This weekend CNN did a segment comparing the costs of Donald Trump’s presidential vacations with Barack Obama’s. The actual numbers are pretty striking. Trump has cost taxpayers about as much in one month as Obama did in an entire year. Which is ironic considering how frequently, and without justification, Trump complained about Obama taking vacations.
The segment, though, went off the rails when right-wing mouthpiece Paris Dennard chimed in with what seems like a scripted whine. Ignoring the fact that the numbers were all verified and undisputed, Dennard said, “I think this is fake news. This is not a news story.”
Anchor Don Lemon was plainly annoyed by Dennard’s brain-dead mutterings. He asked Dennard if he could define fake news is. He couldn’t. So Lemon proceeded to help him with the definition:
“Fake news is when you put out a story to intentionally deceive someone and you know that it is wrong […] This story that we’re doing right now is not to intentionally deceive anyone. We are simply talking about the cost to keep a president safe.”
After schooling Dennard on the finer points of journalism, Lemon sought to make it perfectly clear that he wasn’t about to sit still for Dennard’s wingnut rhetoric:
“Please stop it with that stupid talking point, that it is a fake news story. If you don’t want to participate in the news stories on this network, then don’t come on and participate. But don’t call them fake because you don’t agree with them. Go on.”
With that, Dennard persisted with his fake news assertions despite the utter absurdity of it and the admonition from the host. Whereupon Lemon, clearly exasperated, chose to end the program. He thanked his guests, wished everyone a great weekend, and said goodnight.
Now that’s how you handle the robo-pundits that are sanctioned by political operations. These people are so rehearsed that they stumble all over themselves if asked to actually provide a coherent analysis. When faced with a demand to drop his script, Dennard just repeated the parts he had memorized. It didn’t matter that it no longer made any sense. Lemon did exactly the right thing. He refused to allow a glassy-eyed Trump sycophant to spew The Donald’s branding. It was beautiful.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.