If you must interview Sean Spicer about his new book, the BBC has shown how to do it.

Hey! Remember Sean Spicer? He just wrote a book.

Spicer was President Donald Trump's first press secretary before resigning just 182 days into the administration. He became a bit notorious for his poor word choices (he accidentally called concentration camps "Holocaust centers") and easily debunked lies (such as his claim that the crowd at Trump's inauguration was the "largest audience to witness an inauguration, period" or the time he defended Trump's voter fraud claims by citing a study's non-existent conclusion).

Since his time in the White House, news networks dashed Spicer's hopes of landing a high-paying contributor role, he completed a Harvard Fellowship that led one student to publicly call for the end of the program in its current form, he showed up at the Emmys for a tongue-in-cheek joke about his crowd size lie, and has started developing his own TV talk show to pitch to networks.


He's been a busy guy, which maybe explains why his book didn't quite get the care it needed, based on some early reviews.

Sean Spicer posing with wax figures of Melania and Donald Trump, which is somehow not the weirdest thing he's done since resigning. Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Madame Tussauds.

Media figures could press Spicer on so much during his book tour. But for the most part, they haven't.

NPR's Mary Louise Kelly allowed Spicer to sidestep a tricky question about Paul Manafort, who ran the Trump campaign for three months during the summer of 2016 and is credited with selecting Mike Pence as Trump's running mate. When it started to become clear that Manafort — who was indicted on a number of charges — was about to find himself in some legal hot water, Spicer claimed that Manafort "played a very limited role for a very limited amount of time." Despite this being untrue, Kelly pivoted away from Manafort-related questions as Spicer stumbled.

Meanwhile, NBC's Megyn Kelly began her Spicer interview with a laugh at Melissa McCarthy's portrayal of him on SNL and later allowed him to wriggle his way out of questions on his crowd-size lie.

Fox Business host Lisa Kennedy Montgomery asked, "How important is the book to changing the perception and the legacy that you have right now?" This allowed Spicer the chance to play up its importance as a "behind-the-scenes" look at the Trump White House.

Of the three, Kelly's interview was probably the hardest-hitting, which is ... not great.

Photo by Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images.

American journalists could learn a lot from how BBC Newsnight's Emily Maitlis handled her interview with Spicer.

Spicer tried to brush off a question about his crowd-size claim. But unlike other interviewers, who let Spicer downplay its importance, Maitlis wasn't having it.

"It was the start of the most corrosive culture," Maitlis fired back. "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."

In continuing to press the issue, Maitlis was able to get a bit of actual news out of Spicer: He seemed to believe that because the campaign felt like it had been treated unfairly by the press, that telling a lie — though he refuses to admit it's a lie — was justified.

Spicer explained his reasoning:

"We had faced a press corps that was constantly undermining our ability in the campaign to run an effective ground game, an effective data operation. Everyone was saying 'Yours isn't good enough. Hillary Clinton's running a better operation, is a better candidate and campaign. There's no way that you can compete with her.' Time and time again, through the campaign, we heard that. Then we heard similar kind of things during the transition. ... And so, if you constantly feel under attack, then you feel at some point you need to respond and say 'Enough of this.' And when you hear the president and other supporters constantly see this narrative where we are being maligned and undermined and maligned in terms of the validity of our thing, it wears on you."

That's a pretty big admission! Deciding whether or not a government official should tell the truth shouldn't depend on whether or not they're happy with "the narrative" they see playing out in the media.

Maitlis is right — that is a dangerous path, and it's not something that should be rewarded with lucrative book deals and TV shows.

Spicer at a January 2017 press conference. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

Public officials don't get to write and re-write their own history — or at least they shouldn't.

Whether it's Spicer doing chummy interviews to promote his book, Tom DeLay bouncing back from a money-laundering scandal to appear on "Dancing With the Stars," or any of the many other examples of times where the public is asked to more or less forget the lasting effects politicians have on our lives, this really isn't something we have to do as a culture.

There's no law that says that every former administration official is entitled to a nationally televised book tour nor that they're even entitled to a book or TV show at all.

Serving in government is just that: service. In Spicer's case, from that lie on his first day in the job and on, it was a disservice. If journalists must interview Spicer about his new book, they should look to Maitlis and the BBC for how to best serve their audiences.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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The battle between millennials and older generations isn't exactly a generational war—it's more a case of mistaken generational identity. A decade ago, whining about millennials being young adults unprepared to make their way in the world at least made sense mathematically. But when people bag on millennials now they end up looking rather foolish.

A marketing researcher with a doctorate in social psychology wrote an op-ed for the Chicago Tribune titled "Post-pandemic, some millennials finally decide to start #adulting." And when the Tribune shared it to Twitter, their since-deleted tweet read, "Writer Jennifer Rosner predicts COVID-10 lockdowns will force easy-breezy millennials to grow up."

Hoo boy.

