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New Press Secretary, Same MRC Hate: January-February 2024

The Media Research Center's Curtis Houck focused more on labeling reporters from non-right-wing outlets at White House press briefings as "far-left" -- but he would never describe obvious ideologues like Peter Doocy as 'far-right."

By Terry Krepel
Posted 5/3/2024

For the remainder of January and much of February, Media Research Center writer Curtis Houck served up a little less bashing of White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and more bashing of reporters from non-right-wing outlets, hanging ideological labels on them that he would never apply to reporters from explicitly biased right-wing outlets.

Houck got back to fluffing his mancrush for the Jan. 22 briefing:

Monday’s Doocy Time was off to a raring start as, after some banter with the ever-inept Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre wondering where Doocy had been (since his last appearance on January 11), Doocy cut to the case on Biden’s mental fitness, the border crisis, and a simple question Democrats refuse to answer: When, if at all, does President Biden believe abortions should be limited?

Thankfully, he had help on the border from the Daily Caller’s Reagan Reese and on abortion from EWTN producer Toby Capion, who had an equally important question: Does President Biden believe unborn children have rights?

But Doocy first led with the age question: “Karine, why do you think it is that more and more people polled feel like, over time, President Biden is getting less and less mentally sharp?”

Asked to cite which poll, Doocy relayed that “ABC has President Biden’s rating for health since May down five points and for mental sharpness down four points.”


Doocy pivoted to immigration and a disturbing revelation in the dark-blue, rich, white D.C. suburb Fairfax County, Virginia that law enforcement there “ignored an ICE detainer” and thus “released an illegal immigrants from Honduras who’s charged with sexually assaulting a Virginia minor and production of sexual abuse material.”

“Doesn’t that go to show that, as record numbers of people appear at the border, you guys have no idea what kind of people are coming into this country,” he asked.

Jean-Pierre insisted this was an example of why Biden’s “having negotiations with the Senate, Senators, Republicans and deal with...border security” (even though the White House is only there in a supporting role) and why he “on day one, put forward a comprehensive immigration plan...Congress didn’t do anything about” (which was little more than a liberal wishlist).

The abortion question was “important” to right-wing ideologues desiring to play gotcha. Houck refused to identify Doocy, Reese and Capion as right-wing ideologues, even though he would eagerly hang a similar label on reporters for non-right-wing outlets.

Houck also whined that after Doocy asked a narrative-forwarding question about Biden’s mental issues, Jean-Pierre “went on a bizarre aside asserting without evidence that Donald Trump is his favorite President.” Of course, Houck routinely makes evidence-free assertions about the purported bias of non-right-wing reporters — and he ignores that Doocy’s right-wing bias is abundantly clear, as evidenced by the praise he so regularly heaps upon the gay. Houck wouldn’t be so eager to praise Doocy if he wasn’t a Fox News employee paid to advance right-wing narratives.

Houck had plenty of Doocy-fluffing to do in his writeup of the Jan. 23 briefing, gushing over his biased hyping of right-wing talking points about the border:

During Tuesday’s White House press briefing, the Fox News Channel’s Peter Doocy reupped his focus from Monday on the never-ending border crisis except, this time, he did battle with the National Security Council’s John Kirby who, to his credit, has a grasp of the English language. This time, the two threw down over a Supreme Court ruling Monday afternoon that will allow Customs and Border Patrol to cut razor wire in the Rio Grande that doubles as the U.S./Mexico border. 

Doocy came out swinging with this reality for anyone who’s been to or seen footage from the southern border: “Why are you guys making it easier for people to enter the country illegally?”

Kirby scoffed and played dumb: “I don’t believe we are. Why do you think we are?”

The Fox correspondent pointed to the reality that “you guys sued to cut razor wire that was put in place by Texas officials” and it was only then that Kirby dropped the act by saying the regime did it so “the Border Patrol, actually, do their jobs.”

Having been invited by Kirby to “keep going,” Doocy certainly did by asking if the White House thinks they “know better than the Border Patrol union,” whose “president is saying the Supreme Court’s decision is going to undoubtedly encourage more illegal immigration.”

Kirby insisted “[t]he Border Patrol needed access, and that’s why we sued to get rid of that razor wire, so that they could do their jobs” and, additionally, Republicans should comply with the White House funding requests for more Border Patrol agents (who, in reality, wouldn’t be used to secure the border, but process more illegals).

Doocy zoomed back out with another simple question: “Does razor wire work?”

“Does razor wire work for what? Does it work for the Border Patrol to allow them to have the access they need to be able to — to better process people that are trying to get across the border? I don’t think so, and that’s why we asked for it to be removed,” he replied.

For the Jan. 24 briefing, Houck whined that non-right-wing reporters were allowed to ask questions that didn’t advance right-wing narratives (which he dismissed as “softballs”):

Yes, Fox’s Peter Doocy got his turn during Wednesday’s White House press briefing and pressed Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on the Biden border crisis and a Tuesday remark seeming to embrace election denialism. But before that, the briefing featured pathetic softballs from the likes of NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell on abortion and theGrio’s April Ryan on — what else — race and black women.

