The upcoming 2020 election is going to be at least a twenty ring circus. And the media will be serving as the Master of Ceremonies. Prominently featured in this extravaganza will be Fox News, who will make it their business to defend Donald Trump at every turn, while viciously and dishonestly attacking his critics.
The Democratic National Committee made a wise decision not to let Fox News host any of their primary debates. Seeing as how Fox relentlessly maligns Democrats in the most despicable terms, it never made sense to consider them as debate partners. And on top of their constant smear campaigns, Fox’s audience is irredeemably hostile to the Democratic Party and its candidates.
So it was disconcerting to learn that Bernie Sanders has agreed to participate in a town hall on Fox News. There is absolutely no conceivable benefit to be realized by helping Fox News to belittle him, his ideas, and his (for the time being) party. Sanders appeared on The Daily Show Thursday night to defend his decision (video below). It didn’t go particularly well. The segment began with Trevor Noah asking why Sanders would go on Fox News after the DNC so righteously denounced them. He replied:
Trust me, I know Fox News. I know who they are and I know the role that they are playing. On the other hand, during the last campaign I did a town meeting with a fellow named Bret Baier who did it pretty fairly. He did it straightforwardly, and believe me, we went over the ground rules before and they kept their word. So to me it is important to distinguish Fox News from the many millions of people who watch Fox News.
Okay. Here’s the first problem. If Sanders really knew who Fox News is and what role they play, he wouldn’t be impressed with Baier’s pretense of fairness. No one thinks that whoever hosts the Fox town hall is going to bare his teeth and bark at Sanders like Sean Hannity or Jeanine Pirro would. But those characters would use the program as source material for their smear campaigns immediately afterward. Meanwhile, Fox News would use Sanders’ appearance to pretend they are fair and balanced and to leech credibility from him that they can’t earn on their own. And then Sanders continued:
I think it is important to talk to those people and say, ‘You know what? I know many of you voted for Donald Trump, but he lied to you. He told you, for example, he was going to provide healthcare to all people. Now he wants to throw thirty million people off the healthcare they have. He told you he was going to tax reform that would not benefit the wealthy. Eighty-three percent of the benefits go to the top one percent. So I think it is important to talk to Trump supporters and explain to them to what degree he has betrayed the working class of this country and lie during his campaign in terms of what he would do.
That’s a common sense response to the dishonest and regressive agenda that Trump and the GOP have forced onto the American people. Unfortunately, Fox News viewers have an unnatural aversion to common sense. It doesn’t matter how many times you tell them that Trump is lying, they won’t believe you. It’s the Primary Directive of cult management to insist that everyone but the cult is lying to you. Sanders would be wasting his time because the Fox audience will have predetermined that he is the liar and he’s only there to malign their messiah who is incapable of uttering a false word.
It has been established by numerous surveys that Fox News viewers are unalterably devoted to their conservative dogma, and since the advent of Trump, their loyalties are reserved for him exclusively. If Trump says that he’s already building a border wall (he hasn’t), they believe it. If he says that their taxes were lowered (they’re higher), they feel richer just listening to him. If he says that his healthcare plan (which doesn’t exist) is better and cheaper, they will rise from their Lazy-Boys and declare that they’ve been miraculously healed by his touch. They even believe that Trump was “totally exonerated” by a four page summary of the Mueller report that explicitly says there was no exoneration. Because that’s what Trump told them. And even Fox News can’t shake them from their slobbering devotion.
That’s not an audience that Sanders can have any effect on. He’s wasting his time speaking to them. They will only watch to gather reasons to hate him and the “socialist” Democratic Party more than ever. And the post-town hall analyses by Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends, will inform their own hostile reactions for days to come. Hopefully no other Democrats will follow in the misguided footsteps of Sanders by subjugating themselves to Fox News.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.