White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has a tumultuous relationship with the news media, in that they rudely ask him questions about current affairs and expect answers that make sense. It turns out there is a very long precedent for Spicer’s tepid love affair with the press, beginning in college, when they made a good joke about his name.
In between maniacally checking the phones of White House staffers to make sure they’re not leaking to the press, Spicer engages in very dignified Twitter beefs with New York Times reporters and gets hilariously, accurately skewered by Melissa McCarthy. In a nice bit of foreshadowing, Spicer once attended Connecticut College, where, as the Washington Post reported back in August, he got in a beef with the College Voice, the campus paper, over their reporting of his efforts to ban smoking in campus dorms. Specifically, and this is very important: Spicer was mad they called him “Sean Sphincter.”
The Voice staffers insisted it was a mistake. Spicer thought not, and wrote a historically ruffled letter to them, demanding a correction.
Reporter Adam Steinbaugh posted the whole letter on Twitter back in January, and it is truly a marvel:
On Monday, it started getting fresh traction when CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski posted it again, possibly because we’ve all really gotten to know Spicer and appreciate this bit of historic context even more.
“Maybe I am not all that familiar with the production of a ‘newspaper,’” Spicer wrote in his missive, using really delightful and unnecessary scare quotes, “But I am really not sure how this can be explained as unintentional. While I would understand, and at this point even expect a misspelling or a misquote, this goes well beyond that.”
That it does. The historical record is silent on whether Spicer got the important correction he demanded. Going forward, please safeguard the knowledge that Sean Spicer does not like to be called “Sean Sphincter” and do not misuse it. We’re all adults here.
Correction: An earlier version of this post mistakenly identified White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer as “Sean Sphincter.” We deeply regret the error.