Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer came back to the White House recently, this time as a credentialed member of the White House Press Corps, asking questions of President Trump during one of the many Coronavirus briefings, for his television show. In yet another leftist double standard, some from that worldview called Mr. Spicer’s return to the White House improper but ignored a very strong post White House media career of a Democratic former White House Press Secretary.
Like Spicer, Pierre Salinger served as the White House Press Secretary. Mr. Salinger served in this role for President John F. Kennedy and, briefly, Lyndon Johnson. He also was appointed and served, briefly, as a United States Senator from California before losing election in 1964; a year Democrats swept most of the country in a landslide.
Like Sean Spicer, Pierre Salinger had served in the Navy and was heavily involved in politics even before his White House service. After leaving the White House, both wrote books on their tenure and made appearances on popular television shows (Salinger played Lucky Pierre on Batman and Spicer has made appearances at the Emmy Awards and on Dancing with the Stars). More significantly, both began to work in credentialed media after White House service. Mr. Salinger became a correspondent for a French magazine and, later became Paris bureau chief and later Chief European Correspondent for ABC News.
That is where the similarities end. There is no way Sean Spicer will permanently leave America to live elsewhere if someone of the opposite party wins the presidency, as Salinger did in moving to France after the election of George Bush in 2000 or claim that our own U.S. Navy shot down a plane full of passengers in TWA Flight 800 in 1996. Salinger claimed the Navy had the audacity to not only cover it up but keep it covered up. Throughout, Salinger maintained very close contacts with the Democratic Party and, as recounted in his autobiography P.S.: A Memoir, actively lobbied to become U.S. Ambassador to France during both the Carter and Clinton administrations. During his news employment or since, no one raised any issue with Salinger working in the news business, even if his commentary tilted in one direction.
The same standard the media held true, for decades, in the case of Pierre Salinger should certainly hold true in the case of Sean Spicer. However, NBC White House Correspondent Kelly O’Donnell and others apparently think differently and hold a different standard when it comes to Mr. Spicer. Others in the media said it was not proper that Mr. Spicer is hosting a news program yet is credentialed for the White House Press Corps. This is ridiculous as it should not be dying print media that solely dictates who is credentialed for the White House Press Corps. Ironically, it was Mr. Spicer himself who was a key player in democratizing the White House Press Corps to include many individuals working in media outlets far beyond dying print journalism.
Mr. Spicer may take comfort in knowing he is not alone in this. Comparing the virtual quiet of the media during Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s press briefings to the shouting, interrupting, and childish questions of many towards President Trump shows a truly staggering difference in where the media stands and why.
Maybe if the media treated the news as news and not sensationalism, the president and the rest of the country might start to think highly of them. In the meantime, Sean Spicer will likely be asking some of the most intelligent questions during a time where many in the media are acting hysterical.