Press Secretary Jen Psaki leaves the Biden White House today after more than a year overseeing a dishonest operation that helped a partisan and malleable press keep the American public in the dark.
Dishonesty was a calling card at Psaki's briefings. As President Joe Biden hid from the press in an unprecedented fashion, Psaki asserted, "It's just not accurate to suggest that he isn't accessible or doesn't answer questions." And while pledging to fight "disinformation," she used her bully pulpit to spoonfeed it to the national media.
She was dishonest as the Biden administration grappled with the pandemic. She pushed for masks in schools amid a growing consensus that it harmed children. She obfuscated the administration's school reopening strategy, flip-flopping on how much in-person learning would constitute a "reopening." In March, Psaki claimed "we don't know" whether COVID is less dangerous to children, even though there has been plenty of evidence it is.
In recent days, Psaki suggested no one could have predicted inflation would soar to record highs, even as liberal economists warned Biden's policies would create that exact problem. And she claimed the Biden administration had the situation at the southern border under control amid horrific reports of children trapped in facilities at 1600 percent capacity.
But the worst of her deceits came during the disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal. Psaki served as the stonewaller-in-chief and shared blatantly dishonest assessments. She waved away criticisms from her own party, claiming the administration had the situation under control as American evacuees were trapped in enemy territory due to a lack of intel.
When journalists asked how many Americans the Biden administration left behind Taliban lines, Psaki leaned on her trademark condescension, dismissing as preposterous the idea that the administration could keep tabs on every American overseas.
Psaki treated Fox News's Peter Doocy, one of the few White House reporters to challenge her, with hostility and contempt. She wrote off his legitimate questions, likened him to Russian and Chinese propagandists, and said he sounded like "a stupid son of a bitch."
DOOCY: "Does the White House think 16 cents off a bbq has more of an impact on people's lives than gas being a dollar more?@PressSec: "I would say if you don't like hot dogs, you might not care about the reduction of cost." pic.twitter.com/WYmxekL5FS
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) July 2, 2021
Psaki once argued anyone banned from one social media platform for spreading "misinformation" should be banned from all other platforms. Some would see this as a call for Big Tech censorship. But not the media, who fawned over and adored Psaki. Poynter, the media research group that runs PolitiFact, called her "one of the best press secretaries ever." Our rating: pants on fire.
In her penultimate briefing, Psaki slammed as a "conspiracy theory" the Washington Free Beacon‘s report that the Biden administration was funding a $30 million harm-reduction program that will fund the distribution of free crack pipes in "safe-smoking kits." With one quip, Psaki insulted a journalist and dismissed deeply sourced reporting that exposed inconvenient facts.
In that respect, her outburst serves as a perfect capstone to her tenure—one that was condescending and dishonest, hostile to the truth and those seeking it.