Hours after the Matt Gaetz sex-trafficking scandal broke, Fox News gave him a prime time slot with a friendly Tucker Carlson. The scandal got a whole lot more lurid and disturbing after that but Fox has remained mostly mum.
After his interview with Gaetz, which Carlson described as “one of the weirdest” he has ever conducted, he said, “I don't think that clarified much, but it certainly showed this as a deeply interesting story and we'll be following it. I don't quite understand it, but we'll bring you more when we find out.”
In my post about that interview, I wrote, “I guarantee you that Carlson will NOT be bringing more of the story unless Gaetz can come up with proof of his innocence and/or DOJ wrongdoing. Otherwise, Fox will cover it as little as possible.” And that was before I learned of CNN's report that Gaetz had offended Carlson by trying to make common cause as an accused sex offender and then claiming Carlson had some knowledge of events for which Gaetz is under federal investigation.
Sure enough, I was right. As a Crooks and Liars colleague pointed out, you might think from watching Fox that Gaetz changed his name to Hunter Biden.
Fox News is finally covering Matt Gaetz — but first here’s something about Hunter Biden pic.twitter.com/MEMuVH6KEg— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 2, 2021
Since Wednesday afternoon, Fox News/Fox Business programming has mentioned Hunter Biden at least 16 times. Matt Gaetz has not been mentioned once.— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 2, 2021
Aaron Rupar later found one FBN show that had covered the scandal.
As Rupar's first tweet, above, indicated, Special Report, Fox’s evening “news” show did cover the scandal tonight. But I think we all know that if Gaetz were a Democrat like, say, Andrew Cuomo, whose alleged misdeeds look almost benign compared to Gaetz’s, Fox would be talking about him almost non-stop and whining their propagandistic heads off if the rest of the media wasn’t also.
I haven’t watched tonight’s Tucker Carlson Tonight show nor read the transcript yet but below is the one Fox report I found so far, from the April 2, 2021 Special Report. Notice how anchor Bret Baier calls it an "evolving story," as opposed to a deepening scandal and the whole report suggests that we don't really know enough to draw any conclusion.
Gaetz is innocent until proven guilty, of course. But there's plenty of material to conclude he's a loathsome cad, even if he never committed any crime. I'm sure Fox knows it, too.
It’s clear that the guys were doing various drugs, and encouraging the women they were procuring to do them as well. This is consistent with the fraternity party mentality that both men have never dropped from their lives. Gaetz’ wild outbursts on the House floor may well have been fueled by drug use as well, now that we understand the context. (Based on the full picture, it appears that Gaetz has been enjoying this lifestyle for at least a decade, going back even before his jump into Congress)
Truman is correct that angry Right Wingers are working very hard to set themselves up to retake the House and Senate in 2022, and they’re going with any narrative they can to support that attempt. They’ll wave Hunter Biden around, they’ll assert that the Dems are all “socialists”, and they’ll assert there’s a Border “crisis” or “invasion”, among other things. And yes, they’re frantically trying to pass voter suppression laws wherever they can. Those suppression attempts are being met by civil rights litigation – the key will be whether or not the appeals are heard before the midterms next year, and whether or not any of those laws actually go into effect in time to block the Dems. I’ll add that this will require Dem voters to work even harder to make sure that their votes are counted. And it will be necessary to document on video every time angry Right Wing poll workers attempt to disenfranchise people – such as when they close the doors on voters, or when they refuse to help. The Georgian attempt to keep anyone from providing food or water is supposedly based on the idea that the poll workers will do so. So voters will need to show videos of how nobody from the polling stations actually does this and how they’re too busy dealing with the voters inside to run water out to 1000 people standing on line outside.
I’ll also note that the Biden/Harris White House is a lot farther along in combatting the COVID pandemic than anyone thought they would be. We’ve already vaccinated tens of millions more people than we’d thought possible, which should lead us to herd immunity by this fall, if not earlier – which means that we should see an economic recovery in a major way. The GOP will try to talk this down (like they did during the Obama White House years) but voters will know if they have a job, have spending money and are able to go out and do things they couldn’t during the pandemic. This is why angry disgraced former pundits like O’Reilly are desperately trying to predict an economic meltdown before next year – they’re actually hoping for an economic collapse so they can usher more angry Right Wingers into Congress to block and then impeach both Biden and Harris. But an economic recovery would destroy that false narrative and result in something similar to the 1996 election instead. At that point, I’d count on a different meltdown – one happening on the air at Fox News.
But why? I’m sure Greenberg is ratting out Gaetz to investigators but why make it public?
In any event, I expect this scandal to get much worse for Gaetz. I would also bet money that drugs are involved, too. His and Greenberg’s crazy behavior seems very consistent with druggies I have known of.
Hope you’re right, Kevin. He’s certainly behaving a lot like Trump did/does/will.
Methinks his biggest mistake was trying to rope Tucker (and his wife, if I recall correctly) into his shenanigans.
Within the last three days, there have been multiple revelations – that witnesses say he was bragging about his sexual behavior with co-workers in Congress and showing explicit photos; that witnesses have come forward to say that he was paying young women over apps and negotiating terms with them; that he’s been known for years to date women under the age of 20, which would put him directly into the scenario we’re seeing.
I agree with Ellen that this mess for Gaetz grew from Joel Greenberg rolling over on him (and probably on other politicians in this group as well). It also appears that some unscrupulous people then tried to blackmail Gaetz over the impending publicity of the scandal. Gaetz appears to be in full panic mode now. Angry Right Wing pundits are backing away from him, as are most Republican politicians. Perhaps he has a good explanation of why he was negotiating terms and sending money over Apple Pay to young women. And perhaps he may be looking at an extreme life change fairly soon. But I strongly doubt his approach of repeatedly doubling down is going to save him.