Psaki says press 'not always on point' when pushed on Biden's reporter digs

·2 min read

The White House pointed to reporters who ask independent questions to explain President Joe Biden's off-the-cuff remark that the Indian news media is "much better behaved" than their U.S. colleagues.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki parroted Biden's complaint that reporters ask questions "not always on point" when she was needled on Biden's comment he made before his Oval Office meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week.


"I know that isn't something that anyone wants to hear in here," she said Monday. "Some of the questions are not always about the topic he's talking about that day. I don't think it was meant to be a hard cut at the members of the media."

Biden would answer questions with a foreign leader in the future, according to Psaki, despite declining to do so in a similarly awkward Oval Office exchange last week with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Psaki said last week that Johnson called on two British reporters "without alerting us to that intention in advance," while Biden avoided their U.S. counterparts.

Biden has not participated in a joint press conference with a foreign leader since former German Chancellor Angela Merkel's July White House visit.

But Psaki repeated Monday that Biden has answered press questions more than 140 times since becoming president. When asked why Biden would compare the two countries' news media, particularly as India ranks 142nd out of 180 countries on Reporters Without Borders 2021 World Press Freedom Index, she reiterated Biden "respects" the role of a free press.

"When we travel, we have press with us for sprays in foreign capitals, and we will continue to, and I think that should speak to his commitment to freedom of press around the world," she said.

This comes in response to Biden greeting reporters in the Oval Office last Friday with the "much better behaved" quip.

"I think, with your permission, you could not answer questions because they won’t ask any questions on point," he added.

The White House has fielded a growing number of questions regarding when Biden will hold his next stand-alone press conference. His first question-and-answer session convened in March.


"The president took questions probably four or five times last week. So, I would point you to that," Psaki said last Monday when asked about the prospect of another conference.

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Tags: News, Jen Psaki, Biden Administration, Media, White House

Original Author: Naomi Lim

Original Location: Psaki says press 'not always on point' when pushed on Biden's reporter digs

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