Handlers reportedly disabled chat function on their Zoom virtual pressers
Democrat Joe Biden’s team is facing a backlash after the former vice president’s handlers reportedly locked reporters out of their virtual press conferences when they started asking tough questions.
Biden’s transition team has apparently disabled the chat function on their Zoom virtual pressers after invited journalists began complaining about the lack of transparency.
Last week, reporters were complaining they were becoming “frustrated” with the Biden team — and Joe Biden himself — over the arrangement.
The frustrations emerged as the team appeared to have a slate of favored journalists who were always called on to ask questions during Biden’s virtual press conferences, according to The Daily Wire.
Democrat-friendly outlets “New York Times, CNN, Washington Post, PBS and Politico” were given the opportunity to ask questions of the team at nearly every press conference.
Meanwhile, even mainstream media outlets like the Associated Press were shut out.
“Hey guys, there tons of folks looking to ask questions and since this is being done once a week, could we PLEASE go longer or at least hold more frequent briefings,” a reporter from the Daily Beast said in the chat of a Zoom press conference held last week, according to The Daily Wire.
“Any chance you can take a few more questions?” Zeke Miller from the Associated Press asked.
“There are a lot of folks here with questions,” he added.
“Is there a point in saying we want to ask questions if you only call on the same small group every week?” another asked.
The system had a direct impact: Biden’s team rarely had to answer an unexpected question, particularly about touchy subjects, like an ongoing Department of Justice investigation into his son Hunter’s finances and foreign dealings.
Biden has yet to answer questions on Hunter’s issues in any substantive way, and even then when questioned by late-night television hosts, not network reporters.
His team has a typical statement response to the question: “President-elect Biden is deeply proud of his son, who has fought through difficult challenges, including the vicious personal attacks of recent months, only to emerge stronger.”
After reporters complained in public about the situation, though, the Biden team didn’t take more questions, they simply shut down the chat, according to at least one reporter who was on the most recent virtual press conference Zoom.
“The Biden transition team appears to have disabled the public chat function on its transition zoom calls, a place where I and others had been routinely complaining to them to take more questions,” incoming Politico editor Sam Stein said on Twitter, per Fox News.
Biden’s team did not comment on the situation according to Fox, but the team did say, last month, that they value “transparency” and believe the press’s job is to hold Biden “accountable” during his tenure.
“He also believes, though, that it’s the media’s job to hold him accountable,” a spokesperson said.
“He’s there to do the people’s work and he welcomes that relationship.
“He welcomes their role, the media’s role in our democracy and I think it will be, frankly, the polar opposite of what we’ve seen over the last four years…
“I think you’ll see a huge change in the culture in the way this White House treats the media.”