With less than two weeks until Donald Trump is officially stripped of his presidential duties (which he hasn't been performing anyway), Fox News is sending their audience of radical evangelical conservatives a clear message that they intend to continue their mission as the preeminent voice of wing-nuttery in America.
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The network that has served as Trump's Ministry of Propaganda for the last four years is shifting from it's strictly pro-Trump stance to one that is more broadly anti-Biden and anti-liberal. And as an added feature, Fox News programming appears to be pursuing an even more extremist right-wing ideology that is even farther removed from reality.
On Monday morning's Fox and Friends, several segments proudly skipped off the rails with utterly fantastical presentations of Bizarro World news alerts. Take this segment with Fox's “Judge” Jeanine Pirro, for example, where she tried to illustrate the differences between Democrats and Republicans:
“This is the difference between the left when they are in power and the right when they are in power. When the Republicans are in power everything is polite and gentile. And when the Democrats come in they're gonna strip your First Amendment free speech. They're gonna suppress you, cancel you, impeach you. They don't care about the business of the American people.”
“Polite and gentile” Republicans? It's pretty safe to presume that Pirro's GOP confederates don't approve of whatever mind-altering pharmaceutical she's been gumming. Republicans are notorious for their raging hostility and division, especially during the Trump years. What does Pirro find “polite” about accusations that Democrats will destroy America? And where is the “gentility” in the charge that the media is “the enemy of the people”?
Furthermore, Pirro needs to provide some evidence that Democrats have ever stripped anyone of their First Amendment rights. To the contrary, it's Republicans who are constantly clamoring to shut down free speech. And they started the impeachment thing with Bill Clinton over his private sexual encounters when they couldn't find actual proof of any illegality related to his presidential duties.
Pirro went on to associate the deplatforming of the ultra-rightist Twitter alternative, Parler. “What we're seeing,” she alleged, “is a kind of censorship that is akin to a Kristallnacht.” Actually, what we're seeing is someone who has no idea that Kristallnacht – the Night of Broken Glass – had nothing to do with censorship. It was a violent assault on a Jewish community by Hitler's thugs. So it was much more akin what Trump's thugs did last week when they assaulted Congress. And it was disgusting that Pirro would exploit it so shamelessly to advance her ignorance and lies.
To elaborate on Fox's new obsession with the welfare of insurrectionist speech, they brought in Dan Bongino, a Fox News contributor, far-right blowhard, and Parler's founder. Bongino ranted incoherently about the absence of “free markets” online because…
“Twitter and Facebook are subsidized by the United States government – a law, Section 230 – where they're allowed to pull down or leave up whatever they want. And they're immune from lawsuits due to 230.”
Bongino then complains that Parler, which gets the same benefits under the law, was taken down and didn't get the “trillion dollar” government subsidy. That may be because there was no trillion dollar subsidy for any of these websites. He's literally making this stuff as he goes. It's also clear that he doesn't know what Section 230 is. If he did he wouldn't complain about its provisions to indemnify websites (like his) from slander lawsuits based on comments that their users post.
Fox and Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade focused on the right's main argument against impeachment. and it's a doozy:
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) January 11, 2021
To be clear, Kilmeade is proposing terrorism as a valid means of protest. He is telling the terrorists that if they want to force the hand of government, just engage in acts of violence – even murder. Then, when the “country is ready to explode” because “the President said repeatedly that he was robbed,” insist that “good leadership would bring down the temperature.”
In other words, give in to the terrorists, let them off the hook, and comply with their demands for fear of further violence. Which is funny because that just happens to be the terrorist's strategy. Which should make you wonder whose side Kilmeade is on.
For that matter, we should also wonder whose side Fox News is on. As if we didn't know. If this is an indication of the direction that Fox is moving for the post-Trump era, then it's clear that they intend to continue to be a divisive and destructive factor in American media and politics. It's what they were founded to do. And it will be all the more necessary to remain vigilant and prepared to expose their biases, lies, and nefarious motives going forward.
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