As previously reported by two individuals involved with the discussions: Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, is in advanced talks with MSNBC about joining the network once she departs the Biden administration, according to two people with knowledge of the conversations.
According to one of the sources, Ms. Psaki might be out of the White House as soon as next month.
While the specifics of her employment are still being worked out, the discussions have focused on a deal in which she would host programmes for both MSNBC and Peacock, the streaming platform owned by NBCUniversal, which is the parent company of MSNBC. A source stated that Psaki might possibly make frequent appearances on other MSNBC programmes as well as on NBC News, among other things.”
The path from the West Wing lectern to the chair of a network anchor is widely travelled: George Stephanopoulos, for example, began his career as a press secretary for President Bill Clinton before rising to the position of chief anchor of ABC News.
The fact that a White House press secretary is associated with a news outlet before officially resigning from their government position is rare, but not unprecedented. And if Ms. Psaki were to join MSNBC, she would be the network’s second high-profile hiring from the Biden administration this year; Vice President Kamala Harris’s former spokesperson, Symone D. Sanders, is slated to host a programme for the network and Peacock Television Network.
That tension was evident on Friday at Ms. Psaki’s regularly scheduled briefing, during which she was asked difficult questions — including one from a prospective future colleague — about her likely new position as a result of an Axios piece.
Ms. Psaki refused to clarify whether or whether she was in discussions with MSNBC from the start, stating that she had “nothing to affirm about my term of public service or intended service, or anything about contemplation about future plans” at the time.
However, Kristen Welker, co-chief White House reporter for NBC News, probed her on the subject on many occasions. When you have these discussions with media outlets while still holding down a position behind the podium, how does that make you feel about yourself?” Ms. Welker had posed the question.
Speaking about her contacts with potential employers, Ms. Psaki said that she had adhered to “a variety of strict ethical and legal obligations that are placed on everyone in this administration.” She also told reporters, “I hope that I am able to live up to my own standards of treating everyone with justice and equitability.”
Most of the time, the journey from the White House to presenting a performance is a long and winding one: Prior to becoming a celebrity on MSNBC, Nicolle Wallace worked as the communications director for former President George W. Bush and spent years as an on-air commentator before launching her two-hour afternoon show on the network. Dana Perino, one of President Bush’s press secretary, followed a similar path when she joined Fox News.
The pace of progress has picked up in recent years, fueled in part by increased audience interest in political news and the proliferation of streaming TV platforms, which has resulted in hundreds of more watching hours that must be filled. In addition to co-hosting a programme on Newsmax, Sean Spicer, former President Donald J. Trump’s first press secretary, also co-hosts an afternoon show on Fox News with Kayleigh McEnany, Mr. Trump’s final press secretary.
It should come as no surprise that Ms. Psaki is contemplating her next step in her professional life. She said shortly after joining the Biden team that she intended to remain in the post for around one year. During the Obama administration, she worked as White House communications director, and she was the principal spokesperson for John Kerry when he was Secretary of State.
When she took over as press secretary, Ms. Psaki brought back the daily White House briefing, a practise that had been largely abandoned under the Trump administration. She has received widespread acclaim for her deft, though sometimes evasive, handling of reporters’ queries.
Her feisty interactions with Fox News journalist Peter Doocy are often posted extensively on social media platforms due to the nature of their content. Liberals on TikTok use the word “Psaki Bomb” to describe her rebukes to Mr. Doocy’s questions, while liberals on Twitter use the phrase “Psaki Bomb.”