In the first weeks of the Joe Biden administration we saw a sickening display of fawning adoration from the press. We were told of a new age of fraternal affection between the administration and the press, we listened to the glowing resume embellishments of Press Secretary Jen Psaki, and heard assurances made that these were professionals who would execute communication with the highest level of skill. The press had their character studies prewritten, sounding not like journalists but like stringers from Tiger Beat Magazine.
We now watch as these same press members sit back and try to grapple with the reality that they over-promised and under-delivered on those claims. The messaging from the administration has been muddled, Psaki has been shown repeatedly to be in over her head (her over-reliance on the Circle Back non-answer is now already chiseled as a punchline), and the claims we would see a new era of honesty and transparency have already been erased with everything from the refusals to answer, undelivered data, and at times a complete lack of knowledge of the workings of the administration.
The massive problems seen at the border are exposing this reality daily. The press secretary attempts frequently to make this “challenge” into something unforeseen that no president could anticipate. She lists off a number of possible influences abroad that are driving the crowds to our country – fleeing prosecution (her word), economic hardships, hurricanes, and the pandemic. “There are also a range of factors that are leading individuals to come to the border.” This is a desperate attempt to offset responsibility. Since his inauguration Joe Biden has scribed over 40 Executive Orders, and of those more than one quarter were immigration-related efforts to lessen our security at the border.
This week it has become a glaring mess from the White House briefing room in regards to the mounting immigration crisis, starting with their inability to even call it a crisis. This is an issue that has been entirely the result of Joe Biden’s policy enforcement, yet few if any in the press, apart from Fox News contrarians, are willing to come forward with legitimate criticism. Psaki exposes the administration trying to paper over the issue with euphemisms; the result they caused is called an extraordinary circumstance, the crisis is dubbed a challenge, and Biden reopening what had been smeared as baby jails and concentration camps for kids are care centers.
One of the few places we see transparency is in the brazen effort to deflect from the fact that Biden is reopening one of these formerly demonized holding centers for children. In South Florida he is recommissioning the Homestead Immigrant Detention Center, with a capacity of holding 1,300 children. It is hoped that the president sidesteps harsh criticism by renaming the Biscayne Influx Care Facility. It is just another empty attempt to recast the reality that has been brought on by Biden’s policies.
The odds are this will likely work in his favor, at least with the media. This week Psaki has been delivering deflection and diffusion with relatively little pushback. Reports are saying the number of detained immigrant youths is approaching 8,000, with assurances that record amounts will be seen. Recently the call was made to open up capacity at the holding facilities to pre-pandemic levels, and there is a request made to expand these figures, to the tune of 20,000 new beds needed for these and future locations.
The allegedly transparent administration is providing little in the way of hard numbers regarding the massive flood of arrivals at the border; the majority of workable data has come via leaked documents from the Health and Human Services Department. Then when Psaki was challenged directly on the matter this week, as Guy Benson detailed, she tried to pass this off to the Department of Homeland Security, declaring, “It’s not our program.” This is an astounding statement to make.
For any administration to push aside any program in its operation is itself something the media should never allow. A White House being unaware of the data compiled by an agency is unacceptable, made more unacceptable by Psaki’s attempt to push this over to DHS. Her “go ask them’’ dismissal is the height of ignorance. How can she be so oblivious to the claim this is not their program, when DHS operates under the Executive Branch? It is specifically their program, and for the White House to not have anything firm as far as information and data from one of its own departments on such a crucial matter should alarm the press corps.
Instead the seal-clapping over Psaki’s brilliance is heard from the same group that resented Kayleigh McEnany for having a binder filled with the answers. At least we have some encouraging signs of a dawning breaking through in some sectors of journalism. Julio Rosas detailed how one CNN program has been willing to call out the smoke and fog responses on this particular issue. For that to have happened should be a sign of just how deep the incompetence from these folks has been.
We are left to wonder just how much damage will be exacted before the bulk of the media herd come around to face the realities, instead of ruminating on the euphemisms.