The White House attempted to smear a Politico reporter by planting a story that he laughed at mention of a Navy Seal’s death. After Politico published a story, by Alex Isenstadt and Annie Karni, on Sean Spicer confiscating and inspecting staff member phones for potential leakers and threatened staff not to leak the details of the surprise phone inspection (which, obviously, was leaked), the White House fired back.
A White House official reached out to the Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard to express his displeasure at the Politico piece and contended Isenstadt, “appeared dismissive and laughed” at Spicer’s denial, “he started laughing about that SEAL.”
The Washington Examiner published a report describing the exchange. Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for Politico, said the characterization of his reporter laughing at the SEAL’s death was a “patently false characterization of the conversation.”
This may be a new media strategy for the Trump White House. If Spicer can’t stop leaks, they’ll smear reporters who report them.