President Obama’s last Press Secretary, Josh Earnest, says he may have had the same job title as Sean Spicer, but Trump’s spokesman has, “a very different set of responsibilities.”
“Sean’s job is different because he works for somebody who is famously thin-skinned and somebody who has demonstrated over and over again that he doesn’t care that much about telling the truth,” Earnest said yesterday during an event at George Washington University. “And who, at least in some of his record, doesn’t appear to have much of an appreciation for how important independent journalism is to the success of our democracy. That’s what makes our approaches so different.”
Earnest said he doesn’t have “a ton of sympathy” for the controversies that Spicer has endured, and the flack he has taken, according to a report of the speech on money.cnn.com.
“Sean’s not a victim of a bait and switch,” explained Earnest. “It’s not like he met President Trump on his first day at the White House. Sean worked for the Trump campaign and the RNC (Republican National Committee) and the transition. He knew what he was getting into.”
Spicer apparently doesn’t have to worry about job security. Last week, Trump said, according to The Washington Post: “I’m not firing Sean Spicer. That guy gets great ratings. Everyone tunes in.”
Earnest has largely avoided criticizing Spicer, although he did speak out on MSNBC’s Morning Joe after the inauguration when the question of the size of the crowd became a hot topic. Spicer, echoing Trump, repeatedly insisted it was the largest crowd in years while the press pointed out it wasn’t even as big as Obama’s first inauguration.
“I wouldn’t work for a president who would ask me to do that,” Earnest said on Jan. 21. Going on to add that by repeating false and misleading information Spicer, “has impaired their ability to advance their agenda.”
Earnest may be speaking out now because he recently switched to the media side when he became a political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC.
“The job of being the White House press secretary is hard enough without having people that are supposed to be on your team criticizing you and undermining you in public,” Earnest said. “And I was fortunate to be on a team of people that hung close together.”
There is a huge contrast between how President Obama communicated with the press and how Trump handles his press relations. While Obama didn’t always like the coverage he received, he understood the media has a role to play.
Trump and his team have accused the press of being an enemy and of disseminating “fake news,” when their reports did not agree with his version of what happened.
Spicer like Trump has shown ignorance, arrogance, and a disregard for the truth. Earnest, like Obama, was a professional who tried hard not to confuse opinion and fact.
It is hard not to miss that golden time when the President and the press each tried to do their job and not just attack each other – and that was only 100 days ago.