Accuracy in Media


In an interview with The New York Times Magazine, former White House press secretary Jay Carney took a shot at the press corps, accusing them of taking a “shallow approach” in their coverage of the Obama administration.

Carney said that he regretted succumbing to reporters’ habit of “chasing the same soccer ball down the field,” i.e., continuing to pursue the same line of questioning, which only “reinforces a shallow approach.”

This isn’t exactly a new tactic, and considering that Carney covered the White House for Time magazine, the chances are that he was also guilty of the very same thing.

Carney also commented on his relationship with the press corps, suggesting that some are clearly playing for the camera.

Were you surprised at times how tense things could get with your former colleagues? Sure. It can be surreal at the podium when you go down that front row and you have an exchange with one of the reporters in which there’s very emotional — maybe even theatrical — presentation and back and forth, and then you go to the next reporter and you have the same thing, as if the first one didn’t happen at all. You begin to wonder how valuable a service to the nation that is in the end.

Do people in the first row like to showboat? If you look at the difference in tenor between the on-camera briefings and the on-the-record-but-off-camera gaggles, it’s night and day.

I have three words for Carney—pot, kettle, black.

Carney didn’t have any complaints with the press corps when they were willingly doing the administration’s bidding. But because some began to ask embarrassing questions—that he couldn’t truthfully answer—he accuses them of a “shallow approach.”

There is no doubt that both Obama and Carney thought the media would go easy on their former colleague—and for the most part they did—so it must have come as quite a shock when some members of the press actually started doing their jobs, revealing Carney’s many weaknesses and the administration’s lack of candor and honesty.

Yet despite his tarnished reputation—often reminding people of “Baghdad Bob” for some of the whoppers he told on behalf of the Obama administration—he will still likely land a job as a political commentator or pundit on cable television. MSNBC and CNN are the best bets, where he can attempt to repair his tattered reputation.



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