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.

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Vanna White appeared on "The Price Is Right" in 1980.

Vanna White has been a household name in the United States for decades, which is kind of hilarious when you consider how she gained her fame and fortune. Since 1982, the former model and actress has made millions walking back and forth turning letters (and later simply touching them—yay technology) on the game show "Wheel of Fortune."

That's it. Walking back and forth in a pretty evening gown, flipping letters and clapping for contestants. More on that job in a minute…

As a member of Gen X, television game shows like "Wheel of Fortune" and "The Price is Right" send me straight back to my childhood. Watching this clip from 1980 of Vanna White competing on "The Price is Right" two years before she started turning letters on "Wheel of Fortune" is like stepping into a time machine. Bob Barker's voice, the theme music, the sound effects—I swear I'm home from school sick, lying on the ugly flowered couch with my mom checking my forehead and bringing me Tang.

This video has it all: the early '80s hairstyles, a fresh-faced Vanna White and Bob Barker's casual sexism that would never in a million years fly today.

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