“It’s impossible to say what’s on the horizon,” Bee told EW in an interview Friday morning just as the political shakeup was occurring, “but I’m sure it can get much worse.”
As regular viewers of Full Frontal With Samantha Bee know, Bee has major concerns about the treatment of the media in the Donald Trump era. On top of addressing the topic frequently on her show and in interviews, Bee went so far as to fete beleaguered journalists at her Not the White House Correspondents Dinner in April, where members of the Society to Protect Journalists were seated at a front-row table. Her show even sells merchandise promoting press freedom.
But as combative as Spicer has been with the media, Bee and her executive producer Jo Miller don’t see things getting better under Scaramucci. If anything, they expect the White House communications team to double down on its media-bashing ways:
JO MILLER: It’s working for them. They’ve put out a narrative that the media are the enemy of the people. It resonates, and it’s doing incredible long-term damage to our body politic and our culture, that [Trump has] chosen a war on facts and truth as a self-protection strategy. That poison is going to linger in our society long after he’s gone.
SAMANTHA BEE: I think our imaginations have failed to conceive of what is possible, and we’re just constantly catching up to the new lows. It’s impossible to say what’s on the horizon, but I’m sure it can get much worse.
MILLER: Well, and now Scaramucci is going to be his new director of communications.
BEE: [heavy sigh] It’s great! [fake laughter] Mirthless laughter!
MILLER: I’ll buy some scam hedge funds!
Might Scaramucci’s own media background — as a Fox News contributor and regular host of the Fox Business Network program Wall Street Week — help open up the relationship between the White House and the press? After all, it was a Fox News reporter who vented his frustration to Sarah Huckabee Sanders about the lack of on-camera briefings. Bee and Miller were doubtful:
MILLER: It can’t be open because they can’t say anything that won’t be undermined by the president himself and our leaders. So they have to stand up there saying nothing. That’s why they don’t have cameras [in the press briefings]. So they’re in an impossible position. They’re in a position where they need to lawyer up — I don’t know why they have press conferences now, because they can’t say anything.
BEE: If they don’t know anything, they can’t say anything. It’s just an exercise in somebody standing off-camera going, “Okay, lengthen — lengthen this!” when there’s nothing to say. “Keep talking!”
As for the morale among journalists in the age of Trump, Bee noted that she and her team are affected by it firsthand: “We have so many great journalists working at our show, so we’re just connected to so many great journalists out there. I do think there’s a sense that we’re all kind of in it together.”