Jen Psaki Reveals White House Approach to Fox News: ‘Not the Fight We Want’ Right Now

window.amJwVideos = window.amJwVideos || [];
window.amJwAdthriveVideos = window.amJwAdthriveVideos || [];

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has been pretty clear in her willingness to leave no communications platform unused in Covid vaccine outreach, and as if to prove her point, she sat down (remotely) with Snapchat’s Peter Hamby, host of “Good Luck America.

The interview featured her take on President Joe Biden’s knowledge of pop star Olivia Rodrigo (who recently visited the White House for a pro-vaccine messaging video), and challenging Facebook on misinformation. But it was Psaki’s addressing the White House communications strategy with Fox News that caught Mediaite’s eye.

The interview was conducted by Hamby — a Snapchat personality, and former CNN reporter — and judging by the softball questions, this was a conversation in which the White House was most interested in participating.

“A big question I have is you work for Obama going back to his first campaign work for the State Department when Trump was in office and now you’re working for Biden in those intervening Trump years,” Hamby noted. “What have you noticed is the biggest shift in media? What’s changed?”

Psaki explained that “You need to be able to speak through a range of formats in order to reach the public. That’s your objective. That means doing a range of platforms that weren’t even around 10, 15 years ago.” She then explained that effective outreach “also means doing a range of platforms that may not like the president because you still need to reach the public where they are. A lot of people still watch Fox News so great. Do they like the president or even like me? Most days? No, but that’s OK. Our job is not only to talk to people who like us.”

Hamby noted that, in his esteem and at the end of the Obama administration,” the point of view and the communications team was that there’s no point in talking to Fox and other Democrats kind of adopted that viewpoint that they’re only going to last Democrats. We don’t need to deal with them.” In case there was any confusion about Hamby’s point of view, viewers were treated to a clip of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) saying “Here’s the deal about Fox News executives. They’re running a hate-for-profit scam.”

“Why should a Democrat engage with Fox News? What’s the point?” Hamby asked.

“Well, first, we don’t do a lot of the personalities on Fox,” she replied. “The president’s number one goal still is beating the pandemic. Our objective is to put people back to work and we need to talk to Fox and Fox viewers in order to do that. Now, they are not waiting for the president, the vice president, many other people from the administration to tell them what to do? But they might listen to medical experts or some of our doctors. They might — there might be information that strikes them because it’s so fact-based.”

“Our view at this moment is we don’t have to approve everything they do editorially of everything their personalities say and do, but it is still a platform for us to communicate with the public,” she said. “And frankly, the other piece of it is 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. That’s not the fight we want to fight right now.

“We want to fight a fight about getting the pandemic under control and things that actually impact people’s lives,” she concluded.

Watch above via Snapchat.

The post Jen Psaki Reveals White House Approach to Fox News: ‘Not the Fight We Want’ Right Now first appeared on Mediaite.


Pro-life Americans, which I define as people who want to defeat the pandemic, should welcome support from all quarters – including the darkest precincts of the Fox propaganda machine.

Hence it was nice this week to hear Sean Hannity utter these sentences:

“Please take COVID seriously. I can’t say it enough. Enough people have died. We don’t need any more death…Research like crazy, talk to your doctor, your doctors, medical professionals you trust based on your unique medical history, your current medical condition, and you and your doctor make a very important decision for your own safety. Take it seriously. It absolutely makes sense for many Americans to get vaccinated. I believe in science. I believe in the science of vaccination.”

It shouldn’t be news when a guy with a national audience declares that the Earth is round, but, hey, we’ve always set the Fox bar pretty low. And Hannity wasn’t alone. One of the Fox News morning hosts, Steve Doocy, made the same plea: “Look, the pandemic right now is really just with people who have not been vaccinated. Ninety-nine percent of the people who died have not been vaccinated…If you have the chance, get the shot, it will save your life.”

So what do we think is going on here? Are there internal corporate qualms about lying non-stop to the network’s gullible couch potatoes? Has there been some kind of calculation that Fox has killed off too many Americans, that perhaps it’s bad form to root for the pandemic’s delta variant by pumping nihilistic BS into the empty heads of red-state fans?

It’s theoretically possible that Fox has been stung by some of the criticism it’s getting lately. A former Fox executive, Preston Padden, said earlier this month that the infauxtainment outlet is “poison for America,” that its relentless ridicule of public health measures “has contributed substantially and directly to the unnecessary deaths of many Americans.”

A recent national poll says that 45 percent of Republicans who regularly watch Fox are hesitant or unwilling to get vaccinated; what’s truly repugnant is that the various hosts who attack the vaccines (and especially the Biden administration’s efforts to popularize the vaccines) are in fact vaccinated – and that Fox, to protect its returning staffers, is creating a vaccine passport.

So has Fox made a corporate decision to change its ways? Is it feeling the heat?

Let’s not get too excited. Most likely, Hannity and Doocy (and another anchor, Bill Hemmer) are merely trying to help Fox cover its rear.

Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham continue to fulminate against mass vaccinations – Carlson says the prospect of health workers going door to door is “the greatest scandal in my lifetime, by far. Another talking head, Brian Kilmeade, said the government has no business trying to safeguard the public’s health (“It’s not their job to protect anybody”), an ignorant remark that’s contradicted by the U.S. Constitution, which establishes a government to “promote the general welfare.”

So when Hannity and a few others make nice with reality, the Fox spokespeople can claim that the network really covers “both sides” of the debate (even though one side is bogus).

Besides, Hannity and Carlson are hotly competitive for program ratings. Hannity’s foursquare endorsement of vaccines looks like a shot across Carlson’s bow, who appeared to retaliate when he grumbled about people who offer “medical advice on television.” In all likelihood, this is not even a policy disagreement – it’s probably just a peeing contest.

So it’s a pipe dream to believe that Hannity’s vaccine announcement signals a Fox U-turn, or any kind of mea culpa about killing off so many Americans (indeed, its own viewers). But with the pandemic raging anew most glaringly in the low-vaccinated states (what I call the Dumbbelt), any help from any quarter is welcome.

If retweeting Hannity can save even one life, go for it.

Copyright 2021 Dick Polman, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Dick Polman, a veteran national political columnist based in Philadelphia and a Writer in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania, writes at Email him at