Right-Wing Media Manufacture Split Between Obama And Carney On White House Tour Cancellations

Blog ››› ››› REMINGTON SHEPARD

Right-wing media fabricated a split between White House press secretary Jay Carney and President Obama on the reason for White House tour cancelations, ignoring the fact that both explained that the tours were cancelled because of the impact of automatic budget cuts on the Secret Service.

During a March 13 White House afternoon press conference, Carney explained that tours of the White House were cancelled because the Secret Service decided to cut security on the tours to spare their agents further furloughs due to automatic budget cuts known as sequestration (emphasis added):

CARNEY: We had to cancel the tours.  It's our job to cancel the tours.  They cannot cancel them so -- because we run  -- this is not a tour of the Secret Service building.  It's a tour of the White House and the grounds.  And we run the tours and invitations and that process.  So the White House, as we have said, canceled the tours, confronted with the choice made by the Secret Service -- which we concur with, but it is certainly their choice because it's their budget -- that it was the right thing to do not to add further furloughs to the future for Secret Service agents, the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect senior officials in our government, and that the result would be cutbacks in staffing, hours in an area like tours, which is so labor-intensive.

Carney's statement echoed the remarks made by Obama on this topic during an ABC news interview aired the morning of March 13 (emphasis added):

OBAMA: You know, I have to say this was not- a decision that went up to the White House. But th- what the Secret Service explained to us was that they're gonna have to furlough some folks. What furloughs mean is- is that people lose a day of work and a day of pay.

And, you know, the question for them is, you know, how deeply do they have to furlough their staff and is it worth it to make sure that we've got White House tours that means that you got a whole bunch of families who are depending on a paycheck who suddenly are seein'-

Despite the consistency of Carney and Obama both explaining that the Secret Service made the choice to pull back on White House tour security to avoid more furloughs, right-wing media latched onto Carney's remarks and claimed that he broke from Obama's explanation.

Based on Carney's and Obama's remarks, Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy claimed on March 14 that they "need to get on the same page" regarding the cancelation of White House tours.

On March 13, Rush Limbaugh claimed that Carney's comments proved Obama "lied" about the reason for the White House tour cancelation, saying that while "some say it's unseemly to accuse a president of lying, and it may be unseemly. People don't want to believe that, but that's exactly what happened here."

A Weekly Standard blog post and a Breitbart.com blog post also falsely claimed that Carney contradicted Obama.

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