Back Home Button
The Rush Limbaugh Show
Excellence in Broadcasting
RSS Icon


Local Phoenix Reporter Reveals Jay Carney's White House Briefings are Scripted with Questions Submitted in Advance


RUSH: Now, there's a controversy that's brewing. It's a miniature controversy brewing at the White House.  We're now up to audio sound bite number nine, and the controversy is swirling around an allegation made by a reporterette from Phoenix, Eyeball News at 5, KPHO-TV.  The correspondent is Catherine Anaya. She interviewed President Obama, and when she got back from interview, her co-anchor, Adam Longo spoke with her and said to her, "You were there all day.  You started the day with key members of the president's staff."

ANAYA:  We started here shortly after eight o'clock with a coffee with press secretary Jay Carney, and this was off the record.  He showed us a very long list of items that he has to be well versed on every single day.  Um, and then he also mentioned that, um, a lot of times, unless it's something breaking, the questions that the reporters actually asked were the correspondents', they were provided 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.

RUSH:  That's the nub of it right there.  This local reporter in Phoenix, correspondent Catherine Anaya, spent the day at the White House. You know, the White House does this. They call it Local Media Day, and they make cabinet secretaries, the president available for the local affiliate anchors to come in, and they give 'em three or four minutes and move on, and they have lunch with them at the White House. 

That's not gonna happen because Obama's on his way here to play golf, but she said that she went and she met the press secretary, Jay Carney. He told her how tough his job is, told her how much he's got to know, things he's gotta be up to speed on. And then she said that he mentioned that a lot of times the questions the reporters in the White House press corps actually ask are provided to Carney in advance so that he knows what he's going to be asked and can prepare his answers before the briefing starts.

And sometimes those correspondents or reporters in the White House press corps also have Carney's answers printed in front of them as he's answering because of course that helps when they're producing their reports for later on.  And that's very interesting, she said.  So let me paint the picture.  This reporter says that Jay Carney demands, let's say from F. Chuck Todd, questions. 

NBC White House correspondent F. Chuck has to submit his questions to Carney in advance so that Carney can figure out how he wants to answer them.  Then Carney prepares his answer and gives the text of the answer back to F. Chuck, which means that the entire press briefing is scripted, that the questions the reporters ask Carney he has already been informed about and he's already answered them. 

And the reporters asking the questions already have the answers. They're already on text, or in text, prepared for the reporters' broadcast reports later on.  Well, now, when this hit, this is the kind of thing that upsets the soap opera narrative inside the Beltway.  This is the kind of thing, if it's really happening, nobody's supposed to blow the lid on it. 

So now everybody is in a CYA mode.  Reporters and the White House are denying it. "No way this happens. No way whatsoever."  So then the co-anchor, Adam Longo, at the local Phoenix station, asked of the reporter, "Well, now, give us the play-by-play.  When you walked in there, was there any standing around or did you have time to jump right into that interview with Obama?"

ANAYA:  We immediately launched into our interview because there was a person standing behind him actually counting down to the four minutes.

RUSH:  Yes! And you see, that's another thing she told us, that when these local anchors and reporters come in from across the fruited plain, they're given four minutes. They have to submit their questions in advance. And there's always an Obama aide lurking nearby, but off camera, attempting to intimidate the reporter to stay on schedule. And in order to prevent anybody getting comfortable, the anchor must stand up. The reporter must stand up during the interview, and it's four minutes. Get in, get it, and get out. "Wham, bam, thank you, Mr. President," and then on to the next one.  Four minutes. 

They weren't through with the discussion.  Catherine Anaya then concluded with this.

ANAYA:  What was interesting, a side note, is the reason why we were standing I was told by one of his staffers is because he likes to get comfortable when he's sitting and he tends to get very chatty. And so this was another way to keep him and us at the four minutes that they were suggesting that we not go over.

LONGO:  Yeah.  It sounds like the pressure is on when some guy is standing behind him with a countdown clock.

ANAYA:  Yes.

LONGO:  A little ridiculous.

RUSH:  Okay, so, in addition to everything else, what we have here is a Phoenix reporter who got to interview the president.  The local Phoenix affiliate thought this is such a big deal, they actually did a news story on their reporter interviewing the president.  So they had the president's interview (and they aired that, I'm sure) and then they did a story about how the president's interview happened. So they got two bangs for their buck here. 

They did a story on how they got the interview, and then they aired the interview.  Now, Ed Henry, who is the Fox White House correspondent, has tweeted that this reporterette is dead wrong.  Ed Henry's tweet about an hour ago: This story dead wrong.  Now, I don't know if Ed realizes the reporter was talking about local news interviews rather than regular White House briefings, and I'm not sure what all she was talking about.

It might have been that she had to submit questions. But she wasn't talking to Carney; she was interviewing Obama.  The impression I got was that... Let's go back.  What was the first sound bite?  That was number nine.  Let's listen number nine again 'cause I'm getting somebody saying, "No, no, no. She meant the local press." Let's listen to this again just to make sure that we get this right.

ANAYA:  We started here shortly after the eight o'clock with a coffee with press secretary Jay Carney, and this was off the record.  He showed us a very long list of items that he has to be well versed on every single day.  Um, and then he also mentioned that, um, a lot of times, unless it's something breaking, the questions that the reporters actually asked were the correspondents', they were provided 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.

