Former Vice President Joe Biden’s press secretary Jen Psaki warned the media of “Russian propaganda” on Tuesday after images of her wearing a pink hammer and sickle hat resurfaced on social media.
“For anyone who hasn’t been the target of Russian propaganda, the purpose is to discredit powerful messengers and to spread misinformation to confuse the public,” she wrote on Twitter. “Anyone who repeats it is (unwitting or not) simply a puppet of the propaganda machine.”
For anyone who hasn't been the target of Russian propaganda (cc: @McFaul @HillaryClinton) the purpose is to discredit powerful messengers and to spread misinformation to confuse the public. Anyone who repeats it is (unwitting or not) simply a puppet of the propaganda machine.
— Jen Psaki (@jrpsaki) December 1, 2020
Psaki did not specifically address the photo of her wearing the hat and posing for a picture with Russian ambassador Sergey Lavrov in the 2014 photo as well as Russian spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
— MFA Russia 🇷🇺 (@mfa_russia) January 13, 2014
Here’s Jen Psaki hugging Russia's Foreign Minister and Russia’s chief foreign affairs propagandist while wearing a pink hammer and sickle hat pic.twitter.com/WMJytaxd7J
— Matt Wolking (@MattWolking) November 30, 2020
At the time Psaki worked for former President Barack Obama’s State Department. Then-Secretary of State John Kerry is also in the photo.
As the spokeswoman for the State Department, Psaki was routinely mocked by Russian media and on social media as she routinely condemned Russia’s behavior for invading Crimea.
Russian state media even coined the term “Psaking” which means “when someone makes a dogmatic statement about something they don’t understand, mixes facts up, and then doesn’t apologize.”
After the image went viral online, USA Today fact-checked stories about the hat with the communist symbol, asserting stories about it were “missing context.”
That assertion earned ridicule from Republicans like Donald Trump Jr.
“Why are you fat checking this? No one’s making a claim just showing her wearing a commie hat… THATS A FACT!!!” Trump Jr. wrote on Twitter. “If the media stopped running cover for Democrats as their primary mission maybe they have some credibility left.”
Why are you fat checking this? No one’s making a claim just showing her wearing a commie hat… THATS A FACT!!!
If the media stopped running cover for Democrats as their primary mission maybe they have some credibility left. https://t.co/DtcKwkAev9
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) December 1, 2020