It’s getting more difficult with every passing day to differentiate between Fox News and the Republican Nationalist Party. And even though the network was created to serve as a propaganda vehicle for right-wing politics, the degree to which it has become the communications office of Donald Trump’s cult movement still manages to be surprising.
On Sunday morning Fox and Friends co-host Ed Henry “interviewed” Kayleigh McEnany, the press secretary for the Trump 2020 campaign. It was another in a frequent series of Trump campaign and administration officials appearing regularly on Fox News. They know they have an open door at Fox where they can deliver their disinformation at any time without interruption or dispute. And this booking was no exception. Henry asked a total of four question, and each one seems like it was written by some Trump PR hack, complete with hostile allusions to Democrats. The first exchange went like this:
Henry: Well, Democrats in the media are not taking time out over Thanksgiving, going after the President over his Thanksgiving visit to see troops in Afghanistan. […] What in the world is going on here when you can’t visit men and women in uniform and thank them for their service?
McEnany: It’s amazing. This is the Trump obsessed media. Anything and everything will always be wrong. They can’t tolerate when he does something good.”
Henry offered no evidence of any plot to “go after” Trump for visiting Afghanistan. It was just a way to frame his question with a built in bias against Democrats. And it was a softball thrown at McEnany who went on to say that whenever the press criticizes Trump they are delegitimizing themselves. For the record, Democrats would have no problem tolerating Trump doing something good, and they’re still waiting for the first time. The next question from Henry was no better:
Henry: What about the fact the House Democrats are now moving forward on impeachment as the President is doing another part of his job as commander-in-chief, which is heading to London to work at a NATO summit and tackle some big national security issues?
McEnany: It’s shameful. As you noted there has been a precedent that we don’t criticize presidents when they are overseas, much less pursue a coup against a sitting president. And that’s what this is. This was never about the facts. […] This is a coup against a sitting president of the United States without evidence, without facts, and that is why the polling is going south on this. It’s despicable that they’re doing this, particularly when the President is overseas.
Once again, Henry’s question was loaded with anti-Democratic bias, portraying them as unpatriotic. Does he think that Democrats should halt the impeachment hearings, which were already in progress before Trump’s junket to London? And holding impeachment hearings isn’t exactly analogous to criticizing the President. It is a constitutional proceeding that members of Congress are obligated to conduct when warranted by the legal and/or ethical misbehavior of the President. It doesn’t cease if the President decides to take a trip.
What’s more, it is certainly not a coup. Republicans have been floating that canard for months, despite the fact that the Founders included impeachment in the Constitution for a reason. And there is an avalanche of facts that affirm that it is warranted in this case. Look no further than the assessment of Andrew Napolitano, the Senior Legal Analyst at Fox News, who says that “the evidence of impeachable behavior is overwhelming.” But still, Henry marches on with his lambasting of Democrats disguised as questions:
Henry: I can’t have you leave without asking you about the “No Malarkey” tour that the former Vice-President is launching. He says there are a lot of lies out there. I don’t know if he’s pointing at his fellow Democrats and/or the President. What’s your reaction to Joe Biden, who’s struggling in Iowa right now, going out on a bus for eight days?”
Really? Henry doesn’t know whether Biden is calling Trump or his fellow Democrats liars? That’s some pretty stark ignorance he’s admitting to if that’s true. McEnany, of course, took the opportunity to disparage Biden’s campaign as “fledgling” and “desperate.” What on Earth did Henry expect to her say? It was a preposterous question to ask the Trump campaign’s press secretary. McEnany further claimed that Biden’s campaign, which is still leading in national polls, is “just about over.” A bizarre assessment that Henry didn’t bother to challenge.
Henry’s final question was a muddle of negativity about the Democratic debates and candidates who are lower in the polls. Which gave McEnany another opening to bash her opponents as “failing” and to brag that the GOP has “only one candidate that we love and have kept at the top.” Indeed, the Cult of Trump is strong within the tiny community of Deplorables. They do love him and regard him as their savior who is infallible. That’s to be expected from a political party that has given up any pretense of integrity or patriotism. But it’s still somewhat jarring to see an alleged “news” network worshiping at the same alter.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.