WATCH: Jen Psaki Reveals Her Off-Camera Relationship with Peter Doocy and What Gets Under Her Skin at Briefings
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki gave Mediaite a peek at her off-camera relationship with Fox News’ Peter Doocy, and talked about what gets under her skin at press briefings.
Psaki sat down for a lengthy Zoom interview Friday afternoon, during which we discussed a range of topics involving the press shop, her newfound stardom, and the burgeoning fandom that comes with it.
One of the most frequent sources of fireworks at the daily briefings is Psaki’s exchanges with Doocy, and when I mentioned him, Psaki immediately complimented his socks, as she did at a briefing a few months ago.
“So Doocy praised you and the president for being willing to take tough questions, said you run a very low pressure — blood pressure briefing room, and praised your press shot for being responsive. What would you like to say to Peter Doocy?” I asked.
“You know I would say that people don’t see this every day, but we fully recognize Peter Doocy as — and many reporters, right? They are doing their jobs and working on behalf of the media organizations they represent and asking, sometimes they’re questions that are tough,” Psaki said, and added “Sometimes they have a slant to them.”
“But my engagement with him, people don’t always see this, but outside the briefing room, it is entirely professional and entirely, hopefully, responsive,” Psaki said, and went on to add that “There’s a performative component from from the TV side of the briefing room.”
She acknowledges that “I’m very clear eyed about the view of Fox News, of me, of the president, of many people who work here. Right. Peter Doocy is a correspondent for Fox News.”
“But I have also found my engagements with him to be entirely professional. He’s somebody who engages with our staff, obviously, in the briefing room, but also beyond the briefing room as well.”
Psaki also revealed that she does grant one-on-one time to Doocy, as with other reporters.
But Psaki also went out of her way to point out, broadly, that while she’s happy to engage with reporters who may be critical of the administration, she’s “not going to allow propaganda to go unnoticed, right? And I’m not going to let misinformation brew and boil in there.”
Psaki added that while she is “respectful of questions that, whether it’s Peter Doocy or someone else have in the briefing room — or I try my best to be, I’m not perfect — but I also I’m not going to be silent if there is misinformation that is being shared because that briefing room is really for the American people so they can get information and know what’s happening.”
Earlier in the interview, I also asked about her reputation as being “unflappable,” and whether there are things that get under her skin at briefings, threatening to flap her.
Psaki allowed that “I get a little edgy by Friday,” and recalled a time a few weeks ago when she seemed to snap at a reporter “why do you need to have that information?”
She said the reporter wasn’t bothering her “by any stretch,” and said “I think I was just worn down.”
Psaki also cited, as irritants, reporters who “try to kind of say, well, so what you’re saying is X? And it’s like, no, that’s not what I’m saying. And that does sometimes get a little bit under my skin, and I try to control that.”
Psaki also cited the infamous “some people say” style of question that she’s famous for shooting down.
I also asked Psaki if she ever takes it personally when reporters ask questions in provocative terms, and about anti-abortion EWTN reporter Owen Jensen, whose last name escaped me in the moment.
Watch that part of our interview above via Zoom.
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