CNN media correspondent Brian Stelter reported the big lead story in his "Reliable Sources" newsletter late on Wednesday night, headlined "Spicer Fury at ABC News." Sources inside ABC were "up in arms" about Spicer being named to the cast of ABC's Dancing with the Stars and were talking to Stelter and his liberal colleague Oliver Darcy.
But this "up in arms" source was right -- there was definitely some grumbling inside ABC News, especially because Dancing is constantly promoted by the news division, especially by Good Morning America.
I spoke with four employees who described discomfort within the ranks. Oliver Darcy spoke with another five employees. We found a range of opinions -- some said there was just "eye rolling" going on. A couple said they didn't care about the Spicer pick. One remarked, "How long do you really think he’s going to last?"
But others said they were pissed. "It's a slap in the face to those of us who had to deal with his baloney and the consequences of the ongoing lies and disinformation campaign at the White House," one said to me.
Spicer was "horrible" to "so many of us," another said to Darcy. "It's disgusting to think he is getting on the show AND getting paid by OUR company."
One of Darcy's other sources ALSO pointed out the $$$ angle: He's "being paid by the network to dance around on TV."
That's apparently a payout of $125,000 for the rehearsal period and first two weeks of the show, and more if you last longer. Stelter slammed the show for its "stars," saying it's more like "Dancing with the Down and Out."
Spicer was President Trump's press secretary for just the first six months, and yet ABC still treats him like a raging monster who was "horrible" to reporters, as if he water-boarded journalists who asked harsh questions.
Then came Stelter's mini-editorial:
How should ex-White House officials be treated when they spend months misleading the American people, then seek positions of fame and privilege? This question keeps coming up. Case in point: Spicer was scrutinized when he was awarded a visiting fellowship at Harvard in 2017. And it's especially tricky when these Trumpworld veterans interact with news organizations. It is no wonder why Spicer and Sarah Sanders have not been hired as political analysts by any TV networks -- they spent their days undermining the networks and defending a president who calls the news media the "enemy of the people."
One of my best sources at ABC News said they understand that the "Dancing" producers are supposed pick whoever's going to supply the most buzz, but for GMA to lean into it -- by setting up a faux podium for his intro on Wednesday -- was gross. The source said GMA is like two universes on one show -- the 7 a.m. hour reports on Trump's mendacity and then the 8 a.m. hour, with big "Dancing" promos, treats it as one big joke...
Is Stelter unaware of any Democrat White House officials who "spent months misleading the American people," who then sought fame and privilege at ABC? Has he heard of GMA co-host George Stephanopoulos, the champion of "bimbo eruptions" against Clinton accusers? He's at the summit of ABC News, in his 23rd year of fame, and will show his privilege by moderating the next presidential debate.
So it must not be the lying, it's the "enemy" talk.
Because we could mention another press secretary for a huge liar and terrible husband: Joe Lockhart, Bill Clinton's press secretary during the impeachment process. He worked at ABC News before he lied from the podium....and now he's a pundit on Stelter's CNN, despite uncorking hateful lies like "Anyone who supports a racist or a racist strategy is a racist themselves. 2020 is a moment or reckoning for America. Vote for @realDonaldTrump and you are a racist."
The CNN roundup ended with TV critic Brian Lowry pronouncing:
[O]ne suspects the network didn’t anticipate quite the level of blowback it would receive from inside and outside, including this tweet from MSNBC’s Lawrence O'Donnell: "Just think about the (liberal) TV executives who did this. Think about what they said to each other in making this choice. Think about why they did it. And then the dark, empty soul of commercial TV will be revealed to you & you'll understand how we got Trump."
Yeah, nobody could have anticipated Lawrence O'Donnell hating this news.