Media Integrity Center to host former press secretaries

Sarah Huckabee Sanders served as a White House press secretary during the Trump Administration from June 2017 to July 2019. She will be speaking at the inaugural event for the new Center for Freedom of Expression and Media Integrity. WikiCommons

Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Robert Gibbs will kick off the center’s first event on Nov. 20

In its inaugural event, the new Center for Freedom of Expression and Media Integrity will host former White House press secretaries Sarah Huckabee Sanders – who served in the Trump Administration – and Robert Gibbs – who served in the Obama Administration. The event, scheduled for Nov. 20, is ticketed and will take place at The Richard Nixon Library located in Yorba Linda, California.

Brian Calle, a professor of communication at Chapman and the executive director of the center, confirmed the event in a Nov. 1 email to The Panther, saying the nature of the event will result in “quite a conversation.” Calle, who has taught at Chapman since 2013, is known for his role as CEO of LA Weekly and contributions to Fox News, amongst other publications and media outlets.

Sanders served in the Trump White House as press secretary for just over two years – June 2017 to July 2019 – following in the steps of her predecessor, Sean Spicer. She was the third woman to hold the position, and was succeeded by Stephanie Grisham. Sanders comes from a line of political figures; her father, Mike Huckabee, served as the governor of Arkansas and has been a presidential candidate during two different election cycles.

Sanders’ tenure as press secretary came with some backlash, as she went under fire due to the extended periods of time in between press briefings. By the time she left her post, it had been 94 days since a briefing, an occurrence that on average happens 20 to 24 times per month. Sanders is now a contributor to Fox News.

Gibbs, like Sanders, was the press secretary for just over two years – from Jan. 2009 to Feb. 2011. Before his time as press secretary, Gibbs served as then-Senator Obama’s communication director – a post he maintained during Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Gibbs’ tenure was not flawless; he came under fire in 2010 for remarks made about “liberal critics” and again (after he left the White House) in 2012 for comments made about the killing of an al-Qaeda member’s son. Gibbs now serves as the chief communications officer for the McDonald’s Corporation.

The event will consist of tours, a welcome reception and the program hosting the two former press secretaries. The Panther will be there; follow on social media and check for updates.

In a similar vein, Dinesh D’Souza – a conservative political commentator and author – is set to be brought to campus by Chapman Republicans. Originally set to come this week, D’Souza’s talk is now being rescheduled, according to Taylor Duncker, president of Chapman Republicans.

D’Souza is known for his 2012 film entitled “2016: Obama’s America” – an anti-Obama work based on his 2010 book “The Roots of Obama’s Rage” – and his pardoning granted by President Trump in 2018. D’Souza “pled guilty to violating the federal campaign election law by making illegal contributions to a United States Senate campaign” in 2014, according to a report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and was sentenced to eight months in a “community confinement center,” five years’ probation and fined $30,000. The date of D’Souza’s on-campus event has not yet been announced.

The Panther will be at the event reporting on its content; follow on social media and check for updates.

Correction: The previous version of this article listed Sarah Huckabee Sander’s father’s name, Mike Huckabee, as Mike Sanders. This has been corrected.