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Published with permission from Media Matters of America

Hayden: “You’re Not Just Responsible For What You Say, You Are Responsible For What People Hear”

From the August 9 edition of CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper:

JAKE TAPPER (HOST): I want to play for you this comment that Donald Trump just made at a rally, that the Clinton people are saying this is him joking about Hillary Clinton getting assassinated.

[…]

TAPPER: How do you interpret what he said?

MICHAEL HAYDEN: Well, Jake as you and I were just commenting, we’re both native English speakers, and when I heard that for the first time, that was more than a speed bump. Alright?

That’s actually a very arresting comment. And it suggests either a very bad taste reference to political assassination and an attempt at humor, or an incredible insensitivity. It may be the latter, an incredible insensitivity to the prevalence of political assassination inside of American history, and how that is a topic that we don’t ever come close to, even when we think we’re trying to be light-hearted.

TAPPER: There was an attempt on Donald Trump’s life a few weeks ago, actually, and the Secret Service got involved.

HAYDEN: Well, let me say if someone else said that outside of the hall, he’d be in the back of a police wagon now, with the Secret Service questioning him.

[…]

HAYDEN: I used to tell my seniors at the CIA, you get to a certain point in this business, you’re not just responsible for what you say, you are responsible for what people hear.

Photo: CNN

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