Worth remembering that what some call brazen lying, others see as way to advance career
While former White House press secretaries are shocked that Sean Spicer would have the nerve to lie so brazenly to the White House press corps in his very first press briefing, the sad truth is that it is easier than we’d like to admit
The media today is still trying to get their arms around the fact that Trump press secretary Sean Spicer stood up in front of the assembled White House press corps and lied his ass off. It was an epic performance, and the universal conclusion was that Spicer’s credibility is shot.
“This is called a statement you’re told to make by the President. And you know the President is watching,” former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer said via Twitter. Jay Carney, one time press secretary to Barack Obama, said he was never told to lie by the president. “Today was not normal.”
Many are predicting that it is only a matter of time that Spicer is forced to leave, so ineffective will he be if he continues down this same road.
I doubt it, though.
I know from personal experience just how hard it is to say “no” to giving in to living a lie. After more than a dozen years of working professionally in the newspaper industry I left it when I was told I would have to “kiss ass in order to get a promotion.” This wasn’t some sort of advice, it was an order, given by someone just made the president of the newspaper company I was working at. This exec said this because, in his words, he has had to kiss ass his entire career and now it is time for others to do the same.
I left for McGraw-Hill soon after and have never worked at a metro daily newspaper again. He went on to become president of the California Newspaper Publishers Association and continued working until he found a corporate head who recognized that he was an untalented piece of shit who only advanced through brown nosing. It was a wonderful career for him, though. For me, it was a shift to B2B publishing and the magazine industry.
Now Spicer finds himself at the pinnacle of his profession, and apparently has no intention of having a conversation with his conscience. I’m less surprised than many of my colleagues. I know that when I chose to say “no” there was another person ready to step right in and say “yes”. He, like his boss, was hardly very good at his job, but it did not matter, he was willing to say “yes”.
I suppose I have a bit of sympathy for Spicer, as well as Kellyanne Conway, who appears equally willing to say anything, no matter how absurd, in order to maintain her position. This is not as unusual as we would like to pretend. Who hasn’t written a silly news story because their editor told them to, or willfully quoted a lying politician without contradicting them because, after all, access is everything. If you haven’t then good for you, but you will face these choices at some point.
If there is real significance to Saturday’s Women’s March it is that millions of people around the globe now understand that they are not alone. This will pay dividends at some point. It is far easier to get up the courage to say “no” when others are willing to stand up with you.
Soon we will find out, when truly confronted with evil choices, how many are willing to resist. Already, it is apparent that no one on the Republican side of the aisle is willing to say “no” to Donald Trump. One by one, GOP Congressman, who previously had expressed reservations about his cabinet picks, are acquiescing to the new president’s demands. Courage is not so easy a thing when your whole career is based on avoiding it.