“While he’s answered questions from reporters in informal settings numerous times and held a CNN town hall, Biden has now gone 50 days without holding a formal news conference. It’d be ideal for him to do one, but there are many good reasons he hasn’t yet — the urgent public health and economic crises he inherited, a pandemic that complicates logistics, and the legacy former President Donald Trump left him of presidential news conferences doubling as hate spectacles.
Still, it’s starting to aggravate members of the press corps, with the president of the White House Correspondents Association telling Vanity Fair that full press conferences are “critical to informing the American people and holding an administration accountable.” And the Washington Post editorial board wrote that “it’s past time for Biden to hold a news conference” — even while acknowledging that more press availability didn’t equal more truth or transparency with the previous president.
The careful wording of the Post’s editorial board exemplifies how journalists are having to reevaluate relationships to power and what it means to do adversarial journalism now that the White House isn’t the home of a habitual liar who routinely made reporters objects of hate, even while he was accessible to them with regular helicopter-side press availabilities and coronavirus press briefings that are best remembered for Trump floating the idea of disinfectant as a cure for Covid-19.
But on the cable network that benefited most from the Trump presidency, all of that nuance is lost.
Fox News has done its best in recent days to blow up the fact Biden hasn’t yet had a formal news conference into a major scandal, complete with special graphics and coverage across shows suggesting Biden is hiding something.”
“While it’s true that Biden has broken from modern precedent in not holding a news conference sometime in his first month in office, press secretary Jen Psaki answers questions from reporters every weekday during briefings that illustrate one of the reasons Biden might not be in a rush to do one himself.
Fox News’s Peter Doocy has distinguished himself during Psaki’s briefings by regularly asking loaded, gotcha-style questions on topics ranging from the national anthem to the Olympics to energy policy to school reopenings.”