The White House announced this week that Karin Jean-Pierre will become Joe Biden’s new spokesperson after Jen Psaki leaves the Press Secretary post on May 13.
Jean-Pierre constitutes a diversity triple play for the administration, as she is female, black and openly LGTBQ. In the new world of identity politics, the corporate media has been fast to praise the boxes that are checked off on the diversity checklist with the hire. However, Jean-Pierre’s experience, education and personal relationships have barely been mentioned.
She grew up in a working-class New York neighborhood. Her mother was a health care worker and her father drove a taxi. She holds a master’s degree from Columbia University. She has said that she had difficulty with her family accepting her sexuality, leading to depression and a suicide attempt.
She has a history of progressive activism, working for MoveOn.org and the ACLU. She has worked in liberal media at NBC and MSNBC.
Jean-Pierre also climbed the ranks in the Democratic Party, working as an upper-level political director in the Obama administration. Before she joined the White House media team, she was Kamala Harris’ chief of staff for a time.
The corporate media had plenty in her life history to trumpet, but it is not surprising that the focus remained on her identity characteristics. Sadly, the attributes that lead directly to claims of victimhood are more important in Washington today than skills and ability.
Another significant part of Jean-Pierre’s life has been overlooked by the mainstream media. Her domestic partner should be making news, however. She is CNN correspondent Suzanne Malveaux, a prominent member of the iconic liberal network’s Washington team.
In any other situation, a White House press secretary involved in a long-standing domestic relationship with a leading media personality covering politics would stand out as blatant conflict of interest.
The circumstances call to mind former CNN host Chris Cuomo who regularly had his brother, former Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, on his show. Of course, nobody objected at the time. It was later disclosed that Chris was advising the governor on how to handle his sex scandals legally and in the media.
Relationships like the one between Jean-Pierre and Malveaux help explain why viewpoints and even phrases used on the air are so consistent among corporate media talking heads. When a particular spin is developed inside the Democratic Party establishment, the media is certain to pick up the clues on how to report the desired narrative.