Biden Press Secretary: Briefing Room Won’t Be A ‘Platform For Propaganda’

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December 31, 2020 3:36 p.m.

Incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki has said that she hopes to “rebuild trust with the American people” by telling the truth — a move that would represent a swift departure from the kind of false information peddling that has become routine in President Donald Trump’s administration. 

“I think more than any point in history… part of the job of the White House press secretary is to rebuild trust with the American people,” Psaki told NPR’s Steve Inskeep in an interview published Thursday, adding that her goal from the podium would be to “be truthful and transparent” in peeling back the curtains for Americans.

Her comments come as President Trump has routinely attacked reporters, while calling leaked information that was unfavorable to him “fake” and accusing the press of acting as the “enemy of the people.” 

The White House’s current press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany famously pushed false information to advance Trump’s election gambit in public appearances and dubiously took on the dual role as Trump’s 2020 campaign adviser.

“In a moment where people don’t trust the information they’re getting from most sources, is to be as steady and as fact-based as I can be,” Psaki said.

The incoming communications official declared she plans to reinstate daily press briefings and take questions from reporters, but added that she wouldn’t prop up efforts by right-wing networks that have pushed debunked conspiracy theories.

“We’re not going to allow the briefing room to be a platform for propaganda, and we will shut that down as needed as well,” Psaki said.

The incoming press secretary said that she also has plans to handle information leaked the press differently than her predecessors. 

“Anybody who covered only the Trump administration who’s looking for a continuation of the Game of Thrones-style personnel sniping, they will be sorely disappointed,” Psaki said when asked about her plans for addressing potential leaks which became a defining characteristic of the Trump administration’s relationship with the press.

The incoming communications official pledged a return to briefings that allow policy experts to explain an array of issue ranging from COVID-19 response to immigration, noting that some leaks would likely be inevitable.

Leaks around people’s personal lives and national security would be more damaging, Psaki said.

The soon-to-be White House press secretary will join the ranks of Obama administration alumni set to take on top roles when Biden takes office in January — a former spokesperson for the State Department when John Kerry was secretary of state, Psaki later served as President Barack Obama’s communications director.

The incoming press secretary appeared to dodge when asked if the Biden administration would adopt the widely criticized approach during Obama’s tenure where leakers of classified information were aggressively prosecuted and the phone records of journalists were seized.

“I can’t get ahead of what that would look like and certainly not on behalf of any future Department of Justice,” Psaki said.

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