Former press secretary for President Trump Kayleigh McEnany has blasted CNN’s host Brian Stelter for failing to ask pertinent questions into the conduct of the Biden administration, including that of the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Last week a trove of emails from Fauci was released spanning the early days of the pandemic, detailing how he dealt with start of the outbreak. He’s since come under heavy fire from many conservatives who say his advocating for lockdowns and mask-wearing was overblown.
They say he also didn’t give enough credence to the theory that the virus came out of a Chinese lab – a possibility now being given a closer look and one that is even under federal investigation.
Yet, McEnany maintains that during a one-to-one interview Stelter conducted with White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Sunday, the issue was never mentioned either during the CNN interview or by the White House press pool during a daily press briefing.
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Trump press secretary Kayleigh McEnany slammed CNN’s Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter for his a interview with White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki
”The fact that there is an entire press briefing that went by after Fauci’s emails came out and there was not one question about Dr. Fauci’s explosive emails until the next briefing when Fox News was in the room…. this is called investigative journalism. It’s called your job. The press doesn’t do it. Day after day after day. It is shameful.’
Stelter has been accused of asking ‘softball’ questions opening Sunday’s interview by asking Psaki: ‘What does the press get wrong when covering Biden’s agenda?’
On Monday night, Fox News host McEnany did not hold back her disdain for the apparent difference in treatment the Trump administration received from the mainstream media compared to President Biden.
CNN’s Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter has come under fire for what some have described as a ‘fawning’ interview of White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki
‘Brian Stelter is a leftist lapdog and not a serious journalist, I think anyone can discern that,’ she began. ‘I wish he would’ve given me a question like that! But what are you doing wrong as a press? Let me give you a clue. Asking about Joe Biden’s dog from the White House press briefing room, asking about Joe Biden’s cat, asking about what Joe Biden thinks about the color scheme on Air Force One and on day one, how it felt to walk in the oval,’ she said.
But McEnany, 33, who served as White House press secretary from April 2020 to January 2021 wasn’t finished and went on to lament the ‘tougher questions’ she received when she was in the role.
‘We did not get questions like that. The question I received is, “Is the president glad that the south lost the civil war?” It was that kind of inane ludicrous coverage of the Trump administration that stands in such stark contrast to what the press is doing wrong in Joe Biden’s America.’
Stelter opened Sunday’s interview by asking Psaki ‘what does the press get wrong when covering Biden’s agenda?’
McEnany wasn’t the only one unhappy at Stelter’s ‘soft’ line of questioning.
Conservative journalist Glenn Greenwald slammed the on-air exchange as ‘one of the most sycophantic interviews of a state official you’ll ever see.’
Greenwald, the Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist who famously helped break the story of the Edward Snowden leaks tweeted mockingly: ‘Have I been a bad boy, Jen? I want to be a good boy.’
He followed up with another sarcastic barb: ‘Beat me, Jen! Tell me how to be better.’
Stelter again raised the subject of press coverage later in the interview, asking Psaki: ‘for journalists who watch what you do, what’s your advice for them about trying to stay close to the truth in this world of lies?’
McEnany spoke to Sean Hannity on Fox News on Monday night and said Stelter was ‘a leftist lapdog and not a serious journalist’
Conservative journalist Glenn Greenwald excoriated Stelter for his line of questioning, mocking him for sucking up to Jen Psaki
The Biden administration spokesperson replied that she tries to ‘stay grounded to the facts’ by focusing on details and communicating them to regular people in a clear way.
In the course of the 12-minute interview, Stelter asked Psaki, who previously worked as a CNN commentator, if she fears for the future of their respective young children ‘given the craziness we’re seeing from the GOP.’
Psaki sidestepped the political aspect of the question, instead saying she is concerned about addressing the climate crisis and broadening LGBTQ rights so that children could grow up to be what they want to be.
‘Somehow Brian Stelter managed to take his humiliatingly ‘tell-me-why-I’m-bad-Jen’ start to his interview and get even more sycophantic from there,’ Greenwald quipped. ‘Even Psaki had to be thinking: ‘oh my god, the intensity of his adoration is…. uncomfortable.’
Steve Cortes, host at the right-wing Newsmax, criticized Stelter’s journalistic skills
Other questions addressed Psaki’s previous comments about her intention to stay in the press secretary job for a year, her willingness to call on reporters from conservative news outlets like Fox News and Newsmax, which she indirectly likened to representatives of Russian and Chinese state media pushing ‘propaganda’ in the briefing room, and her overall relationship with the press.
Stelter’s perhaps most hard-hitting question had to do with President Joe Biden’s purported reluctance to hold more formal press conferences, or sit down for interviews.
Psaki noted that in the first 100 days of his presidency, Biden took questions from the press on 77 days.
Stelter pressed Psaki to explain why the White House opted to not host a press conference that would ‘demand the nation’s attention,’ speculating whether it was ‘part of an attempt to lower the temperature, be less visible, be boring?’
Stelter complained on Twitter that he was being slammed by both the left and the right
The spokesperson shot back: ‘Certainly not. I don’t think anything we’re doing around here is boring. Getting the pandemic under control, going on our first foreign trip, putting millions of Americans back to work…I don’t know what version of that is boring.’
Psaki went on to say that reporters have an opportunity several times a week to direct questions at the president, and suggested that demands for a formal solo press conference are driven more by the media than the public.
‘I’d figured you’d say that,’ Stelter said with a grin.
On Twitter, Greenwald was deeply unimpressed with the CNN host’s interviewing skills.
‘I’m not using hyperbole when I say the ‘interview’ that @brianstelter did with Jen Psaki yesterday should be studied in journalism school,’ he wrote. ‘It’s one of the most sycophantic interviews of a state official you’ll ever see. This is how state TV functions…’
Former Trump White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer also took aim at Stelter, tweeting sarcastically: ‘Are we doing a good enough job of pushing the White House’s talking points…can we do better at it?’
Stelter, who joined CNN in 2013 after covering TV and digital media for the New York Times for six years, complained about the criticism directed at him, writing: ‘My Twitter mentions right now: liberals mad because I asked @PressSec about why Biden won’t hold more press conferences. Conservatives enraged because I asked her ‘what do you think we get wrong?’ And I feel so old fashioned thinking to myself, ‘judge the interview in context…’
Oliver Willis, senior writer for the progressive news site The American Independent, mocked Stelter’s lament in a tweet: ‘Both sides are mad at me so I must be doing something right is a classic dodge.’