The editorial propagandists at Fox News are apparently unsatisfied with lying about President Biden’s economic successes, or whose side America should take between Ukraine and Russia, or the anti-vax Canadian trucker convoy. So they are reprising an old favorite political foil that they frequently fall back on when their other horror stories just aren’t cutting it.
For much of the day on Thursday, Fox News promoted a speech by Hillary Clinton at a Democratic conference in New York. They repeatedly promised to cover what the former First Lady, U.S. Senator, and Secretary of State would be saying at the event. However, when it came time to actually put Clinton on the air, Fox News played about thirty seconds of her speech before interrupting it to dump a load of bona fide bullpucky that had nothing to do with what she was saying. And by some curious coincidence, they cut her off just as she began to criticize Dear Leader Donald Trump and his Republican Apostles of Asininity:
Clinton: We must reject the ‘Big Lie’ about the 2020 election and the cover up of the insurrection on January 6th…
Martha MacCallum: Alright, Hillary Clinton hitting some familiar themes here as she gets louder at the podium there in New York City, talking about January 6th, says it was a gift to China. Talking about unity and democracy, all of that, of course, at the same time as John Durham continues the investigation into whether or not her campaign was involved in an effort to listen in to president Trump, or listen in to candidate Trump. So all of that will play out in the courtroom as that unfolds in May. But right now a lot of speculation about whether or not Hillary Clinton sees weakness in the current President. Whether or not she sees an opportunity for herself in 2024 perhaps. And is this a moment where she’s starting to put herself back on the public stage.
Amazing — Fox News hyped their coverage of Hillary Clinton's speech all day. They ended up carrying about 30 seconds of it before cutting away as she denounced Republicans for defending "coup plotters" and embracing the big lie https://t.co/2CwshTYqUn
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 17, 2022
Notice that MacCallum (who derisively described Clinton as getting louder, even though her voice doesn’t change at all) couldn’t allow Clinton to mention Trump’s “Big Lie” about the 2020 election or the violent insurrection and coup attempt that he incited. That Foxish heresy had to be nipped in the bud. But more importantly, MacCallum blatantly lied about the “Durham Nothingburger,” a court filing containing information that was all previously reported, but that is now being misconstrued to accuse Clinton and her campaign of spying on Trump. MacCallum actually takes the lie about alleged spying farther than most of her colleagues by asserting that Clinton sought “to listen in to president Trump.”
For the record, special counsel John Durham never alleged that there was any surveillance of conversations whatsoever. His filing only addressed some tracking of publicly available Internet activity. It’s something like reporting that two phones had connected, but not having any access to anything that was said by either party. What’s more, Durham’s filing clearly states that the period of time that Internet activity was being monitored was during President Obama’s term, not Trump’s. So everything that MacCallum, and the rest of the right-wing echo chamber, have been raging about is totally bogus, as usual.
Fox’s Jesse Watters went even farther to invent a scandal that has no basis in reality. On his program Thursday he said that Durham’s documents showed that Clinton’s people not only hacked into Trump’s computers, but that they “planted evidence that he colluded with Russia. Yeah. You heard that right.” This is devolving into National Enquirer style “alien babies” idiocy.
Finally, McCallum felt compelled to contribute some ridiculous speculation that Clinton is plotting a return to the campaign trail, adding that her supposed ambition was because she “sees weakness” in Biden. All of that is straight out of MacCallum’s warped imagination as Clinton has not done or said anything that would suggest she was considering running again, or that she was critical of Biden. However, she did have something to say about Fox News:
“They’ve been coming after me again lately, thank you. You might have noticed. It’s funny, the more trouble Trump gets into, the wilder the charges and conspiracy theories about me seem to get. So now his accountants have fired him, and investigations drop closer to him, and right on cue, the noise machine gets turned up, doesn’t it? Fox leads the charge with accusations against me, counting on their audience to fall for it again. And as an aside, they’re getting awfully close to actual malice in their attacks.”
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) February 18, 2022
That reference to “actual malice” is the legal standard for establishing defamation, if she were to file a lawsuit. While Clinton is unlikely to sue Fox News, she is putting them on notice that their lies are out of bounds and could place them in legal jeopardy. Sean Hannity heard this and dared her to “bring it on.” He will sorely regret it if he actually gets his wish.
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