Media’s Biggest Ethics Acolytes Are Oddly Quiet About Psaki Doing Job Interviews From The Podium

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Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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Media pundits have remained silent on the reports of White House press secretary Jen Psaki negotiating with MSNBC about a future position from the podium.

Former Trump-era communications director Marc Lotter said Friday that ethical standards call for White House employees to declare any potential employment positions and could not do business with them while continuing to hold a governmental job position.

Two reporters from CBS News and Weekend Today questioned Psaki on the ethical standards of negotiating with MSNBC executives from the podium, to which she said she has taken the rules “very seriously.” Reports found that she is in the process of signing on with the network to host a show on NBCUniversal’s streaming platform, Peacock.

“It is the policy of this White House that anyone who’s having conversations about future employment does so through consultation with the White House counsel’s office and ensuring they abide by ethics and legal requirements and those are conversations that I have taken very seriously and abided by every component of,” Psaki said Friday.

Media figures, however, have had little to say on the ethical standards of negotiating a future employment deal before departing the White House. CNN’s Brian Stelter and media reporter Oliver Darcy reported on the matter, but had not stated any opinion on possible ethical violations.

In 2019, Stelter criticized Fox News for hiring former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders as a commentator.

“Wrote this about Spicer and ABC last night, now it applies to Sanders and Fox too: How should ex-White House officials be treated when they spend months misleading the public, then seek positions of fame and privilege?”

Stelter and Darcy did not respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment.

CNN’s Jim Acosta was among those not uttering a word about ethical standards surrounding Psaki. (RELATED: REPORT: Psaki To Get Show On MSNBC)

Journalists and public figures were also quick to criticize CBS News for recently hiring former Trump chief-of-staff Mick Mulvaney. Journalists, including CBS News staff members, expressed their dismay with hiring the former chief-of-staff in connection to the Trump-Ukraine scandal in 2019.

“NEW: A CBS News reporter just questioned Jen Psaki’s ‘ethics’ because she is leaving the White House soon for a different job,” podcast host Brian Tyler Cohen said. “CBS News is currently embroiled in a massive scandal for hiring Mick Mulvaney, who orchestrated the extortion of Zelenskyy, for ‘access’ to Republicans.”

Media Matters senior fellow Matthew Gertz said everyone at CBS News should feel “embarrassed” for hiring “known liar” Mulvaney in a March 29 piece titled, “CBS News’ hiring of Mick Mulvaney is an embarrassment.” He said “some media outlets still just can’t help themselves from rehabilitating these cronies.”

Gertz, like many who are critical of CBS, has yet to utter a word on the press secretary.

Former White House ethics lawyer Richard Painter told the Daily Caller that it is “allowed and quite common” for White House staff to negotiate employment, particularly with media outlets. He noted that a government official must not engage in government matters that could financially benefit the entity where they are seeking employment.

“Press secretaries and others in the White House press office often negotiate for employment with news companies,” Painter said. “When they start the process of negotiating for employment, my advice as the Bush ethics lawyer was to suggest that they should not have one-on-one phone conversations with that news entity, but of course answer questions from that news entity in the press room as long as other news outlets were also allowed to ask questions at the press conference.”