Well, we are through the looking glass, folks. Of course, that’s been said so many times in the Era of Donald Trump that most of us have built up an immunity to it. But on this occasion there is real concern that the fantasy (nightmare) weavers at Fox News have abandoned any pretense of reality.
In a segment on Monday night’s episode Stuart Varney’s Fox Business program, the host interviewed Fox News’ media correspondent, and host of MediaBuzz, Howard Kurtz. The discussion was a particularly obtuse analysis of the editorial positions on MSNBC and CNN. It began with Varney calling out his competition for “Anti-Trump coverage” that is “wall to wall on those two networks.” And that led to this bizarre exchange with Kurtz (video below):
Varney: What’s your judgment, Howard, when two all news networks carry one single editorial message, which is resist Trump for everything and get him out? I mean, you’re a media guy. You can’t be that pleased that two major networks are going so consistently down that opinion road.
Kurtz: I wouldn’t go quite that far. I think there are some fair reporters at both networks. But certainly when you turn on the primetime shows, and it’s getting increasingly hard during the day, they all seem to be opinion shows. I mean, you know, you’ve got these panels that are six to one anti-Trump. I mean, there’s no secret about it. That’s the way they’re being programmed.
Seriously? That’s a media analyst on Fox News, the network that is best known today as “State TV” due to its unflinchingly adoring coverage of Trump and his Republican Nationalist Party. Fox News has dedicated it’s primetime block to three of the most biased Trump-fluffers on television (Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and Tucker Carlson), Hannity even shows up to speak at Trump’s cult rallies.
As for panels that are partisanly skewed, Fox doesn’t leave that to just their primetimers. They begin with “Fox and Friends” in the morning. Then “Outnumbered” is aptly named with four (and sometimes five) right-wingers out of five co-hosts. And in the afternoon they have “The Five,” which is another four to one conservative pile-on. So Fox News actually designs their shows to have multiple wingnuts ganging up on a lonely alleged liberal. Neither MSNBC or CNN has such a program.
Kurtz did criticize Trump for advocating a boycott of CNN’s parent company, AT&T, in order to punish CNN. And even Varney acknowledged that MSNBC was doing well in the ratings prior to the release of the report by special counsel Robert Mueller. Kurtz agreed and made the point that MSNBC’s viewers might have fallen off due their disappointment that Mueller wasn’t more aggressive in his indictment of Trump. That’s actually a pretty good explanation for MSNBC’s recent ratings slump, although it’s still the second highest rated cable news network.
However, for Kurtz to stare into the camera and complain about the partisan tilt of MSNBC and CNN is hypocrisy on an Olympian scale. At least both CNN and NBC have actual news divisions that break stories and win awards. But for him to do that without even the slightest acknowledgement of Fox’s extreme political prejudices, marks him as the same sort of propagandist as Varney, Hannity, and the rest of Fox’s flunkies. If it wasn’t such a serious breach of journalistic ethics, it would make a hilarious sketch for Saturday Night Live.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.