In a week that’s seen various Fox News personnel take inane and/or offensive positions on everything from the Supreme Court’s decision on marriage equality (being the cause of floods in the capital) to the Charleston church massacre (being an attack on Christianity), a late entry to the contest sneaked in Friday just before the deadline to win the Fox News Scumbag Of The Week Award:
On Friday’s broadcast of Special Report (video below), Howard Kurtz was introduced for a segment on how the press treats poor Donald Trump. Rather than report on the ever-expanding backlash to Trump’s racist assault on immigrants, Kurtz took the opportunity to slam the media for doing their job. He simultaneously attempted to run interference for the Republican Party to cleanse it of any stray excrement emanating from The Donald.
Kurtz: The media are trying to turn the Trump problem into the Republican problem. […] Why should Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and the others, have to answer for the billionaire businessman who is hardly an establishment Republican?
What a bunch of unadulterated hogwash. The Republican Party doesn’t need any help from the media to turn Trump’s boorish vulgarity into their own problem. They invited him into their party with open arms. In 2008 Mitt Romney solicited and received Trump’s endorsement. Fox News, the GOP’s PR division, made him a weekly feature on Fox & Friends, as well a frequent guest on other programs. And every time he lashed out at President Obama with his signature classlessness, Republicans cheered and praised him.
The reason other Republicans are expected to respond to Trump’s assholiness is because Trump represents a broad swath of the establishment Republican ideology. He is anti-immigrant, anti-tax, anti-ObamaCare, anti-gay, anti-environment, and pro-war. Where does Kurtz get the idea that Trump isn’t in line with the GOP regulars? As evidence of his harmony with conservative voters, they have boosted him to the top tier in Republican primary polls after he made his repulsive remarks about immigrants. Only now, since Trump’s misfire has ricocheted back at them, are some trying to put some distance between themselves and his hate mongering.
But what really clinched the Scumbag prize for Kurtz is a wildly off-base comparison between how the media has treated Trump and how they treated a Democrat from the past with regard to whether Trump is hurting Republicans.
Kurtz: Is there a double standard here? The press didn’t say that John Edwards, for instance, hurt the Democratic brand by fathering an out-of-wedlock child.
WTF? It must have taken a Herculean effort for Kurtz to come up with the most reprehensibly inappropriate stab at false equivalency imaginable. First of all, unlike today’s Republicans, Democrats universally repudiated Edwards for his vile infidelity. The reason the Republican brand is hurting is because Trump’s comments are so closely aligned to the party’s platform. That simply wasn’t true with regard to Edwards. In fact, Edwards misbehavior was entirely personal, so it could not have reflected on the reputation of a political party. Trump’s transgressions, on the other hand, are purely political. And even now he is being defended by folks like Ann Coulter and Ted Cruz.
Even from an opportunistic journalistic perspective, the two scenarios are not remotely similar. Trump’s comments came during the heat of a presidential primary battle when candidates are expected to participate in open debate. However, the first reports of Edwards infidelity were published in October of 2007 by the National Enquirer, a tabloid rag with a reputation for sensationalist garbage that usually proved to be untrue. The story was justifiably dismissed considering the source.
It wasn’t until July of 2008 that Edwards was caught visiting his mistress at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. However, by that time Edwards was not a candidate. He had dropped out of the race six months earlier. In fact, there was no race because Hillary Clinton had also conceded in June of 2008 and endorsed Obama. Consequently, there was no reason for the media cover Edwards as anything but a salacious human interest story. His troubles had absolutely nothing to do with the election or the Democratic Party.
Let’s face it – Kurtz only brought this up because A) He had no other example of a Democrat who is as repugnant as Trump and as adept at harming the interests of his party, and B) He desperately wanted to stigmatize Democrats with an ancient and unrelated memory to counteract the well-deserved bad publicity that Republicans are suffering. And for that purposefully manufactured slander, Kurtz easily walks away with the Scumbag Of The Week Award. Congratulations.
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p.s. Kurtz is interviewing Trump tomorrow on his Fox News program, MediaBuzz. Tune in if you have the stomach for it. As they say, “The circle jerk will be televised.”