Sunday, October 13, 2013

Transparency Update

Press watchers were amused by Friday's Jay Carney briefing, wherein the bespectacled filibusterer tried to freeze out Fox's Ed Henry (emphasis added)...
Henry tried again on the next question, and when Carney ignored him again, Henry smiled, got up, and walked out. While Fox News hasn’t always gotten a question at presidential press conferences, this was the first time in memory that a Fox News reporter wasn’t called on at a daily briefing.
Mediaite's Tommy Christopher also noted that Carney froze out most of the front row during the president's impromptu briefing on Wednesday, not allowing any questions from the TV journalists while choosing a questioner from the Huffington Post. 

Those paying attention are not surprised; ABC's Jon Karl, CBS's Major Garrett and NBC's Chuck Todd had been asking some decent questions of Carney all week, inflicting minor damage on his talking points, along with an occasional tough question by CNN.  Chuck Todd is an especially effective reporter when he wants to be, one of the few in the room who can shut down Carney's filibustering answers and get some actual meat.  A lot of the mainstream reporters will ask tough initial questions, listen to the long spin cycle answer, and accept the spin, not asking follow-ups.  They probably figure they can say "hey, I asked a tough question, I'm not a hack".  They are still hacks if they don't follow.  Todd follows more than anyone aside from Henry.   

So it's not surprising Carney would want to protect the president from honest, probing questions in such a tough political situation where public opinion is so critically important.  The vast majority of the general public gets their news via snippets and doesn't have time to fill in the blanks of what major media reporters leave out.  The Press Office was clearly trying to control the narrative going into the weekend, and they did. 

As to Henry, he can be a little clownish but he still asks tougher questions than most on most days. Lately he had been pestering Carney about when the president first knew of the SNAFU with military death benefits, to which Carney still hasn't answered.   Since few reporters ever play tag team with Fox questions (picking up where Fox was cut off when they get their turn to ask questions) Carney knows that if he can successfully silence Henry the story won't get out.  The rest of the reporters have to know this as well. Which means they are complicit. 

The funny thing is the White House people seem to really believe they are still the most transparent administration in history.  They view Fox as an enemy, not a news organization; witness Carney trying to paint Henry as a participant of "Crossfire" instead of a legitimate reporter.  Yes, they are craven.   But the bigger outrage should be coming from the major TV network reporters for being frozen out of a press conference at such a pivotal moment.  Of course, they said nothing.


Right Truth said...

Walking out was a nice statement, but won't change Carney's attitude. Pretty bad when he can't call on the big 3 networks either.

Right Truth

A.C. McCloud said...

It accomplished nothing. Carney was surely happy when it occurred, because he knew 1) he wouldn't get the tough question on when Obama knew and 2) nobody else in the media would care.

He got through Friday without a question and he knew Monday they wouldn't have a briefing. Mission accomplished for the smarmy little hack.