O’Donnell had just asked Jean-Pierre about the pro-Palestinian protesters who repeatedly interrupted a Biden rally in Manassas, Virginia when she pivoted to abortion, which the rally was scheduled to have been the main focus.

Boasting of the regime’s “strong view...that reproductive rights, abortion rights are an essential in this campaign season,” O’Donnell invited Jean-Pierre to explain to her how Biden will “find ways to do more to personalize this story of how women are affected by it” such as “cit[ing] ways where women are not getting medical care.”


A reporter in the Politico seat also had a question from the left, wondering if, in light of “recent...layoffs at the LA Times” and Time magazine, the administration would “support legislation...that would require social media platforms to pay news outlets for their content.”

Houck failed to identify Doocy as asking “questions from the right,” but he slobbered all over the guy just the same:

A little later, Doocy Time finally arrived: “There are about 800 gottaways at the border every day, 96,000 since October 1. Does President Biden want to locate these folks who have disappeared into this country to parts unknown?”.

Jean-Pierre claimed she hadn’t heard that number and asserted such cases were why Biden was “having these negotiations…with the Senate...because we want to deal with what’s going on at the border.”

A lot of nothing later, Doocy called out Biden for claiming during Tuesday’s rally that former Governor Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) was the real governor of Virginia, not Republican Glenn Youngkin.

Doocy asked if “election denying” was “a joke now,” but Jean-Pierre decided to briefly play dumb: “What do you mean? You have to say more than just to make a random statement.”

Houck gushed over Doocy some more for the Jan. 26 briefing:

Friday’s White House press briefing went for 86 minutes, but it had fireworks on everything from the border crisis to climate to the Israel-Hamas war. Most notably, Fox’s Peter Doocy was only one of two reporters to ask the National Security Council’s John Kirby over the bombshell that roughly a dozen United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) workers — the group responsible for U.N.-directed aid in Gaza — may have participated in Hamas’s October 7 terror attack on Israel.

A Biden potted plant, CNN’s Arlette Saenz was surprisingly the other reporter and went first with an open-ended request for comment. Doocy came along a few minutes later and called out Kirby for having said earlier this month (January 4, specifically) that “you can’t hold [UNRWA] accountable for the depredations of Hamas.”

Houck will never admit that Doocy is a Republican potted plant.

For the writeup of the Jan. 29 briefing, Houck lashed out at “liberal reporters” who didn’t toe the right-wing line but praised “a rare few” who did, like Jacqui Heinrich and Philip Wegmann (who, of course, weren’t identified as right-wing reporters):

On Monday, the border crisis and Sunday’s Iranian proxy attack that killed three American soldiers dominated the White House press briefing and, amid over a dozen liberal reporters asking process questions on Iran and open-ended questions on the Senate border deal, there were a rare few who actually pressed the administration on their weakness in the Middle East and the border deal that has conservatives and the far-left incensed.


As for Heinrich, she had a litany of questions, including this zinger about Biden having previously muttered “don’t” to encapsulate the U.S.’s message to Iran and their proxies using drones to attack our soldiers: “So if it’s clear obviously, that ‘don’t’ didn’t work, does the President have any regret over not pushing, punching back harder in any of the prior responses that he’s taken to these proxy attacks on U.S. forces?”


Real Clear Politics’s Philip Wegmann was also locked and loaded with a simple yes or no question: “The terms of the Senate deal that are under discussion would give DHS expulsion authority if border encounters head an average of 4,000 a day over the course of a week. Does the President consider that threshold of daily encounters a crisis?”

“I’m not going to negotiate in public....You’re asking me about a specific provision that the — that you allege in the deal…We’re not going to negotiate here...what’s in and what’s not in this in this deal,” he replied.

In between all that, Tom Olohan spent a Jan. 25 post whining that a CNN interview with Jean-Pierre didn’t smear her the way Houck does:

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre fawned to a friendly face at CNN about President Biden’s “equity”-based approach to his inflation-rattled economy. Cue the canned laughter.

During a Jan. 25 interview on CNN This Morning, Jean-Pierre harped to CNN Anchor and former White House reporter Phil Mattingly that “[Biden] has put equity at the center of everything that he’s talked about when it comes to the economy.”

Mattingly, who referenced his past experience with Jean-Pierre at the White House, offered flattering economic analysis to help Jean-Pierre’s gaslighting along, before asking her to respond to a worn-out CNN propaganda line about a gap between how great the economy supposedly is and bad voter perceptions.

In effect, Mattingly tossed softball questions in the apparent hope that Jean-Pierre would eventually knock the Biden economic messaging out of the park. She failed, miserably.

The MRC thinks anyone who doesn’t repeat right-wing talking points during interviews “failed miserably.”


