White House Treats Media With Well-Earned Disdain - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
White House Treats Media With Well-Earned Disdain
Joe Biden and Boris Johnson yesterday (Twitter screenshot)

It’s no secret that most Americans mistrust the media. A recent Gallup survey found that only 21 percent of the public expressed “a great deal” of confidence in newspapers. Television news fared even worse. This distrust of the media isn’t merely due to dishonest “reporting,” it is also tied to collusion between journalists and the politicians they are meant to keep honest. The White House press pool, for example, is little more than a Greek Chorus that recites Biden administration talking points. In exchange for this tawdry performance, they expect occasional access to the President. But Biden’s handlers have no more respect for the media than does the public.

This became manifestly obvious on Tuesday, when Biden sat down in the oval office with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson for a brief conversation for the cameras. These ritual chats between a President and a visiting foreign leader are usually followed by a few questions from the media. In keeping with that tradition, Johnson fielded a few questions from the British press, whereupon the American reporters attempted to ask our president a question or two. It didn’t go well. Ed O’Keefe, a senior White House political correspondent for CBS News, attempted to ask a question about the crisis on the southern border and was shouted down by Biden’s keepers:

IN THE OVAL OFFICE… @POTUS Biden and British PM @BorisJohnson meet to discuss pandemic, trade and other issues. Johnson took 3 questions. White House aides shouted down U.S. attempts to ask questions. I asked Biden about southern border and we couldn’t decipher what he said.

The Hill reports, “Members of the White House press pool lodged a complaint with the White House after British reporters but not American reporters were recognized for questions during President Biden’s meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday afternoon.” According to various reports, a gaggle of senior correspondents went directly to Jen Psaki’s office to demand a formal press conference during which reporters could ask the questions they were prevented from asking on Tuesday. Psaki dismissed the request. During Wednesday’s press briefing, she blamed the British Prime Minister for the whole incident:

Ed O’Keefe, CBS News: And what is your understanding of what transpired in the Oval Office yesterday when we were all in there trying to hear from the President and the Prime Minister?

Jen Psaki, WH Press Secretary: Which aspects?

O’Keefe: Well, the British Prime Minister in the American Oval Office called on  British reporters, and then when American reporters tried to call on the American president, we were escorted out, let’s put it that way.

Psaki: Well, I think in that circumstance, and I think our relationship with the United Kingdom and with Prime Minister Johnson is so strong and abiding we will be able to move forward beyond this but he called on individuals from his press corps without alerting us to that intention in advance.

No doubt Prime Minister Johnson is relieved that the special relationship between the two nations “will be able to move forward” despite his strange habit of answering questions posed to him by genuine journalists. The Biden administration, which has been shamelessly coddled by the Fourth Estate thus far, is well on its way to losing this most valuable ally. These “journalists” are natural sycophants, but they are also incredibly thin-skinned. If Biden’s lackeys continue to abuse them as they did Tuesday, it isn’t beyond the realm of possibility that they will turn on him. He quite nearly lost them over his Afghanistan blunder, and it cost him dearly in the polls.

Indeed, the newest Gallup poll shows him 10 points under water, with 53 percent of respondents saying they disapprove of his performance as president and 43 percent who approve of the job he’s doing. He needs the media. Yet this latest incident in the Oval Office made it abundantly clear that the White House has no more respect for the news media than the public — and that is precious little. If Biden continues to duck their questions, and his Press Secretary continues to treat them like slow-witted children, it may render their implicit agreement to cover him favorably null and void. Neither he nor the Democrat majorities in Congress will survive that contingency.

David Catron
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David Catron is a recovering health care consultant and frequent contributor to The American Spectator. You can follow him on Twitter at @Catronicus.
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