January 23, 2017

"Isn't taking this job inherently an expression of willingness to lie for the President?"

"Since when is there outraged insistence that a presidential press secretary resign over the need to do what he knew all along was his job? Since Trump replaced Obama is the obvious answer."

But I don't think Spicer will last too long. He's too conspicuously uncomfortable and inept at the job. I don't think what he needed to say was necessarily an outright lie, and he could have developed a better way of casting doubt on the assertions about the Inauguration crowd size. If Spicer needs to resign, it's not because he "lied" but because he isn't wily and shameless enough to dance with truth and fiction in the usual style.

UPDATE: I'm listening to Spicer's news briefing this afternoon, and he seems fine.

40 comments:

David Begley said...

The MSM can caterwaul all they want about Spicer, but he has only one boss.

Curious George said...

He doesn't serve at the pleasure of CNN.

SayAahh said...

Spicer, like his boss, can't dance.

PB said...

Democrats can completely reverse their positions on a dime and still believe themselves morally and intellectually superior. Their faith demands it.

cubanbob said...

If Spicer needs to resign, it's not because he "lied" but because he isn't wily and shameless enough to dance with truth and fiction in the usual style."

In other words, he isn't a Democrat.

Martha said...

Saturday's Spicer alt-reality statement to the Press was not typical of Spicer.
He does not have the central casting good looks or ironic name of a Josh Earnest but he is better that his Saturday performance.

SayAahh said...

Say what you will about Josh Earnest but he was Fred Astaire.
Defending Obama's misrepresentations and policies required some fancy footwork.

rehajm said...

CNN fighting for relevancy in the Trump era. This morning they think they're winning.

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

Agreed. I'm reading twitter feeds (Kaus, Coulter, Charles Lane, Colby Cosh) calmly reminding readers that there is no science of estimating crowds, there are no turnstiles, people come and go, early and late, etc. There is typically an estimated range of numbers; sponsors/hosts pick the high end, critics pick the low end, and often the police or someone responsible for crowd control is somewhere in the middle. (The police may also help their own case for increased budgets by going high).
Also: DC went 91% for Hillary. It's much easier for any Democrat to draw a big crowd there than for any Republican. Trump got better TV ratings than W, etc.
Also Trump and his team did draw some enemies into saying foolish things: "provably untrue," and "crowd scientists." Next they'll be telling us that if we don't accept what the crowd scientists say, we're proving that we don't believe in gravity.

Unknown said...

this is confusing because in the this post-modern I was taught in an elite college and elite law school that the truth is not always the same truth to everyone and now I am supposed to follow the msm into believing that they know the actual numbers and that the white house truth is less factual. alternative facts is actually a very post-modern way to put it

its called alinksy rules for radicals and the msm is building a glass house

damikesc said...

His body language looks bad to me. I like a combative press secretary, but his body language goes beyond that. I've seen little of Spicer so it might have been a bad day. He seems like less of a shit weasel than Gibbs was.

But Trump is loyal to his people until a valid reason appears to not be.

Birkel said...

Seriously, you guys, the first rule of PURPLE ELEPHANT CLUB is you do not talk about PURPLE ELEPHANT CLUB.

Why is this not obvious?

The press is dancing to the tune Trump calls. Somehow people think this is bad for Trump. Based on what evidence are people determining Trump is not better at this strategy than his opponents? And will anybody deny the press is his active opponent? And that it is more actively in opposition than even Congress?

Clayton Hennesey said...

I don't expect Spicer to last long, either, and I was a bit surprised at Kellyanne Conway's sophistry as well.

The press secretary job will clearly require someone completely comfortable with successfully managing a non-Trump-fan base, and this person has yet to be identified by the Trump administration.

But Trump is now President in addition to having his same campaign organization, and I expect they will be, just as Kellyanne Conway was finally identified as a replacement for her predecessors.

The entire Trump family is President now, and they play to win, all of them. Those who can't cut it will be out the door in short order.

Derek Kite said...

I'd give it a few weeks. Two things to watch:

He is setting them up for a fall. Crowd misrepresentation is a basic tool of the media; look at all the photos of the riots and you see more people with cameras than rioters. The intafada collapsed with wide angle shots of a kid throwing a rock surrounded by a dozen journalists. There is a March for Life in the coming weeks. They are typically really large crowds that are ignored by the media.

This is a way of making the Press Secretary and the White House Correspondents seen clearly as a useless waste of time. Show up with your best people and they spend an hour arguing over something immaterial, making fools of everyone involved. So they stop showing up. The White House needs a swimming pool there anyways.

