Andrea Tantaros is one of Fox's most strident purveyors of propaganda. And in her zeal to push the gospel according to the rabid right, she has no problems telling an occasional falsehood as she did early this week when she told a big, fat whopper about Hillary Clinton.
As Newshounds Ellen pointed out, Fox is relentlessy pimping the movie "13 Hours" as it is a golden opportunity to push the discredited right wing claim that Hillary Clinton was somehow responsible for the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi. So it was no surprise that, on Monday, Foxette Andrea Tantaros used an "Outnumbered" discussion about Clinton's alleged malfeasance to recommend the movie and, of course, bash Clinton. Thus, we had this bit of verbal excrement:
"Julie, she jailed a filmmaker based on a movie who, and this man is still in prison. That alone should put Hillary Clinton in prison. And frankly, if anyone sees this movie, which everyone should go see it, and then goes on to vote for Hillary Clinton, they're a criminal. In my estimation."
So "Punch" Tantaros smears Clinton voters as stupid criminals who are ignorant of reality. Okaay. But here's the thing - Her claim that Clinton "jailed a filmaker" appears to be A BIG, FAT LIE.
The "filmmaker" to whom Tantaros seems to be referring is Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a Coptic Christian who was responsible for the movie, "The Innocence of Muslims." Muslims considered this film to be derogatory towards Mohammed and, after clips of the movie were shown in Egypt, protests were staged across the Islamic world. Shortly after violent protests were directed against the American embassy in Cairo, the American consulate, in Benghazi, was attacked and that, initially, accounted for some confusion over the reason behind the attack. But the right wing is still pissed that the administration, initially, laid some blame on the nice, anti-Islamic filmmaker, and not on generic Islamic terrorism.
After the Benghazi attack, Nakoula was arrested. But, contrary to the conspiracy theory (aided and abetted by Fox's Megyn Kelly) that this was "punishment" from the administration, it was because Nakoula, who was originally convicted of bank fraud, was being charged with violation of his probation. According to the judge, he had engaged in "a pattern of deception both to his probation officers and the court."
Tantaros claims that this man is "still in prison." If she is referring to Nakoula, that is A BIG FAT LIE. Although he did serve federal prison time "for using false names in violation of a probation order in a bank fraud case," he was released, in 2013, to a half-way house. And, according to the conservative Daily Caller, Nakoula is (as of November 2015) "on supervised probation" in Los Angeles where "he leads a quiet life at a homeless shelter."
Maybe Tantaros is just confused. The father of one of the Benghazi victims (who has appeared on Fox News) claims that Hillary Clinton told him she was going to have the filmmaker arrested. Later that month, Nakoula was arrested for, as noted above, violation of probation. So maybe Tantaros is conflating Woods claim with Nakoula's arrest.
Nah, she's lying. And how do we know that? She opens her mouth and sound comes out!
So we’ve had lie after lie about Benghazi, with every conceivable smear. Bill Clinton mentions that Hillary stood up to the heat of sitting in front of a hostile House committee for 11 hours, something that everyone acknowledged actually helped her campaign rather than what the GOP had hoped. Megyn Kelly responds by bringing on a relative of one of the guys killed at Benghazi, presumably to say that the only thing allowed to be discussed is how the men died. (Whereas if it had been a GOP candidate under pressure over, say, a poor response to people dying in Hurricane Katrina, Fox News would talk about how the candidate stood up to the pressure…)
And let’s not forget the actual facts about what happened when the “Innocence of Muslims” video was promulgated. There were deadly, bloody riots across the Middle East. Our embassy in Cairo was overrun by a mob that pulled down the American flag. Chaos rained for days in the area. And Fox News reveled in the chaos, trying to use the incident as a way to attack President Obama. Sean Hannity is preserved on video happily crowing, “Isn’t Obama supposed to be the expert on foreign policy? The Middle East is ON FIRE!” The Benghazi attack happened in the middle of that situation – the riots all over the area gave the terrorists cover to mount their own assault. Had it not been for the riots, the Benghazi attack would have been squelched without much fuss. But Fox News doesn’t want you to remember pesky details like that, do they?
