White House correspondents have complained about the blandness of covering President Joe Biden’s administration, saying reporters have been unable to achieve stardom.
Reporters have said their coverage of substantive topics surrounding the administration, including Ukraine, inflation and COVID-19, has been difficult to gain attention from the public, Politico reported Friday. The White House briefing’s overall viewership has reportedly dropped since the current administration assumed office and made it difficult for journalists to successfully make their names stand out.
“Jen [Psaki] is very good at her job, which is unfortunate,” one White House reporter said, according to Politico. “And the work is a lot less rewarding, because you’re no longer saving democracy from Sean Spicer and his Men’s Wearhouse suit. Jawing with Jen just makes you look like an asshole.”
The Obama and Trump-era briefing rooms raised many reporters to stardom and contained repeated, entertaining conflicts between those attending the conferences, according to the outlet. One reporter described the new atmosphere as ” boring and difficult,” with few signs of becoming an influential figure.
“It’s a boring and difficult job,” another White House reporter said, according to Politico. “It’s tough to be a White House correspondent if you want to break news, they’re so airtight. There’s no Maggie [Haberman]. Who’s the Maggie of the Biden administration? It doesn’t exist.”
“You haven’t gotten a Sam Donaldson or a Jake Tapper or a Kaitlan Collins,” an unspecified television executive said, according to the outlet. “That does speak to the nature of this administration.” (RELATED: ‘You Give These People 5-6 Questions!’ Reporter Tries To Derail Psaki Over And Over Again)
The administration’s bland relationship with the press has led to a decline in White House correspondents at major news outlets in comparison to former President Donald Trump’s administration, according to Politico. Administration officials, however, have earned gigs at major networks, including Vice President Kamala Harris’ former press secretary Symone Sanders, who is reportedly going to MSNBC, and Psaki, who is reportedly slated to host a show on the streaming platform Peacock.
Front row reporters during former President Barack Obama’s first term included NBC’s Chuck Todd and Savannah Guthrie, then-ABC White House correspondent Jake Tapper, CBS’ Chip Reid and Fox News’ Major Garrett — who all went on to high-level reporting roles at major networks, Politico reported.
Trump’s communications with reporters were famous for their conflicts, particularly between the former president and CNN’s Jim Acosta. At one briefing in March 2020, the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Trump snapped at the now-CNN anchor for questioning his handling of the crisis.
“It’s people like you and CNN that say things like that, that — it’s why people just don’t want to listen to CNN anymore. You can ask a normal question … Instead of asking a nasty, snarky question like that, you should ask a real question and other than that, I’m going to go to somebody else,” Trump said.
Biden, on the other hand, holds few one-on-one press conferences with the press while Psaki seemingly shows little emotion during difficult questioning. The president has, however, made snarky remarks toward reporters when hit with tough questions, most notably calling Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy a “stupid son of a b*tch” on hot mic during a January conference.
The current administration’s briefings have become known for Doocy hitting Psaki and administration officials with “gotcha questions.” Psaki, in reference to the president’s previous remarks, told “Pod Save America” in April that Fox News’ framing of questioning can “make anyone sound like a stupid son of a bitch.”