Fox Nation host Bill Bennett visited Fox News today where he dismissed Andrew McCabe as a liar (but not Donald Trump) and endorsed Covington Catholic student Nicholas Standmann’s $250 lawsuit against the Washington Post. The two supposedly objective hosts were thoroughly supportive.
Bennett and the Trump-friendly anchors, Bill Hemmer and Sandra Smith, began the discussion by discrediting former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe’s explosive allegations about Trump's "capacity" and "intent," one of which was that he reportedly said, “I don’t care” that U.S. intelligence found North Korea has ballistic missiles capable of striking the U.S. because “I believe Putin.”
Bennett, the Republican moral crusader with a gambling problem, fell right in line with Fox’s effort to “defend” Trump by attacking those who dare to question his integrity: “[McCabe’s] out on a book tour. Other people who’ve lied are going to prison, maybe for life, but they’re associated with Donald Trump, as opposed to being opposed to Donald Trump. That’s the biggest picture I see,” Bennett lectured. “The other things is, how do you believe him? What do you believe of what he is saying?”
Funny, nobody seemed to think that Trump’s barrage of lies are an issue.
Instead, Trump-amnesiac Smith soon moved on to “unpack the Covington situation.” (New York magazine has a good overview of the potentially legitimate lawsuit, undermined by its over-the-top claims, involving the Post’s reporting on the murky confrontation between Sandmann and Native American activist Nathan Phillips.)
Smith began by reading Trump’s tweet in support of Sandmann’s lawsuit.
“The Washington Post ignored basic journalistic standards because it wanted to advance its well-known and easily documented biased agenda against President Donald J. Trump.” Covington student suing WAPO. Go get them Nick. Fake News!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 20, 2019
Smith’s voice rose with excitement as she read, “Go get them Nick. Fake News!”
Not one of the three truth-lovers showed any concern about Trump’s attack on the press. Nor did anyone point out that just a few days ago Trump suggested Saturday Night Live's satire of him deserves "retribution" that "should be looked into." In fact, Trump impersonator Alec Baldwin expressed worry for his own safety as a result of that and a subsequent tweet in which Trump called the news media "THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE."
“I agree with the president here,” Bennett responded.
After Bennett praised Sandmann's attorney, Lin Wood, Smith said he’ll be on the show tomorrow. Hemmer added that Wood represented Richard Jewell, falsely accused as the Atlanta Olympic bomber. Nobody mentioned that Wood is not just a Trump lover but someone who thinks the Liar in Chief is someone who "keeps it real.”
“There’s gotta be a case here,” Bennett said, dismissing lawyers he heard saying otherwise. “There ought to be a case here.” In other words, super-duper moralist Bennett doesn’t care what the law says. “We live in a time where – what is it, a competition to see how quickly you can destroy someone, and how quickly you can destroy someone with a falsehood.”
Did he mean like the bogus Uranium One “scandal” Fox promoted to smear Hillary Clinton? Sean Hannity’s false claim that slain DNC staffer Seth Rich, not the Russians, was behind the leak of hacked emails to WikiLeaks? Or what about Trump’s bogus birther claims?
No, of course nobody meant those falsehoods.
Hemmer noted that Sandmann’s attorneys are not just going after The Washington Post but “a whole line of individuals.” He said euphemistically, “This is a new approach.”
Sure it is, a new approach to stifling freedom of speech.
Bennett was all for it. “Something has to be done,” he said. “You gotta have some accountability.” He forgot to add, “unless you’re on our side!”
Hemmer said admiringly, “Not just a massive lawsuit but a real lesson in how people react.”
Watch Fox cheer on a blatant attack on the First Amendment below, from the February 20, 2019 America’s Newsroom.
CORRECTION: This post originally had Nicholas Sandmann's name incorrectly.
The best case scenario I can see for Wood is that the suit is immediately tossed out of court and the wealthy backers are required to pay the Post’s attorneys fees. That and hopefully a warning to Wood that he’s risking sanctions if he files any more of these nonsense suits to waste the court’s time.
If the case isn’t immediately tossed, things get worse for the plaintiffs. Because a lawsuit against journalists immediately sets up a massive countersuit under anti-SLAPP laws. And I’d recommend that the countersuit be for the exact same amount of money – $250 million, as a way to teach these people a lesson about trying this game.
The Post is not going to settle a suit like this, because doing so would just encourage more of these biased attorneys to come out of the woodwork and try to get their own payout. Given Bezos’ resources, the more likely scenario is that they’ll countersue, hang tough, and make clear to the Sandmanns that they will not be intimidated out of doing their work.
It’s not too late for the Sandmanns to drop the suit and issue a humble public apology to Nathan Phillips and the Native American community. I’d recommend they get going on it. There’s no money in these hills.