White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Friday defended President Joe Biden using a cheat sheet to call on reporters in his first press conference after Fox News’ correspondent Peter Doocy complained his network was not on it.
Psaki slapped down Doocy when he asked why Fox News didn’t get a question, pointing out she was answering his inquiries at her press briefing.
Doocy argued Fox News was the only one of the five network pool of reporters not called on by the president. The five networks are ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, and CNN.
‘We noticed,’ Doocy said to Psaki, ‘starting at the end of the campaign, and then into the transition, and in here at the White House, anytime that the president has an event where he’s given a list of reporters to call on Fox is the only member of the five network TV pool that has never been on the list in front of the president and I was curious if that was official administration policy?’
Psaki replied: ‘We’re here having a conversation aren’t we? And don’t I take questions from you every time you come to the briefing room?’
‘Yes but,’ Doocy started.
She quickly interrupted him. ‘Hasn’t the president taken questions from you since he came into office? Yes or no?’
Doocy got defensive. ‘Only when I have shouted after he goes through his whole list and the president has been very generous with his time with Fox. I’m just curious about this list that he’s given.’
White House press secretary Jen Psaki defended President Joe Biden using a cheat sheet to call on reporters in his first press conference
Fox News’ correspondent Peter Doocy complained his network was not on the list of reporters that President Biden called on his first press conference
Psaki got in the final shot, pointing out she was going to be on the Fox network that weekend.
‘Well I would say that I am always happy to have this conversation with you even about the awesome socks you’re wearing today. … The president is always happy to take your questions and I’m looking forward to being on Fox New Sunday this Sunday for the third time in the last few months,’ she said.
At his first presidential press conference on Thursday, Biden was caught by photographers holding a cheat sheet with the head shot, name and news organization of every reporter at the event.
The list was marked with numbers in order Biden should call on reporters.
Previous administrations also used lists of reporters for presidents to call. Donald Trump was the notable exception. He was often given a list but rarely followed it. Barack Obama, in contrast, used his list to call on reporters. The lists are prepared by the White House press shop.
Doocy went on Fox News after the press briefing on Friday to explain he wasn’t complaining to Psaki but asking her about a pattern of behavior on the part of the Biden team.
‘We are not asking for anything special. We also don’t want to be singled out,’ he said.
Fox News was not the only major news organization President Biden did not call on in his 62 minute press conference on Thursday. Neither The New York Times nor Reuters got to ask a question.
Biden also used a list of reporters when he took questions at his campaign Q&As. When he finished his scheduled remarks, he would look over to a press aide who had a list in hand and would call on reporters.
Doocy, at those events, would shout questions to Biden as he was leaving the stage and the then-presidential candidate would often stop to answer him.
‘I know he always asks me tough questions, and he always has an edge to them, but I like him anyway,’ Biden said in one instance when he stopped to answer Doocy’s inquiry.
Images taken during President Joe Biden’s first press conference on Thursday showed him using cheat sheets. The 78-year-old Democrat is seen holding one sheet that showed the headshots (pictured) of journalists at the press conference that he planned on calling on
Biden’s notes included headshots of reporters with notations apparently indicated the order he planned to call on them
Doocy acknowledged that Biden did take his questions.
‘Fox wound up getting a lot of sound bites from the president because when he was done with that list, he would linger around and see what I was going to shout about. That’s great,’ he said on Fox News on Friday.
Biden often teased the tall Fox News reporter, the son of Fox News host Steve Doocy.
In August 2020, Doocy was in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, when Biden was there. As the then-Democratic nominee speed by him on his bicycle, Doocy asked him if he had picked his vice presidential running mate. ‘Yes,’ Biden shouted back. ‘You.’
But Doocy said he’s noticed ‘where there is a hard copy in black-and-white list of reporters that are going to get called on, Fox, which is part of a five network TV pool with ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC, has never been on the list and we are the only ones that are part of that five network pool that have not ever been on the list.’