Last week Tucker Carlson of Fox News was the victim of some unruly protesters who showed up at his home and shouted at his family. It was a particularly dumb exercise that succeeded only in frightening the household and giving Carlson ammunition to attack all progressives as hostile and lawless. Never mind that there was widespread criticism of the ill-conceived protest, even by many of the liberals Carlson most frequently attacked.
However the most absurd response to the protest is that of Carlson’s network, Fox News. They have decided to to refrain from using Twitter because they are upset with how the social media platform handled posts by SmashRacismDC, the group that reportedly was responsible for the action against Carlson. Fox told a Tribune Media reporter that they would remain tweetless until Twitter removed the posts and apologized. There is no indication of whether or not an apology was rendered, but Twitter suspended the account of SmashRacismDC and deleted the offending tweets two days ago. And yet, two days later, Fox News still has not tweeted anything.
This seems to be a curiously petty reaction to the situation. After all, Twitter was not responsible for the protests, and they did banish the party that was. Is Fox just holding out for the apology because their corporate ego has been bruised? Are they stomping off in a huff until Twitter sends them a Hallmark card? Who do they think they’re hurting?
One consequence of this boycott, intended or otherwise, is that Fox News isn’t reporting some important news events that have taken place in the last couple of days. There is vote counting going on in Florida, Georgia, and Arizona that will have a profound impact on the composition of the next Congress. And so far, the trends are favoring the Democratic candidates for senate and governor in all three. Is Fox News comfortable with not informing their Twitter followers of this news? Or is that their intention?
Furthermore, there was a bombshell story by the Wall Street Journal that reveals hard evidence that Donald Trump not only knew, but led the efforts to pay hush money to women with whom he had sexual affairs, including Stormy Daniels and Summer Zervos. He has previously denied (i.e. lied about) these allegations. That makes this a convenient time for Fox to go dark online so as not to further spread these revelations. Surely Fox News doesn’t want their audience to be exposed to such damning truths, even if it’s coming from a newspaper that is part of their corporate family.
Along with these stories are others concerning the firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the resulting controversy over Trump’s apparent attempts to obstruct justice by hindering the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller. And Trump’s designated “Acting” Attorney General, Matt Whitaker, is facing stiff criticism for his prejudice with regard to Mueller, and his sordid past that includes a connection to a company that engaged in rampant fraud. This is another story Fox would likely want to suppress.
Now Trump is in Paris meeting with foreign leaders with whom he has been feuding. There are devastating fires in California that Trump falsely blamed on “forest mismanagement,” rather than climate change. The recent mass shooting in Thousand Oaks exacerbates the debate on efforts to legislate gun safety reforms. And Trump’s war with media takes a nasty turn as he singles out African-American women for abuse.
All of these are stories that are getting significant play in the press, and on Twitter, but for which Fox News is muzzling itself over a specious complaint about a Twitter problem that is already resolved. And all of these are stories that reflect poorly on Donald Trump, for whom Fox News operates as the State TV mouthpiece. Is it really just a coincidence?
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
UPDATE: It’s day three of the Fox News Twitter boycott. There is a report that a memo was sent to the entire Fox digital team to refrain from tweeting Fox content on either Fox or personal accounts. But for some reason, Fox and Friends seems to be exempt from this network-wide Twitter boycott.