The White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, has taken to slapping journalists who write unflattering stories with an epithet he sees as the epitome of low-road, New York Post-style gossip: “Page Six reporter.”
Whether the New England-bred spokesman realizes it or not, the expression is perhaps less an insult than a reminder of an era when Donald J. Trump mastered the New York tabloid terrain — and his own narrative — shaping his image with a combination of on-the-record bluster and off-the-record gossip.
He’s not in Manhattan anymore. This New York-iest of politicians, now an idiosyncratic, write-your-own-rules president, has stumbled into the most conventional of Washington traps: believing he can master an entrenched political press corps with far deeper connections to the permanent government of federal law enforcement and executive department officials than he has.
Instead, President Trump has found himself subsumed and increasingly infuriated by the leaks and criticisms he has long prided himself on vanquishing.
Glenn Thrush and Michael M. Grynbaum, “Trump Ruled the Tabloid Media. Washington Is a Different Story”, The New York Times (26 February 2017), Y1.