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Reporter Retracts Claim White House Gets Advance Questions

A local reporter apologized after claiming she learned White House correspondents submit questions in advance of press briefings.
Posted at 1:18 PM, Mar 21, 2014

It's a foot-in-mouth moment from a local Phoenix reporter after her visit to the White House. Here's how it all went down. 

Catherine Anaya, a reporter for KPHO, was one of a handful of local reporters selected to visit D.C. and get rare access to Press Secretary Jay Carney and other top staffers. Here she is interviewing President Obama. (Via Instagram / catherineanaya, Twitter / @CatherineAnaya)

During her live report recapping the visit, she mentioned an off-the-record coffee meeting with Carney and said she learned White House correspondents provide questions in advance of briefings — meaning Carney could plan and prep his answers. (Via The White House)

The media ran with it, thanks in large part to the Drudge Report. The headline was captured via Twit Pic by BuzzFeed White House reporter Evan McMoriss-Santoro. The coverage was pretty sensational, like this report from The Weekly Standard that read, "It's just a show." 

On Twitter, some users were quick to fuel the flames. One wrote, "Carney knows the questions & still looks that clueless?" (Via Twitter / @RalstonReports, Twitter / @3Jeeps3)

But then White House correspondents responded to the claims, including Fox News chief White House correspondent Ed Henry, who has openly sparred with Carney in the past. And then Carney himself, in good nature, fired back. (Via Twitter / @EdHenryTV, Twitter / @PressSecTwitter / @Jeneps)

Then national media like The Washington Post began to quell the reports. 

It didn't take long for Anaya to retract her statement on the air. 

"I made two major mistakes. I reported an off-the-record conversation, and what I reported was not accurate. ... That was wrong, and it was bad reporting. But it was not intentional." (Via KPHO)

Anaya told BuzzFeed she personally submitted a question to a White House staffer, who asked her to do so as part of a vetting process. But this was part of the special treatment that group of local reporters was given, and not a blanket process applied to everyone in the press corps. 

Anaya's station had put up a statement to that effect but pulled it before her on-air apology.