He was once a respected and highly regarded Republican spokesman, but working for President Donald Trump changed all that.
Now, Sean Spicer's reputation is in tatters and the Wall Street Journal has printed a devastating review of his new book describing his brief tenure as the White House press secretary.
Reviewer Jonathan Karl writes of The Briefing that it is "short, littered with inaccuracies and offering up one consistent theme: Mr. Trump can do no wrong."
Karl also flays Spicer for his pitiful recounting of the most memorable moment of his time at the White House: his defense of Trump's inauguration crowd size. Karl notes that it doesn't even seem to occur to Spicer that he might have told his boss that claiming that the crowd was bigger than President Barack Obama's was false and mistaken. And when it comes to Spicer's dealings with the press, Karl argues that the book's criticisms of the media are poorly argued and misguided.
But the most devastating portion comes when Karl addresses the factual errors in Spicer's book, which is particularly galling in light of the White House's overuse and abuse of the term "fake news":
Mr. Spicer has not been well served by the book’s fact checkers and copy editors. He refers to the author of the infamous Trump dossier as “Michael Steele, ” who is in truth the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, not the British ex-spy Christopher Steele. He recounts a reporter asking Mr. Obama a question at a White House press conference in 1999, a decade before Mr. Obama was elected. There are also some omissions: He writes about working for Rep. Mark Foley (R., Fla.), who he says “knew how to manage the news cycle. And on top of all that, he was good to staff and fun to be around.” He never gets around to mentioning that Mr. Foley later resigned in disgrace for sending sexually explicit messages to teenage boys working as congressional pages.
The Washington Post's Erik Wemple also notes the hypocrisy of Spicer's attacks on the press coverage of palace intrigue when the book itself details behind-the-scenes in-fighting.
As it happens, not too many people will end up having to read the book, if sales figures don't pick up. The Wrap notes that Spicer's book is woefully underperforming — suggesting his days of misinforming the public at large may be coming to an end.
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