Jen Psaki returns from Covid only to report she will be taking a job at MSNBC

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki returned from Covid only to be fired over a report that she will soon be taking a job at MSNBC. Clock:

“Is it true that you’re leaving the White House to work for MSNBC?” CBS News’ Ed O’Keefe asked Friday.

“Well, you can’t get rid of me just yet, Ed,” she replied. “I don’t have to confirm anything about my length of public service or planned service or anything about the consideration of next plans,” Psaki said.

“I am very happy to be standing here with you all today after what has felt like an endless time in my basement being quarantined by my family,” she added. “Believe it or not, I missed you all very much. And my focus each day remains speaking on behalf of the President, answering your questions, difficult as they sometimes are, difficult as they are to answer at times, and I hope to meet my own standards, all fairly and to be treated fairly.”

“And just because this has been raised by our colleagues, by people watching this process, is it ethical for you to continue this work while dealing with a media outlet?” O’Keefe followed.

“Well, I’ve always gone above and beyond the strict ethical and legal requirements of the Biden administration, and I take that very seriously,” she replied. “And as a standard for every White House staffer, I have received rigorous ethics advice, including in relation to any future employment.”

“I have complied and gone beyond all ethical requirements and have taken steps to opt out of decisions where appropriate,” she added. “And so I hope that all of you, I’ve worked with all of you for some time, will judge me for my records and how I treat you all, both in the briefing room and otherwise, and I try to answer questions from everyone around.” Line. I know not everyone in the back of the room may be happy with me, but I’m trying my best and I’m sure I will continue to do so. OK. Go on.”

“Jen, with reports now confirmed by multiple media outlets, how can you continue to be an effective briefing agent when you actually plan to join a media outlet?” NBC News’ Kristen Welker pressed.

“Well, again I have nothing to announce about any talks or future plans,” she continued. “And whenever I leave the White House, I can promise you the first thing I will do is sleep and spend time with my three- and six-year-olds, who are my most important audience of all.”

“But I would say, Kristen, that I did it again — I took the ethical legal requirements very seriously in all discussions and considerations of future employment, as any White House official would, and I have.” taken steps beyond that to ensure there were no conflicts,” she claimed.

“And I understand what you’re saying, but I think the question is, how ethical is it to have these conversations with media outlets while still having a job that’s behind that podium?” Welker reiterated.

“Well there are a stringent set of ethical and legal requirements imposed on everyone in this administration and many administrations have a history of being imposed on any conversations you have with prospective employers. That’s true of every industry you work in, and I’ve stuck to that and tried to take steps to go beyond that, too,” Psaki replied.

“And by and large, is it the policy of this White House to allow staffers to have discussions, albeit indirectly, with institutions that affect and affect their work and your work here?” Welker continued.

“Well, it is the policy of this White House to ensure that anyone holding discussions about future employment does so by consulting the White House Office and ensuring they are complying with all ethical and legal requirements. And those are conversations that I took very seriously and held onto every component,” she claimed.

It’s interesting that the most confrontational part of Psaki’s exchange came with Kristen Welker of NBC News, which represents MSNBC’s sister network. It’s enough to ask a question about whether or not this barbecue was intended for public appearances to appease the rest of the White House press and save face for NBC News. CBS News’ initial questioning would therefore provide a bit of a smokescreen to prevent news consumers from easily noticing this potential orchestration.

That said, Welker is right that Psaki’s agreement in principle to accept an MSNBC hosting job after her stint as White House press secretary in May would raise ethical questions about conflicts of interest. On April 1st, Axios reported a “scoop” that she was going to MSNBC.

“White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki is in exclusive talks with MSNBC to join the network after leaving the White House in May, according to a source close to the matter,” Axios reported.

“Psaki has been consulting closely with the White House Office regarding her departure, according to two sources familiar with the plans,” Axios continued. “She carefully considered the ethical and legal aspects of her plans.”

Axios provided the key details [quote]:

  • No contracts were signed. The government’s code of ethics includes provisions on how public employees can pursue employment opportunities in the private sector during their tenure.
  • She has also told some senior White House officials about her departure and her plans to join MSNBC, according to two sources.
  • Psaki has not yet officially told the White House press team about her departure, an Axios administration source said.
  • MSNBC has been working with its compliance attorneys to ensure their conversations do not violate government regulations, according to a source close to the matter.
  • Psaki is currently in exclusive talks with MSNBC, and the deal is almost complete. It was reported by Puck last month that Psaki was also in talks with CNN and that other networks had expressed interest in signing her.
  • Psaki will host a show for MSNBC on NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming platform.

“She will also be part of the live programming on MSNBC’s cable network as a voice on various shows, but she will not be hosting the 9 p.m. hour and replacing Rachel Maddow, which has been speculated,” Axios added.

“Is Jen Psaki the next Rachel Maddow?” That was provocative headline by Puck News at the end of February, which started the rumors about the now spokeswoman.

Executives from four of the largest left-leaning television networks have allegedly courted her while she is spokeswoman: CNN, MSNBC, ABC and CBS. Jen Psaki joked about getting a job at CNN or MSNBC in late February. Clock:

“I read that you’re looking for a job at CNN or MSNBC,” one journalist remarked.

“I’ve got more than enough to do here,” she joked. “Well, you can’t quite get rid of me just yet – sorry, Peter, for you.”

But reports from media insiders earlier indicated that Psaki could be poached.

“Psaki is reportedly ‘highly courted’ by executives at CNN and NBC News who want the press secretary to be their newest primetime host, according to Puck News, who reports that ABC News and CBS News have also expressed interest in Psaki,” so the Free Beacon reported. “Psaki has reportedly met with news executives for lunch along with her agent Jay Sures, who runs the United Talent Agency and is actively representing Psaki as she attempts to leave the White House.”

Biden’s top spokeswoman has been bombarded with criticism of her alleged “front row” favoritism, which is shown to reporters at the aforementioned outlets. While MSNBC wasn’t in the forefront, its sister network NBC News is.

“Four of the seven news organizations that hold coveted front-row seats in the White House briefing room are reportedly in active talks to hire press secretary Jen Psaki, who was criticized by the press corps Monday for letting off those at the top space dominate their briefings,” the Free Beacon added. It provided readers with a graphic to better understand the battle for press seats.

Photo credit: Free Beacon

Psaki announced in May 2021 that she plans to step down from her current White House role sometime in 2022.

“I think it’s time for someone else to take that job in a year or so,” she said.

Jen Psaki responds to allegations of unethical behavior as a press secretary with an undeniable denial that she receives “ethics advice,” which is revealing. It shows that Psaki could go down in history as one of the most unethical publicists in modern times. It will match MSNBC perfectly. Jen Psaki returns from Covid only to report she will be taking a job at MSNBC

Jake Nichol

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