For anyone who isn’t yet convinced that Fox News is a wholly owned subsidiary of Trump Cult Enterprises (or maybe vice versa), Donald Trump has helped to affirm this fact himself. In a pair of tweets that reveal just how tightly integrated they are, the reality TV president made it clear that there should be no wavering on Fox’s mission to prop up all things Trump. And that also means shunning non-Trump news.
When Pete Buttigieg agreed to appear on Fox News for a town hall, he articulated his justifications for doing so. They were essentially the same as those by other Democrats who mistakenly believe that there is some merit to lending their credibility to a propaganda outfit that hasn’t earned it and doesn’t deserve it. In short, they argue that they need to reach out to Fox’s viewers. But there are other venues to communicate with any Fox viewer who isn’t devoutly pro-Trump. And those who are need not be bothered with. In the meantime, it’s counterproductive to help Fox earn more respect and revenue with which they will trash Democrats.
Nevertheless, Buttigieg showed up for the town hall ready to address what was expected to be an unfriendly encounter. Surprisingly, the audience was fairly receptive to his remarks. In particular they applauded vigorously when he said of Trump’s vile and infantile antics that “It is the nature of grotesque things that you can’t look away.” He also enjoyed a standing ovation at the end that caught anchor Chris Wallace off guard.
But Trump’s reaction to this program was somewhat different. He angrily tweeted that it’s:
….who got them there. Chris Wallace said, “I actually think, whether you like his opinions or not, that Mayor Pete has a lot of substance…fascinating biography.” Gee, he never speaks well of me – I like Mike Wallace better…and Alfred E. Newman will never be President!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 19, 2019
Trump is giving away the propaganda game here. He is complaining that Fox News had the audacity to cover someone running for president other than the officially designated candidate of the Fox Nationalist Party. He did exactly the same thing following the Bernie Sanders town hall on Fox. According to Trump, just giving a Democrat one hour out of twenty-four is evidence that the network is “moving to the wrong side.” Even that phrasing indicates Trump’s impression is that Fox News is on his side and against his enemies.
Trump segues from that nonsense to taking a swipe at Wallace who he says “never speaks well of me.” Setting aside the fact that that’s patently false, a more interesting fact is that Trump is so scared of Wallace that he’s never granted him an interview as President. Which is ironic since the rightists in Fox World are always accusing Democrats of fearing Fox. The truth is just the opposite. Media Matters has done the research and found that Democrats appear on Fox News far more often than Republicans appear on CNN or MSNBC.
So what did Buttigieg gain by submitting to Fox? He earned a rebuke from Fox for having done so. The following morning the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends tore into Buttigieg for speaking candidly about what happens “when you see what goes on with some opinion hosts on this network.” He elaborated saying…
“I mean when you’ve got Tucker Carlson saying that immigrants make America dirty, when you’ve got Laura Ingraham comparing detention centers and children in cages to summer camps, then there is a reason why anybody has to swallow hard and think twice before participating in this media ecosystem.”
That drew the ire of Fox’s Brian Kilmeade who went on an extended rant where in warned prospective Fox guests that they shouldn’t show up if they intend to speak their minds and tell the truth:
“Don’t hop on our channel and continue to put down the other hosts on the channel. If you feel that negative about it, don’t come.”
Perhaps Fox News should publish a guidebook outlining what is and isn’t allowed to be said on their network. Because if you say anything the least bit critical you’re scolded and maligned for having “absolutely no courage” despite your presence in their studio. Then, for good measure, Kilmeade went on to lie about Trump’s tax cuts which Buttigieg correctly said benefited the wealthy. Kilmeade disputed that saying that the cuts were aimed at corporations (Is that better, or even different?) and that “the smallest tax cut was for those who pay the most.”
All of these lies and insults took place the morning after the Buttigieg town hall. They were done without giving Buttigieg an opportunity to respond. There was no Democratic voice on to set the Foxies straight. And the Buttigieg bashing continued on Fox News throughout the rest of the morning broadcasts and surely continued for the remainder of the day.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
So how exactly did the hour that Buttigieg got justify the countless hours of attacks and lies? The lesson from both Sanders and Buttigieg is that doing these Fox town halls only sets you up for attacks without providing any benefit whatsoever. Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris have stated publicly that they will not be submitting to Fox. The rest of the Democratic field should take heed and do the same.