Accuracy in Media

Jay Carney

If the White House Press Corps thought that Jay Carney has been avoiding answering their questions, they need look no further than a new Yahoo News analysis for confirmation. It shows that Carney has avoided answering nearly 10,000 questions since his first briefing on Feb. 16, 2011.

Carney has held 444 briefings through June 18, 2013, and these are the 13 different phrases he has most used to dodge reporters’ questions:

  • I don’t have the answer (1,905 times)
  • I would refer you to someone else (1,383 times)
  • You already know the answer (1,125 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)

Carney even praised the press on May 22, in an effort to defend the lack of answers he’s given them.

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.

While I’m sure the press appreciates the praise, what they really want are answers, not 939 “I’m not going to tell you,” or 549 “I’m not sure” responses.

Carney’s job is to provide a clear and consistent message for the administration, while also doing damage control. Two-plus years into the job, he isn’t doing a good job on either front.

Obama promised that his administration would be the most transparent in history, but Carney is making it anything but, with his constant dodging.

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