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The Nightly Histrionics at Fox

Right wing media has ridiculed Rachel Maddow in particular for her yearlong pursuit of Trump collusion nightly on her MSNBC program, the cable channel that vainly tries to go up against the much larger audience watching Fox News. For her trying to prove
Tucker Carlson

Trump guilty of "treason", "collusion", and "conspiring with the Russians", she "has been a hero of her own spy thriller", says Rich Lowry, editor of National Review, the conservative magazine started by William Buckley.

No question that MSNBC's views
Sean Hannity
tilt well to the left, and they often delight in ridiculing the president's malaprops and gaffes. Still, the nightly lineup at MSNBC is a sedate lot — Maddow is preceded by newsy Chris Hayes and followed by Lawrence O'Donnell and Brian Williams.

At Fox during the day, Shepard Smith tries to hew to the abandoned "fair and balanced" motto of the network, and Bret Baier does responsible work, but at night Fox descends into agitprop far beyond the rival channel, and prime time is when working America is home to watch television. First comes Tucker Carlson. Here's what he had to say the night the Mueller report was released:

"We just lived through two full years of…screaming , threatening, surveillance, character assassination, loyalty tests, wild allegations of treason and spying and betrayal from office holders…it was all thoroughly bizarre, demented really, although nobody said so at the time, they were too afraid.

What? It is bewildering to try to match events with each of these hyperbolic descriptors. Buoyed by Mueller's finding that there were no ties between the Trump campaign and transition with Russia, the Fox channel is campaigning to make false the entirety of all reporting by the liberal media across the last three years. Carlson continues…

"At Jeff Bezos' newspaper [The Washington Post] a guy called Philip Bump was telling us that 'the vast amount of reporting by mainstream outlets about Trump and Russia was on the mark'. Even they don't really believe this. They know they lied"

Of course they do believe this, they know this, and they can point to the fact that we already knew so much of what the Mueller report verified because The Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal had done a spectacular job of shoe-leather journalism. Carlson then sites the Buzzfeed report that Michael Cohen was told by Trump to lie to Congress, about which the Mueller investigation took the unusual step of speaking out to say it wasn't true. "It was a lie. That and so much more. All lies". This is Fox brand propaganda: veer off to a single instance of one news outlet's screw up to characterize the entire media industry as lies, "all lies", an industry that got so much right.

He then takes up Trump's saying, "This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked".

"As usual, Trump's instincts were…dead on. In the ways that matter most, the Russia hoax did end his presidency in some sense. It certainly sabotaged it. Mueller's investigation ended critical momentum from the 2016 election almost immediately, momentum that every president uses to get your program enacted, to make good on the promises you just made to voters. Trump didn't have that thanks to Russia…the result? An election that should have realigned our political process and changed this country had almost no effect.

Correction: Doesn't Trump claime that he has accomplished more than any other president in history? He banned people from six Muslim countries from entering the U.S., with Congress tried twice to end Obamacare, enacted major tax reform, confronted North Korea's dictator, enacted tariff barriers against allies and China, abrogated the nuclear pact with Russia, cancelled out of the Iran pact, on and on, none of it affected by the silent Mueller investigation. Instead we hear:

Two years later virtually nothing has changed. Millions are still flooding over our borders, the opioid epidemic rages on, suicides are up, our troops are still bogged down in Syria and Afghanistan and many other places, Goldman Sachs still controls our economy, tech companies are still spying on you, Americans are dying younger and having fewer children…

The Russian investigation is somehow responsible for all of this. "It didn't destroy Trump" says Carlson in conclusion, "but it did a lot to destroy this country".

the consigliere

Carlson is followed by Sean Hannity, who is so incestuously entwined with Donald Trump that he has joined him on stage at rallies and reportedly advises the president by phone almost daily.

Hannity delivers a non-stop nightly monologue before settling down to speak to a guest or two. On the night of the Mueller report release he begins with "The president of the United States has been totally and completely vindicated". What then followed is fairly typical of what his fans at Fox hear every night:

"Tinfoil conspiracy theorists and the media mob obsessed at a level of psychosis we've never seen…for two-and-a half years, you, we, the American people , you have been the victims of the biggest con job in American history, every second, every hour, every day….we saw it over and over again, Russia, Trump, collusion, collusion, false reports that Don Jr. would be found guilty of crimes, Jared Kushner guilty, Melania, Ivanka, other family members smeared, slandered, besmirched…by sanctimonious, self-righteous, frankly overpaid lazy agenda-driven liars in the news media, conspiracy theorists. No shame whatsoever. And today, where are the apologies? Where are the retractions?…because of their blind adherence to rigid, left-wing, Hillary-loving ideology, so it's no shock that…the media mob in their echo chamber they're back in action with one last full-on hysterical freakout over the Mueller investigation. This is a sad, disturbing grand finale".

These two are what a sizable audience of Americans hear every night as their only source of news. We thought a sampling would be informative.

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