As the Democratic primary season ramps up, we can expect it to be hectored by cranky Republicans and Fox News shills who are desperate to shift attention from their candidate, Donald Trump. More often than not, Trump is his own worst enemy for incessantly posting embarrassing tweets the run the gamut of political pontification from infantile to incoherent.
Consequently, Fox News takes seriously its role in misdirecting their glassy-eyed, Trumpified audience away from his babbling and boorishness, and toward what they consider shocking and harmful revelations about the Democrats who want his job. A frequent target of Fox News is Bernie Sanders, whose lefty views are ripe for attack by the rightists at Fox. Never mind that those views are also favored by majorities of the American people. But that isn’t something that Fox News cares about.
The featured article on the Fox News website Monday morning had an incendiary headline stating that “Socialist Dem 2020 hopeful could be haunted by past praise for dictators.” That eye popping allegation appeared below a picture of Bernie Sanders flanked by inset photos of the late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and the current Nicaraguan strongman Daniel Ortega. Clearly Fox was insinuating that Sanders was a supporter of these two repressive tyrants.
In reality, Fox was going back thirty years to twist some out of context comments by Sanders that don’t represent anything he believes today. For instance, Sanders related some memories of his youth that involved impressions he had of Castro:
“I remember, for some reason or another, being very excited when [former Cuban dictator] Fidel Castro made the revolution in Cuba,” he said, while speaking at the University of Vermont in 1986. “I was a kid … and it just seemed right and appropriate that poor people were rising up against rather ugly rich people.”
Setting aside the reference to Castro, that’s actually consistent with Sanders’ lifelong advocacy for the poor and working classes. And at the time, many Americans were hopeful that Castro’s revolution against the totalitarian Batista regime would bring freedom and fairness to all Cubans. The same was true for the remarks Sanders made about the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. They were being illegally attacked by the Contras, a band of American sponsored terrorists who were the beneficiaries of the criminal Iran-Contra operation run by Ronald Reagan and Oliver North. Sadly, in both cases, the hopes for democratic reforms were betrayed by leaders who made themselves into tyrants.
What’s most peculiar (and epically hypocritical) is how Fox is chastising Sanders for an alleged affinity to dictators. Sanders never actually praised them without simultaneously offering significant criticisms. And he was adamantly opposed to their authoritarian tendencies.
However, Fox failed to mention the much more obvious (and current) infatuations that Trump has with murderous tyrants around the world. He literally slobbered all over North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, saying that they “fell in love.” Earlier this month Trump asked “Why shouldn’t I like him?” And he praised him as “honorable” and a “real Leader.” This is a man who has killed thousands of his own people. Yet Trump even expressed a note of jealousy saying that he wants to be worshipped by Americans the way Kim is by North Koreans.
Trump has also made numerous adoring commentaries about his BFF, Vladimir Putin. He often affirms that they have a “great relationship.” He says that Putin is a “strong leader” who he “respects.” He takes Putin’s word over that of the U.S. intelligence community about the Russian hacking and election interference. He advances the interests of Russia on nearly every issue. To this day Trump has never said a negative thing about Putin.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Trump has also been complimentary toward brutal tyrants like Xi Jinping of China, Duterte of the Philippines, Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, Erdogan of Turkey, and Saudi Arabia’s Mohammad Bin Salman, to name a few.
Meanwhile, Trump is constantly maligning Americans – politicians, journalists, FBI agents, celebrities, and his own cabinet and staffers – as corrupt, dishonest, sleazy, and even treasonous. He says worse things about Saturday Night Live than he does about white nationalists or neo-Nazis. But to Fox News, some vague, decades-old distortions of remarks by Sanders are breaking news and worthy of leading their reporting. Expect more of this atrocious bastardization of journalism by Fox and their ilk as the election cycle proceeds.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.