Let’s start at the obvious question of “Who the hell is C.J. Cregg?” C.J. Cregg was a badass White House Press Secretary who took no guff from any member of the press, who was fearless in her pursuit of getting the messaging right and for never stepping over the line. She was both feared and respected by the press. She was unflappable.
And she never existed in real life. C.J. Cregg was a fictional character played flawlessly by the brilliant Alison Janney in the series The West Wing.
Comparing Jen Psaki to C.J. Cregg was a natural instinct from the first moment she took the podium as White House Press Secretary for the Biden Administration. Her ability to remain unrattled in the face of leading and antagonistic questions from right wing reporerts quickly became legendary.
But there is a big difference between Alison Janney’s portrayal of a brilliant press secretary and Jen Psaki’s performance of her job: Jen Psaki’s responses were all her own and not the product of a well-written script, hashed out and rehearsed before hand.
Let’s have a little fun and compare. Here’s a C.J. Cregg press briefing from the West Wing in 2008:
Now let’s watch Jen Psaki:
It has been well noted that Jen Psaki held more press briefings in her first year than were held during the entire four years of the Trump administration. But we also have to note that she also held more briefings than the entire number of episodes of The West Wing in its seven-season run.
We wish Jen Psaki all the best in her future endeavors.