Forbes magazine’s chief content officer delivered a stark warning to companies that might consider hiring Kayleigh McEnany, Kellyanne Conway, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and other former spokespeople in the Trump White House: Do so and risk losing all credibility given their history of perpetuating “lies-upon-lies, repeated frequently and fervently” on behalf of the president. And what better way to punish those spreaders of untruth than by warning the businesses who hire them in the future?
“Let it be known to the business world: Hire any of Trump’s fellow fabulists above, and Forbes will assume that everything your company or firm talks about is a lie,” Forbes Chief Content Officer Randall Lane wrote in a piece published Thursday. “We’re going to scrutinize, double-check, investigate with the same skepticism we’d approach a Trump tweet. Want to ensure the world’s biggest business media brand approaches you as a potential funnel of disinformation? Then hire away.”
Lane singled out former White House press secretaries and spokespeople such as Kayleigh McEnany, Kellyanne Conway, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Sean Spicer — noting that they have shirked their duty to tell the truth regardless of how uncomfortable that may be.
“As someone in the business of facts, it’s been especially painful to watch President Trump’s press secretaries debase themselves,” Lane wrote. “Yes, as with their political bosses, spins and omissions and exaggerations are part of the game. But ultimately in PR, core credibility is the coin of the realm.”
While Lane said he wasn’t surprised by Trump’s propensity for “shamelessly exaggerating and prevaricating” information, he has been shocked by “the number of people willing to lend credence to that obvious mendacity on his behalf.”
Lane spoke out about the need to come clean following the deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. “In this time of transition — and pain — reinvigorating democracy requires a reckoning. A truth reckoning. Starting with the people paid by the People to inform the People.”
The distrust of information coming out of the White House began on day one of the Trump administration, when Spicer exaggerated the inauguration crowd size, demanding people believe what he was saying and not what their eyes were seeing, Lane pointed out. And that was just the beginning.
“The next day, Kellyanne Conway defended Spicer’s lie with a new term, ‘alternative facts,'” Lane wrote. “Spicer’s successor, Sarah Huckabee Sanders lied at scale, from smearing those who accused Trump of sexual harassment to conjuring jobs statistics. Her successor, Stephanie Grisham, over the course of a year, never even held a press conference, though the BS continued unabated across friendly outlets. And finally, Kayleigh McEnany, Harvard Law graduate, a propaganda prodigy at 32 who makes smiling falsehood an art form. All of this magnified by journalists too often following an old playbook ill-prepared for an Orwellian communication era.”
With a new administration on the horizon, Lane said that now is the time to “return to a standard of truth when it comes to how the government communicates with the governed. The easiest way to do that, from where I sit, is to create repercussions for those who don’t follow the civic norms.”
He believes that the way to do that is to not “let the chronic liars cash in on their dishonesty.” And by that, he means: don’t hire them.
Lane insists what he is proposing isn’t cancel culture or even politically motivated. ” It’s just a realization that, as Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said, in a thriving democracy, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts. Our national reset starts there.”
You can read his entire piece by clicking here.