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More White House ‘Transparency’: Reporters Submit Questions in Advance

The latest commotion erupting from the most “transparent administration in history,” stems from a story released by a CBS affiliate in Phoenix. The Weekly Standard reports that KPHO TV reporter Catherine Anaya went on air to disclose that: “…Jay Carney receives questions from the press in advance of his daily press briefing…reporters often receive the answers in advance of the briefing, too…”

Anaya, who is likely bidding farewell to her career in her rear-view mirror, revealed information that was, apparently, disclosed to her off-the-record. This didn’t prevent her from disgorging what she thought was a juicy tidbit of information on the air. Even though her meeting with the White House Press Secretary was privileged, and she blabbed, the intrepid journalist was not overtly trying to take The Lyin’ King’s administration down. Her revelations were breathlessly reverent.

The Weekly Standard quotes:

It was a very busy day. We started here shortly after 8 o’clock with…press secretary Jay Carney inside his office in the West Wing…And this was the off-the-record so we were able to ask him all about some of the preparation that he does on a regular basis for talking to the press in his daily press briefings. He showed us a very long list of items that he has to be well versed on every single day. And then he also mentioned that a lot of times, unless it’s something breaking, the questions that the reporters actually ask — the correspondents — they are provided to him in advance. So then he knows what he’s going to be answering and sometimes those correspondents and reporters also have those answers printed in front of them, because of course it helps when they’re producing their reports for later on. So that was very interesting.

Interesting, maybe, but it is nothing new.

As far back as January 2009, during Robert Gibbs’ stint as the regime’s Joseph Goebbels seem-alike, The Lyin’ King laid down brown-shirt diktats for the White House Press Corpse, regarding how information was going to be disseminated and by whom. Back then token resistance was being offered by a MSM indignant at having their sovereignty challenged. Rules implemented included such strictures as background briefings, off-the-record meetings with select reporters, suppressing identification of White House sources in reporters’ stories and, notably, The Lyin King’s selection of and notifying chosen reporters in advance before calling on them during press conferences.

The University of Minnesota published a lengthy article, quoting the regime’s otherwise-loyalist cheerleaders, in October of 2009:
— Jennifer Loven, Associated Press reporter and president of the White House Correspondents’ Association: “We protest in the strongest terms the Obama administration’s frequent use of briefings done on a background basis…”
— James Rainey, columnist for The Los Angeles Times: “…Team Obama has continued a distasteful and potentially damaging practice.”
— Jeff Zeleny, NYT: “Does an administration that has pledged to be the most open and transparent one ever really need to have routine briefings be on background, by an official who can’t be named?”

The practice of prearranged questions and answers was divulged by Politico correspondent Michael Calderone. The Lyin’ King had called on HuffPo reporter Nico Pitney in an exchange that had been choreographed more meticulously than a performance of Swan Lake: “Nico, I know you and all across the Internet, we’ve been seeing a lot of reports coming out of Iran. I know there may actually be questions from people in Iran who are communicating through the Internet. Do you have a question?” Predictably, Pitney did: “Under which conditions would you accept the election of Ahmadinejad, and if you do accept it without any significant changes in the conditions there, isn’t that a betrayal of the – of what the demonstrators there are working towards?”

Smooth, eh? Apparently, Howard Kurtz didn’t think so: “Kurtz reported…that journalists were bothered by Obama’s practice of deciding the day before his news conferences which reporters to call on and notifying them in advance.” Even the Washington Post had noticed: “Dana Milbank compared the exchange between Pitney and Obama (to) scripted soap operas…Milbank wrote that Obama knew Pitney would be present because White House aides had called him the day before to invite him, and even escorted him into the press conference.” The White House even came partially clean: “The White House (acknowledged) that it did reach out to Pitney before the press conference, telling him that it was possible he would be called upon.” Yeah. And gravity might “possibly” exist.

Reporters that do not stick to submitted scripts receive responses from the Dissembler-In-Chief that are either indignant or else have nothing to do with the question asked. In September 2013, Jon Karl of ABC had the effrontery to ask for a “direct response” to his question. The Lyin’ King pettishly replied “And you’re not getting a direct response. Brianna (Keilar of CNN) asked (a) question very well. You know?” Such fugitives from the reservation are not invited back.

Despite the latest, eye-opener aired by Anaya, Statists are well acquainted with the gambit employed by three year olds everywhere and use it to terminate all controversy: Deny, deny deny. Jay Carney has simply denied the allegation by Anaya.


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Marilyn Assenheim

Marilyn Assenheim was born and raised in New York City. She spent a career in healthcare management although she probably should have been a casting director. Or a cowboy. A serious devotee of history and politics, Marilyn currently lives in the NYC metropolitan area.

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