The PJ Tatler

Jay Carney Gaslights America

According to Jay Carney, if you view the Obama administration as secretive and believe that its various scandals are real, you’re seeing things that don’t exist. Carney appeared on Piers Morgan’s CNN show last night. Toward the end of the interview comes this bizarre exchange.

PIERS MORGAN: Final question, Jay Carney. Obviously the president made a big deal when he came into office of being not like previous administrations and was going to be much more transparent. The charge today after this week is that you have had that reputation for transparency pretty heavily dented. Do you accept that and just on a general picture, how are you going to move on now and restore perhaps faith that some Americans have lost this week in your openness and honesty?

JAY CARNEY: Well, I’m not sure, again, you’re concocting scandals here that don’t exist, especially with regard to the Benghazi affair that was contrived by Republicans and I think has fallen apart largely this week. The fact of the matter is that this administration has a record on transparency that outdoes any previous administration, and we are committed to that. The president is committed to that.

“You’re concocting scandals here that don’t exist…” Plural. Carney just denied that any of the massive scandals ripping around this presidency — the AP phone records sweep, the IRS systematically abusing Americans and even a congressman because of their political beliefs, Benghazi — are real. He also insisted that something is true that clearly is not, and hardly anyone believes — that the Obama administration is transparent. Obama appointed more unaccountable czars than any other previous president, and has operated an opaque and very political administration built in part on a philosophy of “punishing your enemies.”

Carney’s statement isn’t denial and it isn’t accidental. It’s gaslighting.

In the book Gaslighting, the Double Whammy, Interrogation and Other Methods of Covert Control in Psychotherapy and Analysis, the late forensic psychiatrist Theodore Dorpat defines gaslighting as a situation in which one individual “attempts to exert control over the feelings, thoughts or activities of another.” According to Dorpat, the gaslighting behavior itself is covert — neither “directly hostile” nor “intimidating.”

“In order to be effective, gaslighting depends on first convincing the victim that his thinking is distorted and secondly persuading him that the victimizer’s ideas are the correct and true ones,” writes Dorpat.

Carney will continue to insist, even as the facts pile up against him, that there is no scandal here and that you’re crazy to think that there is. The facts in the AP scandal suggest that DOJ went on a fishing expedition to retaliate after the news agency ran a story outside of the administration’s preferred timing. The facts of the IRS scandal suggest that it went very high up in and probably beyond that agency’s leadership, and constituted naked political abuse aimed to intimidate Americans and disengage them from the 2012 election. The facts on Benghazi suggest that the administration abandoned Americans under assault so that it could preserve its campaign narrative that al Qaeda had been more or less defeated. The movie was pushed as the reason for the attack to reach that same end.

No one has been held accountable in any of these scandals yet. The State Department’s firings connected to Benghazi turned out to be phony. The IRS resignation turned out to be a sham. Nothing has happened to anyone in connection with the AP sweep yet.

Carney, Obama et al will try to convince America that we’re all crazy to be concerned about and demand justice in these scandals. We’re being gaslit by an abusive and manipulative administration.