There is a wide range of interpretations between the two extremes you present. Trump has a long record of powerful appeal to the so-called ‘alt right.’ “He has also demonstrated little if any concern for accuracy in his statements. Spicer has the job of defending Trump. He therefore will be inclined to soft peddle anything that will make his base unhappy, and many are anti-Semites, and exaggerate anything that makes Trump look good. “Assad is worse than Hitler” is an example.
It’s bullshit and its political. Assad is a bad guy, Hitler was orders of magnitude worse. That Spicer had to keep correcting what he said indicates to me that he is tone deaf to these issues. He might have an intellectual understanding, but no moral understanding and so seeks to try and find some way to justify a difference which does not matter- ie dropping gas from planes rather than gas chambers.
Given what Trump and company have done to political discourse in this country coming down on anything they say that is both untruthful and serves their purposes is a political duty for good Americans.