A lucky reporter from Arizona was invited to the White House to see what really goes on there. She was allowed to interview Pres. Obama (they discussed college basketball) and to speak with Press Secretary Jay Carney. March 19, 2014 was her big day.
Catherine Anaya, the reporter, presented her findings on the local CBS News show on Channel 5 in Phoenix. She revealed that Carney’s briefings are rigged, not spontaneous as many in the public still believe.
Jay Carney, she reported, “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.”
Many critics have long complained that honest journalism is dead, that the mainstream media thinks it has only one job, protecting President Obama. These critics were not surprised to find their cynicism confirmed. According to the CBS reporter, Carney knows the questions in advance and, to be really helpful, sometimes the White House prints out his answers ahead of time to make sure the reporters get the answers right. How thoughtful.
In some ways this is also an education story. The CBS reporter appears perfectly capable but she clearly did not grasp the meaning of the words “off the record.” In her on-air report she casually mentioned that her briefing at the White House “was off-the-record so we were able to ask [Carney] about some of the preparations.” She seemed to think that “off the record" means the White House will “now really tell the truth” so she can go back and tell it to the public. Big mistake.
Rush Limbaugh confidently predicted on his Thursday show that Catherine Anaya would be subjected to whatever treatment it took to straighten out her story: “I'm gonna predict by one o'clock Eastern time, maybe two o'clock, this woman's mind will be made right. They will pressure her and pressure her, and she will say that she got it wrong, that she misunderstood. They are going to show her her career hanging in the balance on how she handles this, because they can't let this stand." Limbaugh was very accurate.
In fact, Catherine Anaya reversed her story the next day: “First, I did not take notes during our coffee with Jay Carney because it was off the record….In my live report I also wanted to share my impression of my experience in getting a question answered during the briefing. I was indeed asked to provide my question in advance. Because my question was largely of local interest, I chose to save it for my interview with the President instead...."
One politics site headlined: “Are Carney’s press briefings more ‘staged’ than pro wrestling?”
The key point here is that none of this news will appear in the New York Times or in the Virginian-Pilot, most likely. The reporter was not the least bit hesitant in what she first reported. It’s reasonable to think she was telling the truth as she knew it. But what does it matter if none of the media report what she said, and if the powers-that-be can make her see a different reality a day later? The Kremlin used to have the same control over TASS.
As noted in earlier reports by this writer, the schools tend not to teach facts and the media tend not to report facts.
(See video of Anaya reporting.)