Jay Carney gave students a glimpse into the White House’s decision-making process Thursday.
Journalism and political communication students packed Jack Morton Auditorium on Thursday, listening to the former reporter and current White House press secretary detail the differences between both fields.
Formerly the Washington bureau chief at Time Magazine, Carney said he had never imagined himself on the other side of the interview. But since becoming the face of the administration’s line on the National Security Agency leaks, the Affordable Care Act and the Ukrainian conflict, he said he believes the new media landscape has increased sensationalism in the news.
The temptation is greater than ever for journalists to focus on smaller incidents, calling them scandals.
“I can’t tell you how many times the presidency has been at stake since I’ve been press secretary,” Carney joked.Carney called the White House under Barack Obama one of the most transparent administrations in recent history, pointing to open communication during the botched Healthcare.gov rollout and the announcement of CIA Director John Brennan’s recent visit to Ukraine.
Even as press secretary, Carney said he’s not always informed about major decisions and that sometimes when a top official says they do not have the answer to a reporter’s question, they actually do not.
“I’m not always going to know everything,” he said.
Speaking to students about to graduate, Carney recalled his own uncertainty making a career move, but that he learned to trust his instincts.
“I woke up every morning for probably six months wondering if what I was doing was cut out for the job,” Carney said.
SMPA distinguished fellow and CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett moderated the talk, which lasted for about an hour. The event organizers also had to turn away dozens of student ticket-holders after running out of seats.