Accuracy in Media

Fox News’ Ed Henry questioned White House press secretary Jay Carney about the accusation from CBS New reporter Sharyl Attkisson that White House communications director Eric Schultz had screamed and cussed at her on the phone as she tried to obtain answers on the Fast and Furious scandal, which she has been investigating.

Henry:  Okay.  And Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News is saying that a few days ago, I believe, a White House official and a Justice Department official was yelling and screaming at her — she’s been reporting about this for some time — about this whole story.

You were a reporter once.  When government officials start yelling at you, sometimes it’s because they’re getting defensive, right?  Why would they be yelling at her?

Carney:  First of all, I have no insight into the conversations she may or may not have had.  Second of all, I know that you guys are all hard-bitten, veteran journalists and probably don’t complain when you have tough conversations with your sources sometimes.  Again, this is just generally speaking.

 I don’t know about it.  I think it’s —

Henry: But she’s a credible reporter.  When you say, “I’m not sure what conversations she had,” I mean, she said this on the record that she was yelled at and screamed at.  Why would the administration be yelling at her about this story?  I don’t —

Carney:  Again, I take issue with the report.  I don’t know that it’s true.  I’m just — what I think is that I know you are tough enough to handle an extra decibel or two in a phone conversation.  I’m not sure that that happened here, but it’s a surprising complaint.

So Carney is apparently suggesting that the next time someone from the White House or DOJ yells at a reporter on the phone, that reporter should just toughen up and not complain. It doesn’t matter whether that type of behavior is appropriate, it is up to the reporter to grin and bear it.

Or in the words of Harry Truman “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

And don’t think for a moment that if Carney was still a working journalist and this had happened to him during a Republican administration, that he wouldn’t be one of the first to complain.

Obama promised transparency when he was elected in 2008. But as the scandals mount the message from the White House, as evidenced by Carney’s non-answers to Henry, is duck and cover up at all times.

Attkisson reported the encounter Tuesday on the Laura Ingraham Show.

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