After four years of Donald Trump’s administration labeling the media “the enemy of the people” and making the phrase “fake news” a frustrating fixture in the national discourse, members of the press have been understandably relieved by the professional tone and demeanor of the new White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. Right out of the gate, Psaki courteously greeted the press with a message that was in stark contrast to her immediate predecessor.
“It’s an honor to be here with all of you,” Psaki said. “When the president asked me to serve in this role, we talked about the importance of bringing truth and transparency back to the briefing room.”
That might not seem like much and, frankly, it is the bare minimum requirements of the job, but the press corps had just spent three months dealing with Kayleigh McEnany, who was frequently combative when she wasn’t lying about the 2020 election. So, with that in mind, CNN’s Brian Stelter couldn’t help but highlight a snarky chryon for Reliable Sources that read, “Psaki promises to share ‘accurate info’ (How refreshing).”
However, conservatives didn’t enjoy the humor and started freaking out on Twitter by hurling accusations of “propaganda” and “state-run media” at both CNN and Stetler:
I once again humbly submit that this would be a bridge too far even for North Korean State Television, which is usually a bit more subtle and discerning than this: https://t.co/O4Czbj0Yvp
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 25, 2021
Check out the chyron! “How refreshing!” Even state television in Cuba, Venezuela and other socialist states is more subtle than this https://t.co/K47MoWoMeu
— Dinesh D'Souza (@DineshDSouza) January 25, 2021
While it is questionable for the media to gush over a government spokesperson regardless of party affiliation, it’s clear that Stetler’s chryon was intended to highlight the glaring differences between Psaki and previous press secretaries. The Trump administration ushered in an unprecedented era of disinformation and outright contempt for the press, so there is a journalistic duty to note the dramatic shift in how Biden’s administration will communicate with the American public.