Last July 26, at the White House’s daily news briefing, Obama press secretary Jay Carney refused to answer the following question from Connie Lawn of IRN/USA Radio Network, who is the longest-serving White House correspondent:
“What city does this administration consider to be the capital of Israel – Jerusalem or Tel Aviv?”
To which Carney replied: “Our position has not changed, Connie.”
Lawn: “What is the position? What’s the capital?”
Carney: “You know our position.”
Lawn: “I don’t.”
At that point, I called out: “No, no. She doesn’t know. She doesn’t know. That’s why she asked.”
Carney: “She does know.”
Lawn: “I don’t.”
Kinsolving: “She does not know. She said she doesn’t know. I don’t know.”
This exchange continued, but Carney refused to answer despite three more such questions later in the briefing.
From that July 26 through November’s Election Day, Carney refused, ever, to allow me to ask any more questions, despite my being second in seniority to Connie Lawn.
That led me to retire from covering the White House, where, with 14 former press secretaries, I have never experienced such oral censorship.
On Feb. 25, Washington’s Weekly Standard noted that over the weekend, the New York Times reported:
“Donating $500,000 to the group Organizing for Action will get one quarterly meetings with President Obama.
“Giving or raising $500,000 or more puts donors on a national advisory board for Mr. Obama’s group and the privilege of attending quarterly meetings with the president, along with other meetings at the White House.”
“Today, Jay Carney was unable to defend this arrangement at the White House press briefing, implausibly stating that the Obama group is somehow not related to Obama.
“The group, Organizing for Action, grew out of the campaign that helped Obama get elected in 2008 and then re-elected in 2012.
“After a few minutes, Carney just hurries away from the podium, even as reporters still question him.”
This comes from the White House press room at the same time of reporters’ complaints that there have been events from which they have been excluded – such as the Obama-Tiger Woods golf match.
There have also been reports that some of the long-time Old Big Media have decided that it is just too expensive to cover all of Obama’s frequent flights.
For example: A three-day trip in October by the president to California and then to Ohio cost media organizations $33,022.86 for each person.
The Washington Post reports that among others, Time magazine has dropped regular presidential press plane trip coverage – despite Jay Carney having come to the White House from Time.