The Corner

Jay Carney, the Artful Dodger

As Greg Pollowitz mentioned on Media Blog today, Yahoo! News has released an analysis of the White House press secretary’s “13 distinct strains” of evading questions. Since his first press briefing in February 2011, Jay Carney has avoided answering reporters’ questions at least 9,486 times.

The breakdown of Mr. Carney’s most-used responses and their frequency:

I don’t have the answer (1,905 times)

I would refer you to someone else (1,383 times)

You already know the answer (1,125 times)

I’m not going to tell you (939 times)

Not that I know of (927 times)

I don’t want to (588 times)

I’m not sure (549 times)

I won’t speculate (525 times)

No comment (429 times)

I’ll get back to you (387 times)

It’s a good question (381 times)

See yesterday’s non-response (231 times)

The president won’t tell me (117 times)


“The main function of a White House press secretary is to shape messaging for the administration, which often requires stymieing questions as a form of damage control,” Yahoo! News explained. Apparently damage control of some kind has been needed on nearly 10,000 occasions in the past two years.

In addition to dodging questions, Carney has also become known for flattering the press. Politico has put together a montage of Carney telling reporters, “I appreciate the question.”

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