Tumulty Finds Sycophancy’s Hard to Shake

Trump Press Sec. Spicer gave a dishonest statement about crowd size on Saturday (“White House press secretary attacks media for accurately reporting inauguration crowds“), and spent a bit over an hour in a dishonest and maudlin press conference on Monday (“This time Sean Spicer smiles, spins, pledges not to lie“).

It was a first conventional press conference of ordinary length, an average number of questions, and no particular specificity.

For it all, Karen Tumulty finds sycophancy hard to shake. Despite her colleague Margaret Sullivan’s warning that The traditional way of reporting on a president is dead. And Trump’s press secretary killed it, Tumulty pushed a string of fawning tweets & retweets(from 1:09 PM – 23 Jan 2017 to 2:07 PM – 23 Jan 2017) during Spicer’s press conference:

@PressSec doing a solid, professional job. #reboot

“Knowing what we know now, we can tell WMATA’s numbers were different.” — @presssec”I’m going to stay here as long as you want. … I want to make sure that we have a healthy relationship.” — @PressSec

Jim Sciutto @jimsciutto
It’s official: @PressSec now says WH does not claim Trump’s inaugural crowd was largest ever

Marathon White House briefing. #penance #reboot

Jon Ralston @RalstonReports
All press secretaries evade and spin. By standards set through the years, Spicer is doing very well, I’d say. And calling on a lot of folks.

Mike Memoli @mikememoli
.@PressSec can’t leave without taking a question from Goyal

.@jaketapper: “Let’s hope that this @seanspicer stays with us.”

.@GloriaBorger: “We got some serious information out of Sean today.”

Why so quick to praise after the offenses of Saturday’s press statement, and during a still-dodgy Monday effort? (Spicer claimed during this Monday press conference an entitlement that ‘sometimes we can disagree with the facts,’ suggesting that either he’s still cynical over facts or, at a minimum, too inarticulate to say that sometimes we can disagree over which claims are facts.’ Either way, that’s a poor performance, not a ‘solid, professional job’).

It’s possible that Tumulty’s not up to the task, or that she’s been given the task of obsequious reporter so that her newspaper can soften the blow from other colleagues’ serious questions. (Even this second option doesn’t offer much for Tumulty: it’s like arguing that she’s supposed to be bad, or that she’s so bad she’s good.)

No, Karen Tumulty offers no worthy path forward; it’s Margaret Sullivan who has the sound approach to Trump, his administration, and surrogates.