Pat Buchanan was fired from MSNBC recently after publishing a book critics called homophobic, anti-Semitic, and racist – and after a long history of homophobic, anti-Semitic and racist comments. But you’d never know that from watching his appearance on America Live yesterday. In fact, host Megyn Kelly deliberately led her viewers to think he’s a mainstream traditionalist she called upon to weigh in on gay marriage.
This segment is a perfect illustration of one of the more insidious ways that Fox propagandizes. There’s nothing wrong with hosting Buchanan, if Fox News wants to host him, to opine on gay marriage or anything else. But to do so without noting Buchanan’s history doesn’t just go against Fox’s own “We report, you decide” mantra, it’s downright deceptive. Coinicdentally, it also cooks the books, so to speak, in favor of giving Buchanan’s conservative opinions more credibility than they may otherwise have had.
And, by the way, America Live, which airs from 1-3PM ET, is supposed to be part of Fox News “objective news” programming.
Kelly did everything she could to cast Buchanan as a conventional Republican, short of holding over his head a sign with that description. She began the discussion by saying that Obama’s support for same-sex marriage “has been praised by most of the mainstream media… but my next guest suggests that there could be backlash that ends up winning Mitt Romney new levels of support from Christian conservatives in particular. Pat Buchanan ran against George H.W. Bush back in 1992 in the GOP primary and he is the author of Suicide of a Superpower.” Right there, she gave viewers the idea that Buchanan's opinions were worth paying attention to.
Kelly even asked Buchanan whether same-sex marriage was a matter of equality vs. bigotry – without pointing out that Buchanan has already been very publicly condemned as a bigot. She said, “But the gay rights advocates, Pat, say this is an issue of bigotry, that the President has just come out and sort of – he didn’t go as far as they would have liked him to, but he has sort of started to chisel away at the mountain of bigotry that they see against them and they are positioning this in a way that would suggest that if you are against them on this issue, if you do not believe in what they term ‘marriage equality,’ you are a bigot. That is a powerful label for would-be voters.”
Kelly undoubtedly knew of Buchanan’s history. So it’s hard to see her last “question” as anything but a ploy to elicit an “it’s-not-bigotry-to-oppose-same-sex-marriage” response – all the while feigning balance.
Sure enough, Buchanan responded accordingly: “What is that bigotry they’re talking about? It is a traditional marriage concept that we’ve had for 2,000 years of Christianity and western civilization, that is rooted in scripture, that is rooted in every faith.” If Buchanan is being tried out for a spot on Fox, he almost certainly earned some extra points for himself by adding a more explicitly and incendiary anti-Obama zinger: “(The President) is attempting to impose a radical idea onto the entire American people and to do it by coercion.”
Buchanan continued, “This is the heart of the cultural war, Megyn. It is the fundamental beliefs of a significant slice of this country, maybe still a majority, in Christianity and Scripture and tradition and all those ideas of right and wrong, against a new secularist idea which is quite militant, no doubt gaining in strength… It’s just like abortion… These are the things that are really dividing the country and they’re going to continue. I didn’t declare the cultural war. We just admitted it was there.”
Kelly once again feigned balance while manipulating the discussion otherwise. She acknowledged that a lot of viewers would disagree with Buchanan. Then, she added as a conclusion, “The point is that there are a lot of Americans who see the world as you do.”
Video available at Mediaite.