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Tags: Ari Fleischer | Sean Spicer | Press

Ari Fleischer to Sean Spicer: Fix Your Information If You Were Wrong

("CBS This Morning")

By    |   Monday, 23 January 2017 10:22 AM EST

Former President George W. Bush's press secretary Ari Fleischer Monday had advice for new press secretary Sean Spicer: If your information was wrong, fix it.

"My advice to Sean today is, if you used a statistic that is wrong, correct it today," Fleischer told the "CBS This Morning" program."There's no harm done if you're press secretary and saying, 'I got statistics wrong' and walk it back."

On Saturday, Spicer chastised members of the press concerning their coverage of President Donald Trump's inauguration crowd, telling reporters that it marked the "largest audience to ever witness the inauguration period both in person and around the globe.”

Fleischer said he suspects Trump told Spicer to confront the reporters, and he believes the new press secretary will face challenges during his daily press briefing.

"It's one thing to take on the press," said Fleischer. "That's a time-honored tradition in Washington, D.C."

However, it's important for Spicer to pick his battles wisely, and the fight over Friday's inauguration crowd is "not worth fighting over," said Fleischer.

The former press secretary, also appearing on Fox News' "Fox & Friends," said it's part of the job to fight with the press, but it's also part of the job to have facts organized.

"Get information to buttress the president's point of view," said Fleischer. "In this instance, I think what Sean could have said is from where the president was standing, the president's point of view, the mall looked packed. And that's what he thought, and it wasn't reflected in the coverage.

"But as soon as they get statistics and facts, they're going to fact check the press secretary. So don't use a fact, a stat unless you're 100 percent certain you've got it nailed down."

Meanwhile, all Republicans deal with the mainstream media, as it's "always the away game when you're a Republican in the White House and home game when you're a Democrat," said Fleischer, but Trump does have some leverage, as polls show the American public does not trust the press.

"Donald Trump should be wise about how to use his leverage over the press," said Fleischer, calling arguments against reports stating he had a bust of Martin Luther King removed from the Oval office "high ground."

Fleischer said he also has no problem with Trump tweeting, but it will be up to Spicer to elaborate on his messages.

He would also like to see the press briefing be taken off of live TV, as it becomes a show where the press and the White House "performs."

He'd also like to "democratize" the briefing room, make it larger, and allow alternative news sources, such as bloggers, to participate in press conferences.

"There is nothing magical about those 49 who get those seats," he told Fox. "It's the way the press was in the '90s and it has kept going today."

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Former President George W. Bush's press secretary Ari Fleischer Monday had advice for new press secretary Sean Spicer...
Ari Fleischer, Sean Spicer, Press
Monday, 23 January 2017 10:22 AM
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