A fake news reporter managed to sneak into numerous White House press briefings. No, a literal a fake news reporter – not CNN or MSNBC.
According to a Politico report, a gamer known for her hijinks in the online game ROBLOX who goes by the fake name Kacey Montagu presented herself as a correspondent for the fictitious “White House News” tricked numerous members of the White House Press Corps into asking White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki questions at briefings. It happened at least four times.
The impostor did not reveal her true identity when quizzed by Politico but expressed frustration and disappointment with the performance of the “real” press present at the briefings, whom she says are “doing a pretty bad job at the moment.”
Montague posed as a reporter for the Daily Mail in her correspondence with real journalists.
Members of the Press Corps have been heavily criticized on social media for their failure to ask the Biden administration hard question, often lobbing softballs at Psaki, who was in turn criticized for constantly remarking that she would “circle back” to them on any moderately challenging questions.
"I love journalism, and I think the press corps is doing a pretty bad job at the moment, so I decided I would ensure some transparency and ask some questions me and some friends wanted the answer to," Montagu said to Politico.
Access to the White House press briefings is limited to credentialed reporters, with access further limited by social distancing limits implemented last year. As such, it’s become standard practice for journalists unable to get into the venue to reach out to other reporters to ask questions on their behalf.
Speaking to Politico, Montagu said that she contacted credentialed press with questions she wanted them to ask on her behalf, and reporters at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, CQ Roll Call, and the Washington Blade managed to relay them through to Psaki.
Despite the fabricated nature of Montagu’s identity, the questions she posed were legitimate, and pertained to issues left untouched by members of the mainstream media, including COVID-19 travel bans, ambassadorship appointments, Biden’s reaction to the Chinese state hack of Microsoft’s mail exchange servers, and more recently about Biden’s ongoing relationship with former President Barack Obama.
As a citizen journalist, Montagu has reportedly filed multiple Freedom of Information requests and obtained Psaki’s financial disclosure form, and that of Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security advisor.
Montagu told Politico that a question she wanted answered, but was not relayed to Psaki by any of the reporters she reached out to, pertained to transparency in the Biden administration—or lack thereof.
It read: "Recently the White House has had read outs of calls and has the name of the people saying ‘Senior Administration official’ so why isn’t the White House releasing the names of people in the calls, making these comments so that they can be held accountable to the American people?"