In his first official appearance in the White House briefing room Trump press secretary Sean Spicer went on a tear against the media. Spicer said attempts by the media to "lessen enthusiasm" of Trump's inauguration by showing bad images of the crowd is "shameful and wrong."
Spicer's remarks on the "misrepresentation" of the number of people witnessing the inauguration:
SPICER: Photographs of the inaugural proceedings were intentionally framed in a way in one particular tweet to minimize the enormous support that it gathered on the National Mall. This was the first time in our nation's history that floor coverings had been used the protect the grass in the mall. That had the affect of highlighting any areas where people were not standing while in years past the grass eliminated this visual.
This was also the first time that fencing and magnetometers went as far back on the mall preventing hundreds of thousands of people from being able to access the mall as quickly as they had in inaugurations past. Inaccurate numbers involving crowd size were also tweeted. No one had numbers because the National Park Service which controls the National Mall does not put any out.
By the way, this applies to any attempts to try to count the number of protesters today in the same fashion. We do know a few things so let's go through the facts. We know that from the platform where the president was sworn in to 4th Street holds about 250,000 people. From 4th street to the media tent is about another 220,000. And from media tent to the Washington Monument another 250,000 people.
All of this space was full when the president took the oath of office. We know that 420,000 people used the D.C. metro public transit yesterday which actually compares to 317,000 that used it for President Obama's last inaugural.
This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration. Period. Both in person and around the globe. Even The New York Times printed a photograph showing that a misrepresentation of the crowd in the original tweet in their paper which showed the full extent of the support, depth and crowd and intensity that existed. These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong.
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Spicer moved on to Trump's visit to the CIA today and the "raucous" crowd of intelligence employees. He said they were "ecstatic" by the president's visit. He also noted it was "a shame" that the CIA did not have a director because Democrats are "stalling" the confirmation of Trump's nominee.
Spicer finished the presser by warning the media being held accountable is a two way street:
SPICER: The president is committed to unifying the country and that was the focus of his inaugural address. This kind of dishonesty in the media, the challenge of bringing about our nation together is making it more difficult. There's been a lot of talk in the media about the responsibility to hold Donald Trump accountable. And I am here to tell you that it goes two ways. We are going to hold the press accountable as well. The American people deserve better and as long as he serves as the messenger for this incredible movement he will take his message directly to the American people where his focus will always be.
Shortly after the press conference MSNBC's Brian Williams did acknowledge that a member of the press misreported that the MLK Jr. bust was gone. The reporter, Zeke Miller of TIME, did apologize for the error.
CNN did not carry Spicer's statement live. CNN's Brian Stelter reported why: "CNN made a conscious choice not to show the @PressSec statement live. The decision was to monitor the statement & then report on it."
FYI, CNN made a conscious choice not to show the @PressSec statement live. The decision was to monitor the statement & then report on it.— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) January 21, 2017
NBC's Chuck Todd was left speechless, tweeting: "I've run out of adjectives."
I've run out of adjectives.— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) January 21, 2017
MSNBC's Joy Reid called the presser "positively Soviet."
Sean Spicer is the new Baghdad Bob. That was positively Soviet. https://t.co/jcj8cMeKxq— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) January 21, 2017
MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski called it a "hostage video."
Sean Spicer's first hostage video ... that was pathetic. Embarrassing. Bad. Just bad.— Mika Brzezinski (@morningmika) January 21, 2017