To "ban" or not to "ban": Tapper snark-bombs Sean Spicer over White House hypocrisy on terminology

Hoo boy. Between this and last week’s “nah, bro”-ish reply to Steve Bannon’s media criticism, we’re already at a 5 or 6 on the Tapper snark scale — just 11 days into Trump’s presidency. What’ll it be like after two months? Or six? Will Jake start answering Spicer’s lies by putting “Condescending Wonka” intertitles onscreen? Maybe introduce a “You Got Served” fact-check segment to “The Lead”? There’s no telling what dank memes lie at the end of this road.

The man’s got a point, though. I understand why Spicer would push back on the media colloquially describing this as a “Muslim ban,” but it is in fact a temporary “travel ban” on the seven countries named in the order. Quote:

(c) To temporarily reduce investigative burdens on relevant agencies during the review period described in subsection (a) of this section, to ensure the proper review and maximum utilization of available resources for the screening of foreign nationals, and to ensure that adequate standards are established to prevent infiltration by foreign terrorists or criminals, pursuant to section 212(f) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182(f), I hereby proclaim that the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens from countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12), would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons for 90 days from the date of this order (excluding those foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas).

They’re banned — temporarily, and subject to exemptions being granted on a case by case basis by DHS and the State Department, but there’s very clearly more going on here than “vetting,” as Spicer claims in the clip. New vetting procedures will constitute stage two of this process, after the initial ban expires and various natsec officials submit their advice to Trump on how to tighten the admission process. But for now it’s a ban, so why not say so forthrightly? In fact, the buzzworthy Reuters poll that came out tonight showing public support for Trump’s position phrased its key question this way: “Do you agree or disagree with the Executive Order that President Trump signed blocking refugees and banning people from seven Muslim majority countries from entering the U.S.?” The public’s okay with this terminology.

I assume Spicer’s sensitivity to the word “ban” is due to the fact that the media keeps referring to it as a “Muslim ban” specifically, which it isn’t. Or … is it, for all intents and purposes? Read William Saletan for a long list of Trump pronouncements from which he derives an apparent motive. It’s certainly not a comprehensive Muslim ban, but is it a limited one?