by WorldTribune Staff, December 2, 2022
The practice of intentionally deceiving someone by telling them that the state of the world is not what they perceive it to be. It is used often in online political debates to accuse opponents of lying.
“Gaslighting.” The lying of yesteryear is nothing. Nowadays most assumptions about what passes for reality deserve scrutiny.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary has declared it to be the word of the year for 2022.
Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster’s editor at large, told The Associated Press: “It was a word looked up frequently every single day of the year.”
Merriam-Webster traces the term to a 1938 play, “Gas Light”, by Patrick Hamilton, and two films in the 1940s.
Breitbart Senior Editor-at-Large Joel B. Pollak noted that “gaslighting” goes beyond lying.
“To carry out the deception, the perpetrator must be seen to believe the lie and to act as if it were true, interpreting subsequent events through the prism of an illusory claim about reality,” Pollak wrote.
As an example, Pollak cited Team Biden’s repeated claim that inflation was “zero.” Critics accused Joe Biden of “gaslighting” by citing the month-to-month change in prices rather than the massive annual price increase.
Gas prices is another example. Biden “claimed to have lowered gas prices because by late 2022 they had fallen below their record highs in the late spring, while they remained higher than when he took office in 2021.”
Following Biden’s infamous red-and-black background speech in September, columnist Elizabeth Stauffer noted in an op-ed for the Washington Examiner that the “gaslighting of America that began during the Obama years” had increased after the Jan. 6 protest at the U.S. Capitol.
On Sept. 1, Biden “delivered a speech for the ages. Biden wanted to be ‘crystal clear’ that everything is at risk in this country because of the Republican Party, including people’s so-called right to abortion, ‘the Social Security you paid for from the time you had a job,’ children’s safety from gun violence, the right to vote, and ‘the very survival of our planet,’ ” Stauffer noted. “Heck, MAGA Republicans are even a threat to democracy itself, he warned, because they refuse to accept the will of the people and embrace political violence. Trump loyalists are trying to destroy the country, he railed.”
This, Stauffer added, “was gaslighting, pure and simple. Apart from Republicans’ efforts to place limits on abortion, everything the president said was a lie. Indeed, Biden was employing a tactic once favored by Joseph Goebbels and the KGB — the time-honored practice of accusing one’s political opponents of what they themselves are doing.”