Magazine October 18, 2021, Issue

How Jen Psaki Plays the Press

(Roman Genn)
She seems like what they want

In her first appearance as White House press secretary, a prim Jen Psaki pledged to tell the American people the truth “even when it’s hard to hear.” Her job, she explained, wasn’t merely to relay the positions of the president and his administration but also to “rebuild trust” with “the American people.” Restoring normalcy to White House press briefings, she suggested, was the first step toward restoring decency in a beleaguered nation.

Psaki’s promise was difficult to square with reality. Joe Biden, her boss, had just run the least transparent campaign in modern American presidential history. Biden, whose propensity for fabulism

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