Jen Psaki Says 'There's a Performative Aspect' to Her Exchanges with Reporters Like Fox News' Peter Doocy

"People don't always see this, but outside the briefing room, it is entirely professional and entirely, hopefully, responsive," the White House press secretary said of fielding questions from Doocy

Jen Psaki, Peter Doocy
Jen Psaki (left), Peter Doocy. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images; Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Despite their often viral and occasionally brusque exchanges during briefings, Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki are perfectly cordial when the cameras are off.

"People don't see this every day, but we fully recognize Peter Doocy as — and many reporters, right? — they are doing their jobs and working on behalf of the media organizations they represent and asking, sometimes, their questions that are tough," Psaki, 42, said in a recent interview with Mediaite.

She continued: "But my engagement with him, people don't always see this, but outside the briefing room, it is entirely professional and entirely, hopefully, responsive."

Still, Psaki acknowledged that there is a made-for-TV aspect to some of her interactions with reporters when she is behind the podium.

"There's a performative component from the TV side of the briefing room," she told Mediate.

She also said she believes Fox News has a particular perspective of her and the Biden administration — one that she keeps in mind when she answers questions from the network's reporters.

"I'm very clear-eyed about the view of Fox News, of me, of the president, of many people who work here. Right. Peter Doocy is a correspondent for Fox News," she said. "But I have also found my engagements with him to be entirely professional. He's somebody who engages with our staff, obviously, in the briefing room, but also beyond the briefing room as well."

And while Psaki told Mediaite she is respectful of questions from reporters with any network, she said she is quick to correct them if she feels their information is inaccurate.

"I'm not going to be silent if there is misinformation that is being shared, because that briefing room is really for the American people so they can get information and know what's happening," Psaki said.

In an interview with PEOPLE earlier this year, Doocy, 34, agreed with Psaki's take on their relationship, saying the reality was much less controversial than it might be portrayed on social media.

"It never feels like someone is 'destroying me' or I am 'destroying' anyone else," said Doocy, who has been with Fox News since 2009. "It's perfectly civil."

When the briefing is over and the TV cameras are no longer rolling, Doocy added,"everyone is perfectly polite over email or on the phone."

Doocy said then that his questioning style was "usually just me and I'm going over things that the administration has said, either recently or in the past, just to try to figure out how to get them to say something new."

While Doocy's exchanges with Psaki are the most-often to be shared on social media, the Fox correspondent has also asked pointed questions of President Joe Biden, who once chided Doocy for inquiring about the federal investigation into Biden's son Hunter.

"God love you, man," the president said to Doocy in January 2020. "You are a one-horse pony."

A year later, Biden's attitude toward Doocy had softened somewhat, with the president saying of the reporter: "I know he always asks me tough questions, and he always has an edge to them, but I like him anyway."

That moment, Doocy told PEOPLE, was a weight off his shoulders.

"It is kind of a relief because it's not like he is saying, 'I am now president, I don't have time to answer your questions anymore,' " Doocy said. "It was like, 'Okay. I know this might not be something I like, but what is it today?' That gives me a lot of hope."

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