Why do you need to know? Psaki snaps at reporter with her own question she quickly regrets asking

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White House press secretary Jen Psaki caught an attitude Friday when a reporter, much to the reporter’s credit, fiercely grilled her over the administration’s hypocritical lack of transparency in regard to the coronavirus’s impact on the White House.

During the 2020 presidential election, then-Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden repeatedly bashed then-President Donald Trump for his alleged lack of transparency and vowed that if elected to office, he would be as transparent as glass.

Yet Biden has failed to live up to his promise, to the point that even demonstrably pro-Biden CNN took note this week in a piece titled “The White House’s Covid-19 transparency problem.”

The piece was published in response to a bombshell report released by Axios earlier last week confirming via unnamed sources that a vaccinated White House official had secretly tested positive for the coronavirus.

The report sent shock waves through the media because the expectation had been that the administration would reveal something like this on its own. But it didn’t.

Now fast-forward to Friday, when a reporter tried confronting Psaki about this lack of transparency, only to be hit with more intransigence.


“This administration has long claimed that you’re trying to be the most transparent in history. If that’s the case, why won’t you just release the number of breakthrough cases that you’ve had of vaccinated staffers?” the reporter asked.

The White House press secretary responded with a long spiel about “the science” that was completely beside the point.

“Well, I think, first, we’re in a very different place than we were six to seven months ago as it relates to the virus. And as many medical experts have said — inside and outside of the government — those who are vaccinated are protected from serious illness,” she said.

“Most are asymptomatic, if they are individuals who are vaccinated who get the virus. And, you know, we are in a different place in terms of the impact of individuals who may have, as you said, breakthrough cases,” she added.

This prompted the reporter to try again, albeit more bluntly.

But why not just provide the number? Are you trying to hide something?” she asked.

No, but what is the — why do you need to have that information?” Psaki then asked in obvious annoyance.

“It’s a case of transparency, in the interest of the public, knowing — having a better understanding of how breakthrough cases work here in the White House,” the reporter responded.

Instead of conceding the reporter’s point, Psaki then launched into a long spiel about how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been tracking the number of breakthrough cases throughout the country.

“There’s a range of means our public health officials are tracking, across the country, across D.C., across any individuals here about who is vaccinated, who is getting the virus, getting hospitalized — hopefully not; it remains a small percentage,” she said.

But this was, again, beside the point because the reporter wasn’t asking about nationwide cases — the reporter was asking about cases in the White House.

The reporter nevertheless let the issue rest and moved on to asking questions about other matters. Over on social media, however, the public wasn’t as eager to let the administration off the hook for its stunning lack of transparency.


The media for their part are at least asking questions, though what’s clearly missing is the passion and fervor that had undergirded their coverage of the Trump administration and its own failures to meet certain standards.

When Trump contracted the virus and had to be briefly hospitalized last October, the media went into overdrive mode in its search for answers. With Biden, the media’s interest in finding answers seems far more muted.

The media likewise seem far less interested in holding Democrats accountable for their own “super-spreader” events …


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Vivek Saxena


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