Jen Psaki Reveals White House Approach to Fox News: ‘Not the Fight We Want’ Right Now
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has been pretty clear in her willingness to leave no communications platform unused in Covid vaccine outreach, and as if to prove her point, she sat down (remotely) with Snapchat’s Peter Hamby, host of “Good Luck America.”
The interview featured her take on President Joe Biden’s knowledge of pop star Olivia Rodrigo (who recently visited the White House for a pro-vaccine messaging video), and challenging Facebook on misinformation. But it was Psaki’s addressing the White House communications strategy with Fox News that caught Mediaite’s eye.
The interview was conducted by Hamby — a Snapchat personality, and former CNN reporter — and judging by the softball questions, this was a conversation in which the White House was most interested in participating.
“A big question I have is you work for Obama going back to his first campaign work for the State Department when Trump was in office and now you’re working for Biden in those intervening Trump years,” Hamby noted. “What have you noticed is the biggest shift in media? What’s changed?”
Psaki explained that “You need to be able to speak through a range of formats in order to reach the public. That’s your objective. That means doing a range of platforms that weren’t even around 10, 15 years ago.” She then explained that effective outreach “also means doing a range of platforms that may not like the president because you still need to reach the public where they are. A lot of people still watch Fox News so great. Do they like the president or even like me? Most days? No, but that’s OK. Our job is not only to talk to people who like us.”
Hamby noted that, in his esteem and at the end of the Obama administration,” the point of view and the communications team was that there’s no point in talking to Fox and other Democrats kind of adopted that viewpoint that they’re only going to last Democrats. We don’t need to deal with them.” In case there was any confusion about Hamby’s point of view, viewers were treated to a clip of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) saying “Here’s the deal about Fox News executives. They’re running a hate-for-profit scam.”
“Why should a Democrat engage with Fox News? What’s the point?” Hamby asked.
“Well, first, we don’t do a lot of the personalities on Fox,” she replied. “The president’s number one goal still is beating the pandemic. Our objective is to put people back to work and we need to talk to Fox and Fox viewers in order to do that. Now, they are not waiting for the president, the vice president, many other people from the administration to tell them what to do? But they might listen to medical experts or some of our doctors. They might — there might be information that strikes them because it’s so fact-based.”
“Our view at this moment is we don’t have to approve everything they do editorially of everything their personalities say and do, but it is still a platform for us to communicate with the public,” she said. “And frankly, the other piece of it is getting in a fight with Fox News at this point in time for the administration isn’t particularly constructive coming off of an administration that completely destroyed trust in media, trust in institutions. That’s not the fight we want to fight right now.
“We want to fight a fight about getting the pandemic under control and things that actually impact people’s lives,” she concluded.
Watch above via Snapchat.
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