MSNBC and weekend anchor Joy Ann Reid came under fire from progressives and members of the Bernie Sanders campaign Saturday after airing a segment with a "body language expert" who—citing "eye level" and the turtling of the 2020 candidate's shoulders—accused Sanders of lying earlier this week when he denied ever telling Sen. Elizabeth Warren that a woman could not be president.
The guest on Reid's show "AM Joy" was Janine Driver, who promotes herself as an "international communications expert" and the owner and president of the Body Language Institute. The segment sparked howls of criticism aimed at Driver, Reid, and the network.
Joy Reid brought on a “body language expert” to accuse Bernie of lying because his physical posture resembles that of a turtle. Really. pic.twitter.com/CCfSJoGIkU— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) January 18, 2020
"So now the slant is that he's physically intimidating too, oh and sexist," said writer and activist Malaika Jabali. "Totally cool, normal interpretation of someone being spontaneously confronted on national TV. It's getting outrageous."
While both the Warren and Sanders camp have appeared desirous to put the dust-up about what was or wasn't said during a private 2018 meeting behind them, Day—who openly supports Sanders as the better and more progressive candidate—was among those unwilling to disarm so long as the corporate media outlets continue to air such blatant and irrresponsible attacks to their massive audiences.
"I know there's a big push to move on but if the mainstream media is gonna broadcast this fraudulent garbage," said Day, "then I don't feel particularly compelled to drop it."
She was hardly alone.
"MSNBC is a fucking disgrace," said journalist Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept. Greenwald said the use of "bullshit charlatan body language analysis" to call Sanders a liar was "appalling but typical" of the network.
Driver's performance in the interview led many to check her credentials, political leanings, and background:
Here’s the body language expert Joy-Ann Reid had on to say Bernie Sanders lied, saying Obama had the CIA train ISIS pic.twitter.com/D5fV9CWH3y— Ken Klippenstein (@kenklippenstein) January 18, 2020
Media critic Adam Johnson noted, "just to be clear 'body language experts' aren't actually a thing and MSNBC should stop having them on all the time in general."
if you're wondering why MSNBC would do something this cynical and stupid it's because we're two weeks from the Iowa caucus and MSNBC has to do SOMETHING negative on Sanders but doesn't really have anything so inventing bad things with crackpots is pretty much all they can do— Adam H. Johnson (@adamjohnsonNYC) January 18, 2020
Sanders' national press secretary Briahna Joy Gray also denounced the segment and said the "campaign is owed an apology" by the network.
"What are they going to do next, phrenology?" Gray said. "This is why no one trusts the media."