The Briefing: Politics, the Press, and the President

Sean Spicer. Regnery, $28.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-62-157814-7
Nearly a year after leaving his post as President Trump’s press secretary, Spicer is back with a flimsy memoir in which he eschews meaningful reflection for bitter recriminations against the media. A blue-collar kid from Rhode Island, Spicer recalls how he scuffled his way into a senior position at the Republican National Committee and attained his “dream job” in the White House following Trump’s upset win. But the administration got off to a rough start, and Spicer famously lashed out at the press on day one over the size of Trump’s inauguration crowd. Spicer’s combative briefings would go on to make him a national punch line on Saturday Night Live. Spicer spends the bulk of the book litigating examples of the media’s alleged malfeasance, pinning his own (and the administration’s) troubles on the press’s “relentless negativity.” He’s quick with a clumsy metaphor (White House communications work “is like being Nik Wallenda walking a tightrope while bricks are being thrown at you”), but light on self-reflection (“I had found my footing... but I still faced a media that reported rumor as fact”). And his recollections of the president range from tame to obsequious: he calls Trump “a rock star” and “a unicorn riding a unicorn over a rainbow.” Like his tenure in the White House, Spicer’s memoir is short, fact-challenged, and forgettable. (July)
Reviewed on: 08/20/2018
Release date: 07/01/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
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