White House press secretary Jen Psaki says Biden doesn’t want to ‘fight’ Fox News after Trump ‘completely destroyed trust in media’ and institutions

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Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary. SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images
  • Jen Psaki said the Biden administration didn’t want to pick a fight with right-wing media.
  • She argued that Biden needed to use Fox News to get his message out to Americans about COVID-19.
  • She also said Biden didn’t want to undermine trust in the media after Trump’s attacks.
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Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said the Biden administration didn’t want to pick a fight with an outlet like Fox News after President Donald Trump made undermining the media a tenet of his politics.

Psaki defended the Biden administration’s decision to put representatives on the conservative network – in contrast with the Obama administration’s treatment of Fox as an adversary – during a recent interview with the Snapchat news show “Good Luck America.” She argued that Fox’s audience was too important to ignore and that fighting with the media would be a distraction from more important issues.

“Getting in a fight with Fox News at this point in time for the administration isn’t particularly constructive coming off of an administration that completely destroyed trust in media, trust in institutions,” Psaki said. “That’s not the fight we want to fight right now, right? We want to fight a fight about getting the pandemic under control and things that actually impact people’s lives.”

Psaki, who also served in the Obama administration, said the White House needed to talk to Fox viewers in order to effectively get its message out, particularly about COVID-19 and vaccines. And she said the administration didn’t allow officials to go on air with Fox’s opinion hosts, many of whom have spread vaccine misinformation.

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“You need to be able to speak through a range of formats in order to reach the public – that’s your objective,” she said.

“It also means doing a range of platforms that may not like the president,” she said, adding: “But that’s OK. Our job is not only to talk to people who like us.”

Psaki told reporters at a press briefing earlier this month that the White House was in regular contact with Fox and other outlets about their coverage of the pandemic.

Some of Fox’s most popular hosts, including Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, have for months questioned the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines, promoting false and misleading public-health information. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, recently said that right-wing outlets were in part to blame for tens of millions of Americans’ refusal to get the shot.