May 19, 2024

Biden’s Cheat Sheet Scandal: White House Defends Question Rigging Amidst Outrage from Journalists

The White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Thursday defended President Biden’s use of a cheat sheet during a joint press conference, stating it was “entirely normal” for the president to be briefed about potential questions and the journalists asking them. She also denied any knowledge of specific questions in advance.

The White House often reaches out to reporters to submit ‘topics’ or ‘areas of discussion’ in advance. But many of them end up disclosing their questions in advance. They are then called on during press conferences and the press secretary or the president simply reads from her prepared notes.

During her daily press briefing today, Jean-Pierre informed the White House press corps that it was common for the president to be prepared for possible questions and topics during a press conference. She referred to the meeting yesterday with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol as an example.

While Jean-Pierre’s own briefings have been known to be pre-scripted, she maintained that the administration does not receive specific questions ahead of time. She also explained that the White House selects reporters for press events, being mindful of those who haven’t had a chance to ask questions recently.

The question in question was submitted by Courtney Subramanian, a reporter from the Los Angeles Times, which has denied providing Biden’s team with any advance knowledge of the question’s content.

President Biden’s cheat sheet contained a question regarding the balance between domestic priorities, such as reshoring semiconductor manufacturing, and alliance-based foreign policy. Jean-Pierre stated that the actual question asked by Subramanian was different from the one on the card.

Jon Decker of Gray Television, a veteran White House journalist, questioned Jean-Pierre’s claims, asking whether the question on the card was indeed different from the one asked. Jean-Pierre did not address his inquiry during the briefing.

Former White House press secretaries have criticized the idea of reporters pre-submitting questions. Ari Fleischer, who served under President George W. Bush, called for the LA Times to investigate the matter, while Kayleigh McEnany, former press secretary for President Donald Trump, expressed disbelief that reporters would provide their questions to Biden beforehand.

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