Skip To Content

    People Are Loving How Savagely This BBC Presenter Questioned Sean Spicer

    "You have corrupted discourse for the entire world by going along with these lies."

    So Sean Spicer's book tour is going really, really well. The former Trump press secretary has been doing the rounds to promote his widely panned The Briefing, which is a retelling of what it was like behind the famous Washington press room podium.

    Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

    During the UK portion of the press tour, Spicer came up against BBC Newsnight's Emily Maitlis. One specific clip focusing on Spicer's "lies" for Trump is starting to get a lot of attention.

    BBC interviewer to Sean Spicer: "You have corrupted discourse for the entire world by going along with these lies"

    Maitlis savaged Spicer for lying about crowd sizes for the US president, which he later joked about during a cameo appearance at the Emmys.

    Mario Anzuoni / Reuters

    "You joked about it when you presented the Emmy Awards, but it wasn’t a joke," Maitlis said. "It was the start of the most corrosive culture."

    BBC Newsnight

    "You played with the truth. You led us down a dangerous path. You have corrupted discourse for the entire world by going along with these lies."

    BBC Newsnight

    "With all due, uh, I’m sorry Emily," Spicer replied. "You act as though everything began and ended with that. You’re taking no accountability for the many false narratives and false stories that the media perpetrated."

    The first reviews of The Briefing have panned the book, with the Washington Post's Erik Wemple writing, "It is a bumbling effort at gaslighting Americans into doubting what they have seen with their own eyes."

    On Monday, during the BBC interview, Maitlis didn't let up, calling out Spicer for his tenure as the president's spokesperson.

    "I guess my question is, you were his press secretary and I know from what I have read that you care about the freedoms and the institutions and the democracy on which your country was built," she said.

    "This is the office of president spouting lies or half-truths or knocking down real truths, and you were his agent for those months."

    The intense questioning has been getting lots of praise from fellow journalists.

    Spicer is boring but imagine if anyone was like one eighth as non-deferential as Emily Maitlis is here in challenging Trump himself:

    It's also bringing a lot of joy to Trump's biggest critics in the media.

    This is how you interview @seanspicer or any former official trying to get rich off this WH.

    Journalism lecturer Jay Rosen wished for a similar confrontational style in the US.

    Man, I wish we had more of this style of interviewing in the US. The BBC does Sean Spicer, who somehow thinks we need to hear from him again. Alright, Sean, you asked for it...

    The top BBC executives were pretty happy with how it all turned out.

    She’s good.

    Mark Di Stefano is a media and politics correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

    Contact Mark Di Stefano at

    Got a confidential tip? Submit it here