With Bernie Sanders’ suspension of his campaign, the messaging from Fox’s “straight news” anchors is that Joe Biden has morphed, or will soon morph, into a combination of Sanders and Obama – to become Obama on steroids!
After Sanders’ suspension was announced this morning, Special Report anchor Bret Baier and Fox News Sunday anchor provided commentary for the America’s Newsroom show. Their remarks will probably foreshadow the Fox messaging to come.
The first video underneath this post is described by FoxNews.com as: “Bret Baier: Bernie Sanders changed the dynamic of Democrat [sic] party. … Bret Baier discusses how far left Bernie Sanders drove the Democrat [sic] party during his two presidential runs.”
Here’s an excerpt:
BAIER: [Sanders] did, however, in two runs for president, drive the party, the Democratic Party, further left and, on a number of positions, that kind of fell in line with his thinking, as opposed to the more moderate parts of the Democratic Party. And he changed the dynamic. He really energized some young progressive voters in that party and the question now is, whether Joe Biden can hold on to that progressive groundswell that Bernie Sanders really stirred up.
A little later, in the second video below, Baier became overtly malicious:
BAIER: Think about all of the Democratic policies that changed over the evolution of Bernie Sanders, from 2016-2020. Think about health care. Just health care, alone. Where Obamacare, at the beginning of it, they were bending over backwards to say that it was not a camel’s nose under the tent towards government-run health care or total Medicare for all, back in those days. Now, that is – you know, the camel is fully under tent. It’s not just the nose. And they are 100% behind Medicare for all in one shape or another. And Joe Biden’s evolved on that as well.
Actually, Biden does not support Medicare for all, as Wallace correctly noted a little later. But he was also on message in the third video below, which FoxNews.com called, “Chris Wallace: Sanders lost, but moved party further left than Obama.”
WALLACE: I look at the Bernie Sanders campaign from a different point of view and that is the degree, although he lost again, the degree to which he shifted the debate inside the party. If you were to look at the things that Joe Biden. who it seems certain to be the nominee, is now supporting, it is so far, although it is certainly more in the middle than what Bernie Sanders was saying in this campaign – it is so far to the left of where even Barack Obama was in 2012. You know, you’ve got Joe Biden supporting a public option. Not Medicare for all but a public option. That was not something that Barack Obama went for. You’ve got Joe Biden talking about health care for … illegal immigrants, for people who are getting health insurance. That was not something that Obama supported. Decriminalizing illegal immigration – not something that Obama supported.
So Sanders lost but he moved the entire conversation in the Democratic Party and the policy positions of Joe Biden significantly to the left. It won’t be enough for Sanders and his supporters but he can take some solace in that, that the Democratic Party is much closer to Bernie Sanders than perhaps to where Barack Obama was when he left office just three and a half years ago.
I have yet to hear Fox work in a “secret Muslim” dog whistle but it’s still early yet.
You can watch Fox turn Biden into a Sanders/Obama monster below, from the April 8, 2020 America’s Newsroom.
Wallace lies when he says that Biden is somehow “so far to the left of where even Barack Obama was in 2012”. Nonsense. In 2012, President Obama pushed DACA through. And there’s nothing more than DACA in Biden’s positions – Biden certainly doesn’t support decriminalizing anything. And Biden’s discussion of making sure everyone has healthcare isn’t about “illegal immigration” – it’s about making sure everyone can get to the doctor, particularly during a major viral outbreak. Would Chris Wallace prefer to see the immigrant community have no healthcare and simply spread the virus to everyone else? Or is he just hoping they’ll die quietly and leave him alone?
It’s true that Bernie Sanders has succeeded in getting his message and his issues onto the table for the Democratic Party, and that’s a good thing. Joe Biden will incorporate, as Hillary Clinton did before him, several policy goals from Sanders and his base – and that’s a major step toward making sure we don’t just have a race between Angry Far Right Republicans and some watered down Republican Lite alternative. But these are not issues that are wildly Left of where President Obama’s policies were. Was it really that long ago that Chris Wallace and everyone else at Fox News was accusing President Obama of pushing “socialism”? Do they really think we’ve forgotten that quickly?
