Sarah Huckabee Sanders (AP/Susan Walsh)

Yes, the White House is gaslighting America

The quest for truth in the White House takes a back seat to the quest to make the administration look good


Jeremy Binckes
June 28, 2017 1:12PM (UTC)

On Wednesday morning, CNN's Brian Stelter wrote that supporters of President Donald Trump see "a war" going on between journalists and Trumpworld — "a war they are thrilled to fight." And in the face of legislative disaster (the "Art of the Deal" businessman has shown he's out of his depth on health care issues), the president is happy to go to his plan B, which is an all-out assault on the media.

On Wednesday morning, Trump lashed out on Twitter to attack The New York Times.

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The Times' story showcased the president's supreme incompetence when it comes to health insurance deliberations:

A senator who supports the bill left the meeting at the White House with a sense that the president did not have a grasp of some basic elements of the Senate plan — and seemed especially confused when a moderate Republican complained that opponents of the bill would cast it as a massive tax break for the wealthy, according to an aide who received a detailed readout of the exchange.

Mr. Trump said he planned to tackle tax reform later, ignoring the repeal’s tax implications, the staff member added.

But New York Times reporters always keep their receipts.

Trump's attack on the news media Wednesday was a continuation of his crusade on the press, which continued through Tuesday afternoon's press briefing. During the White House's first on-camera briefing in days, deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders pounced on CNN's retraction of a Russia investigation story, saying it was "dangerous for America" if the media "can't be trusted to report the news.

Her statement came moments after she hyped a Project Veritas video by saying that she didn't know "whether it was accurate or not" — but everyone should watch it nonetheless. The video appears to show a CNN producer slamming his network’s treatment of Donald Trump.

Project Veritas is the James O'Keefe-led conservative video group that received $10,000 from Trump in 2015. O'Keefe is notorious for producing material that takes people's statements out of context.

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Her argument was immediately rebuffed by Brian Karem, a reporter for the Washington-area Sentinel newspapers and a Playboy correspondent who challenged the administration and Huckabee Sanders:

Come on, you’re inflaming everybody right here, right now, with those words. This administration has done that as well. Why in the name of heaven — any one of us are replaceable, and any one of us, if we don’t get it right, the audience has the opportunity to turn the channel or not read us.

You have been elected to serve for four years at least. There is no option other than that. We’re here to ask you questions. You’re here to provide the answers. And what you just did is inflammatory to people all over the country who look at it and say, “See, once again, the president is right and everybody else out here is fake media.” And everybody out here is only trying to do their job.

The outburst attracted plaudits from media members. Vox, for example, called it "heroic."

Speaking of people who can't be trusted, we circle back to Donald Trump and his administration, who even Republicans say "is not 100 percent accurate." On Tuesday night Sen. Dean Heller — a target of Trump's attacks because he won't support Trumpcare — basically said that the president isn't always on the level.


Jeremy Binckes

Jeremy Binckes is the senior news editor at Salon.com.

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