The fissure between Barnett and Spicer offers another example of how Donald Trump’s ascent to the White House has rattled the longstanding Washington media infrastructure, where Barnett holds the role of sherpa to the political elite entering into private sector TV and publishing opportunities.
Some in DC media circles believe Barnett over-promised Spicer about what he could deliver, and that the duo underestimated the larger media industry’s contempt from the former press secretary. TV network sources say that Spicer and Barnett weren’t particularly strategic about rolling out a fresh image. The two clashed stylistically — Spicer needed a hands-on agent as opposed to a seasoned dealmaker. The former press secretary was also at times concerned Barnett was spending too much time involved with Hillary Clinton’s book project than working on his own future, according to one source familiar with the matter. (Another source disputed this, saying that Barnett is responsive to his clients.)