Frustrated AP reporter storms out of State Dept. briefing when he can’t get straight answer

Frustrated AP reporter storms out of State Dept. briefing when he can’t get straight answer

Hey, this is not Fox News Channel you’re dodging, John Kirby! This is the Associated Press, which has carried water for your ultimate boss, Barack Obama. When one of its reporters asks you for information, it is not just another right-wing gotcha. It has news value and you’re supposed to cooperate.

Kirby, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for media operations and currently State Department spokesman (a position previously filled by Marie Harf!), was asked yesterday by the AP’s Matt Lee how many Americans had been injured in the ISIS attacks in Belgium that killed at least 34.

In the exchange, a video of which follows, Kirby refused to answer directly, saying only that the State Department was searching for a “fair number of missing Americans.” When Lee pressed, Kirby waffled, replying that the number so far is “only an estimate”— which was all Lee was asking for in the first place. After a two exasperating minutes of obfuscation, Lee got and stormed out of the room.

Not answering questions about casualties and Americans injured abroad is one of the hallmarks of the Obama presidency. So invested is this administration in whitewashing the facts that even the New York Times — an even more dedicated Obama cheerleader — took the president to task in 2014 for his lack of transparency.

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles is a freelance writer.


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