White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has been quick to throw out tradition, changing many long-standing rules on how reporters may ask questions. This morning Spicer announced his biggest shake-up yet, informing members of the press that they were all contestants on The Spice Of Life and that it was time to let the games begin.
Wow, this shows that Spicer isn’t afraid to ruffle some feathers in the media.
According to Spicer’s guidelines, each reporter has been assigned 10 Spice Points, which they can redeem to ask questions about President Trump’s administration. Yes-or-no questions cost two Spice Points, while more complex questions cost five. Once a question is asked, the answer is written on an index card and locked in Sean’s Mystery Vault, a giant steel safe covered in flashing pink neon question marks. This is a huge departure from briefings held under Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, whose press secretaries did not put answers in a safe that only unlocks during an event Sean Spicer refers to as the “Disco Round.”
Considering that the Disco Round only lasts one minute and the safe is lowered underwater for the duration of the music, there’s no doubt that this is a whole new Washington.
Spicer also made the controversial move to open the competition to a wider range of publications, sidelining mainstream institutions like NBC News to award large amounts of Spice Points and Spice Doubloons to pro-Trump outlets like Breitbart. The White House has announced that Spice Doubloons are extremely valuable, since they allow reporters to buy handicaps for rival journalists, like forcing them to scale Mount Media, a three-story climbing wall, to retrieve the golden Question Key at the top before they are allowed to ask their next question.
It’s no surprise that CNN, one of Trump’s favorite foils, has already been slammed by a Spice Mute, which requires reporters to eat three ghost chili peppers whenever they use the Secret Forbidden Word Of The Day, which today was “Russia.”
However, The Spice Of Life is also being framed as a reset for the White House’s contentious relationship with the press. After The New York Times asked a question about national security advisor Michael Flynn’s resignation, Spicer offered the newspaper its choice of having the answer added to the Mystery Vault, or getting the Safety Totem to avoid elimination if its reporter got an unlucky spin while navigating Gambler’s Cove. It was a notable conciliatory offer to a newspaper Trump has in the past insulted as “failing.”
Journalists may or may not like these changes, but if they want to win access to information, they might have no choice but to follow the rules. Sean Spicer is determined to control the media narrative, and he’s made it clear that the press should “get ready to get nice and spicy on The Spice Of Life!” It remains to be seen whether reporters will fall in line, and whether any of them will win the grand prize of a 2017 Chevy Impala.