It’s true that President Trump often says untrue things in an effort to spin a narrative to fit his agenda. But if there’s one thing the liberal media hates, it’s someone horning in on their turf. This was clearly apparent during Tuesday’s edition of AC360 when host Anderson Cooper bemoaned how the President was "gaslighting" America by telling people not to believe all the biased news stories against him. But, in order to chastise him, Cooper and his guests twisted reality.
Cooper was hyperventilating because, during a speech before a VFW gathering, Trump told them to “just remember what you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening.”
“[I]t's what dictators, it's what authoritarian rulers say. It's kind of unbelievable in the truest sense of the word,” he declared to former presidential adviser David Gergen. “It reminds me of there was a quote from Orwell in 1984 that said, 'the party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final most essential command.' It certainly sounds a lot like what the President is saying.”
It’s ironic that Cooper would invoke a reference to George Orwell’s classic 1984 novel during the segment, because what followed next seemed like something the book’s “Ministry of Truth” would pull off.
Gergen agreed with Cooper’s pontifications and equated the press with the “whole essence of the First Amendment” and suggested the President was strangling it. “[T]he President for a while now, but more relentlessly and coldly is trying to suppress the voices of democracy, suppress the voices of the press, denigrate the press,” he proclaimed.
The former presidential adviser was distraught by the news that the White House was looking to pull the security clearances of former Obama-era intelligence officials who were allegedly abusing the privilege. He then peddled a fake news story about Attorney General Jeff Sessions chanting “lock her up” with high school students.
A short time later, Cooper beckoned Gergen to opine about how the damage Trump was doing to the country would last long after he was out of office. According to Gergen, the lasting damage Trump was doing was via appointing conservative justices. “And when you actually then control the courts too in terms of the judges, and you appoint judges on a partisan basis, you're going build into the system a series of practices and traditions that are so antithetical to the American experience,” he spewed.
As a man who had worked for presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Clinton, and had generally been involved in politics for a long time, Gergen should be well aware that presidents tend to appoint judges who match their ideological bent. It’s nothing new but CNN likes to twist the truth and history to fit their agenda.
Again pretending like what’s typical was unprecedented, CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger decried how Trump would criticize certain institutions that didn’t agree with him:
He criticizes his own government, his own justice department because it doesn't serve him. He criticizes Congress because very often it doesn't serve him. He criticizes the fourth estate, the media because very often it doesn't serve him. It is all about what serves him.
This is CNN fighting gaslighting with gaslighting; essentially rewriting what we know presidents have done historically. Obama criticized law enforcement and stoked anti-police tensions. What president hasn’t appointed a judge who they believed saw the world the same way? What president hasn’t criticized Congress or the media? Obama even tried to kick Fox News out of the press pool. Trump is tough on CNN but he hasn’t even done that. This is gaslighting. This is CNN.
The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:
CNN's Anderson Cooper 360
July 24, 2018
8:33 p.m. Eastern
ANDERSON COOPER: We certainly spend a lot of time here trying to keep up with the flood of news, which is hard enough when elected officials limit our view of the facts or try to distort it. It's harder still when public officials routinely engage in gaslighting, which as you know is the act of trying to convince people what they see happening is not actually happening. As you can see in the banner below me we have a little thing going on this program where we try to keep count of the gaslighting. What’s rare though is when those same public officials, in this case, the President, are as explicit about it as the President was today.
DONALD TRUMP: And just remember what you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening.
COOPER: I just want to take a moment here that was the President of the United States. The President of the United States, talking to men and women who fought for this country, telling them not to trust what they see and hear.
COOPER: David, for the President of the United States to tell people to stop believing what they see or what they read, it's what dictators, it's what authoritarian rulers say. It's kind of unbelievable in the truest sense of the word. It reminds me of there was a quote from Orwell in "1984” that said “the party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final most essential command.” It certainly sounds a lot like what the President is saying.
DAVID GERGEN: I'm afraid you're right, Anderson. A healthy democracy depends heavily upon a robust debate with different points of view being freely expressed. That's the whole essence of the First Amendment. And the President for a while now, but more relentlessly and coldly is trying to suppress the voices of democracy, suppress the voices of the press, denigrate the press. You can't believe what you hear or see, only believe me. Listen to us. Stick with us.
GERGEN: But it also comes, Anderson, I'll be brief, it comes on the heels of just saying yesterday that the White House wants to strip national security officials of the past from any access to confidential information, if they are critical of him. That's the standard. We've never done that before. We only strip people of their security clearances when they violate national security. That's not what we have here. And today this Attorney General, of all people, in front of a group of high school students joining him in a chant, "Lock her up". You put all that together, and historians and people who study democracy will say this is the road to authoritarianism. You can't go too far down this road, it's very dangerous.
COOPER: And David, obviously, look, President Trump won't be president forever. He'll be one-term or two-term president. But these kind of things, these kind of ideas that you can't and shouldn't trust institutions or the press, they can do damage that lasts for years beyond a Trump presidency.
GERGEN: Absolutely. And when you actually then control the courts too in terms of the judges, and you appoint judges on a partisan basis, you're going build into the system a series of practices and traditions that are so antithetical to the American experience. And, again, could really seriously undermine our democracy. The health of a democracy depends upon citizens actively engaged in trying to protect the best of it. And here we've got a president who is ripping it up. He's not -- it's not the things he is doing in this area are so illegal, it is that they erode the kind of standards and beliefs and values we have as a people and drive us more and more into a polarized, cynical society.
COOPER: It's also, Gloria, as you said -- none of it is something which doesn't serve his interests but, in fact, serves the interest of the United States of America. It's all stuff that just serves his interests.
GLORIA BORGER: Him. Absolutely. And, look, Donald Trump ran for president running against institutions, and he -- he campaigned against every institution we know. And as president, he has governed against every institution we know. He criticizes his own government, his own justice department because it doesn't serve him. He criticizes Congress because very often it doesn't serve him. He criticizes the fourth estate, the media because very often it doesn't serve him. It is all about what serves him. I mean, he is not somebody who will go out there and do something because it will serve the greater interest of the American people, although he will say that.