One day after President Trump’s inauguration, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer criticized journalists for misreporting the number of people who attended the coverage. Spicer also blamed them for “deliberately engaging in false reporting.” After he had made the accusations, Spicer left the briefing room without taking any questions. According to CBS News, Spicer called out two examples of misreporting on Twitter.
The first one was about a widely shared picture that showed the difference in crowds compared to President Obama’s 2009 inauguration and President Trump’s 2017 inauguration. The second example was about the report which claimed that the bust of Martin Luther King Jr. had been removed from the White House.
Spicer said both these were clear instances of false reporting.
“Some members of the media were engaged in deliberately false reporting.”
He further added,
“Photographs of the inaugural proceedings were intentionally framed in a way, in one particular tweet to minimize the enormous support that had gathered on the National Mall.”
Watch the video below to hear what Sean Spicer said.
About crowd size estimates, Spicer went on to say that no one actually has the actual numbers. In fact, even the National Park Service does not have any numbers since they do not put the numbers out. He was, however, quick to claim that “this was the largest audience to ever witness the inauguration period both in person and around the globe.”
— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) January 21, 2017
Spicer’s comments against the media came just a few hours after President Trump also made a similar observation and complained about media bias while making an appearance at the CIA headquarters.
“I get up this morning, I turn on one of the networks, and they show an empty field. I said, ‘Wait a minute, I made a speech,’ I looked out, the field was, it looked like a million, million and a half people. They showed a field where there was practically nobody standing there, and they said Donald Trump did not draw well. It looked honestly, it looked like a million and a half people, whatever it was, it was, but it went all the way back to Washington Monument.
He also pointed fingers at several reports which suggested much lower numbers.
“I get this network, and it showed an empty field. And it said we drew 250,000 people, now that’s not bad, but it’s a lie.”
“The 20 block area all the way back to the Washington Monument was packed,” Trump further added.
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) January 21, 2017
Yesterday, several publications posted images that showed aerial photos from the 2009 and the 2017 address and asked people to draw comparisons. From the images, it seemed that Obama’s 2009 inauguration was able to draw a significantly higher number of crowds. What is, however, pertinent to note here is that Spicer did not refer to a more popular image that went viral on social media. Instead, he was talking about two photographs from behind the Capitol — an angle from which the disparity is not as clear.
— Yahoo News (@YahooNews) January 20, 2017
— Pastor Bones (@pastorbones) January 21, 2017
While Spicer did not answer press queries, Senior White House correspondent Major Garret spoke to CBS where he said,
“It is quite clear that this administration will make whatever representations it wants to on its impression and interpretation of the news and drive that right back at the news media if it thinks it is being unfair or inflicting damage on the image this White House wants to display. I’ve never seen anything like this where it was so intense, so harsh and passionate right off the beginning. So much of it was about what the media got wrong from the interpretation of this White House and a declaration that this antagonism is going to continue because this president feels duty-bound, on behalf of this movement that Sean Spicer spoke about, to speak beyond the media and criticise it whenever he is justified in doing so.”
In related news, On Friday evening, just hours into the 2017 presidential inauguration, the Interior Department ordered the National Park Service to cease tweeting. This was after an NPS staffer retweeted an “anti-Trump tweet” posted by a reporter that talked about the relatively lower turnout at the inauguration.
— Binyamin Appelbaum (@BCAppelbaum) January 20, 2017
Meanwhile, initial indications from research agency Nielsen is that an estimated 30.6 million people watched the inauguration, compared to 38 million who watched Obama’s inauguration back in 2009.
[Featured Image by Alex Brandon/AP Images]