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Former Bush White House press secretary berates ABC News for airing 'chopped' quote

Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer listens to testimony at a Pennsylvania House committee hearing in Harrisburg, Pa., Thursday, Sept. 27, 2007. (AP/Carolyn Kaster)

ABC News has apologized for deceptively editing a quote from former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer. The network clipped the statement in a way that made it sound like Fleischer was criticizing White House press secretary Sean Spicer, when the opposite was true.

The apology came after Fleischer blasted the network on Twitter Tuesday for mischaracterizing what he said during a "Nightline" interview that aired Monday night. Fleischer laid out the discrepancy in a series of tweets, pointing out that his full statement to ABC was different from what the network actually reported.

Fleischer criticized Spicer's performance Saturday when he berated reporters and took no questions, but Fleischer tweeted Tuesday that Spicer "recovered" during his first official White House press briefing Monday.

ABC News "chopped" Fleischer's quote to sound like he was being critical of Spicer, he said. In its Monday night report, the network included only the part where Fleischer said "the ball was dropped" by the new White House press secretary.

After setting the record straight, Fleischer added: "If this is how the press reports, Trump is right to go after them."

ABC News has apologized for its editing. The network said in a statement posted online Tuesday:

Nightline aired a segment Monday night about the first three days of the new administration including Sean Spicer’s statement to the press on Saturday. As part of the report, we interviewed former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer. In editing the piece for air, his quote was shortened and as a result his opinions mischaracterized. We are fixing the piece online to include his full quote and context. We apologize and regret the error.

During his first few days as White House press secretary, Spicer has bucked the tradition of calling on so-called mainstream news outlets first, like ABC. Instead, Spicer has begun his briefings by calling on reporters from lesser-known outlets like the LGBT newspaper the Washington Blade and Laura Ingraham's LifeZette website.

“There are voices and issues that the mainstream media sometimes doesn’t capture, and it’s important for those issues to get as much prominence as some of the mainstream ones,” Spicer said during an interview with Fox's Sean Hannity.

"Some members of the media were engaged in deliberately false reporting," Spicer added, referring to how many outlets reported the White House bent the truth about inauguration crowd sizes by saying it was the "largest audience ever to witness an inauguration, period."

(H/T: Daily Caller)

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