In an appearance Tuesday night on Stephen Colbert’s “Late Show,” former White House press secretary Josh Earnest passed a few judgments on his successor, White House press secretary Sean Spicer. Perhaps adhering to some decorum observed by this elite group of professionals, Earnest used guarded language when asked about Spicer’s move to blast the press corps for its coverage of the Inauguration Day crowds in Washington. “Spending all of the credibility that he spent on the very first day, I think, was a little shortsighted,” said Earnest of Spicer’s Jan. 21 rant.
What about the recent decision by Spicer & Co. to exclude several organizations — CNN, The New York Times and BuzzFeed among them — from Friday’s gaggle session? “You guys were accused of doing the same thing to Fox News,” said Colbert. Earnest: “We had our differences with Fox and there were certain situations where we had some dustups. But there was never a situation … where we prevented Fox from participating in the daily White House briefing.” When he served as press secretary, Earnest noted, he called on Fox News every time in the briefing room. OK, but Fox News was on the receiving end of some exclusionary practices in the early months of the Obama administration, as The New York Times reported at the time.
Earnest continued: “This whole idea of fake news is not a new thing. This is something that Republicans have been engaged in — and one Republican in particular — has been very focused on for a long time.”
Erik Wemple, The Washington Post