Jay Carney — former Time reporter, current White House Press Secretary, and weekly punching bag — has spoken for President Obama and his staff during the most fraught period of Obama's presidency. He was installed in February 2011, less than a month after a fresh class of Tea Party politicians settled into office, and stayed on through the following summer's debt-ceiling crisis; the attacks in Benghazi, Libya; the overheated 2012 election; the Democratic push for increased gun control; and, most recently a spate of scandals involving the IRS, the NSA, and the Department of Justice. That might explain why, in the 444 press briefings Carney had held since, he has so often deflected questions from reporters. To place one number on his frequent prevarications, Yahoo News determined that Carney indicated he "did not have the answer" to journalists' questions exactly 1,900 times since he began flacking for the President, a subset of nearly 10,000 instances when Carney declined to answer, passed off the question to a subordinate, or claimed ignorance about the subject matter. The entire report forms a brutal dossier of Carney's tenure.
The compilation certainly delivers to sting, in part because Carney is sui generis among his contemporary predecessors. Unlike, say, Robert Gibbs (who recently opened PR firm) or Ari Fleischer (now a sports publicist), or even George Stephanopoulos (who became an ABC News anchor), Carney worked as a journalist at Time for twenty years before becoming the mouthpiece of powerful politicians. (He served as spokesman for for Joe Biden during the 2008 election before Obama tapped him to deal with reporters.) The only recent predecessor who followed a similar career track, Tony Snow, edited opinion pieces for a series of newspapers before joining the first Bush White House as a speech writer, and later the second Bush White House as a press secretary in 2006. Unlike Snow, Carney was perpetually concerned with seeking out the factual truth, especially from those in power. It must at least slightly pain him, then, to inform his former cohort, over and over and over again — literally thousands of times — that he, and by extension the President himself, doesn't know the answer to this or that question. At the same time, he must know how it feels to be told the same.
You can play around with the Yahoo tool here: