Jen Psaki: Pleasant Quick-Witted Princess Of The Press Briefing

April 5, 2021

Another Monday in the life as the US continues to unwind itself from the coils of a crazed pandemic and four horrific years of the T-Rump madness where everything went to shit in a big bucket.

One notable continuous wonder in this new Joe Biden age is Jen Psaki and the near-daily press briefings. Instead of gut-clutching angry bullshit, Psaki has returned to those days of sense and sensibility with the passage of information to White House reporters. The turn-about is a breath of fresh air.

Except there’s still journalistic assholes, and today was no deviation. Newsmax’s John Gizzi was a turd in an attempt to befuddle Psaki with a nonsensical ‘secret memo‘ question which inferred a hiding of the true cost of Biden’s infrastructure plan — Psaki was having none of this shit and defused the quack with humor:

Point on via Raw Story:

“The other thing on the infrastructure package, there is a private memo that’s being circulated in the business community and to some Republican senators that said that the $2.25 trillion price tag is $1 trillion off,” John Gizzi said. “And that there’s many things in there that were omitted in the initial discussion of the bill.”

“This is being circulated on the Hill, do you have any response to the charge that the president low-balled the price tag on the infrastructure bill?” he asked.

“Sounds mysterious, the memo — the secret memo,” Psaki replied.
“We laid out very specifically each component of the package and how much we’re proposing, so I’d encourage y’all to get your calculators out and charge that up and see how it compares to the secret memo,” she said.

Another round: Psaki scores, assholes fan.

An amazing difference in the press podium from the horror of the T-Rump years of lies, bullshit and hatred toward the White House press corp. And Psaki doesn’t perform her job tinged of malice or anger, but with grace and agility coupled with good humor — a quick wit on her feet.

As if in coincidence, Eric Boehlert’s great thrice-weekly PressRun had as its title this morning, ‘In Praise of Jen Psaki,’ and supplies the evidence:

The day after President Joe Biden’s first press conference last month, Fox News reporter Peter Doocy arrived at the White House press briefing feeling unloved. Having not been called on at the formal Q&A with Biden, and dwelling on his oversized sense of importance, Doocy raised his hand and asked if there as an official White House policy of not calling on him — he wanted to know if there was a coordinated campaign to ignore the Fox staffer constantly in search of a partisan fight.

Looking slightly bemused while giving her patented third-grade-teacher head tilt that conveys a willing patience, but also an unspoken and stinging, “really?”, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki patiently addressed the grievance:

PSAKI: We’re here having a conversation, aren’t we?

DOOCY: Yes, but.

PSAKI: And do I take questions from you every time you come to the briefing room?

DOOCY: Yes, but…

She soon concluded the back-and-forth by complimenting the reporter on his “awesome socks.”

The episode confirmed that Doocy vs. Psaki remains one of the great media mismatches of our time.
It also made clear that Psaki’s the right woman for the right time, and she’s emerged as Biden’s silent slayer who carries out covert media missions with a smile.
She’s our real-life C.J. Cregg who has brought smarts and wit back the White House briefing room, after four years of the Trump infection, where mindless sycophants at the podium waged war on the free press.

“Press Secretary Jen Psaki is kind of badass at her job, and it’s because of the extremely non-combative way she is just FINISHED WITH YOUR SHIT,” Wonkette observed.
“It’s just like … some kind of assassin thing where some idiot asks her an idiot question and she handles it so quickly and quietly and effectively, the poor idiot’s liver is bleeding out before they even feel a thing.”

In less than three months, Psaki has put her permanent stamp on the job, taking over the high-profile position at a time of national crisis.
Working hard to reestablish an open, professional relationship with the Beltway press corps, Psaki has perhaps done more than anyone in the administration — including Biden himself — in terms of changing the tone in our politics, and creating a new path forward towards a transparent form of government, in the wake of the Trump’s ransacking of the norms.

Last week when a reporter asked if the White House would soften its “tone” about the sweeping voter suppression law recently passed in Georgia, Psaki was having none of it: “The tone for a bill that limits voting access and makes it more difficult for people to engage in voting in Georgia? … No, our tone is not changing.”

Online, fans refer to those as a #PsakiBomb, the disarming way she dispenses with bad faith or plainly misleading questions. The “bomb” part of that description is slightly off, though. The good-natured Psaki remains a quintessential non-bomb thrower.
She’s not trying to tear anything down. But her pointed answers can leave a nasty mark when necessary.
That’s her super power.

And as I stated before (and Boehlert concurs), Psaki reminds me of CJ Cregg in handling reporters — back at you:

“Maybe you can get the notes from a classmate…”
Or — “awesome socks…”

(Illustration: ‘Jen Psaki,’ found here).

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