And then we’ve had lie after lie about Hillary’s email server, a practice that was legal and in fact used by GOP cabinet members before her. (She simply used the privilege that was already enjoyed by Powell.) My favorite parts of that approach has been, up to this week, the drumbeat of “Will Hillary be, gasp, INDICTED?” as if such a thing was ever going to happen. No matter how many former W. people Fox News trots out to whisper sweet nothings about indictment, there is no indication that criminal prosecution is warranted or likely. And it’s fun to watch Fox News frantically comparing the email server to David Petraeus’ situation. Given that Clinton was keeping her server private and not sharing the information, and Petraeus was knowingly handing over classified intel to a woman with whom he was having an affair. Fox News wants its viewers to think that Petraeus’ willful dissemination of classified intel is a far lesser crime than Clinton having her own email server. Which is nonsensical on its face.
Of course, this week Fox News tried a new approach to the email fun. First, they really puffed over an IG interim report that just notes what kinds of documents were found in the server. Not whether those documents were given to outside parties or whether there is any evidence that such an event ever occurred. Not whether the documents were considered classified at the time they were sent, and not whether the documents were simply part of a repeated email chain that Clinton was being cc’d on. Not even whether many of these documents were actually the same document being sent back and forth in a single thread. Meaning that this interim report really doesn’t mean much – the only thing that would mean anything would be the Justice Dept coming out and saying they were finding problems. That hasn’t happened, and doesn’t appear likely to happen.
But just to make things a bit more interesting, Fox News then took the spin approach of saying that the emails could blow the cover of intelligence agents and endanger their lives. Megyn Kelly even took the time to interview intelligence people about exactly that notion. Which was a classic spit up your coffee moment of unintentional humor. Is Fox News seriously trying to say that they are now concerned about the welfare of undercover agents? Because they spent years trying to dismiss that exact issue when they were downplaying the dirty trick played on Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame (also known as “The Rove”) where her NOC status was blown open. Fox News and right wing radio delighted in saying that nothing wrong happened there, ignoring the fact that her life had been endangered and that all of her contacts’ lives were extremely endangered. (Fox News has never acknowledged that a bunch of these people were either killed or went into hiding as a direct result of the Plame leak.) (I should also acknowledge that left wing writers spoke in support of the Plame leak – but these were people who have always disliked the CIA in any case.)
So now Fox News wants us to believe they care, they really care, about the lives of undercover CIA agents. Something they said they DIDN’T care about when GOP guys were in the hot seat about it. Not only that, but the discussion about Wilson and Plame really did involve a deliberate leak and people’s lives being endangered. The current Fox News obsession with Hillary Clinton’s server is a theoretical one, assuming that maybe somebody could have hacked her server, if they even knew where it was or what it was. (And Fox News is even acknowledging that the same hackers regularly go after the official government servers without people jumping up and down about the security – because all that stuff is encrypted anyway.) So a real leak and political bomb from the W. years is to be ignored when Fox News says. But a theoretical discussion about a theoretical risk from a legal and approved procedure with an email server is to be fanned as much as possible – if it can help smear the likely Democrat nominee for President in 2016.
Based on the increasingly fervent tone being taken about Hillary Clinton at Fox News and right wing radio, one would have to conclude that they honestly don’t know how to debate her. All they’ve done up to now is throw mud and hope that some of it sticks. At the least, they’ve been able to stir up their own base who already hate her, and they’ve been able to confuse enough other people into thinking that she’s untrustworthy without quite knowing why.
Where this will get interesting is in the debates this fall. Let’s say the GOP actually is silly enough to nominate Donald Trump. How the heck can he get through a debate with Hillary Clinton with his usually vague and nasty answers? What does he do when he’s cornered? More personal attacks? That’s very presidential, isn’t it?
I believe what Fox News sees coming is a potential landslide going the other way from them – something that probably will give them better attack mode fodder for the next several years, but will mean that their political base would be rendered impotent during that time. Some of them probably would prefer this (it’s always easier to carp from outside than to actually govern), but I can’t imagine that Roger Ailes or Rupert Murdoch really wants to see a situation where the GOP loses that many House, Senate and state seats in a single election. Hence the panic. And we’re only in January. What will Fox News look like in September?
So why stop at a single lie? As long as conservatives promote them nobody in the Fox News bubble will bother to contradict them. 👍
It worked so well for Michelle Malkin!