Liberal PBS White House reporter allows 'sources' to anonymously push pro-Biden talking points

Media critic calls out shift in anonymously sourced reporting on Biden

PBS White House reporter Yamiche Alcindor has a habit of granting anonymity to her White House "sources" to push Biden-friendly talking points, a stark contrast from how the outspoken liberal reporter handled her job in the Trump era.

Alcindor has quoted sources on background to praise Biden Cabinet nominees, trash the Trump administration's vaccine rollout, and give positive framing of Biden's remarks. It's far more common for a reporter's sources to go on background to speak critically about their place of work, rather than push standard talking points.

Another example came Wednesday, when she quoted a source complaining about the treatment of Neera Tanden, whose nomination to run the Office of Management and Budget was withdrawn this week when she didn't have the votes for confirmation. Tanden came under fire for past scathing tweets directed at GOP lawmakers.

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"Some WH officials saying Neera Tanden should have been judged against things Trump said," Alcindor tweeted Wednesday. "One source told me: 'You should be judged by the time. And the time we were in, we had a fool in the WH tweeting all kinds of s**t. So, it's just remarkable that people can't separate that.'"

This followed Alcindor quoting another White House source who needed the cloak of anonymity to call all of President Biden's nominees "qualified." 

Alcindor also mirrored a widely criticized CNN report from January, when the liberal outlet quoted anonymous figures who claimed the Biden administration had no vaccine distribution plan to work with upon taking office. Other reporters noted the assertions in CNN's story were not true, as a distribution plan was part of the Trump administration's  Operation Warp Speed.

Yet Alcindor pushed a story from her "sources" on Feb. 16 that matched Vice President Kamala Harris' debunked claim that the administration was "starting from scratch" on the vaccine rollout.

"The number-one thing that I hear from my sources when I say how bad is it, is it worse than you thought it was when it comes to former President Trump's response to the virus, literally 9 out of 10 times they say it's worse than we could've ever imagined," she said on "Deadline: White House."

"What you have is a Biden administration that is, as Vice President Harris said, starting from scratch, and that is really, really hard," Alcindor said, as liberal anchor Nicolle Wallace said, "Yeah."

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Alcindor quoted an anonymous source on Jan. 21 who trashed the Trump administration's coronavirus vaccine strategy as merely dumping vaccines into states.

Alcindor's sources near Biden have also delivered news like his inaugural address would have a "forward-looking vision for his presidency" and contain a "theme of unity."

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Alcindor also drew ridicule in November when she enthusiastically repeated an anonymous Democrat describing Biden's proposed Cabinet as "superheroes."

"I was talking to a Democrat who just said this also felt like 'The Avengers,'" Alcindor said on MSNBC. "It felt like we were being rescued from this craziness that we've all lived through from the last four years and now here are the superheroes to come and save us all."

DePauw University professor and media critic Jeffrey McCall told Fox News the point of anonymous sources is generally to obtain information the establishment would prefer stay private.

"It is more unusual to have such leaks being done to support an administration's visible agenda," McCall said. "Just six weeks into the Biden administration, it is clear that the traditional media are taking a much different approach to coverage of this president than the previous one.  There is a lot of lapdog reporting going on and little aggressive scrutiny of things like the border problems, economic outlooks and international tensions in various places."

"The relationship between the media has changed from opposition under Trump, to support under Biden," Cornell Law School professor William Jacobson told Fox News. 

"While one or more anonymous sources were used weekly to undermine the Trump administration, now anonymous sources more likely will be used to support the Biden administration."

Alcindor has a high social media following for a reporter, with more than 1.2 million Twitter followers. In addition to her work for PBS, she is an MSNBC contributor.

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Alcindor frequently injects left-wing commentary into her reporting and has said she views her role in journalism as being an advocate. Alcindor had warm words for new White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on her first day as well.

She was also known for her combative exchanges with former President Donald Trump during his press conferences. President Biden has yet to hold a solo press conference, drawing criticism from some press members over the lack of transparency.