While President Barack Obama delivered an impassioned speech from the East Room of the White on January 5, 2016, announcing executive actions on gun control and proposals to curb gun violence, he began crying as he talked about the child victims of the December 14, 2012, Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newton, Connecticut.
But immediately after his speech on January 5 and the following day, January 6, Obama’s opponents began suggesting that his display of emotion and tears as he talked about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was not genuine. Citing experts, such as Canadian psychologist Dr. Robert Hare and body language specialist Dr. Lillian Glass, some conservative pundits suggested that Obama’s behavior and body language as he cried proved he was a psychopath faking tears.
The claim that Obama’s tears were fake was supported by Fox News’ Andre Tantaros, who suggested that Obama may have hidden an onion beneath his podium to induce tears during the speech.
“I would check that podium for like a raw onion or some ‘No More Tears,'” said Tantaros. “It’s not really believable… And the award goes to… we are in awards season.”
Other right-leaning pundits, such as Ben Shapiro, writing on Daily Wire, ripped into Obama viciously, accusing him of trying to manipulate Americans emotionally.
Shapiro described Obama as a childish president who “cries because he does not get his way.”
“And The Messiah’s tears will heal cancer, stop global warming, and prevent gun violence. If you wanted The Messiah not to cry, you’d simply give him what he wants.”
David Icke’s far right-wing conspiracy theory blog, dedicated to exposing the “Illuminati criminals,” linked to a piece by the conservative Investment Watch Blog, titled, “How Obama’s ‘Crying’ Shows He’s A Psychopath.”
A reader on Investment Watch Blog wrote, “The fact that he has drone bombed thousands of innocent women and children in Pakistan who we are not even at war with since he first took office is more telling to me than a few crocodile tears for a false flag hoax.”
Opponents of gun control also took to social media. Soon, memes began circulating on Twitter and Facebook accusing Obama of faking tears and suggesting that his behavior indicated he is a psychopath.
A popular version of the memes cited a 2013 book by body language expert Dr. Lillian Glass and claimed that aspects of the president’s body language as he shed tears revealed he is a psychopath.
Not only does Obamacare, Obamacries.— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) January 5, 2016
The viral meme citing behavioral analyst Dr. Glass shows a photo of Obama wiping a tear from the corner of an eye with a caption that consists of a quote from the 2013 book by Dr. Glass titled The Body Language of Liars.
According to the caption, purportedly a quote from Glass’ book, “When people cry genuine tears they cry with both eyes, and so they tend to wipe both eyes at once.”
Snopes notes that the quote was likely taken from a previous Business Insider (BI) article, titled “7 Signs You’re Working With A Psychopath,” by Vivian Giang. The article, which cites Dr. Glass’ book, lists “seven red flags that you may be dealing with psychopath.”
One of the “red flags” was that psychopaths “are really bad at crying.”
“When [Susan Smith] gave a press conference and cried about her missing children, her fake tears were actually what raised suspicions that she was the killer,” Glass reportedly wrote in her book.
The BI article reports that Glass said, “When psychopaths cry, they will often wipe underneath each eye, one at a time. When people cry genuine tears they cry with both eyes, and so they will tend to wipe both eyes at once.”
Trump says Obama's tears during Tuesday's gun control announcement were sincere. https://t.co/ic23blar4X— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) January 6, 2016
Not to be outdone by his fellow Republicans, Paul Ryan chimes in with his own inhuman response to Obama's tears https://t.co/QysXh9XXcT— Salon.com (@Salon) January 8, 2016
Obama’s Crying During Speech Compared To Adolf Hitler’s Fake Tears For Nazis’ Gun Control -... https://t.co/Y3eSLEZlxU— Shawn Branch (@gntlman) January 7, 2016
The video below, which shows Obama at 0:44 seconds wiping “underneath each eye, one at a time,” appears to match Glass’s stated sign for a tentative diagnosis of fake crying or even worse — full-blown psychopathy. It apparently explains why the conservative blogosphere came alive with claims that body language analysis proves that Obama is a psychopath.
However, when Snopes contacted Glass and asked for her comments on the viral meme, she reportedly claimed that the meme misconstrued her and that she was deeply dismayed by the misrepresentation of her work. Glass, according to Snopes, said the viral meme misrepresented her work grossly by citing it out of context and that it does not represent her work as a body language expert.
According to Snopes, Glass said that “she would never engage in body language analysis so flippantly, nor did she consider the subject matter of the meme appropriate for such observations.”
The Snopes writer also argued independently that Glass’ observations “pertained to video footage and not a still image” and that her analytical observations were made “in context and motion (utilizing photographs to illustrate the body language she described in a broader context throughout).”
The writer added, “Nowhere in her writings did we locate an example of her making such a definitive diagnosis based upon a single still image, nor of her throwing around severe diagnostic language such as ‘psychopath.'”
Snopes’ argument appears to overlook the fact that video recordings of Obama wiping tears and crying during the speech are widely available online, and thus it is probably incorrect to suggest that Obama’s opponents jumped to conclusions about him based on a “single still image” (see another video below).
The question that a skeptic would raise in response to Glass’ repudiation of the meme is whether she was only being politic and that whether the analytical observations contained in her book could be construed fairly to imply Obama’s body language on the occasion suggested his tears were fake and that he could be a psychopath.
But in fairness to Glass, and other specialists, such as Dr. Hare (see video below), tentative or definitive diagnosis of fake crying or psychopathy were made in the broader context of multiple signs. For instance, some online viewers recalled instances in the past in which they cried genuinely, using a finger to “wipe underneath each eye, one at a time,” just like Obama in the video.
According to Business Insider’s Giang, Glass lists a total of seven signs as “red flags” suggestive of psychopathy.
“They constantly use the past tense.
They use cause-and-effect statements, such as ‘because’ and ‘so that,’ being entitled and self-centered individuals who are always seeking to use their own logic to justify their actions.
They talk excessively about their basic needs.
They don’t take responsibility or blame.
They contradict themselves often.
They are really bad at crying.
Their body language is different than what they say.”
In a separate Business Insider article, Giang cites Glass’ book The Body Language of Liars as she discusses “8 Signs Someone Is Lying To You.”
“They change their head position quickly.
They stand very still.
They instinctively cover vulnerable body parts — Such as the throat, chest, or abdomen.
They touch or cover their mouth — A telltale sign of lying is that a person will automatically put their hands over their mouth when they don’t want to deal with an issue or answer a question.
It becomes difficult for them to speak.
They stare at you without blinking much — Also watch out for rapid blinking.
They provide too much information.
They tend to point a lot.”
Glass’ signs for a tentative diagnosis of lying and psychopathy are comprehensive enough. Regardless of her comments in response to questions from Snopes, anyone can scrutinize Obama’s body language in the video below and decide for themselves — based on the signs listed by the body language expert — whether Obama was lying or faking tears.
Do you notice any other of Glass’ listed signs of lying or faking tears – especially around the 0.44 seconds mark — which together suggest that Obama may have been faking tears — signs such as touching the mouth, standing still, finding it difficult to speak, changing head position suddenly and quickly, or covering vulnerable body parts?
Let us know if you think you do.
[Photo By Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]