Are you ready to spend your Sunday afternoons doing some circling back?
Because it’s official: On Tuesday, MSNBC announced that former White House press secretary Jen Psaki — who has been an analyst with the network since leaving the White House — will have her own show on NBC’s far-left cable annex starting next month.
“Psaki will also contribute a regular column for the network’s morning newsletter, MSNBC Daily, and is developing a new original streaming and social show, both set to launch this spring,” the release stated.
“Inside with Jen Psaki will leverage Psaki’s wide-ranging expertise to tackle the biggest issues of the week, featuring one-on-one interviews with newsmakers. Each Sunday, she will break down and make sense of the most complex public policy discussions happening in the Nation’s Capital from the debt ceiling to the political campaign trail to the war in Ukraine and more.”
Let’s do this…looking forward to Sunday, March 19th… We have been working on some fun and different features…and can’t wait to dig into all of the news..see you soon https://t.co/J8xQUTddoT
— Jen Psaki (@jrpsaki) February 21, 2023
Psaki became the latest political figure to enter the White House-to-cable news pipeline in September, when she announced she would be an analyst with the network — and hilariously claimed that that part of her new role would be “debunking things, calling out BS.”
This is from the woman who spent her time at the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room podium telling reporters she would “circle back” to get them an answer on any uncomfortable issue:
And, during her tenure at MSNBC, she’s only really had a single minor beef with the White House — when, in September, she said that if the midterms were “a referendum on the president, [Democrats] will lose, and they know that.” That was a fact that was glaringly obvious to anyone who could read a poll, so it hardly counts as speaking truth to power.
And don’t count on Psaki changing that up once she takes an anchor chair. In a mostly fawning New York Times profile piece about Psaki and her new show published Tuesday, the former press secretary said, “I am not going to gratuitously attack [Biden]” on her show.
And in actuality, she’s probably not going to attack him at all. From the Times piece:
“In the interview, Ms. Psaki was asked to offer a sample critique of Mr. Biden. ‘I certainly was critical of the way things were handled around the sharing of information about the documents,’ she said, referring to the White House’s decision to keep the public in the dark for weeks about classified documents found at Mr. Biden’s residence.
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“But Press Secretary Psaki quickly returned. ‘At the same time, there can be a tendency to make it into a five-alarm fire — like, everything is a disaster! My tendency is to provide context when needed.’”
So the only critique she offered is that Joe Biden mishandled classified information — and then quickly moved to imply the matter was being overblown.
And, as the Times piece noted, this is basically an “hourlong program on a Biden-friendly network” where she will be “mixing policy and political discussions with lighter fare like human-interest profiles of politicians, celebrities and athletes. (One of her dream guests: Joe Burrow, the quarterback of her husband’s hometown Cincinnati Bengals.)”
My guess is that Burrow will be circling back to her about this year’s AFC Championship, but I digress.
There was another note of critique in the Times piece, where writer Michael M. Grynbaum noted frequent migrations from the White House to cable news are “arrangements that raise sticky questions about journalistic ethics: When the Trump-era press secretaries Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Kayleigh McEnany joined Fox News, liberals cried foul about a ‘revolving door’ and claimed the Murdoch-owned network was an extension of the Trump White House. Those voices have said little about Ms. Psaki’s migration to MSNBC, or that of another Biden White House alumna, Symone D. Sanders, who also hosts a weekend show on the channel.”
However, Psaki insisted that wouldn’t be a problem: “I am not going on television to be a mouthpiece,” she told the Times.
Right. If her performance at MSNBC thus far and her interview with the Times are any indication, it’ll be just like watching a White House press conference circa 2021 every Sunday afternoon — just without Peter Doocy around to bring up any inconvenient facts.
Is it any wonder MSNBC keeps on losing in the ratings to Fox News?