Sean Spicer, the communications director for the Republican National Committee, said that conservative outlets like Breitbart News actually are tougher on Republicans–and the Republican National Committee (RNC)–than the mainstream media. He acknowledged that the media landscape is being altered because more Americans are choosing to get their information and news from sites like Breitbart.com.
Spicer appeared on The Wilkow Majority on Sirius XM Patriot channel 125 on Friday with guest host and Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon. He said the RNC was strategic in going to Breitbart News with the story last week about the letters RNC Chairman Reince Priebus had written to CNN and NBC threatening to not partner with them for debates during the 2016 presidential election cycle unless they did not air the Hillary Clinton documentaries they are producing.
“I don’t think people understand the power and influence that sites like Breitbart… are having not just on conservatives,” Spicer said, in speaking about how Breitbart News was one of most-visited sites nationally. “It amazes the mainstream media.”
Breitbart News broke the story about the RNC’s threatened boycott, and Spicer said the choice to come to Breitbart News “was very strategic” and has paid dividends.
He said the mainstream media could not ignore the story after Breitbart News first published it, and he was “blown away” when mainstream media figures like Chuck Todd, Andrea Mitchell, and Maureen Dowd agreed that entertainment divisions of mainstream media networks should be careful about airing political documentaries. It was certainly not a reaction he expected.
“I actually was worried about retribution,” Spicer said. “You don’t rock the boat. There is a system in place.”
Spicer said “the world has changed” in terms of how Americans “consume their news” because there is an “appetite out there” and a “yearning for what’s going on.” He said Americans are relying more on non-mainstream sources for news because Americans “want to know the truth, they want to get to know people and issues.”
“This is where people who were actively engaged in the process are going to get their news,” he said of Breitbart News. “And the mainstream media could not ignore it.”
He said the media thinks they control the airwaves and debate process; consequently, their attitude toward Republicans has been, “You can get some tickets… and we’ll tell you where you sit.”
Addressing the argument from mainstream media outlets that conservatives will not be tough on Republican candidates, Spicer said that the mainstream media do not understand that Republican candidates will often get tougher–but fairer–questions from outlets on the right than from Democratic operatives posing as objective journalists in the mainstream media.
That is why Spicer said it would make more sense to give conservative outlets more of a voice in the debate process so they can ask tough questions devoid of cheap shots.