Yahoo News and the Washington Times have produced a list of more than 9,000 questions evaded by Obama press secretary Jay Carney.
On June 21, the Times’ David Sherfinski reported:
“Reporters sometimes poke fun of press secretary Jay Carney’s penchant for using the phrase, ‘I appreciate the question’ during briefings – especially when it’s clear he likely does not, in fact, ‘appreciate’ a tough or awkward query.
“But a Yahoo News analysis identifies ’13 distinct strains’ of how Mr. Carney evades reporters’ questions. More than 1,900 times since he held his first press briefing on Feb. 16, 2011, he gave some form of ‘I don’t have the answer’ – and there were at least 9,486 times where he’s dodged a question.”
Yahoo News produced the following breakdown:
- “I don’t have the answer” (1905 times)
- “I would refer you to someone else” (1383 times)
- “You already know the answer” (1125 times)
- “I’m not going to tell you” (939 times)
- “Not that I know of” (927 times)
- “I don’t want to” (588 times)
- “I’m not sure” (549 times)
- “I won’t speculate” (525 times)
- “No comment” (429 times)
- “I’ll get back to you” (387 times)
- “It’s a good question” (381 times)
- “See yesterday’s non-response” (231 times)
- “The president won’t tell me” (117 times)
“The job of a White House press secretary is certainly not to give open, unfettered access of the inner workings of the White House to the press. In large part, it’s messaging.
“And, given the White House’s recent woes, sometimes it’s flattery.
“‘We have a team here that works really hard trying to anticipate the questions you’re going to ask. The problem is, there’s a lot of you and you’re good at your jobs and you’re smart.
“‘And we almost invariably do not anticipate every question that you ask. So sometimes we don’t have the answers, and sometimes we need to go back and get them,’ Mr. Carney said during a May 22 briefing.”
Reasonable people can hardly expect that any White House press secretary will never be stumped by any media question.
But what about the difference between “never” and otherwise standing at 9,000 times?
And what about Jay Carney’s more-than-$100,000-a-year salary and allowances, plus similarly high-paid Carney staffers?
All that taxpayer money to produce 9,000 Carney evasions is an obvious and scandalous waste.
What if the House Republican-led committee that controls government financing of the White House were to take some action regarding the national scandal of 9,000 Carney evasions?
That committee could direct its staff to begin noting every time Carney evades – and then detail the answers to the questions he dodged. Either the public would be benefited by a newly responsive Carney – or Carney and the president would conjure up some reason or another (beside 9,000 evasions) why it became time for a Carney replacement.
And even if the Obama-adoring Old Big Media tried ignoring such needed investigative journalism, surely such would be widely and continuously reported by talk radio, as well as much of the Internet.