Are the daily White House press briefings all a sham? A new report sheds a bit of light on that concept. Catherine Anaya of the Arizona’s CBS affiliate, KPHO, had a chance to visit the White House for an exclusive interview with President Obama. Anaya also got a behind-the-scenes look at how White House press secretary Jay Carney prepares for his day, and it is the surprising details of that report that is getting some attention.
“Play the audio clip of the reporter on how Jake Carney knows all of the questions in advance… So the idea of the pressroom is a show,” Glenn said on radio this morning. “Understand that. Those daily briefings, that's a show. Everybody has exchanged scripts.”
Watch Anaya’s eye-opening report below:
What is most interesting about this report, as Stu pointed out, is that Anaya specifically says she was granted “off the record” access to the inner workings of the White House communications team. If her time with Carney was in fact off the record, it is widely considered journalistic malpractice to report on what she saw on air.
“She kind of indicates at the beginning of her answer here that she was off the record when being told these things,” Stu said. “So I don't think she's supposed to be saying these things on television.”
The Right Scoop was among the first to cover this story, and they reached out Fox News chief White House correspondent Ed Henry on Twitter for further insight. Henry replied that is not familiar with the practice:
@trscoop this reporter does NOT— Ed Henry (@edhenryTV) March 20, 2014
He later added that the Anaya’s claims are “bizarre”:
@danielhalper Arizona reporter has no idea what she is talking about -- bizarre claim— Ed Henry (@edhenryTV) March 20, 2014
Carney also chimed in on Twitter, denying the report:
.@RalstonReports Briefings would be a lot easier if this were true! Rest assured, it is not.— Jay Carney (EOP) (@PressSec) March 20, 2014
Maybe Anaya misinterpreted what she saw and heard during her time at the White House. But the thought of the White House press corps submitting questions ahead of time takes the question of press freedom to a whole new level.
“Is that accurate because I've never heard that,” Glenn asked. “The point of that whole White House briefing is for television. It's so the news has something to play every night. That's it. There is no gotcha question. There are no surprises there. It is a play. Think of that, America… Nothing is real.”
Front page image courtesy of the AP