Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was hypnotized into believing Judge Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her, according to the latest in a series of bizarre right-wing smears aimed at discrediting Ford’s accusations of sexual assault against the Supreme Court nominee.
The new effort to undermine Ford comes from Margot Cleveland, a contributing writer at the Federalist, National Review and Washington Examiner, and former law clerk on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
On Monday, Cleveland unearthed a research paper entitled “Meditation with Yoga, Group Therapy with Hypnosis, a Psychoeducation for Long-Term Depressed Mood: A Randomized Pilot Trial,” which was co-authored by Ford, who also goes by Dr. Blasey professionally, along with 11 other researchers. According to Cleveland, the fact that participants “were taught self hypnosis… [to retrieve memories] and create artificial situations” is proof that Ford may have hypnotized herself into believing Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her.
As of Monday evening, Cleveland’s theory has over 3,000 re-tweets and has also been picked up by the Gateway Pundit, which is notorious for trafficking in fake news.
The fact that Ford was just one of 11 researchers on the paper and, as a psychologist, would likely have been familiar with hypnosis techniques anyway, does not trouble Cleveland. She excitedly claimed in a later tweet that this paper is proof she knew the techniques (and hence how she could use them to manipulate a memory) and that “her therapist’s records would be very key… but haven’t been turned over.”
Cleveland leaves out the fact that Ford may well have been suspicious of any therapist using a technique like hypnosis, which has an extremely mixed record of success. She also sails by the hypocrisy of demanding Ford reveal patient-doctor notes while allowing Kavanaugh to escape from revealing 100,000 pages of records related to his Supreme Court nomination.
Cleveland’s accusations are just the latest unsubstantiated right-wing smear against Ford. Last week, ThinkProgress’ Extreme Right Dashboard, which monitors over 2,000 far-right Twitter accounts, showed that the far-right has been working overtime to discredit Ford as well as mock her online. Other more prominent right-wing commentators, like Laura Ingraham, have been trying to claim that the allegations against Kavanaugh were cooked up by — who else? — George Soros.
Cleveland isn’t the first right-wing figure to insinuate Ford may have been hypnotized. Last Monday, Fox Host Jeanine Pirro suggested that Ford might have been hypnotized, either by herself or an unknown third party.
“So the question is if there is something awry going on, was there hypnosis? Are they using confabulation?” Pirro asked. “And I don’t want to get in the weeds here but you know what? This is the kind of thing they have a right to true cross examination.”