CNN’s Tapper: Jay Carney Has Been ‘Dissembling,’ ‘Obfuscating,’ ‘Insulting’ on Benghazi

CNN’s Jake Tapper had some strong words for White House press secretary Jay Carney on Thursday. Appearing on The Hugh Hewitt Show, Tapper accused Carney of making “dissembling, obfuscating,” and “insulting” comments regarding the September 2012 Benghazi attacks.

Hewitt came right out and called Carney a liar, but Tapper was not willing to go quite that far. He remarked, “[C]alling somebody a liar is – it’s not normally the kind of language I use. But I think that the comments that are being made are dissembling, obfuscating, and often, you know, insulting.” [Listen to MP3 audio here.]


The veteran journalist also noted that one of the documents in the newly released Benghazi emails was a story that he wrote shortly after the attacks. He doesn’t know why White House officials were circulating his story, but he said the story contained a key piece of information he had at the time: “[T]here were people in the administration who didn’t understand and questioned when the White House was so aggressively blaming the Benghazi attacks on the video.”

Below is a transcript of the discussion:

HUGH HEWITT: Here’s the list: Ziegler, terHorst, Nessen, Powell, James Brady, Larry Speakes, Marlin Fitzwater, Dee Dee Myers, George Stephanopoulos, Mike McCurry, Joe Lockhart, Jake Siewert, Ari Fleischer, Scott McClellan, Tony Snow, Dana Perino, Robert Gibbs, Jay Carney. Until today, in fact ‘til last week, I was pretty certain Scott McClellan was the worst press secretary on the list. I think Jay Carney has now hit the bottom. What do you make of the last two days?

JAKE TAPPER: I mean, it’s – look, I’m a reporter, and what I do is the opposite of what press secretaries do quite often. Their job is to paint somebody in the most flattering light regardless of what the truth is, and my job is to head right for the truth. And I think that – to me, what bothers me most about these Benghazi emails, the newly released ones, is that they should have been released a year ago, when the White House did that document – you know, when they released a hundred pages of –  

HEWITT: Jake, hold that thought. I’ll be right back. [commercial break] Jake, we went to break, we were talking about Jay Carney, and I mean he’s just – if I was a Doonesbury guy, I could have pulled up the “liar, liar, liar” Doonesbury clip today and pointed out – he’s just lying, and it’s horrible.

TAPPER: They have an interpretation of events that does not sit with what I think happened. But, you know, calling somebody a liar is – it’s not normally the kind of language I use. But I think that the comments that are being made are dissembling, obfuscating, and often, you know, insulting. So, I mean, I don’t disagree with those who don’t care for what’s going on at the press conferences. I think, you know, when it comes to these emails – look, one of the documents in the emails that were just released was a story that I wrote for ABCNews.com and I did on the air as well in September of 2012, saying that there were people in the administration who didn’t understand and questioned when the White House was so aggressively blaming the Benghazi attacks on the video. Now, what the people in the White House who were circulating this article were saying was redacted, so I don’t know why they were emailing it around. But that’s been my position, my judgment, the information I had from the very begin – you know, close to the very beginning of this affair, is that intelligence and diplomatic officials on the ground did not understand why the White House was so aggressively leaning into the idea that this was all because of a video and it was a spontaneous attack by demonstrators and not a terrorist attack.

Paul Bremmer
Paul Bremmer is a Media Research Center News Analysis Division intern.