White House Fake Press Conference on Fake Press Conferences
White House Spokesnake Dana Perino on the fake FEMA press conference (Official White House Transcript):
October 26, 2007
Q Dana, on Tuesday, FEMA's deputy administrator held what was called a news briefing to talk about the California wildfires. And from what we understand, the questions were posed not by reporters, but by staffers, and that distinction was not made known. Is that appropriate?
MS. PERINO: It is not. It is not a practice that we would employ here at the White House or that we -- we certainly don't condone it. We didn't know about it beforehand. FEMA has issued an apology, saying that they had an error in judgment when they were attempting to try to get out a lot of information to reporters, who were asking for answers to a variety of questions in regards to the wildfires in California. It's not something I would have condoned, and they, I'm sure, will not do it again.
Q Who is responsible?
MS. PERINO: FEMA is responsible, and they have taken that -- they have accepted that responsibility, and they issued an apology today.
Q But isn't -- a follow-up on that. Isn't there a normal morning call with all the press secretaries of all the agencies here, and whether somebody is having a press briefing or not is discussed?
MS. PERINIO: We have a variety of ways that we talk to the -- communicate to the communicators in the agency. FEMA is not on that daily call, no, and I don't know if the DHS -- the head of DHS communications knew about it either. But FEMA has apologized for the error in judgment.
Q Dana, why didn't this raise alarm bells, in terms of credibility, with anyone there?
MS. PERINO: You'll have to ask them. They have admitted that they had an error in judgment. I would agree with that. They've issued an apology. You'll have to ask them about why they decided to do that.
Q But isn't the President concerned, at a time when he is traveling to the area to talk about a very significant natural disaster -- there have been issues about FEMA in the past, trying to make a distinction about progress made, and for them to effectively pretend to hold a news conference, doesn't the President have concerns about that?
MS. PERINO: I just said that the White House did not know about it before hand, and the White House condones* [sic] it. And they have apologized for it. They had an error in judgment, they've admitted that. And I think that what they were -- I don't think that there was any mal-intent. I think that they were trying to provide information to the public through the press, because there were so many questions pouring in. It was just a bad way to handle it, and they know that.
Q Will anybody be reprimanded?
MS. PERINO: You'll have to ask FEMA.
[End Voice of Blogistan Transmission.]