Matthew Sablan said...

It seems like a stupid thing to have picked a fight over for either side.

I'd like to see the "low Trump turn out" story right next to the "people barred from attending by protestors" as a Drudge juxtaposition.

Birkel said...

Matthew Sablan:
Stupid thing is the press cannot avoid the Trump-nip no matter how hard it tries. They are ineluctably drawn to the stories Trump chooses. The terrain on which Trump is fighting is his chosen ground.

Now what you have to discern is why Trump chooses that ground instead of some other AVAILABLE ground.

But never, ever, mention the PURPLE ELEPHANT.

Chuck said...

Glenn Thrush (White House correspondent for the NYT) was on the radio in Detroit this morning, and he was saying that the Trump Administration has had trouble staffing all of its communications positions in a timely fashion. So many Republican regulars in DC press positions turned down Trump offers.

He didn't cite any specifics (I suppose he may write about it in the near future), and I expect that such a story would rely on a whole lot of anonymous sources, which would be a pity.

Anyway, Thrush posited that the Trump Administration's early performance is indicative of a poor quality communications staff. While the 2009 Obama White House had the benefit of a large number of Clinton-experienced staff who were willing and eager to jump in with Obama.

Sydney said...

I agree with Matthew Sablan. It seems like a really stupid issue to me, and makes the press look even more foolish than I already believe them to be. But what do people who take the press seriously think?

Amadeus 48 said...

The delightfully named Josh Ernest gave a masterclass in deflection, cagey non-responsiveness, smug faux-candor and pseudo transparency at the White House press room. Valley Girl With Smart Girl Glasses Maria Harf and Enthusiastic Fantasist Jen Psaki used to tell reporters to believe the unbelievable every day at the State Department press room. No, Spicer doesn't have the true-believer enthusiasm or the deep, deep cynicism to carry this off in the face of a hostile (as opposed to a compliant) press corps.

Matthew Sablan said...

"He didn't cite any specifics (I suppose he may write about it in the near future), and I expect that such a story would rely on a whole lot of anonymous sources, which would be a pity."

-- Or he is lying, and considering Glenn Thrush is known to lie and to sell out his journalistic integrity by letting Democrats approve and write his stories for him, I'm going to go with "lying."

Matthew Sablan said...

"While the 2009 Obama White House had the benefit of a large number of Clinton-experienced staff who were willing and eager to jump in with Obama."

-- They also had the benefit of people like Glenn Thrush who would literally let them get multiple bites at the apple before publishing the most flattering images and stories they could to ingratiate themselves with the new power brokers. Trump's team picked a stupid fight, but Obama was a failure at communications. You can tell this by how terribly received many of his programs and decisions were. He is a popular guy who routinely made unpopular decisions, and his White House comms team was unable to get Republicans on board with things, had trouble getting recalcitrant Blue Dogs on board with things [until all the Blue Dogs were gone], and couldn't sell their own policies.

Amadeus 48 said...

Also, not everything you try works. I still have a wait and see position on Trump. It is Day Four.

Owen said...

Matthew Sablan and Amadeus 48: lovely shots there. I say give Spice a chance. And I also think Instapundit reads Trump correctly: he is gaslighting the media, luring them into showing themselves as a pack of useless, bad-tempered Chihuahuas (with apologies to Chihuahuas) yapping through the parlor window at the real world.

mockturtle said...

Well stated, Ann. Laura Ingraham might be a good choice. ;-)

Unknown said...

I used to think that whatever they were paying Jay Carney, it wasn't enough. Then Josh Earnest came along, and I never thought that. But I was almost embarrassed to be a Rice graduate. I'll reserve judgement on Spice-boy.

FullMoon said...

mockturtle said... [hush]​[hide comment]

Well stated, Ann. Laura Ingraham might be a good choice. ;-)


Good idea.
Spicer looked nervous. Whenhe gets the inevitable question today, he should just nip it, and say, yeah, made a mistake, no big deal. Or make a joke, it was the video, haha! If you like your crowd size, you can keep your crowd size, yuk yuk. I did not have sexual relations with that inauguration crowd.

jaydub said...

The crowd for Obama should bigger because all of the Repulicans showed up for Obama while 50 Dems boycotted Trump. Besides Soros wouldn't pay for the Trump out-of-towners' transportation costs.

