CNN host Brian Stelter was seemingly left surprised on Sunday after a guest on "Reliable Sources" bucked his narrative on White House press secretary Jen Psaki's alleged insult of reporter Peter Doocy.
What is the background?
In January, President Joe Biden was caught on a hot mic calling Doocy, a White House correspondent for Fox News, a "stupid son of a b****."
During an interview on the left-wing podcast "Pod Save America" last week, Psaki was asked whether she agrees with Biden's insult.
"He works for a network that provides people with questions that, nothing personal to any individual including Peter Doocy, but might make anyone sound like a stupid son of a b****," Psaki responded, adding that she appreciated how Doocy handled Biden's insult with "grace."
What happened on CNN?
Whereas Stelter defended Psaki, Lynn Sweet, Washington bureau chief for the Chicago Sun-Times, condemned Psaki for being unprofessional.
"She got lulled into losing her discipline. This podcast is made by her friends. They go back to the Kerry campaign. They worked in the Obama White House," Sweet said.
"She was forgetting what her real job is, which is to communicate on behalf of the president. OK? She even repeated some of the swear words that the questioner asked in the question, upping the ante," she added
After commending Psaki for acknowledging Doocy's "grace," Sweet said, "One other quick thing: It’s not a negative to consult your colleagues on what question to ask."
Stelter responded to Sweet's remarks with a puzzled look, only uttering, "Hmm, right," before moving on.
Last Friday, Stelter defended Psaki and suggested that Doocy is a puppet for Fox News, the exact point that Sweet chided last.
"I think the point she's trying to say there is that Fox pushes storylines that are sometimes nonsense. Doocy does that in the briefing room," Stelter said.
"I think Jen Psaki’s like — remember in senior year, spring of your senior year, you're about to graduate and you're just tired of all this? I think we're seeing that from Jen Psaki," Stelter went on to say. "She's about to leave the White house. She's going to go to a job likely at MSNBC, so she’s kind of relaxing and maybe sharing how she really feels.
"But, to be fair, she didn’t really criticize [Doocy] directly," Stelter excused. "She was really criticizing Fox News as an organization."