The descent of Fox News in the dystopian era of Donald Trump has been a chilling spectacle to behold. What was once a flagrantly biased right-wing propaganda outlet that shamelessly lied and twisted reality to advance the Republican agenda, has become a bona fide conspiracy spewing mouthpiece for fringe views and overtly hostile elements of the radical Trumpian right.
It’s bad enough that Fox News has participated in disseminating Trump’s “Big Lie” that the 2020 presidential election was “rigged” and “stolen” from him. And it’s unconscionable that they have recklessly dismissed the severity of the COVID pandemic (aka the Fox News Pandemic) and encouraged their viewers to reject life-saving mitigation such as getting vaccinated and wearing masks. And it’s downright treasonous that they engaged in purposeful deception to excuse and even condone the violent rioters who stormed the Capitol on January 6th. But Fox News has also deliberately contributed to the inflammatory climate of hostility that has produced threats and attacks on their political adversaries in the reality-based world.
Never satisfied with merely peddling lies and keeping their viewers mired in ignorance, a Fox News host has gone the extra mile to blatantly incite violence against America’s foremost epidemiologist, Dr. Anthony Fauci. Appearing at another super-spreader event thrown by the ultra-rightist, Trump cult front group, Turning Point USA. Fox’s Jesse Watters delivered a particularly nauseating address that contained irresponsible rhetoric that cannot be interpreted as anything other than a threat against Dr. Fauci (video below). Watters directed his audience of malleable-minded Trumpists to seek out Dr. Fauci in public and, when they find him, to confront him aggressively saying…
“Now you go in with the kill shot. The kill shot with an ambush…deadly. Because with an ambush he doesn’t see it coming.”
There is no justification for that sort of deliberately bloodthirsty language. It’s clear that Watters hopes to whip up his audience into an army of domestic terrorists to fan out across the country and threaten anyone that doesn’t submit to the Trump cult’s way of non-thinking. But Watters wasn’t finished. Just to make sure they got his message, he added…
“This is when you say ‘Dr. Fauci, you funded risky research at a sloppy Chinese lab. The same lab that’s thrown this pandemic on the world. You know why people don’t trust you, don’t you? BOOM! He is dead. He is dead.”
So Watters wants Dr. Fauci dead. And the audience cheered these remarks emphatically. Never mind that the script he prepared for his murderous robots was utterly inane. All Fauci would have to say in reply is “None of that is true, but thanks for sharing your opinion.” Then he could continue his meal assuming they didn’t kill him. But Watters still had more to say. He needed to remind his terror recruits what the ultimate purpose of this was…
“Now you get that footage to us, you get it to Fox. You get it to Human Events. You get it to Breitbart. You get it to Daily Caller. You get it to the Turning Point pipeline. Imagine Tucker Carlson teases that in the A block: ‘Coming up. Brave college student confronts Lord Fauci at dinner. Exclusive footage. Right back.’ Get us that. That’s what we want.”
Naturally, it’s all about producing even more propaganda that can be disseminated on Fox News and its wingnut media confederates. This is something that Watters is all too familiar with. He began his career at Fox as a smartass who did ambush interviews for Bill O’Reilly and showed his total lack of morals. For that he was promoted to hosting Fox’s daily The Five and his own weekend program. Also, Watters was working for O’Reilly when Dr. George Tiller was murdered after O’Reilly repeatedly called him “Dr. Tiller the baby killer.” So Watters knows the deadly power of his rancid rhetoric.
For the record, Dr. Fauci responded to this assault saying…
“That’s horrible. And that’s such a reflection of the craziness that goes on in society. The only thing that I have ever done throughout these two years is to encourage people to practice good public health practices: to get vaccinated, to be careful in public settings, to wear a mask. And for that, you have some guy out there saying that people should be giving me a kill shot to ambush me? I mean, what kind of craziness is there in society these days? That’s awful that he said that. And he’s going to go, very likely, unaccountable. I mean, whatever network he’s on is not going to do anything for him. I mean, that’s crazy. The guy should be fired on the spot.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci says Fox News’ Jesse Watters should “be fired on the spot” for telling a crowd to “ambush” Fauci with “the kill shot.”
But, he adds: “He’s gonna go, very likely, unaccountable. I mean, whatever network he’s on is not going to do anything for him.” pic.twitter.com/K3X0V3jZdM
— The Recount (@therecount) December 21, 2021
Indeed. Watters should be fired. So should Fox’s Lara Logan who recently compared Dr. Fauci to the sadistic Nazi “doctor” Josef Mengele. But don’t expect Fox News to show the slightest bit of responsibility or decency. That isn’t their style. They will continue to incite violence and spread lies because that’s the mission that has been dictated to them by their corporate masters, Lachlan and Rupert Murdoch. And their on-air missionaries – Watters, Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, etc. – are all too happy to obey.
UPDATE: Not surprisingly, Fox News is defending Watters. They released a statement saying that “Watters was using a metaphor [and that] his words have been twisted completely out of context.” Yes, it was a metaphor. But no, it wasn’t taken out of context. The danger posed by crafting violent metaphors is real. There are zealots who will, and have, acted them out. Rational people in the media know this and would never use the sort of language that Watters used. Which makes Watters responsible for the hardship he has thrust on Dr. Fauci, and for any harm that comes to him if someone takes his words literally.
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The incendiary, dangerous, violent rhetoric against Dr. Fauci continues at AmericaFest. Fox News host Jesse Watters tells them how to go after him to harass him in public: “Now you go in with the kill shot – deadly. Because, with an ambush, he doesn’t see it coming.” pic.twitter.com/V34YZwDdPD
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) December 20, 2021
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.