White House Press Secretary Jay Carney took a jab at ABC Senior White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl on Monday and suggested that he was little more than a Republican Party stenographer who would “represent” House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) point of view.
During Monday’s White House briefing, Carney was telling Reuters correspondent Mark Felsenthal about Boehner’s insistence over the weekend that Republicans would not pass a clean bill to raise the debt ceiling when Karl broke decorum and interrupted.
“That’s not what he said, Jay,” Karl objected. “I’m telling you that’s not what he said.”
“I’m having a conversation here,” Carney shot back. “I’m sure you’ll represent what the Speaker’s saying in a minute.”
And when the ABC reporter’s turn came, he did exactly that.
“What the Speaker said is they are not going to pass a clean debt limit increase,” Karl explained. “He didn’t give a specific set of demands. He said he’s not going to have a clean debt limit increase. If the Speaker of the House sticks to the position, are we going to default?”
“If you’re saying, if the Speaker attaches to the debt ceiling increase a recognition of, you know, the importance of motherhood, we might accept that… I’m trying to be funny, but nobody laughed so I apologize. It’s been a long shutdown already.”
“We’re not going to negotiate over Congress’ responsibility to raise the debt ceiling,” the press secretary added.
Earlier this year, media observers called Karl’s reporting “highly problematic ethically” after he claimed that emails showed that the Obama administration had edited references to terrorism out of talking points about attacks in Benghazi for political purposes. Even after CBS News and others revealed that those emails had been doctored by Republicans, Karl continued to stand by his reporting.
According to the media watchdog group FAIR, Karl’s “high profile at ABC demonstrates that conservative messages can find a comfortable home inside the so-called ‘liberal’ media.’”
Watch this video from C-SPAN, broadcast Oct. 7, 2013.