From its inception, Fox News was determined to disguise their political biases. They fashioned a network that they would claim is “fair and balanced,” but would never even attempt to live up to that standard. Last year they finally abandoned that slogan and replaced it with one that was obviously and shamelessly inspired by Donald Trump’s anti-media histrionics: “Real News.”
So it isn’t surprising when the chief media correspondent on Fox News, Howard Kurtz, would host a discussion on his show about media bias that flagrantly ignores it own ethical breaches. Sunday’s episode of MediaBuzz delved into the controversy surrounding Fox News host, and official Trump-fluffer, Sean Hannity. This week Hannity was revealed in court to be another client of Trump’s beleaguered attorney, Michael Cohen. He vehemently denied that which, in effect, means that he’s calling Cohen a liar. That’s something that Trump himself seems to be preparing to do.
Kurtz was disturbed by the media reaction to Hannity’s unambiguous ethical lapses (video below). Primarily, he found fault with the coverage of this story by his competitors on cable news. He led off the conversation saying that:
“In the aftermath, and it was such intense media reaction to this, a couple of people went on the air on other cable news channels and kind of just got out there.”
As examples of this alleged “outness,” Kurtz played video of two guests that appeared on MSNBC, but no other cable news channels. They raised questions about the undeniably conflicted relationship between Hannity and Cohen. The guests were Danielle Moodie-Mills, a SiriusXM talk show host, and Jennifer Rubin, a conservative opinion columnist from the Washington Post. Both observed the coincidence that Hannity had secured the services of Cohen, a “fixer” who had facilitated payoffs to the mistresses of his other clients (Trump and RNC official Elliot Broidy).
Since Hannity refused to disclose the nature of his relationship with Cohen, it’s entirely fair for pundits to assemble available data and offer analyses that seek to provide a coherent explanation. But that’s not how Kurtz sees it. He asked his guest, Shelby Holliday of the Wall Street Journal:
“How can professional commentators go on the air and speculate, without a shred of evidence right after this happened, that ‘Oh, there must have been a woman involved or something’ and there is absolutely no evidence to support it?”
Seriously? This is Fox News wondering whether it’s appropriate to speculate about public figures. It’s the network that spent years asserting that Barack Obama was an illegitimate president due his birth in Kenya. It’s the network that tried to blame Hillary Clinton for deliberately causing the deaths of American diplomats in Benghazi. It’s the network that advanced wild conspiracy theories like the child sex slave ring in the basement of a Washington, D.C. pizza parlor. And it’s the network that pushed ludicrous allegations that DNC employee Seth Rich’s murder was a clandestine, “Deep State” political assassination. That last one was Hannity’s baby. And those are just a few of Fox’s innumerable adventures in ridiculous and defamatory speculation.
Holliday responded to Kurtz’s inquiry by agreeing that “Journalistically that’s out of bounds. No reporters or news people should be speculating like that.” Of course, the examples that Kurtz played were opinion commentators, not reporters. And to her credit, Holliday did point that out to Kurtz. But Kurtz shot back that “Fine. You can criticize him all you want, but you can’t make stuff up and speculate.”
Well, thanks for that completely obvious and, for Fox News, hypocritical advice. Being told by Fox not to speculate is like being told by Donald Trump not to lie. And the fact that their specialist in media is so woefully lacking in self-awareness makes anything he has to say about the press unworthy of consideration. It’s asinine comments like these that make laughter the only appropriate response to anything Fox News says.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.