Alternatively, when a reporter pushes for information, Carney changes the subject by calling on a reporter likely to ask a very different question.
For example, on several occasions, Carney has invited a question from Chris Johnson, the politics reporter for the Blade newspapers, whose most common questions are about gay advocates’ efforts to shift the legal purpose of marriage from child-rearing to the validation of adults’ personal relationships.
Once a question is asked, Carney typically reads his prepared statement on the expected question, breaking the focus of reporters.
Carney and his White House colleagues, unlike Boehner, can also easily stage events that redirect the media’s attention.
In late November, for example, they let U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice visit senators on the Hill, setting off a furor over her deceptive Sept. 16 statements about the Sept. 11, 2012 jihadi attack in Benghazi.
Deliberate or not, her trip to the Hill completely distracted the media’s attention from the collapse of Obama’s Egypt policy, which was highlighted Nov. 22, when Egypt’s elected Islamist president gave himself absolute power. (RELATED: Rice distracts media from deeper Benghazi issues)
Sometimes, Carney will try to turn up the snark when reporters press difficult questions.
That’s an unimportant concern to reporters who don’t expect to get planned leaks from White House officials. But it can be tough for reporters who are worried their rivals will get valuable scoops.
Most of the time, they’re as well-behaved as grade-school kids on parents’ visiting day.