Often, Americans are astounded at what broadcast journalism looks like in other countries, and for good reason. For more than 25 years in the United States, cable news has almost been more “infotainment” than actual reporting, and Americans’ views of the media have followed accordingly.
Every once in a while, we will catch a snippet of a broadcast from England or Canada or Australia — some other English-speaking country with a cable news tradition — and be absolutely flabbergasted when we see their reporters actually call lies “lies” instead of “misstatements” or “controversial claims” or some other nonsense that American journalists have to say for fear that they’ll lose their access to whatever high-profile celebrity or CEO or politician they’re reporting on if they actually call it out.
Just on a very personal level, let me just say that whenever I have the pleasure of catching one of these foreign interviews with an American figure that causes them to squirm in their seat, I am always, as the kids say, here for it.
So when Sarah Huckabee Sanders went on the Australian Broadcasting Company (yes, ABC, but not that ABC) with host Leigh Sales to promote her new book Speaking for Myself: Faith, Freedom, and the Fight of Our Lives Inside the Trump White House, I got perhaps a minute or less into the broadcast before I was happier than I have ever been watching Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Right out of the gate:
Can Donald Trump tell the difference between the truth and a lie?”
Literally, that was Sales’ first question. Clearly it is popcorn o’clock.
Sanders, backdropped by a trademark red hat and seven copies of her new book on a shelf behind her head, went into a tirade about how the media had spent two years “falsely accusing” Trump of various things that have all, of course, been proven true. But the host wasn’t done:
Oh, this isn’t from the media, this is from General Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State during the last Republican administration: [Quoting Powell] ‘He has not been an effective president, he lies all the time, he began lying the day of the inauguration, and I don’t think that’s in our interest. The situation in 2020 has gotten worse.'”
Sanders couldn’t help but defend the man who gave her a career, but Sales absolutely pressed on. Giving Sarah an example of Trump flat-out disagreeing with science during a briefing on the California wildfires, Sales asked the former Press Secretary whether it was a display of “lying, ignorance, or insanity.” And when Sanders, in her usual fashion, dodged the difficultly-worded question, Sales pushed even harder:
You’re not addressing my point, which is that he said that he thinks science ‘doesn’t know’ that the planet is warming.”
Honestly, though, you have to watch the interview, which I’ve queued up for you after all the introductory talk in the video, because it just gets better and better as it goes on, if you’re a fan of watching Sarah Huckabee Sanders squirm:
Featured image via screen capture