JONATHAN CHAIT JULY 6, 2011
As Brendan Nyhan notes, one of the great journalistic tropes is demanding that public figures use stronger adjectives to describe their position. It's an odd mission. Here's Jake Tapper interviewing Jay Carney:
TAPPER: Can the acting head of the BATF be permitted to go to Capitol Hill to testify? My understanding is that the -- that he's not been allowed by the administration to go there and explain what's going on.
CARNEY: I'll have to refer you to Justice on that. I'm not -- I don't have any information on that.
TAPPER: It's not something that you guys are worried about and incensed about? This is something that ---
CARNEY: Well, Jake, I think it's being investigated for a reason. And obviously, it's a matter of concern, and that's why there's an investigation. But it would be a mistake for me to comment further on -- or to characterize further what happened or -- you know, how -- to rate our unhappiness about it from here. So I think that I have to refer you to the Justice Department for that.
TAPPER: It -- lastly, I mean, we have heard at times, you know, when the president was upset about something -- "plug the damn hole" is one such anecdote that was shared exclusively with every single person in this room by the White House. Did you -- is this president upset about this? I mean, this is a government operation where now weapons -- I mean, the Mexicans are upset that guns are now turning up --
CARNEY: I think you could assume that the president takes this very seriously.
But is he fuming? Infuriated? Enraged? Careening around the Oval Office on a berserk rampage, hurling furniture through windows and pummeling helpless staffers until the secret service wrestles him to the ground and sedates him with a bear tranquilizer?