On Thursday Donald Trump’s Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, presided over the White House’s (no longer) Daily Press Briefing and proceeded to turn it into a farce by evading questions and outright lying. That, of course, is nothing new. It’s the Standard Operating Procedure for the Trump Communications Office. But what has transpired on Fox News since then is deeply disturbing (which isn’t really new either).
At the briefing there were numerous reporters seeking to get Sanders to explain the administration’s position on it’s own policy of ripping children away from parents of asylum seekers. She spent much of her time affirming Trump’s blatant lie that Democrats were responsible for a law that forced him to carry out this heinous practice. But there is no such law. This abuse of human rights was wholly the work of Trump and his cohorts.
When confronted with these facts, Sanders went into a bunker mentality, refusing to answer direct questions or repeating unresponsive talking points. She even descended into personally insulting reporters for merely quoting things she just finished saying. She twisted bible verses in a cynical attempt to support her unconscionable defense of child abuse. And she displayed a callous disregard for the welfare of innocents.
Naturally, Fox News praised Sanders and the Trump administration without reservation or concern for the children. But they went even further to suggest that any criticism, or even just the pursuit of answers, was unpatriotic and disrespectful to a leader they believe must never be challenged. Fox News attacked the journalists who pressed Sanders for answers as animals, which is the same word Trump uses to describe undocumented immigrants. Coincidence?
On Friday two of Fox’s most prominent hosts actually advocated openly for censorship and the suppression of independent journalism. They flagrantly campaigned to silence dissenting voices in the media by prohibiting them from doing their jobs. That’s more than an attack on the reporters, it’s an attack on the Constitution. It violates the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of the press. However, it also puts the grotesque, fascist ideology of Fox News on display for all to see. Cases in point, these commentaries by Fox’s Lou Dobbs and Jesse Watters:
Dobbs: You would think someone would be assigned to slap the hell out of somebody. We’ll talk to our panel tonight about whether it’s time the bar some of these so-called journalists from the White House briefing room permanently.
Watters: These people don’t belong there. They are jokes. They need to start ripping press passes away. If you’re going to act like a wild animal, you don’t belong there.
Remember, the reporters they are criticizing were trying to get answers about the Trump administration’s practice of tearing apart families and warehousing babies in concentration camp-like facilities. So who are the animals? And this isn’t the first time that journalists have had their jobs threatened in this manner. On Tuesday, Trump’s 2020 campaign manger, Brad Parscale, tweeted that CNN’s Jim Acosta “should immediately have his press credentials suspended.” And Trump’s senior counselor, Kellyanne Conway, appeared shortly after that on Fox and Friends to concur with Parscale’s totalitarian-friendly tweet.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
There is something especially contemptible about an alleged “news” enterprise calling for the suppression of the rights of fellow journalists. But Fox News is unabashedly doing just that. They want all reporting to consist only of drooling adoration of Trump and anything less than that must be quashed. This is more evidence (as if it was necessary) that Fox is not a news outlet at all. They are the PR division of the Trump administration and an obedient purveyor of unvarnished propaganda. And if they are allowed to succeed with their mission to suppress free speech we can wave goodbye to the freedom and democracy upon which it relies.