Biden’s communications director, Kate Bedingfield, hinted that the new administration will refuse to work with conservative networks that “revert to form” by “lying” about President Biden.
During an interview with CNN, host Alisyn Camerota asked Bedingfield how the Biden White House would treat networks with which it disagrees.
“They are right-wing companies, some are more fringe than others, at this point, or more extreme than others,” Camerota said.
“And so if they continue to engage in lies, something that he is trying to combat, what is your communication strategy, will you deny those networks any interviews?” she continued. “I mean what happens if they revert to form immediately?”
Bedingfield responded by saying Biden is “committed to reaching every American,” but went on to make clear that punishing Fox News, Newsmax, or One America News is not off the table.
“Now obviously, if media companies are willfully lying or are not carrying forth straightforward honest information from the president when we make him available, or from administration officials when we make them available, then, of course, that’s something that we are going to think about and we’re going to factor in,” Bedingfield said.
Her comments come even as Biden’s White House purports to make “unity” its baseline promise.
As part of this effort, Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki, promised “truth and transparency” in the briefing room during her first press conference on Wednesday, before refusing to answer basic questions about Biden’s agenda.
For example, when a reporter asked Psaki whether Biden would support congressional efforts to overturn the Hyde Amendment—a federal statute that prohibits the government from using taxpayer dollars to fund abortion—Psaki dodged the question.
“I will just take the opportunity to remind all of you that he is a devout Catholic and somebody who attends church regularly,” Psaki said. “He started his day attending church with his family this morning. But I don’t have anything more for you on that.”
CNN’s support for the administration refusing to work with ideologically adverse media comes as something of a dramatic about-face.
During the previous Trump administration, the network, which often took a combative tone and violated basic rules of briefing-room decorum, nonetheless fought bitterly for reporters including Jim Acosta to retain their press credentials, claiming that the White House’s refusal to grant access violated the First Amendment.
But recently the network has actively campaigned against its conservative rivals and urged advertisers and supporters to boycott them.