White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki had some explaining to do about a campaign promise Brandon made in October 2020 to “shut down the virus.”
Fox News’ Peter Doocy asked: “Whatever happened to President Biden’s promise to shut down the virus?” Psaki laughed it off, “We’re working on it, Peter.”
Peter followed up, “There’s another variant here. Is the idea now that you want the people to kind of wrap their heads around that the president, instead of shutting down the virus, is going to try to help people live amidst the virus and go about their lives, but Covid is going to be here?”
That seems like it would be an approachable common ground for the Brandon White House and the Fox News audience: The shared premises that coronavirus will not likely disappear entirely and that people will want to continue living their lives with that reality.
Jen Psaki replied, “Well Peter, what’s very important for people to understand and all of you are communicating to the public about what steps they can take to go back to normal or go back to normal life, something everybody wants to do. We’re all sick and tired of this virus.”
Is that how this administration seriously views the White House press corps? As their minions to go out and push their policy agenda to the public? Is that seriously their view of journalism’s proper role in democracy?
It seems to me, unfortunately, more like an authoritarian regime’s view of the role of media in their country, as their heralds, for their opinions, rather than as the advocate always of truth against power, and a voice for views that are inconvenient to control but are the opinions of the least of these, and with a reasonable amount of critical thinking, and suspicion for what words and deeds proceed from the long mouth and arms of power.
Psaki continued with her go, fight, win speech to the journalists of the White House press corp:
“But we need approximately 20% of the population or more people than are currently vaccinated to go get vaccinated and get boosted. Like the federal government, we can make those vaccines free, make the boosters free, make them available. But we need Americans who are not vaccinated to continue to fight the virus.”
Is the White House press secretary talking to the press pool like they’re vaccine sales reps, and she’s their sales manager pumping them up to hit a quota? Like the movie we’re watching is “The Wolf of K-Street?” It is an improper use of the White House Briefing Room. And you know the White House that all taxpayers are now spending more than ever for, not just those that work in the pharmaceutical and hospital industries.
Doocy also challenged Psaki on Biden’s previous claim, referring to Donald Trump, that “anyone responsible for that many deaths should not remain as President of the United States of America.” He asked, “Is that still the standard now that more Americans have died under President Biden than President Trump?” She gave talking points instead of addressing that question.