Clayton Hennesey said...

mockturtle said... [hush]​[hide comment]

Well stated, Ann. Laura Ingraham might be a good choice. ;-)

Good idea.
Spicer looked nervous. Whenhe gets the inevitable question today, he should just nip it, and say, yeah, made a mistake, no big deal. Or make a joke, it was the video, haha! If you like your crowd size, you can keep your crowd size, yuk yuk. I did not have sexual relations with that inauguration crowd.


I quite disagree. Becoming press secretary would have been a disastrous career move for Ms. Ingraham, flattered as she might have been by the thought, and she was profoundly lucky Trump did not indulge her. If she wants a step up in her career, becoming the anti-Franken senator from Virginia is a much better choice.

No, Amadeus48, above, has it exactly right. What Trump needs in a press secretary is precisely a Trumpian Josh Earnest. The job of press secretary is not just another person to make the base feel all warm and fuzzy inside, it's to serve as a filter-foil between the press and the President - and from any president's perspective to serve as a big old fluffy pillow they can punch all day long.

Let's envision Trump's ideal press secretary, the lumpy and cuddly Theodore Bear:

"Yes, Martha...ho, ho, ho! Blah, blah, blah..."

"Some people think so, Jim, but they're in the minority, ho, ho, ho, blah, blah, blah...how's the missus?"

Press "conferences", by their very nature are phony, Kabuki theater for everyone involved. Any real reporting gets done far outside them.

mockturtle said...

Ari Fleischer was my idea of the ideal Press Secretary. Cool, calm and concise with a delicious edge of sarcastic wit.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Jonathan Gruber is a genius for lying to Americans and getting ACA passed. The Media adores him.
Spicer is an idiot for lying to Americans. The Media hates him.

Nixon, bad guy, liar.
Bill Clinton, good guy, liar.
Hillary Clinton! Saint/martyr...bad liar.

I dunno, something isn't adding up.

sunsong said...

Trump is a serial liar. He sets the tone.

Amadeus 48 said...

sunsong--as if every president doesn't struggle with the truth. Check out all the things that Pres. Obama said about the Iran deal. Check out how Obamacare was promoted.
If you believe that Obama believed what he said about those things, Donald Trump has some great casino properties for you to look at in Atlantic City. These things are gold mines! And he thinks he can get you a deal, a deal that is not available to anyone else.

mockturtle said...

Sunsong, NOBODY can approach the Hillary record for habitual lying about minor, tangential issues or major, critical ones.

Michael K said...

"Ari Fleischer was my idea of the ideal Press Secretary. "

I agree. He has been on TV a lot the past two or three weeks. He was even at Ft Lauderdale Airport when the shooting occurred.

Who knows ?

rehajm said...

Shorter Spicer to MSM crowd bedwetters: Stop bedwetting!

Roy Lofquist said...

"Don't worry Jim, if that question comes up, I'll just confuse them."

To Press Secretary Jim Hagerty who pleaded with Eisenhower not to answer any press conference questions about the delicate Formosan Strait crisis, March 23, 1955. (Eisenhower was, indeed, asked if using atomic weapons on China was an option. He delivered a long, confusing reply which was effectively indecipherable.)

Trump doesn't play the press like a violin. No, like Spike Jones:

https://youtu.be/A0dw2UKRYSA?t=38

Leigh said...

In Spicer's first press conference (on crowd size) his jacket didn't fit. Clearly it was an unplanned event and he borrowed someone else's jacket in a hurry. But no matter; he did fine in reading his prepared statement.

Today, however, he talked too much. All he had to say, in answer to Jonathan Karl's question about promising to never lie, was "yes." Spicer probably thought it was a trap and felt like he had to qualify his answer. He did not. He unwittingly looked like the witting Clapper.

My prediction: 2 more weeks, tops. Great guy, and good on him for giving the NY Post the first question instead of AP; but he's not temperamentally suited for this particular job. He talks too much and he's too nice to survive the sharks.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Glenn Thrush, Chuck? Do you even Wikikeaks, bro?

You agree with Thrush's assertion that it was superior/faster hiring that accounted for Obama's early good relationship with/coverage by the Media, compared to Trump? Nothing...nothing else comes to mind, Chuck?

Remember how the NYT's first question for Obama was what Obama found most arming about the job, Chuck? Naaah, you and Thrush are probably right, Trump is just a bad executive.

Joe said...

Even with a fawning press, it's a thankless job.

BJM said...

I too agree with Matthew, it's a stupid issue and one that makes me think that Trump's playing rope-a-dope with the media.

While the media brays about the WH SPOX lying) Trump is carrying on with governing and deconstructing what Obama wrought.