Former Press Secretary Sean Spicer made his late-night debut Wednesday night appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live for his first interview since leaving the White House.
When asked if he believes the majority of journalists are “decent people” who want the truth, Spicer said yes, but thought a lot of them “would rather be first than right.”
“There’s a line between… they go on Twitter or another social media,” Spicer said, “and start to perpetuate myths–”
“Wait, the journalists go on Twitter to perpetuate myths?!” Jimmy Kimmel said, incredulously. “How about the president?!”
Spicer expressed his frustration when members of the press were — in his view — creating stories that didn’t exist.
“If you’re a viewer or a reader and you see something, you’re trusting these individuals to give you what is the best- the whole truth as opposed to a one-sided way that’s going to promote a view or a click,” Spicer continued.
Kimmel asked Spicer if he thought it was “dangerous” for President Donald Trump to “delegitimize” the press by calling them “fake news.”
“Well, I think it’s a two-way street,” Spicer replied. “When these guys in the press corps go after the president in ways that are unbecoming — again, it’s sort of like what your mom said, ‘Two wrongs don’t make a right.’ I think sometimes when the press corps attacks the president, undermines him, calls into question his credibility from the outset, I think it creates a very poor relationship overall. And I think that there is some area that could deserve a reset. Hopefully, I think Sarah [Huckabee Sanders] has done a phenomenal job of really trying to take the tone down.”
Spicer went on to call the free press “paramount” to democracy and its “what makes our country great,” but it’s also an “awesome responsibility.”
“They need to understand that when they cross the line or when a member of the press corps crosses the line, they have a responsibility to help hold that in,” Spicer continued. “And I’ve never seen a group of individuals who protect themselves like the press corps does. Especially the White House press corps. They’ve never once, during my tenure you’ve, at least to my recollection, ever called out someone who has crossed the line on a story. They always have an excuse for why that story, oh, we were going to correct it and we checked with the sources and now — and it’s never — there’s never an admission of guilt. Once in a while you see the little correction… But I do believe that the healthier press corps that we have, the better democracy that we have.”
Kimmel called lumping all journalists as “fake news” is “terrible,” but Spicer pushed back by saying journalists lump all Republicans and conservatives together saying they “don’t care about this” and calling them racist.
“The press corps wants to attack Republicans, attack conservatives, undermine our attempt to have a constructive dialogue,” Spicer said. “And I think it’s a two-way street. So if we don’t want to lump every journalist into the same thing, don’t lump every Republican and every conservative into the same box.”
Watch the clip above, via ABC.
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