• I think it also blew up because it’s simply so petty. Trump holds the office of the Presidency of the United States, yet he has thus far shown no interest in using the inherent dignity of that title. The President, simply by virtue of being President, need not respond to every perceived slight. He (or his spokesperson) can simply respond that the President is too busy with the affairs of the nation to concern himself with a trifling matter. Why the obsession with crowd size? Why not just say “we’re pleased so many people chose to take part in this special day in person, on TV, and streaming online, but now we’re focused on fulfilling the agenda we promised to all the American people, no matter what they were doing on Friday?”

    It, of course, didn’t help that Spicer cited incorrect numbers about Metro ridership and claimed “All of this space was full when the president took the Oath of Office” when photographs demonstrated otherwise. If you’re going to excoriate the press for alleged inaccuracies, you’d darn well better have the facts straight yourself.

    And beyond that, it cuts to a refusal to acknowledge numbers at all, lest they be used to draw any conclusions about the world. At a subsequent briefing, Spicer refused to give the unemployment rate (or simply acknowledge he didn’t know it off the top of his head; nobody expects him to know every figure). While one might expect such behavior from an Administration seeking to obscure bad news, such obfuscation was necessary here because the unemployment rate is too low for the President’s political purposes. Spicer didn’t just point out the flaws in using the single U-3 rate for everything, which would have been quite appropriate––it’s a single measure that measures one thing only; he went on to question the value of numbers at all, saying the President would focus more on anecdotes, “whether or not the American people are doing better as a whole.” That’s frightening if you care at all about using data to inform decision-making or evaluate the success of policies.

  • What I want to know from the Trump people now is are there any objective measurements we can use to chart his success and failure? I’m convinced if the unemployment rate drops to 8%, what we are going to hear is that the old numbers were rigged and flawed and his 8% is better than Obama’s 4.9%.

    • Nope. It’s just going to be anecdotes and feelings from here on out. If we have 8% unemployment, we’ll just be told we should feel great about the economy now.

      Or just look at Kansas. The economy failed to boom after the tax cuts as Gov. Brownback promised, and so he’s now cut the reports (after a previous attempt to hide it from the public) that provided the economic metrics used to evaluate whether or not the plan was a success.

  • I respectfully suggest that Trump responds to every picayune issue raised by the media because (a) he enjoys poking & deflating them, and there’s nothing wrong with that; and (b) if he does not, their assertions stand as truth. And, having seen the media patterns of anti-Trumpism during the campaign, I have no doubt that the media would continue to raise the stakes of its misleading assertions absent pushback.

    Further, “[a]ll of this space was full when the president took the Oath of Office” when photographs demonstrated otherwise. If you’re going to excoriate the press for alleged inaccuracies, you’d darn well better have the facts straight yourself,” holds true for critics as well.
    Note, there is no time-stamp on the Trump photo in the side-by-side. It could have been taken while attendees had only begun arriving…. Which seems likely the truth when you take a peek at the CNN gigapixel photo, here: http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2017/01/politics/trump-inauguration-gigapixel/

    Pan it around and you can easily see the crowd in attendance at the time Trump gave his inaugural speech (hint: you can be confident of the timeframe, as he’s standing at the podium when the photo was taken.)

    If Trump allows the media to publish such untruthful and misleading trash, no matter how picayune it may appear to us, then he allows the media to set the tone for his administration, and loses control over the [truthful] publicizing his presidential actions. He will have lost before ever leaving the starting gate.

    • I suggest you check out my Ricochet piece linked in the original post which includes this link to a PBS side-by-side in which the 2017 photo has a precise time attribution:


      To quote the text at bottom: “Image Taken At 11:49 a.m. ET From Live Pool Camera.”

      That’s 11 minutes before the ceremony began. Unless PBS engaged in forgery — and I fully expect we’ll be hearing that theory soon, too — the White House crowd claims were flatly incorrect. Photos taken not from the Monument end of the Mall but from the stage end, like CNN’s, naturally show a big crowd. It was a big crowd! But not as big as Obama’s in 2009.

      • I stand corrected!