Phoenix Reporter Backs Away From Carney Press Briefings Account

Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 08:35 PM

By Todd Beamon

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A television reporter backtracked Thursday on her claim that White House press secretary Jay Carney receives and reviews questions from the press before his daily briefings — and also gives reporters his answers in advance.

Catherine Anaya, a reporter for Phoenix CBS News affiliate KPHO, said that she had "inadvertently" given the impression that all White House reporters submitted questions in advance. She meant to say, however, that only she had provided her question early on.

"As a local journalist I had no issue providing my proposed question in advance because I wanted to make sure it was an appropriate [question] for a national briefing and I wanted to make sure it was appropriate for Mr. Carney," she told the Daily Mail in a Thursday email. "But in discussing it with a staff member the night before, we decided I would save it for the president."

"I was attempting to not waste national time on a local question but in my attempt at explaining that, I unintentionally made it sound like that experience applied to everyone," Anaya wrote. "That is my mistake and I own up to it."

KPHO also posted a retraction to its site but later removed it, with an assignment editor telling the Mail that it "apparently... was not the correct statement." The Mail retrieved and published the statement with its report.

In a later statement that remains on the station's site, Anaya said: "The White House never asked for my questions in advance and never instructed me what to ask. I chose to provide one of my questions in advance of the press briefing because I wanted to make sure it would have broad appeal. I did not attribute or report factually last night and for that I deeply apologize."

In her Wednesday report, Anaya said that she was in Washington with a group of reporters from local news outlets to interview President Barack Obama.

The group had met with Carney beforehand — and he explained the procedure behind his press briefings in an off-the-record meeting.

"This was the off the record so we were able to ask him [Carney] all about some of the preparation that he does on a regular basis for talking to the press in his daily press briefings," Anaya said on Wednesday. "He showed us a very long list of items that he has to be well versed on every single day.

"And then he also mentioned that a lot of times, unless it's something breaking, the questions that the reporters actually ask – the correspondents – they are provided to him in advance," she added. "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."

Carney denied Anaya's disclosures at his Thursday White House news briefing with reporters.

"If only this were true," he told the Mail.

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