NBC News’ Mike Memoli appeared to acknowledge in a blog post on Tuesday that the White House has recently become more apprehensive about press coverage.
Memoli wrote how the president and his administration have grown increasingly frustrated with reporters and their coverage, citing when President Biden publicly complained when questions were being shouted at him.
“You’re among the only press in the world that does this. Seriously, seriously,” Biden scolded reporters while they were being escorted out of a White House abortion task force meeting.
Memoli wrote, “President Joe Biden’s press team has made no secret of their frustration with the way their boss is covered. And of late, the president is venting that frustration himself.”
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The NBC journalist also highlighted a quote from White House communications director Kate Bedingfield, who similarly vented frustrations against the press for pushing negative coverage of the president.
“There has been a fundamental disbelief, particularly among the D.C., east coast press corps, in Biden’s vision, in his strategy, in his tactics, in his ability to do the things that he said he would do,” Bedingfield said. “There are reams and reams of headlines and tweets from reporters declaring his agenda dead, that he was out of date, he was out of touch with where the country is. And what’s happened is we’ve put together a historically successful set of legislative accomplishments that has defied those expectations.”
Memoli added, “Day by day, Biden has come to share that view of some of his closest advisers, that the press corps simply just doesn’t ‘get’ him and won’t give him a fair shake. But Biden has not exactly stiff-armed the mainstream press, Bedingfield noted. He just engages with them much differently than his predecessors.”
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Although Memoli acknowledged that Biden has conducted far fewer interviews than President Obama did within two years in office, he claimed Biden has still held “326 informal Q-and-A sessions with reporters” by having a less traditional relationship with the press.
“The bottom line view for this White House is there are diminishing returns in engaging in more traditional press interactions with members of the Washington press corps that in their view remain ‘fundamentally skeptical’ of Biden’s performance. Beyond some of the more non-traditional formats for putting Biden out there, the White House has prioritized using members of their Cabinet and senior staff to do local and regional press interviews,” Memoli wrote.
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Biden has frequently criticized the press for promoting a “negative” view of his administration and has avoided sit-down interviews. Some of his critics point out how the president often has a pre-determined list of reporters at press conferences and often leaving press briefings without answering questions.