One of the last acts of the utterly desperate is lashing out with impotent threats. Well, many at Fox News have reached that stage of desperation. They have entered an apoplectic orbit as a result of the embargo that some Democrats have engaged in toward Fox.
Yesterday, Bill O’Reilly called in to Fox & Friends for a brief and ego-laden discussion about who will pay their “respects” to him and to Fox News. He topped off the call with this warning: “If you dodge us, it is at your peril.”
This isn’t the first time O’Reilly has issued threats. Most recently he lashed out at an aide to Barack Obama and defended his hostility by saying:
“No one on this earth is going to block a shot from The O’Reilly Factor. It is not going to happen.”
In October of last year, O’Reilly went ballistic attacking his perceived enemies in the press:
“[T]here is a huge problem in this country and I’m going to attack that problem. I’m going to attack it. These people aren’t getting away with this. I’m going to go right where they live. Every corrupt media person in this country is on notice, right now. I’m coming after you…I’m going to hunt you down […] if I could strangle these people and not go to hell and get executed…I would.”
He is clearly obsessed by his rabid, paranoid, self-absorption. But he is not alone. Fox News chairman Roger Ailes also bashed Democrats for slighting the network:
“The candidates that can’t face Fox, can’t face Al Qaeda. And that’s what’s coming.”
And Chris Wallace sunk to juvenile insults of Democrats because they wouldn’t play with him:
“I think the Democrats are damn fools [for] not coming on Fox News.”
There is a clear pattern developing here and, if anything, it affirms the decision to stay as far away from Fox as possible (read Starve The Beast for a detailed dissertation on the shunning of Fox). Hillary Clinton’s recent capitulation to Fox with her agreement to participate in a Fox-sponsored debate is not the sort of retreat that we need when we are plainly winning this war. Obama has yet to release a decision as to whether he will join Clinton’s surrender, but by declining he could leave both Clinton and Fox in the lurch. The decision to deny Fox would be both tactically and principally correct.
We still have to wait to see what Obama’s decision will be, but we know now that Clinton’s move is already working against the interests of Democrats. Chris Wallace appeared on A Daily Show this week and bragged to Jon Stewart about Clinton succumbing to Fox. He also used the occasion to hail it as a victory over the most vociferous of the Fox critics:
“The dam is broken now that John Edwards is no longer in the contest […] We like to say that he was the panderer and the demagogue”
Well, the dam may have sprung leak, but it is far from broken. If Obama holds steady, all Fox will have is an outdated press release. They will certainly persist in their attacks and will likely escalate them, as all wounded animals do. But as they lose more and more credibility, their punches will be like swats from butterfly wings – and only the right wings at that.