This wasn’t one of your grandfather’s press briefings.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer called his first official press briefing Saturday during which he slammed the mainstream media for what he felt was dishonest reporting about the Donald Trump administration’s opening days.
FULL: @seanspicer: “We’re going to hold the press accountable.” pic.twitter.com/nK51t16Kpf
— Fox News (@FoxNews) January 21, 2017
Clip via Fox News Channel Twitter feed
First on Spicer’s hit list was Time magazine’s report that the bust of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. had been removed and replaced with that of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
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Time’s Zeke Miller, who made the initial report, later corrected it and apologized for his mistake.
Spicer accepted Miller’s apology on Twitter.
Apology accepted https://t.co/dYqwRv1p0f
— Sean Spicer (@PressSec) January 21, 2017
Notwithstanding his acceptance of Miller’s apology, Spicer excoriated the Time reporter at the briefing, called the report “irresponsible and reckless.”
He then went after media reports that the crowd size at President Trump’s inauguration didn’t come up to par with those of either of President Obama’s inauguration ceremonies.
“Photographs of the inauguration proceedings were intentionally framed in a way, in one particular tweet, to minimize the enormous support that had gathered on the National Mall,” Spicer told the White House press corps. “Inaccurate numbers involving crowd size were also tweeted — no one had numbers,” he emphasized.
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“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration — period — Both in person and around the globe,” Spicer claimed.
“These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong,” he added.
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Spicer finally moved on to Senate Democrats who are holding up the nominations of Trump’s cabinet picks — specifically that of Rep. Mike Pompeo as CIA director.
“Senate Democrats are stalling the nomination of Mike Pompeo and playing politics with national security,” Spicer said of the nomination of the Kansas Republican.
“That’s what you guys should be writing and covering,” he added, bringing his comments full circle back to the media. “That instead of sowing division about tweets and false narratives.”
He closed the briefing by stating that responsibility is a two-way street.
“There’s been a lot of talk in the media about the responsibility to hold Donald Trump accountable, and I’m here to tell you that it goes two ways. We’re going to hold the press accountable as well,” Spicer said.
“The American people deserve better, and as long as [Trump] serves as the messenger for this incredible movement, he will take his message directly to the American people, where his focus will always be,” Spicer said.
He added that Trump has already been hard at work, and spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto earlier in the day.
At the close of his remarks, Spicer gathered his notes and left the room, refusing to take questions.
When discussing the briefing on Fox News Channel’s “The Five,” co-host Eric Bolling observed that the new president is “rewriting the script on everything in D.C., right down to the press briefing.”
Others in the news business are not being as generous. On every major network, including Fox News, reporters and pundits are talking about how he went too far.
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