The White House daily press briefing has a new feature, including “regional reporters” tuning in via video. The first reporter to be featured was James Brooks, a political writer for the Anchorage Daily News, who appeared on a large screen behind Press Secretary Jen Psaki this week. He was attended from Juneau, wearing a red-and-black Filson brand vest, and he was the only regional reporter included in the Friday White House press briefing.
As Psaki tried to explain the initiative to bring in regional reporters, she threw shade on all of the non-Beltway reporters by praising the elite White House Press Corp, “You know, many of you started your career that way.”
It was an insult that may have made all non-White House reporters grimace, as many do not aspire to join the White House Press corp, but see value in local reporting. For many reporters, local and state beats are a passion.
After accidentally dissing him, Psaki then greeted Brooks, but didn’t seem to have his name.
Brooks, good natured as is typical with him, described to Psaki the problem Alaska has with its cruise ship season because, not only are there CDC rules, but there is the Canadian ban on ships.
Due to a U.S. law, “ships must stop in Canada on the way to Alaska and Canada isn’t allowing cruise ships right now,” Brooks explained. Just as he was explaining that a bipartisan request from Alaska legislators to have the Biden Administration lift the Canada stop requirement, the sound went dead, and Brooks could be seen talking, but could not be heard.
“Uh oh,” said Psaki. “Oh no, you didn’t hit your mute button, did you? That may be on our end.” After a few moments, the glitch was fixed and Brooks was able to ask the Biden Administration what it thinks of the request to grant a waiver to Alaska-bound cruise ships.
Psaki said that Biden has been working with Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Alaska officials on the problem, and engaging with Canada.
The segment comes at the end of the press conference, as seen on CSPAN.