February was a slow month for White House press briefings, apparently, so Houck didn’t have as many opportunities to smear Jean-Pierre and mancrush over Doocy. Houck wrote about the Feb. 6 briefing:

With it having been six days since the last White House press briefing, there was litany of topics Tuesday for the ever-inept Karine Jean-Pierre and, needless to say, she dealt with them using her trademark dodges and inability to grasp the English language. 

Unsurprisingly, Fox’s Peter Doocy, Fox Business’s Edward Lawrence and New York Post’s Steven Nelson challenged Jean-Pierre while others like the taxpayer-funded Voice of America and Saudi-funded Al-Arabiya came from the left.

Note that Houck refused to accurately label Doocy, Lawrence and Nelson as coming from the right. He continued with the usual Doocy-fluffing:

Doocy Time started with a reality check about the administration’s kvetching about the failed border deal means little since Democrats controlled Congress and the White House for two years. In response, Jean-Pierre showed a delusion akin to something from Vice President Kamala Harris:


Doocy’s second topic was President Biden’s latest sign of possible cognitive decline: “[H]ow is President Biden ever going to convince the three quarters of voters were worried about his physical and mental health that he is okay, even though in Las Vegas, he told the story about recently talking to a French President who died in 1996?”

A disgusted Jean-Pierre shot back that she was “not even going to go down that rabbit hole with you, sir.”

Doocy clapped back, repeatedly shouting at her and demanding an explanation for “what is the rabbit hole”. While trying to call on ABC’s Selina Wang, Jean-Pierre seemed to argue there’s nothing wrong with Biden since he’s (A) alive and (B) recently traveled to four different states.

Houck went on to rant about “Leftist hack Anita Powell of taxpayer-funded Voice of America” but, again, refused to accurately identify Doocy and Co. as right-wing hacks.

Nicholas Fondacaro wrote up the Feb. 9 briefing, bringing his own brand of right-wing bias to it (while also making sure to slobber over Doocy):

Friday saw the first White House press briefing after President Biden’s embarrassing and disastrous press conference to address his mental acuity following a special counsel report that questioned it. While some questions posed a challenge for White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and White House Counsel Office Spokesman Ian Sams, others were more interested in how the White House was going to rehabilitate the public’s perception of Biden; one even tried to give them an easy out to explain away his cognitive decline.


Doocy Time came late in the briefing as a seemingly exhausted Jean-Pierre called on Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy last. He immediately struck a nerve with this zinger: “If the special counsel says President Biden has got significant limitations on his memory, then who is helping him run the country?” “The president runs the country. The commander-in-chief runs the country,” she shot back in a noticeably annoyed tone.

Jean-Pierre also didn’t appreciate his questions about the nuclear codes, his constant public blunderings, and if they were accusing the special counsel of lying about the president in the report[.]

In a Feb. 19 post on a brief Q-and-A with President Biden, Houck bizarrely accused Jean-Pierre of writing a question he didn’t like:

Speaking to President Biden on Monday morning over the loud hums of Marine One on the South Lawn, CNN White House correspondent M.J. Lee went full administration tool and lobbed a softball about whether House Republicans have deceased Russian dissident “Alexei Navalny’s blood...on” their “hands...right now” because they haven’t passed new aid for Ukraine.

Biden walked over to assembled reporters after yet another weekend in Delaware, saying he’d “be happy to” take questions “if you have anything to say.” Sure enough, Lee did with this question that came off like something you’d hear from, say, Jim Acosta or Brian Karem: “Mr. President, would you go so far as to say that Alexei Navalny’s blood is on the hands of House Republicans right now?”

An absurd logical fallacy. Did Karine Jean-Pierre write this question for her? What does the death of a heroic Russian dissident who spent decades fighting murderous dictator Vladimir Putin have to do with a two-year war started by Russia’s invasion of a sovereign country?

Even a mentally declining President wouldn’t completely bite:

Houck later sneered that “Lee has always been one to do what’s necessary for leftist elites” — ignoring how he himself does what’s necessary for the right-wing elites who sign his paycheck.

Houck’s labeling bias popped up again in a Feb. 21 post on a recent press gaggle:

During an audio-only gaggle on Tuesday with the White House pool (a small subset of the wider press corps) aboard Air Force One to California, the always-inept Karine Jean-Pierre ripped into The New York Times for its contributions to the ever-growing plethora of stories about President Biden’s age, citing a Substack piece from far-left loon and former Times and Washington Post journalist Margaret Sullivan.

The question on the topic came from the Daily Mail’s Rob Crilly: “[T]he publisher of The New York Times has talked about getting flak from the White House for its coverage of the President’s age. Can you talk to us a little bit about what you think is, sort of, fair game when covering the nation’s oldest president and what might be off limits?”

Jean-Pierre came ready, saying she had “a couple of things there that I would say on that”, first acknowledging “you all ask me pretty regularly about the President’s age and we lay out..our perspective” that everything’s just peachy.

Yes, he laughably labeled Sullivan “far-left” but wouldn’t similarly describe Crilly as far-right.

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