In Superman comics, there’s a “Bizarro World” in which everything is the opposite of how it should be. In the White House, there’s “Sarah’s World.”
This week, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked if the president, having been accused of sexual misconduct by many women, was in a position to criticize others. “We feel strongly that the people of this country addressed that when they elected Donald Trump to be president,” Sanders responded. Yeah, but didn’t the majority vote for Trump’s opponent? She then scolded reporters for asking about the president’s health after he slurred his words during a speech. “There were a lot of questions on that — frankly, pretty ridiculous questions.” Yeah, but didn’t Trump often question Hillary Clinton’s health during the campaign? Was that not ridiculous?
Despite the constant contradictions, Sanders perpetually rails against the press’s “ridiculous bias,” for which she has her admirers. “Sarah is even better than Spicer!,” “Sarah’s an excellent role model,” and “SUPER SARAH! That girl is swift & sharp as a razor,” they tweet.
Frank Bruni recently lamented in The New York Times that, “we’ve surrendered any expectation of honesty” from the press secretary. Bruni wrote: “(Sanders) dwells without evident compunction in a gaudier fairyland of grander fictions…Her briefings are breathtaking…For some 20 minutes every afternoon, down is up, paralysis is progress, enmity is harmony, stupid is smart, villain is victim, disgrace is honor, plutocracy is populism and Hillary Clinton colluded with Russia if anyone would summon the nerve to investigate her. I watch and listen with sheer awe. With despair, too, because Sanders doesn’t draw nearly the censure or ridicule that (Sean) Spicer did, and the reason isn’t her. It’s us. More precisely, it’s what Trump and his presidency have done to us.”
In the public relations world, ethical practitioners rely on facts and transparency, avoiding spin for fear of damaging their clients’ reputations. This isn’t the case in Sarah Sanders’ Bizarro World. As she spins for “some 20 minutes every afternoon,” she’s harming all the progress we’ve made to improve and enhance our profession’s reputation. Your thoughts?