As noted by Washington Post reporter David Nakamura, newly-minted Obama White House press spokesman Josh Earnest managed to anger the White House press corps right out of the gate.
While it may not seem like a big deal that press can be "testy" with a White House, consider the contrast at the beginning of the Obama Presidency in 2009. Traditionally, the White House press corps does not stand when a president enters the briefing room, a measure of respect for their colleagues operating TV cameras in the rear of the small room. However, the White House press corps was so enamored with the former community organizer, they broke protocol and many stood as Obama entered the White House press briefing room.
Soon-to-be White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest took to the podium of the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room for his last outing as deputy press secretary. He will move into the White House Press Secretary role next week as Jay Carney officially vacates the job.
If we learned anything from his “test run” today, it’s that Earnest has learned the art of White House spin from his boss. When questioned about the IRS e-mail scandal, Earnest repeatedly touted “Republican conspiracy theories” as the ruling force behind any and all questions involving the scandal.
On Monday, as Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters noted, Lisa Myers and Hannah Rappleye at NBC News reported that the Obama administration knew three years ago that "more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them." This of course directly contradicts President Obama's repeated promises that "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan."
I will get to the gambit the administration used to convince people that it wouldn't do what it originally intended to do in the runup to Obamacare's passage, a strategy which may have resulted from objections raised in a July 2009 Investor's Business Daily editorial, later in the post. But first, we have to look at tweets sent out tonight by three Obama administration officials in response to the NBC report, all of which dodge NBC's substantive point that the Obama administration knew policy terminations would occur, and claim that "the ACA" (the Affordable Care Act) is not to blame:
The role of the White House press secretary is to disseminate information to the media, and that should be an especially important function when the president and his administration are plagued by several scandals.
However, Jay Carney has only held six press conferences in the past three weeks, far fewer than usual. In addition, the press secretary only held two brief “gaggles” during presidential trips to New Jersey and New York. Could this be happening because the people in the usually compliant media are actually asking tough questions and demanding clear answers?