Sean Spicer called ProPublica a “left-wing blog.” ProPublica came back with the receipts. – Apr 4, 2017, 11:40am EDT


Read the epic tweetstorm.

White House spokesperson Sean Spicer tried to pick another fight with the media on Monday — and the media fought back. When Spicer called ProPublica, a nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative journalism outlet, a “left-wing blog,” the organization took the fight to Twitter.

Appropriately for a group that’s known for its document-based reporting, ProPublica showed its receipts.

Here’s how the fight started: During Monday’s press briefing, Politico’s Matthew Nussbaum asked Spicer about a ProPublica report from earlier in the day that revealed that President Donald Trump now can withdraw money from his businesses without disclosing it.

After facing much pressure to distance himself from his businesses throughout his campaign and following his election, Trump before his inauguration put his two adult sons in charge, an arrangement the president called a “blind trust” even though it was anything but. As Derek Kravitz and Al Shaw of ProPublica reported, however, the trust’s documents were amended in February to allow for Trump’s sons to withdraw funds and give them to Trump whenever they “deem appropriate.”

Spicer, in his characteristically combative tone, attacked the reporter asking the question, the article, and the news organization itself:

I think that you just went and started to say, “This change was made.” I’m not aware that there was any change. Just because a left-wing blog makes the point of something changing doesn’t mean it actually happened. I’m not aware that there was ever a change in the trust. And the idea that the president is withdrawing money at some point is exactly the purpose of what the trust — why a trust is set up regardless of an individual.

In response, ProPublica took to Twitter to deliver a 15-tweet thread defending its reporting. “So @seanspicer just called us a ‘left-wing blog.’ Since we’re actually in the biz of facts, we figured we’d respond w/ a few,” the tweets began. (Vox has partnered with ProPublica on some reporting projects but wasn’t involved in the investigation into Trump’s businesses.)

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