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Gaslighting With Sarah Huckabee Sanders

June 14, 2019

I stand with reporters, the right to be informed, knowing fully the value of the Fourth Estate.  So when it comes to Sarah Huckabee Sanders there is nothing but contempt for her on this blog.  She disgraced the office of the press secretary, the nation, and ultimately herself.   Today there is a truly worthwhile read about this matter in the Washington Post.

When Sarah Sanders said Thursday that she hopes to be remembered for her transparency and honesty, the first impulse was to laugh.

But lying to citizens while being paid by them really isn’t all that funny.

Sanders took on an impossible job when she became Trump’s spokeswoman, a job that’s about to reach a welcome conclusion.

She would claim to represent the truth on behalf of a president who lies.

She did it disrespectfully, and apparently without shame or an understanding of what the role of White House press secretary should be.

She misled reporters or tried to, and through them, misled the American people. And all with her distinctive curled-lip disdain.

Thus, she delivered on what New York University professor Jay Rosen has called the “brand promise” of the Trump administration’s treatment of the press: “Watch, we will put these people down for you.”

Her quintessential moment came in the May 11, 2017, White House press briefing in which she was skeptically questioned by Michael Shear of the New York Times about her statements that she’d heard from “countless” FBI employees about how grateful they were that Trump had fired the agency’s director, James B. Comey.

“Really?” asked Shear.

She replied without a shred of doubt, and as if Shear were the dumbest guy she’d ever seen.

“Between, like, email, text messages, absolutely. Yes,” Sanders said. “We’re not going to get into a numbers game. I mean, I have heard from a large number of individuals that work at the FBI that said that they’re very happy with the president’s decision.”

Eventually, she was forced, under oath, to admit that this was made-up nonsense.

The report by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III: “Sanders told this Office that her reference to hearing from ‘countless members of the FBI’ was a ‘slip of the tongue.’ . . . She also recalled that her statement in a separate press interview that rank-and-file FBI agents had lost confidence in Comey was a comment she made ‘in the heat of the moment’ that was not founded on anything.”

Utterly unfounded, but insisted on as if it were carved on tablets, and don’t you dare doubt it. That is a pretty good description of gaslighting.

And gaslighting was a Sanders specialty, day in and day out. (After a while, of course, that became week in and week out, then month in and month out, and finally, not at all, as the once-daily briefings were phased out. The last one was more than 90 days ago.)

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