Interestingly, the writer of the op-ed is a millennial herself, but she repeats generalizations about her entire generation that seem like they mainly apply to her own social circle. Read it yourself to decide, but regardless, the tweet of the op-ed itself set off a firestorm of responses from millennials who are tired of being painted as irresponsible young people who don't know how to "adult" instead of what they actually are.

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2020 was difficult (to say the least). The year was full of life changes, losses, and lessons as we learned to navigate the "new normal." You may have questions about what the changes and challenges of 2020 mean for your taxes. That's where TurboTax Live comes in, making it easy to connect with real tax experts to help with your taxes – or even do them for you, start to finish.

Not only has TurboTax Live helped millions of people get their taxes done right, but this year they've also celebrated people who uplifted their communities during a difficult time by surprising them with "little lifts" to help out even more.

Here are a few of their stories:


Julz, hairdresser and salon owner

"As a hairdresser and salon owner, 2020 was extremely challenging," says Julz. "Being a hairdresser has historically been a recession-proof industry, but we've never faced global shut down due to health risk, or pandemic, not in my lifetime. And for the first time, hairdressers didn't have job security."

Julz had to shut down her salon and go on unemployment benefits for the first time. She also had to figure out how she was going to support herself, her staff and her business during this difficult time. But many other beauty industry professionals didn't have access to the resources they needed, so Julz decided to help.

"My business partner and I began teaching basic financial literacy to other beauty industry professionals," she says. "Transitioning our business from behind the chair to an online academy was a challenge we tackled head-on so that we could move hairdressers into this new space of education, and create a more accessible curriculum to better serve our industry.

Julz connected with a TurboTax Live expert who helped her understand how unemployment affected her taxes and gave her guidance on filing quarterly estimated taxes for her small business. "I was terrified to sit at a computer and tackle this mess of receipts," Julz says, so "it was great to have some virtual handholding to walk me through each question."

In addition to giving Julz the personalized tax advice she needed, TurboTax Live surprised her with a "little lift" that empowered her to help even more beauty professionals. "When my tax expert Diana surprised me with a little lift, I was moved to tears," says Julz. "With that little lift, I was able to establish a scholarship fund to help get other hairdressers the education they deserve."


Alana, new mom

Alana welcomed her first child in 2020. "I think my biggest challenge was figuring out how to be a mom, with no guidance," she says. "My original plan was to have my mom by my side, teaching me the ropes, but because of COVID, she wasn't able to come out here."

She was also without a job for most of 2020 and struggled to find something new.

So, Alana took it as a sign: she decided to launch her own business so she could support her new baby, and that's exactly what she did. She started a feel-good company that specializes in creating affirmation card decks — and she's currently in the process of starting a second, video-editing business.

TurboTax Live answered Alana's questions about her taxes and gave her some much-needed advice as she prepared to launch her businesses. Thanks to their "little lift," they provided her with a little emotional support too.

"I got my mom a plane ticket to finally [have her] meet [my daughter] for her first birthday," Alana says. "I was also able to get a new computer," which helped her invest in her new business and work on her video editing skills. "It's helped my family and me so much," she says.


Michael, science teacher

When schools shut down across the country last year, Michael had to learn how to adapt to a virtual classroom.

"As a teacher, I had to completely revamp everything," he says, so that he could keep his students engaged while teaching online. "At the beginning, it was a nightmare because I had no idea. I had to go from A-Z within a couple of weeks."

Michael's TurboTax Live expert answered his questions about how working from home affected his taxes and helped him uncover surprising tax deductions. To top it all off, his expert surprised him with brand new science equipment and supplies, which allowed him to create an entire line of classes on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. "Now I can truly potentially reach millions of children with my lessons," he says. "I would never have taken that leap if not for the little lift from TurboTax Live."



Ricky, motivational youth speaker

As a motivational speaker, Ricky was used to doing his job in person, but, he says, "when COVID-19 hit, it altered my ability to travel and visit schools in person [because] schools moved to fully virtual or hybrid models."

He knew he had to pivot — so he began offering small virtual group workshops for student leadership groups at middle and high schools.

"This allowed me to work with student leaders to plan how they would continue making a positive impact on their school community," he says. He wasn't sure how being remote would affect his taxes, but TurboTax Live Self-Employed gave him the advice and answers that he needed to keep more money in his pocket at tax time — and the little lift he received from them has helped him serve even more students.

"[It] has been a major blessing," he says "There will be multiple schools and student groups from across the country that I can hold leadership workshops with to empower them with the tools to be inspirational leaders in their school, community, and world."

Plus, he says, it was great knowing he had an expert to help him figure out how being remote affected his taxes. "I felt confident and assured in the process of filing my taxes knowing I had an expert working with me, says Ricky. "There were things my expert knew that I would not have considered when filing on my own."

Filing your taxes doesn't have to be intimidating, especially after a year like 2020. TurboTax Live experts can give you the "little lift" you need to get your taxes done. File with the help of an expert or let an expert file for you! Go to TurboTax Live to get started.