Watch out now for a new wave of angry Right Wing attacks on Joe Biden, likely to be accompanied by some on the Left who are infuriated to see that Sanders is out of the running. We’ve already had several waves, and we’ll certainly get a few reruns before November:
1. “Corrupt Joe Biden” – this is the nonsense story about how somehow Joe Biden is secretly corrupt and how his son Hunter’s board seat at a Ukrainian company instantly means that the Bidens are criminal, inethical and immoral. In fact, Hunter Biden’s seat was completely legal and Joe Biden made sure to stay well clear of it. The only tangible result of the Far Right’s obsession with this tack (in their hope to turn it into more Hillary email fun) has been that the Pence White House saw its childish spokesman impeached.
2. “Senile Joe Biden” – here’s the version of the story where Joe Biden suddenly has dementia and is somehow incapable of even handling his own campaign. There’s no actual evidence of this, but angry Right Wingers keep pushing it. In reality, Biden has had a long history of mis-speaking and of rambling on in his speeches. One variation on this theme has been a fun one that Bill O’Reilly is now desperately promoting from his corner of the internet – the notion that somehow Joe Biden is about to drop out of the race and give all his delegates to Andrew Cuomo. It’s a nice try – implying that Biden is on death’s door and that Cuomo is somehow a “godfather” waiting in the wings – but there is no evidence that this is anything more than an angry Far Right fantasy.
3. “Rapist Joe Biden” – this is the narrative that both Far Right and Far Left are trying to push regarding Alexandra Tara Reade’s latest version of her allegations about Biden from 1993. Joe Biden certainly has a long record of being handsy with women – not in a sexual way, but in a patriarchal way. Doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t get his hands smacked by anyone who’s been annoyed by him, but it doesn’t make him a predator either. That record has been consistent, and it’s of a piece with Biden’s personality. When he talks to people, he clearly prefers to put a hand on their shoulder and to get into their personal space. In the case of Ms Reade, she’s given three different accounts of her interactions with Biden from when she was a staffer for him back in the early 1990s. In one account, she mentioned him being handsy in the same manner everyone else did. No mention of an assault. In another account, when specifically asked about her discussion of handsiness, Reade answered that she had no problem with Biden and no bad feelings toward him. As of 2019, Reade suddenly changed her story and went to Ryan Grim and Amanda Marcotte with a spectacular accusation that Biden had raped her in his office in 1993 and that her family would back up her new version of her story. Reporters trying to confirm this have been unable to get more than a family member insisting that Reade mentioned it at some point. What they have confirmed is that Reade has a history of making odd statements and that she’s tried to erase part of her history of online comments. The Biden campaign has responded to Reade’s sudden rape allegation with a note that it’s outrageous and false and a recommendation that it be investigated so people can see that for themselves. (I’ll note that Ryan Grim’s other claim to fame is that he outed Professor Blasey Ford two years ago during the Kavanaugh ram. Professor Blasey Ford was trying to keep her allegations quiet and anonymous. Grim chose to push her into the spotlight, which has had truly unfortunate consequences for her and her family. In the case of Professor Blasey Ford, the allegations were clearly substantiated, but the issue was that she did not want her name and face dragged through the public trough. In the case of Ms Reade, we have someone who is clearly trying to put herself into the spotlight in hopes of bringing down a presidential candidate)
I note that all three of these narratives are being played at the same time. Joe Biden is thus played as a horribly corrupt politician getting favors for his son, a senile doddering old babbler who doesn’t know where he is or what day it is, and a sexual predator who’s somehow been secretly raping women for the past 50 years. One really must wonder whether angry Right Wingers are aware that these narratives don’t make any sense. One must also wonder why Right Wingers are so terrified of Joe Biden that they feel it necessary to throw these smears around.