White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest, known for being thin-skinned and writing contentious e-mails to reporters around town, had a one-word response to a critical HuffPost review of President Obama‘s UN speech written by Richard Grenell, who served as the longest serving American spokesman at the UN in history.
It was: “unsubscribe.” Earnest wasn’t unsubscribing to HuffPost, mind you. This was his one-word e-mail reply to Grenell, who had sent the press aide the story along with a list of people.
Grenell’s piece posted on HuffPost Thursday. Earnest replied “unsubscribe” that day. The writer appeared on both liberal and conservative media outlets on the topic this week, including MSNBC, Fox News, NPR, and Laura Ingraham’s radio show. Grenell, an LA-based pundit and HuffPost contributor, was UN Spokesman between 2001 and 2008.
He expressed his dismay over Earnest’s action to FishbowlDC, saying, “I like a good debate and it’s very important to hear the other side. I find it interesting that a White House press person is disinterested in hearing the other side of Obama’s UN speech. It’s almost like being insulated, as if they just want to hear from only their supporters.”
FishbowlDC requested comment from Earnest, who, to be fair, also has some fans amongst Washington reporters. We’ll bring you his remarks should he reply. In the meantime, are you a journo who has received a nasty missive from Earnest? Tell us about it at FishbowlDC at mediabistro.com or FishbowlBetsy@gmail.com.
> Update #1: We heard from Earnest. He wrote, “I’m sorry to have hurt Mr. Grennel’s feelings. I hope he’ll a) accept my apology and b) stop spamming me.” (Note to readers: Hopefully Grenell won’t be too upset that Earnest spelled his name wrong.)
From a White House reporter (who wrote on the condition of anonymity): “I’m not on the habit of defending press aides, but Earnest is a genuinely nice person. Hard to fault him for being short with some fucktard who fills up his inbox.”
> Update #2: From Washington Examiner‘s White House Correspondent Julie Mason – “I love getting nastygrams from Josh. I always assume it’s his way of flirting.”
> Update #3: From Richard Grenell – “Earnest’s response is the perfect example as to why this White House is so miserably failing and will have only one term like Jimmy Carter. They are uninterested in differing opinions. They are thin-skinned, inexperienced and run the people’s house like it’s a campaign office from the south side of Chicago.”
> Update #4: From anonymous WH scribe – “I’ve just always found Josh to be a solid guy and good to deal with. Thin skinned? That’s news to me. Josh is a total pro. “