The Daily Beast reported Monday night that White House reporters are frustrated by President Joe Biden’s communications staff probing into questions they may ask during Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s briefings.
The issue arose during a video call Friday when print reporters push backed against these requests, which were detailed in written communications to the Daily Beast.
“It pissed off enough reporters for people to flag it for the [WHCA] to deal with it,” a source told the online outlet.
“While it’s a relief to see briefings return, particularly with a commitment to factual information, the press can’t really do its job in the briefing room if the White House is picking and choosing the questions they want,” another White House correspondent said. “That’s not really a free press at all.”
The Daily Beast report said the White House did not deny reaching out to reporters about questions, but explained that it is part of an overall effort to “foster a better relationship with the press corps than the previous administration.”
“Our goal is to make the daily briefing as useful and informative as possible for both reporters and the public,” a White House spokesperson said. “Part of meeting that objective means regularly engaging with the reporters who will be in the briefing room to understand how the White House can be most helpful in getting them the information they need.”
The Biden White House claims they’re attempting a less adversarial tone toward the media than the Trump administration. Though she’s struggled for consistency and clarity at times, in her first briefing, Psaki said she has “deep respect for the role of a free and independent press.”
Nonetheless, journalists tend to be sensitive to any perception they are coordinating with political communications staffers.
Alpha News will continue to monitor this story.