Fox News is well known as a brazenly partisan and dishonest purveyor of propaganda that exists only to serve the political interests of the Republican Party and that panders to Donald Trump and his cult disciples. It was never intended to be a legitimate “news” enterprise, and in that respect it has lived up to its mission.
Among the skills that Fox News has honed over the years is one that facilitates turning bad news into some ludicrous reimagining of reality that better fits their preordained narratives. And on Wednesday there was a textbook example of their mastery of that method of mangling the news during an episode of Jesse Watters’ program. Watters invited Trump’s former Attorney Genuflect, Bill Barr, on for a segment of misinformation regarding the acquittal of Michael Sussmann, a Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer who was hounded by Barr’s special counsel, John Durham.
Durham’s mandate was to invent legal distractions in an effort to vindicate Trump by fabricating phony charges of misconduct related to his unsavory connections to Russia. Durham never had a shred of evidence to justify his probe, which the jury recognized and quickly found Sussmann not guilty.
The typically softball interview of Barr allowed him paint a preposterous picture of the outcome of the trial. In the retelling of the story by Watters and Barr, Durham was actually victorious:
Watters: Do you feel in any way responsible for how this Durham situation is unfolding, and are you disappointed in John Durham?
Barr: No, I’m very proud of John Durham and I do take responsibility for his appointment. And I think he and his team did an exceptionally able job both seeking out very important facts and presenting a compelling case to the jury. And while he did not succeed in getting a conviction from the D.C. jury, I think he accomplished something far more important. Which is he brought out the truth in two important areas.
First, I think he crystalized the central role played by the Hillary campaign in launching as a dirty trick the whole Russia-gate collusion narrative, and fanning the flames of it. And second, I think he exposed really dreadful behavior by supervisors in the senior ranks of the FBI who knowingly used this information to start an investigation of Trump, and then duped their own agents by lying to them, and refusing to tell them what the real source of that information was.
Barr: I’m very proud of Durham and I do take responsibility for his appointment. pic.twitter.com/odKy2FaqKG
— Acyn (@Acyn) June 1, 2022
It’s nice that Barr takes responsibility for the debacle that he so terribly mismanaged. However, his assessment of the results is purely delusional. If losing the most important case that the special counsel has brought to trial is representative of “an exceptionally able job,” you really have to wonder what Barr’s notion of failure is.
What Barr is arguing is that it isn’t important that his prosecutor’s case was entirely dismissed by the jury. What’s important in Barr’s view is that, in the process, a bunch of lies were propagated that he believes will have a negative effect on Clinton specifically, and Democrats generally. He’s outright admitting that the entire Durham probe was just a scam to harm his political foes.
However, what Barr identified as accomplishments that are greater than conviction were figments of his imagination. Durham utterly failed to “crystalize” Clinton’s role in launching dirty tricks. At best he revealed something that everyone already knows: that political campaigns – all of them – engage in opposition research. And there is no way that Clinton’s reputation was hurt by this show trial, because the right-wingers who paid any attention to it already regard Clinton as Satan in a pant suit.
Finally, Durham failed in his prime directive to deflect from Trump’s myriad criminal activities. If anything, he reminded people that Trump is still the subject of numerous investigations that are likely to lead to indictments. And he triggered an outraged Trump, who felt compelled to vent on his failing social media website, TRUTH Social.
In the end, the only thing that Barr and Fox News accomplished was to affirm that their motives are entirely partisan and have nothing to do with the law. It’s a deception that may tittilate Fox News viewers, but will have zero impact on the population at large. Just as Barr’s and Durham’s fictions had zero impact on the Sussmann jury.
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