White House press secretaries should be banned from taking media jobs for two years after leaving post

Posted: April 3, 2022 by John Ruberry in media, politics, News/opinion
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By John Ruberry

One lesson from the 2020 presidential campaign, one of many, is that more than ever information is power. More importantly, the flow of information is power.

The journalistic malpractice by the mainstream media, in regard to suppressing and censoring the Hunter Biden laptop scandal, is a subject I covered here at DTG last month. Glenn Greenwald, in a Substack post, deemed it, “One of the most successful disinformation campaigns in modern American electoral history.” As for myself I can’t think of one that was worse. 

Joe Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki, has generally brushed off questions about Hunter’s laptop, unless she blamed “Russian disinformation” for its existence. Hunter’s MacBook Pro offers damning proof that the president’s son was the head of a Chicago-style influence peddling ring.

Last week Axios broke the news that Psaki will resign and next month join MSNBC and its Peacock streaming service in an on-air role. Axios touched on the obvious ethical concerns in its report. Psaki refuses to confirm the Axios story.

Going back to at least the Obama administration, there have been executive orders that prevent, for a period, senior officials in the executive branch of the federal government accepting a lobbying job. On his first full day in office, Biden signed an executive order that bans his political appointees from taking a lobbying job for two years after leaving their posts. Donald J. Trump signed an even stronger executive order on lobbying bans for his top staffers, one for five years, but in what I see as a bad decision, he rescinded it on his last day as president. 

Biden, as well as his eventual successor, needs to sign an executive order that blocks future press secretaries, as well as White House communications directors, from media jobs for two years. From 2015-2017 Psaki served in that latter post, before leaving for an on-air job with CNN. As for that network, Psaki reportedly has also recently explored a return to CNN, as well as seeking jobs with CBS and ABC, according to Puck

Perhaps it’s just a coincidence, but last week, vice president Kamala Harris was interviewed, exclusively, by MSNBC’s Joy Reid.

In a rare moment of toughness since Biden because president, Psaki was confronted about those ethical concerns of her possible move to MSNBC by the White House press corps, including an NBC reporter.

As I mentioned at the top of this entry, information, as well as the censorship and suppression of it, is power. So is the granting of access to the media of senior White House officials. 

It’s time to rein in, at least a little bit, the White House gatekeepers of that information. 

And oh yes, Republican press secretaries have benefitted from the “revolving door” from the White House to a media gig too. Psaki’s predecessor, Kayleigh McEnany, who served under Trump, is an on-air contributor on Fox News. She negotiated the landing of that job while still working at the White House.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

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