Departing White House press secretary says good riddance to press

Gabby Kaufman
Reporter

White House press secretary Sean Spicer announced his resignation Friday, but even with one foot out the door, he’s not through battling the press.

In an appearance on Fox News’ “Hannity” Friday, host Sean Hannity invited Spicer, whose daily briefings became must-watch television due to his testy exchanges with reporters, to expound on his impression of the press in his six months on the job. Spicer obliged.

Contending that the average person would be “shocked and disappointed to see some of the bias that exists” among members of the media, Spicer lamented, “I was increasingly disappointed in how so many of the members here in the media do their job, or rather don’t do their job, with the bias in which they come from.”

“I think there’s become a very ‘clickbait’ mentality among a lot of reporters where they’re more interested in their clip or their click than they are about the truth and the facts,” he added.

Spicer’s resignation coincided with the appointment of New York financier Anthony Scaramucci as the new White House communications director, a hire Spicer reportedly opposed. Both Spicer and Scaramucci said the former’s resignation was intended to provide the latter a “clean slate” as he takes over the communications shop.

In recent weeks, as the press briefings increasingly were held off camera, one of the White House defenses was that reporters intentionally baited Spicer to burnish their own reputations. With the caveat that he didn’t wish “to paint everybody with the same broad brush,” and conceding the White House press corps does include good reporters, Spicer endorsed that charge.

“The majority of folks that are now in the briefing room that are going into journalism, they’re not there for the facts or the pursuit of the truth, rather they are trying to figure out, ‘How do I get on TV? How do I become a YouTube star?’ and that’s disappointing,” Spicer said.

“Hannity,” the same port in a storm that recently hosted Donald Trump Jr. as he tried to clean up after the revelation that he met with a Kremlin-linked lawyer during the presidential campaign, also hosted White House chief of staff Reince Priebus.

Priebus, an ally of Spicer’s who worked with him at the Republican National Committee, praised the outgoing press secretary and acknowledged the difficulty of the job was not only related to handling pesky reporters.

Referencing Melissa McCarthy’s famous send-up of his soon-to-be-former colleague, Priebus joked, “I think ‘Saturday Night Live” is so far over-the-top that perhaps, you know, they should give equal time to another opinion.”

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