Phoenix news anchor Catherine Anaya acknowledged on Thursday that she didn’t have things quite right earlier this week when she said White House press secretary Jay Carney gets questions in advance from reporters.
Anaya gave plenty of fodder to conservatives and media critics alike when she recounted her time with Carney during an “off-the-record” meeting in Washington this week. The right’s favorite newshound Matt Drudge splashed the story across his front page.
“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,” Anaya said.
“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 flatly denied the suggestion, and now Anaya is also clarifying her remarks. While she provided her question in advance of her interview with President Obama, Anaya said in a statement (posted below) released Thursday that she shouldn’t have conflated her experience with members of the media who regularly attend the White House press briefings.
The statement, attributed to Anaya, was put online on Thursday by KPHO. However, soon after it was posted, the station pulled it down.
Scott Davis, a senior assignment editor at KPHO, told TPM in an email that it wasn’t ready to be published.
“The statement that mistakenly got posted was incomplete and not ready to be released,” he said in an email. “That is why we had to take it down. We will be updating it but I do not know when.”
Anaya, he said, still hasn’t returned to Phoenix from her trip to Washington.
In an email to TPM on Thursday, Anaya said she had no qualms providing her question beforehand and admitted to making a “mistake” in her original characterization.
“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 but in discussing it with a staff member the night before we decided I would save it for the president,” she wrote in the email.
“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. That is my mistake and I own up to it.”
It seems much had been inferred about my observations following my White House visit yesterday.
First, I did not take notes during our coffee with Jay Carney because it was off the record. But when I referenced the meeting in my live reports I did say that it was a great opportunity to talk about the challenges of his day and how he has to be so well-versed on many topics each day.
In my live report I also wanted to share my impression of my experience in getting a question answered during the briefing. I was indeed asked to provide my question in advance. Because my question was largely of local interest, I chose to save it for my interview with the President instead.
My mistake was to lump that experience with my coffee meeting reference, inadvertently giving Mr. Carney credit for that when in fact it did not come from him. I regret giving anyone the impression that it was from conversation I had with Mr. Carney.
I do not attend those briefings regularly and cannot speak directly to the process for non-visiting journalists.
None of my observations stemmed from my off-the-record meeting with Jay Carney.
This post has been updated.
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