Official Briefing: Sean Spicer Press Secretary vs. Media ‘We’re going to hold the press accountable’
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White House press secretary Sean Spicer gave his first official press conference as White House press secretary Saturday evening, where he targeted the media for “dilerbitely false reporting” on Friday’s inauguration.
First, Spicer targeted Time Magazine White House reporter Zeke Miller — who Spicer did not mention by name — for reporting Friday evening that President Donald Trump removed the bust of Martin Luther King Jr. from the Oval Office. Miller was incorrect, and quickly apologized for his error.
Spicer accepted Miller’s apology on Twitter, but blasted him during the press briefing.
“This was irresponsible and reckless,” Spicer said. Second, Spicer targeted media reports of Friday’s inauguration crowd size, which was widely reported to be way under that of former President Barack Obama’s 2009 and 2013 inaugurations.
“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 said. “Inaccurate numbers involving crowd size were also tweeted — NO ONE HAD NUMBERS.”
“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration — PERIOD,” Spicer later claimed. “Both in person and around the globe.”“These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong,” Spicer added. However, photographs of the National Mall taken during the inauguration
Friday clearly show the difference in crowd size between Obama’s first inauguration and Trump’s on Friday.
Fact checking website PolitiFact blasted White House press secretary Sean Spicer in a new fact check for claiming at a press briefing Saturday evening that Trump’s inauguration last Friday featured the biggest inauguration crowd in history.
“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration — PERIOD,” Spicer claimed Saturday.
In their long write-up, PolitiFact knocked Spicer for “offering few
‘facts’” to back his claims that Trump’s inauguration was the largest ever. “His overall assertion that Trump’s inaugural drew the ‘largest audience’ ever is flat-out wrong,” PolitiFact said. PolitiFact went on to debunk Spicer’s claims that infrastructure issues on the National Mall prevented many people from gathering over the white ground coverings that were so visible in aerial photographs of the inauguration crowd, in addition to Spicer’s claims about crowd size and D.C. metro ridership.
Many news organizations, including PolitiFact, have noted that it’s
difficult to gauge crowd size and that estimates are inconsistent. The National Park Service stopped tallying crowds on the National Mall in 1995 after a dispute over the attendance of the Million Man March. Spicer’s claim of full spaces on the Mall — which photographs contradict — would give Trump a crowd size of at least 720,000, which is higher than preliminary estimates reported in the media but are on par with the 700,000 to 900,000 organizers expected to attend. The President himself touted 1.5 million on Jan. 21 at CIA headquarters. But that still wouldn’t have been the top figure.
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