks. In contrast, Fox’s Peter Doocy grilled the National Security Council’s John Kirby over the Biden administration’s praise for Qatar despite its housing of Hamas leadership.

In Realville, Doocy Time began with a bang:“[T]alking about getting Americans out of Gaza, President Biden said, ‘I want to thank our partners in the region and particularly Qatar.’ The leader of Hamas lives in Qatar. So, why is President Biden thanking them for anything?”

Kirby was unamused: “Oh, geez, Peter. Take a step back here and look at this.”

Doocy dished it back:“‘Geez, Peter’? They — they are a terrorist group that killed Americans and kidnapped Americans within the last month.”

Kirby refused to engage on the topic and instead hailed Qatar as “helpful in getting those Americans out” given their “lines of communication with Hamas that almost nobody else has” and argued “you would agree with me and everybody at your network would agree that getting the hostages out is a good thing.”

In Houck's world, Doocy is never wrong and the targets of his biased questioning are never right.

In his writeup of the Nov. 7 briefing, Houck again attacked reporters for not being conservatively correct and raising questions over Israel's actions in its war against Hamas and uncharacteristically praised Kirby for repeating conservative narratives:

On Tuesday, the National Security Council’s John Kirby went before fellow liberals who normally work as stenographers for power (i.e. Kirby and his friends), but during the Israel-Hamas war, Kirby has fended off questions ranging from the insane to the wrong to downright anti-Israel. This time, he was accused by a reporter for a Saudi-funded outlet of being a puppet for Israel and pressed by ABC, CBS, CNN, NPR, Reuters, and The Wall Street Journal to cut off aid to Israel.

Reporter Nadia Bilbassy-Charters of Saudi-funded Alarabiya had the questions about Kirby and the U.S. being under Israel’s control. She began her turn by wondering why the Biden administration hasn’t “embrac[ed] the dissent voices”.

But don't worry, Houck found time to attack his usual irrationally hated nemesis, Jean-Pierre, for not explicitly criticizing during the briefing the tearing down of posters featuring Israeli hostages of Hamas when NBC reporter Peter Alexander:

After the briefing, Jean-Pierre put out a tweet stating the obvious that doing such a thing is wrong and distressing to those who know and care about the hostages.

But Alexander and his NBC colleagues chose to be cowards and not blast this mealy-mouthed behavior from Jean-Pierre on NBC Nightly News or Wednesday’s Today.
Of course Houck found a way to attack non-right-wing reporters, even when they do something conservative-friendly. A reporter can never be right-wing enough for the likes of Houck and the MRC.

Houck found a biased question from a right-wing reporter who wasn't Peter Doocy to tout in his writeup of the Nov. 20 briefing:

On Monday, Newsmax’s James Rosen brought the rhetorical curtains down on the last White House press briefing ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday (and President Biden’s departure to Nantucket) with a series of probing questions to Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre about polling with being Rosen’s thesis: “[A]re only certain polls valid in your eyes – the ones that support your agenda?”

One could tell it was going to be good from the moment Rosen thanked Jean-Pierre “as always” for calling on him and she proceeded to chuckle. He then merely got out, “I want to ask you about” before Jean-Pierre half-jokingly interjected: “I might regret it, but go ahead.”

After Rosen drew laughter for saying “I assure you, you will not,” he cut to the chase, starting with President Biden’s February interview with Telemundo in which he largely dismissed the negative polls about his job performance: “[H]e answered in words to this effect: ‘Do you know anyone that believes the polling these days?’ And he talked in some detail about the difficulty of getting people on the phone and compiling accurate polling.”

Rosen used that answer alongside his summation of what Jean-Pierre usually says when negative polls are invoked by reporters in the room, which he paraphrased as “we’re not going to look at the polls; we look at his accomplishments.”

But, when polling goes in a favorable direction on “various domestic policy initiatives,” Rosen noted to Jean-Pierre she’s quick to argue something to the effect of Americans “support what the President’s agenda is.”

Houck's focus on selective poll promotion is hilarious given his employer's record on the issue: After the 2020 election, it falsely accused pollsters of making up polls that showed Donald Trump losing to Joe Biden in 2020, but touted those same pollsters when their polls showed Biden with low favorability ratings -- in other words, the MRC considers only those polls that advance its right-wing agenda to be valid. Still, Houck persisted in fawning over Rosen:

Rosen was even more blunt in his final question wondering if “the White House ha[s] any basis to challenge the accuracy of” polling “show[ing] that the electorate at large and also significant majorities within the Democratic Party believe that the President is too old,” “the American people and also significant majorities within the Democratic Party don’t want him to run again, and…his handling of the economy, foreign policy,” which are each “dismal” for Biden.

Despite the record showing she never answered his previous questions in full, Jean-Pierre maintained “we never challenged” polls and she’s “not” doing that “here”.

For the Nov. 27 briefing, Houck raged at a "far-left" reporter (though he never tagged Rosen with a "right-wing" label):

For the first White House press briefing since the Thanksgiving holiday, it was the ultimate contrast of stupidity vs. substance. In the one corner, longtime far-left White House correspondent and African-American activist April Ryan lobbied the ever-inept Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre to have President Biden discuss “the black agenda” with Stevie Wonder.

In the other corner, Fox’s Peter Doocy actually decided to challenge Jean-Pierre and the administration by standing up for Americans who continue to struggle with inflation.

Ryan cut to the chase with her hackery, saying she “had an in-depth conversation with Stevie Wonder last night,” but was interrupted by others in the room (journalists and/or White House staff) laughing at this train of thought. She then lashed out, saying “it’s a serious question.”

Note that Houck also failed to hang an ideological tag on his mancrush Doocy. And, of course, he gave Doocy more love:

Doocy followed up with another hardball: “But why do you think it is that when you say the economy is improving, and President Biden says the economy is improving that a majority of Americans outside of this building are not buying it?”

Jean-Pierre blamed it entirely on Donald Trump, so Doocy fact-checked her by noting Trump’s been gone for three years and, while inflation has slowed, prices are still increasing[.]
Meanwhile, Alex Christy contributed a glancing blow at Jean-Pierre over claims about Thanksgiving dinner costs in a Nov. 22 post:
PolitiFact and are both part of Facebook’s fact-checking program that rates and suppresses online content, but what is Facebook to do when the two have a disagreement? A Wednesday article from PolitiFact rates a claim about the cost of Thanksgiving from White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre “mostly true,” while accused both her and the RNC of partisan cherry-picking.

The specific claim from Jean-Pierre is “Because wages are rising, this Thanksgiving dinner is the fourth-cheapest ever as a percentage of average earnings."

[...] does not issue ratings like PolitiFact’s truth-o-meter or the Washington Post ’s Pinocchio scale, but if they did, they would probably not give Jean-Pierre a “mostly true” on the grounds that Jean-Pierre was cherry-picking. Disagreements between fact-checking outlets only adds to the evidence that shows they do not speak with the voice of God.

Christy is likely more upset that the RNC was called out for cherry-picking numbers than he was about Jean-Pierre.

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