The devotion to disseminating blatant disinformation on the part of right-wing politicians and pundits is nothing new. Countless hours, and billions of dollars, have been spent on purposefully lying to advance a repugnant Republicans agenda. Fox News was created specifically to further the goal of making Americans stupider and angrier and deeper indoctrinated in conservative crackpottery.
In recent weeks Fox News has lost a huge chunk of their audience as a result of their editorial dishonesty. First, they were forced to settle a defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems for nearly a billion dollars. Then they fired their top rated host, Tucker Carlson, for reasons not fully disclosed, but probably due to his disparaging remarks about fellow Fox personnel.
In the wake of Fox’s fumbles, an otherwise puny competitor, Newsmax, has been taking advantage of the turmoil in the wingnut press. They have enjoyed a bit of a ratings spike, although temporary and still badly trailing Fox. And in an effort to benefit from Fox’s misfortunes, Newsmax pulled a stunt intended to draw even more of Fox’s viewers away. They hired Florida congressman Matt Gaetz (R-Perv) to guest host a program in primetime. He began his debut by assuring viewers that…
“You’re on the right channel. If you’re confused, your eyes are not failing you, and Greg Kelly did not suddenly get better hair. I’m Matt Gaetz.”
Gaetz: If you’re confused, your eyes not failing you and Greg Kelly did not suddenly get better hair. I’m Matt Gaetz… Greg has the night off and I have the biggest stories driving Washington DC right now pic.twitter.com/gXmzp14zcl
— Acyn (@Acyn) May 27, 2023
It was astute of Gaetz to recognize the potential for confusion among Newsmax watchers. The network, much like Trump, relies on the “poorly educated” for support.
More to the point, Newsmax recruited Gaetz because of his demonstrated ability to lie with a straight face to the camera. Just like the network’s regular hosts. But what’s profoundly disturbing about this is that it appears to be the first time that a sitting member of Congress has appeared as a host of political TV program.
The hosting by Gaetz is wholly unethical for a member of congress who is paid to represent his constituents, not to advance his media career. He has plenty of opportunities to be interviewed on programs like this, but hosting is another matter entirely. Gaetz sits on committees that are debating important issues such as the looming debt default. His hosting gig puts him in a position to direct the editorial content of the program and dispense unfiltered propaganda.
As for Newsmax, they are boosting the profile of a partisan politician who has a decidedly biased perspective and expecting the viewers to simply accept his as a presenter. Not that Newsmax viewers expect anything resembling neutrality, but it is still a flagrant breach journalistic ethics.
This isn’t the first time that Gaetz has pulled this kind of stunt. He previously guest co-hosted Fox News’ “Outnumbered” as the lone male panelist. That, however, could have been dismissed as an hour long guest appearance, which is precisely what Fox News did. However, Fox hasn’t been hesitant to snatch up former members of Congress and give them their own programs (i.e. Jason Chaffetz and Trey Gowdy).
What’s next for Newsmax? Perhaps they could get Marjorie Taylor Greene to moderate a debate prior to the New Hampshire primary? Or maybe they will let Donald Trump guest host for the week before the 2024 election.
Another way to process the absurdity of Newsmax tapping Gaetz as a guest host can be demonstrated by imagining the horror with which the right would respond if CNN allowed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to sit in for Anderson Cooper.
On the other hand, putting Gaetz on the air just certifies the political bias of Newsmax. Which could be helpful in determining the outcome of the defamation cases pending against them. In addition to Dominion Voting Systems, Newsmax is also being sued by Smartmatic, another voting software company that is alleging defamation. So Newsmax may be digging its own grave. And for that endeavor, we wish them luck.
And check out my books on Amazon:
Thanks so much for your support.