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News theater: Reporters rehearse questions in advance with White House Press Secretary

Thursday, April 03, 2014 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: news theater, rehearsed questions, White House Press Secretary

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(NaturalNews) If you've ever seen a White House press conference, to the naked eye it looks a lot like a spontaneous evolution of questions and answers from intrepid reporters digging for answers from a press secretary who appears, at times, to be taken off guard by the queries.

But is it all that? One local Arizona reporter lucky enough to get selected to interview President Obama and visit with Press Secretary Jay Carney at his office digs in Washington, D.C., reported to her viewers that questions -- and answers -- are actually very often pre-ordained.

As reported by The Weekly Standard, the correspondent -- from CBS affiliate KPHO in Phoenix -- filed this on-air report:

"It was a very busy day. We started here shortly after 8 o'clock with a coffee with press secretary Jay Carney inside his office in the West Wing.

"And this was the off-the-record so we were able to ask him all about some of the preparation that he does on a regular basis for talking to the press in his daily press briefings. 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. 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."

Not true? Or no one's talking?

Now, if true, such predisposed question-and-answer sessions dramatically undercut the perception and belief that Carney's back-and-forth with reporters is largely unrehearsed and therefore genuine, not some wicked political theater for the masses.

Granted, some D.C. beat reporters and correspondents have said that, no, questions are not pre-submitted and answers are not predetermined, though, when you think about it, much of what appears to be the real thing in the nation's capital is nothing more than a fabrication or illusion (such as the belief that, at the end of the day, there really is a substantial difference between the Establishment wings of both major political parties).

Veteran Las Vegas newsman Jon Ralston, for example, tweeted after the Arizona report: "I literally cannot imagine any situation where I would submit a question in advance. No point to interview. No self-respecting journo would."

'A little ridiculous'

The reporter also had some observations that no one seems to be refuting regarding the opportunity to interview Obama. She said there were three criteria that the White House insisted upon, in order to adhere strictly to the four minutes that reporters had with the president: A countdown clock, an ominous looming presidential aide, and they have to interview the president while standing, conditions she termed "a little ridiculous." She reported:

We immediately launched into our interview because there was a person standing behind him actually counting down to the four minutes. And by the time he answered my last question, I realized that we had already gone over the four minutes, so that's why I took an opportunity to sort of ask a lighter question afterward because I figured at that point, you know, why not? I have nothing to lose.

But what was interesting--a side note--is the reason why we're standing, I was told by one of his staffers, is because he likes to get comfortable when he's sitting and he tends to get very chatty. And so this was another way to keep him--and us--at the four minutes that they were suggesting that we not go over.

The local CBS anchorman responded, "Yeah, and it sounds like the pressure is on when some guy is standing behind him with a countdown clock. That's a little ridiculous."

Of all the local reporters Obama gave time to during the March 19 sessions, the Arizona reporter was the only one who revealed the behind-the-scenes back-and-forth.






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