Reporters are continuing to get accustomed to the more professional tone the Biden administration brings to its business, most especially their relationship to the dissemination of facts.
During a press briefing on Monday, February 1, Ed O'Keefe of CBS News asked Press Secretary Jen Psaki to respond to "Democrats" who were concerned that President Biden's first White House meeting with lawmakers was with Republicans.
Psaki followed up, asking if there were any specific Democrats the reporter had in mind, O'Keefe replied:
"No, but it's been talked about."
Psaki made the White House's position on gossip and hearsay clear with her answer:
"Just people talking about it in hallways? Ok."
Psaki calls out a reporter for asking a "many people are saying" question he can't back up https://t.co/OyweIQiVwB— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar)1612201385.0
Psaki's methods of handling rumors are markedly different than those of Trump's press secretaries, who would often lash out at the reporters asking them, flatly deny anything that made the President look bad, and even fabricate "alternative facts" to contradict the question.
Psaki, by contrast, simply dismisses non-news as beneath the importance of the White House podium.
Similarly, when Psaki was unsure of the answer to a question, she told reporters she would "circle back" rather than guessing, something conservatives like Sean Hannity have attacked her for.
Jen Psaki circles back: ‘I often note, ‘I’m going to circle back’ — I hate to disappoint conservative Twitter, but… https://t.co/yFjQ1wjkdO— NowThis (@NowThis)1612201131.0
After four years of chaotic press coverage, many believe President Biden is eager to bring competency and professionalism to the forefront of his administration.
In response to a bizarre line of questioning about Twitter banning Trump's Twitter account, Psaki says "I can't say… https://t.co/M3aZZFQKIA— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar)1612203153.0
Psaki at WH briefing: "This may be hard to believe. We don't spend a lot of time talking about or thinking about pr… https://t.co/HndiEXbSWO— Jim Acosta (@Jim Acosta)1612203429.0
@atrupar "Many people are saying" was a frequent Trump phrase when he had no specific facts to back up what he was… https://t.co/AlDm9WL0d7— Carpe Diem (@Carpe Diem)1612201482.0
Psaki got some major props from Twitter for her quick and efficient dismissal of the reporter's question.
There were some online who felt O'Keefe's question was valid, though perhaps unsupported by the proper preparation.
@atrupar Look, I am okay with criticizing the "some people" argument. But honestly questioning Biden meeting with G… https://t.co/HyShkkuF3P— Tyler Potvin (@Tyler Potvin)1612206747.0
Others felt hearsay had no place in the White House press room.
@atrupar Exactly no one cares who Joe is talking to first, because Joe isn't a liar and Joe is working to get the j… https://t.co/vqNjfap0zz— Bones (@Bones)1612201636.0
Jen Psaki is developing a pretty active fan base on social media, where people seem to love her no-nonsense style.
@atrupar "I can't say we miss him on Twitter." - Jen Psaki AND The Entire United States Of America— WhatIfBarackOrHillarySaidIt 💉😷🗳️ (@WhatIfBarackOrHillarySaidIt 💉😷🗳️)1612203336.0
@KateSmithAZ @atrupar 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 best response ever. Get out of here dude with the dumbest question !— Nona (@Nona)1612213087.0
@atrupar What seems also bizarre is the White House person taking questions from the press actually offering cogent… https://t.co/ysoaFEacS8— Andy Mattson (@Andy Mattson)1612204361.0
If reporters want to be taken seriously by the new White House administration, they'd better learn to do their legwork and properly cite their sources.
The days of "many people are saying" are over.