It must be awfully hard to be a Fox News shill these days. The still flowing flood of incriminating evidence against Donald Trump and his sleazy family is nearly impossible to justify. The contortions that Fox News hosts and pundits have to employ seem painful in the extreme. Some of them aren’t even trying anymore.
That, however, is not the case with the crew at Fox and Friends, and their Saturday morning guest, Geraldo Rivera (video below). In a discussion about Don Trump, Jr.’s meeting with Russian operatives, the “Curvy Couch” potatoes crawled all over themselves trying to defend the indefensible. Eventually they wound up where they often do – blaming the media.
For his part, Geraldo Rivera set up his remarks by reminding everyone that the Trumps were close, personal friends. He restated his “tremendous respect and admiration” for them. Then he gently chided them for what he characterized as minor goofs. Rivera described the meetings with Russian government operatives promising dirt on Hillary Clinton as “understandable,” but “not criminal.” Legal experts disagree. He did manage some criticism of Don, Jr. for his “dissembling” otherwise known as lying.
And then Rivera went flying headfirst off the tracks. Co-host Abby Huntsman asked a typically asinine question. She wondered whether the media was to blame for the troubles Don, Jr. was undergoing. Because of course it was the media’s fault that Donnie met with unsavory Russians and then lied about it repeatedly. But Rivera’s historical analog to this affair was the presidency of Richard Nixon. His take on it was pure lunacy:
“During the years of Tricky Dick Nixon, 1972 and 1973 principally. If there had been a Fox News then, if there had been a Sean Hannity then, I do not believe President Nixon would ever have been forced to resign. Why do I say that? Because when you see how his story evolves, and he has no one to defend him, how everybody’s deserted him, no on got the other side of the story. So that rinky-dink burglary then metastasized into the cover up, which led to the tumult, the nuclear explosions in the administration, and finally the resignation of the President.”
“I think if we had Sean then, if we had Fox and Friends then, I think that President Nixon would have weathered that storm. Now, I think that President Trump will likewise weather the storm, but I think that it will cause amazing stresses.”
So Rivera blames the downfall of Nixon on the absence of defenders in the media. Not on the fact that he presided over an illegal break-in of the Democratic campaign office. Not on the threats and bribes and lies that marked the cover up. Rivera thinks there was another side to the story of Nixon’s corruption that wasn’t being told. You know, the good side of the corruption.
But the best part of this cognitive meltdown is Rivera’s accidental admission that Fox News is nothing more than an alibi generator for crooked Republicans. He’s saying that despite the obvious crimes, Nixon might have survived if he had Fox News to lie for him. Nixon’s problem wasn’t that he broke the law, violated his oath of office, and had no discernible ethics. It was that he didn’t have someone like Sean Hannity to fabricate excuses and point fingers at innocent bystanders.
By extension, that’s the role that Rivera is admitting that Fox News plays now. They are deliberately denying reality and replacing it with manufactured falsehoods. They are covering for Trump and serving up other sides to the story of his corruption. And they are accusing others (Obama, Clinton, etc.) of crimes without any evidence whatsoever. It’s a strategy of deceive and deflect. And, as with Nixon, despite the obvious crimes, the goal is for Trump et al to skate free. Of course, many observers have already known this about Fox News for years. But it is helpful when one of their top correspondents is dumb enough it out loud on the air.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.