White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest got an earful from reporters after he criticized anonymous sources for this story in the Washington Post. "The lead of that story is hooked entirely to anonymous sources," Earnest said, adding that such sources deserve "a little less weight."
The Post story claims Obama aides were "warned of brewing border crisis" nearly a year ago, but Earnest chose to hone in on the fact that the story cited anonymous administration officials.
"You criticize anonymous sources, but we have anonymous sources from you all every day," said reporter Anita Kumar. "In fact, I think we have a [anonymous source] call today. How can you criticize that when that's all you give us every day, except for the briefing?"
Earnest then tried to claim that his briefings show the White House's commitment to "on-the-record" briefings.
But a reporter pointed out that the White House frequently rolls out new policies with calls with individuals identified only as "senior administration officials" instead of by name and rank.
Earnest replied those White House off-the-record calls are evaluated "case-by-case."
The reporters in attendance were clearly not impressed - New York Times White House correspondent Peter Baker tweeted:
.@PressSec condemns anonymous sources. Just arriving in email: White House invitation to reporters for call with anonymous admin officials.— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) July 21, 2014
The White House had scheduled a call with reporters and "Senior White House Officials" on jobs training programs - but according to Earnest, that means the call should be given "a little less weight."