RUSH: Sounds to me like she's talking about the White House press corps, not these locals. She is talking about the White House press corps.  She's talking about guys like Ed Henry.  She's not talking about the restrictions that she had, because she didn't interview Carney.  She's interviewing Obama.  But she's saying there, Carney said, "Oh, yes, sometimes I get the questions in advance then I verify the answers in advance." Anyway, this has caused a little uproar among our media guardians, ladies and gentlemen.  Ed Henry now reporting that that's not true. There's nothing whatsoever true about that story. The story is dead wrong.  


RUSH:  Oh, no.  Now what do we do?  What do we believe?  Well, here we go.  When faced with a dilemma or perhaps even a conundrum like this, what we try to do here at the EIB Network is to rely on our intelligence guided by experience. 

If you combine those two, you generally get to the nub of things.  So we have here a local reporterette from Phoenix who trots into town all excited, gets to interview the president.  It's a big deal for a local reporter.  Administrations do this once a year, maybe twice.  And as part of the day, they go to the White House and they might go to the secretary of state, they might talk to the people at the Pentagon.  It's a big day for these local reporters.  And the -- part of it is meeting the White House press secretary, where, as she told us, he shows her just how hard his job is.

He shows her his office, press office, here's all the things that he has to be an expert on, these are all the things he has to be well versed on, and then she says that he says "oh, yeah, well, you know, sometimes I get their questions in advance," the White House press corps.  So I get their questions in advance, and then I give them their answers in advance.  It helps everybody, it helps me, it helps the reporters for their packages later on, which means that the whole thing is scripted.  And then here comes Fox, wait a minute, tweets out, dead wrong. 

Well, now, wait.  Is the first half of this believable?  Eminently, folks.  I mean, no question that if the Regime could pull this off they would do it, yet here's Ed Henry, who says story dead wrong.  So what is the answer?  To me, intelligence guided by experience, answer very simple:  Ed Henry thinks it's dead wrong 'cause he's not in on it.  After all, he's from Fox.  Why would he be in on such a scheme?


RUSH:  Yeah, we get to go inside the media sausage factory here, thanks to the reporter. Her name is Catherine Anaya of Fox 5 Eyeball News Phoenix. No, it's not Fox.  It's just News at 5, Eyeball News, KPHO-TV.  So now Ed Henry has tweeted, "Catherine Anaya, are you correcting your false story, claiming the questions at White House briefings are scripted?"  And he's not the only one denying this. 

Jennifer Epstein at The Politico has also tweeted, "Right.  Reporters do not pre-ask questions."  So far, it's only those two besides Carney.  So you got three people denying this.  Now, Catherine Anaya has posted a photo of her meeting with Carney.  A lot of other local reporters are there.  Here's the thing.  I've been telling Snerdley and the guys, "Don't misunderstand.  This reporter is just ignorant enough to be trusted."

This is a big deal.  Folks, I can't tell you what a big deal is, a local reporter getting this. Even if it's just four minutes with the president, that is such a scoop. It's such a gold star for the reporter back home. It really is a big deal.  I can't overemphasize that, and you can tell that she is just bubbling with enthusiasm here.  Her effervesce, she's excited when we listen to those sound bites, and she is just thrilled to be there. 

She didn't sound capable of making something up, or inventing it.  She either misunderstood what she saw or misunderstood what she was told. But, even when she was telling the story, "Oh, yeah, and sometimes the press secretary gets the questions in advance," as if there's nothing wrong with that, by the way.  She didn't sound like she thought anything wrong about that. She's just fascinated at how it all works. 

This is like going from the minor league C Class up to the major leagues.  This is a big deal.  I don't think there's any attempt... These people get up there and they want to make an impression. They want to get noticed.  I mean, this is them climbing their ladder.  I've seen it.  I was with some local anchors from Sacramento once at one of these things at a briefing that James Baker did.  He was secretary of state at the time. 

This is back in the eighties.  It was when I was there interviewing people for a week. I took my radio show there for a week.  I didn't go to the luncheon 'cause I wasn't actually part of delegation.  I happened to be there at the same time as the local TV people.  It was a huge day. These Sacramento people were just excited.  One of them actually got to sit at Reagan's table for lunch.  It was just such a huge deal.

So now the entire inside-the-Beltway press corps is scrambling trying to put this back together.  KPHO is indeed Eyeball News.  It's the CBS affiliate.  And she's so excited, she's posted a photo of her meeting Jay Carney.  And there were lots of other local reporters there.  I mean, it's a cattle call, folks, all of them. There's tens of them from all over the country, and they're each getting four minutes with the president, each getting a little time with Carney and his explanation how he does things. 

So this is gonna... I predict it'll be by 1 p.m. Eastern Time, 22 minutes, and she will have been pressured enough into saying she misunderstood.  I mean, they're gonna hold her career in the balance here, 'cause they can't allow this to stand, that they submit their questions in advance and that Carney then picks the one he wants, and that they get their answers in advance.  They can't let this stand, even if it is true.  


RUSH: One other observation, if I can jump back to Catherine Anaya, the Phoenix reporter. This didn't hit me at first.  In the first sound bite, she admits that everything that she was told was off the record, and yet she revealed it.  You heard in the sound bite, she said, "This is off the record," but then she revealed everything that was said.  She's just star-struck, I think.  She was just totally overcome with where she was and how big a career opportunity that it was.  



Rush 24/7 Audio/Video

Listen Live Watch Live
Watch Live Listen Live



Most Popular

EIB Features