White House press secretary Sean Spicer delivers his first statement in the Brady press briefing room at the White House in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 21, 2017. SHAWN THEW / EPA

Trump World tries to defend its reliance on ‘alternative facts’

Occasionally, a political figure coins a phrase that becomes an instant classic. In the case of Trump World, it happened just 48 hours after the new president’s inauguration.

Trump and his team have been furious about the evidence that the Republican’s inaugural crowd was rather paltry, leading White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer to upbraid reporters on Saturday with bizarre claims. A day later, Kellyanne Conway, a top member of Donald Trump’s team, told NBC News’ Chuck Todd that the White House has “alternative facts” to share.

As the Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan noted the other day, the phrase makes clear “we’ve gone full Orwell.”

Trump World doesn’t quite see it that way, as Sean Spicer tried to explain last night. The New York Daily News reported:
The newly appointed top White House spokesman made that connection on Fox News Tuesday night while defending his colleague, Kellyanne Conway, who recently came under fire for using the term “alternative facts” to describe exaggerated inauguration attendance numbers.

“There are times, like anything else, it’s not alternative facts, it’s that there’s sometimes you can watch two different stations and get two different weather reports,” Spicer told Fox host Sean Hannity. “That doesn’t mean the station was lying to you.”
If only that made sense, it might be easier to take the White House press secretary seriously.

Let’s go with Spicer’s analogy for a minute. Let’s say you tune in to a couple of local television stations, and one of them told you it was warm and sunny in your area yesterday, while the other reported there was a blizzard. Does it mean one of the stations was lying to you?

Well, yes, actually it does. Meteorologists may reach different conclusions about future events, but when it comes to reporting on factual details on developments that have already happened, there’s no room for facts vs. alternative facts.

Try again, Sean.