Jen Psaki’s Criticism of Fox News Amid Reports of a New MSNBC Gig Raises Serious Ethical Questions


Jen Psaki on MSNBC

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki appeared on a live recording of Pod Save America Thursday night and did not demur in criticizing the Fox News network. But given that she is a government employee, who is reportedly set to soon exit for a gig at rival network MSNBC, how is this in any way acceptable? Short answer: it’s not.

For the record, I’ve long felt that Jen Psaki is a master of her job as Press Secretary but also may be the best at the job that we’ve seen in the current 24/7 political media ecosystem. But she is not above criticism. And her comments about why Peter Doocy may or may not come off as a “stupid son of a bitch,” crosses a significant line given her widely reported future plans to join NBC.

The Pod Save America hosts are old friends with Psaki having worked together during the Obama Administration. In fact, some relationships go as far back as the John Kerry campaign. And the conviviality and history between Psaki and the Pod hosts lent itself to a fun, relaxed, and very entertaining interview taped live in Washington D.C. Thursday night for Friday morning release.

At one point, however, she was asked if Peter Doocy really is a “stupid son of a bitch, or just plays one on tv.” This question was in reference to a hot mic incident in which President Joe Biden could be heard mocking a Doocy question about inflation and referring to the Fox News host as a, well, “stupid son of a bitch.”

To be fair, the question was asked in a light and humorous manner, and Psaki responded in kind.  But she did not refrain from criticizing Fox News. “He works for a network that provides people with questions that, nothing personal to any individual including Peter Doocy, but might make anyone sound like a stupid son of a bitch,” she said.

She went on to laud Doocy’s grace for how he handled the incident during an appearance on Hannity later that night, showing that while Psaki and Doocy may appear to many to be political rivals, they share notable mutual respect for one another.

But Psaksi’s condemnation of Fox News questions, however accurate they may be, still crosses a line that many in media were wildly focused on during the Trump administration and how staffers worked closely with Fox News. It was a big deal when say Bill Shine left Fox to go work with Trump, or when news broke of Kayleigh McEnany was reportedly going to join Fox News. Psaki should be held to the very same standard by the media held Fox News or Trump staffers for the same.

The bottom line is that Jen Psaki is a government employee who is openly criticizing a media outlet that is the competitor of her future employer. If Psaki has a “handshake deal” to join NBC after she officially leaves the briefing room podium, then she should reasonably be far more circumspect in not just her future briefings, but in any public appearance in which she is asked about competitors of her future employer.

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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Colby Hall is the Founding Editor of He is also a Peabody Award-winning television producer of non-fiction narrative programming as well as a terrific dancer and preparer of grilled meats.