In interview panned as 'bootlicking,' CNN's Stelter asks Jen Psaki to tell him what the media 'gets wrong'

Ted Koppel slams CNN’s Brian Stelter

During a National Press Club panel discussion, journalist Ted Koppel told CNN’s Brian Stelter that CNN’s ratings would be ‘in the garbage without Donald Trump.’

CNN’s Brian Stelter was mocked Sunday for a seemingly softball interview with White House press secretary Jen Psaki, in which his first question centered on what the media “gets wrong” in covering the Biden White House. 

“The White House press secretary faces some unique challenges,” Stelter said when introducing his guest, a former CNN contributor.

“Busy summer ahead – infrastructure, election reform. What does the press get wrong when covering Biden’s agenda? When you watch the news, when you read the news, what do you think we get wrong?” Stelter began the interview, which was conducted Friday but aired on Sunday.

“Some of our muscles have atrophied,” Psaki answered, suggesting that the media has forgotten how long it takes to get legislation passed when criticizing the administration.

“I don’t know if that’s the press getting it wrong,” she said. “I’ll leave you to the critique of that, Brian.”

“Bootlicking,” Newsbusters news analyst Nicholas Fondacaro said of Stelter’s opening questions.

“What a subservient, obsequious question for anyone in media to be earnestly asking the President’s mouthpiece,” conservative blogger Erik Soderstrom sounded off.

“Our corrupt media are absolutely nothing more than propagandists and should be treated as such,” Fox News contributor Mollie Hemingway said, blasting Stelter’s interview.

In a later exchange, Stelter asked Psaki to provide more advice for journalists, asking her to share guidance for reporters “to stay close to the truth in this world of lies.”

Other questions included, “Five months in, do you feel like that you’ve made any progress with … defeating the lies?” and “Given the craziness we’re seeing from the GOP, what kind of country is this going to be?”

He also asked her to reflect on her time as a CNN contributor.

The hardest-hitting question Stelter asked Psaki was why President Biden hasn’t held more than one solo press conference, which Psaki did not directly answer, noting that he “takes questions several times a week.”

Notably absent were questions about Biden’s ongoing border crisis, and the White House’s continued trust in chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci in light of his new email controversy.

Recently unearthed emails provided more insight into some of Fauci’s flip-flops on coronavirus mandates, and how he had been informed that the virus could have escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China, as opposed to having had occurred naturally. He had dismissed the lab leak theory in congressional hearings and interviews. 

The revelations infuriated many people, but Psaki told the press last week that she couldn’t imagine any circumstance in which Biden would fire Fauci, a trusted expert.

To those who have followed Stelter’s coverage of the Biden White House, the softballs were not a surprise. When Psaki was first tapped as press secretary and promised to provide only accurate information, Stelter tweeted, “How refreshing.”

Stelter has continued to lose viewers in 2021, new statistics show. He averaged only 836,000 viewers during the month of May, a 9% drop from April viewership and a 53% fall from January, when Biden entered the White House.

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