As Fox News eyes Donald Trump’s departure from the White House, it appears to be turning its worshipful eyes to Trump supporters and away from the disgraced Dear Leader
Brian Stelter has a good summary:
Right-wing media has made a shift from "pro-Trump" to "pro-Trump-supporter." This week the talk shows are all about sympathizing with the voters, who are generally depicted as downcast and discriminated against. "Right now in America it is hard to be a Trump supporter, and it is getting harder, a lot harder," Newsmax's Greg Kelly said Tuesday night. His message was that "we have nothing to be ashamed of, and we should be proud." His colleague Rob Schmitt said "the left wants to rip the soul out of anyone who supported Donald Trump over the last four years."
On Fox Wednesday night, Tucker Carlson made a similar argument while attacking Mitch McConnell. Carlson said McConnell should not be focused on the future of Trump -- who he described on his show as "elderly and retiring" -- but instead "the tens of millions" of Trump voters. Carlson claimed Trump voters have been "redefined as domestic terrorists" in the past week. He straight up said he doesn't care about Trump: "What I care about are his voters." Later in the evening, Laura Ingraham said impeachment was actually an attempt to "impeach the Americans who support his policies," which is obviously not true. One of her first guests, Ben Domenech, said that voting for impeachment was akin to telling Trump voters, "CNN's right about you." Later in the hour, guest Lara Logan imagined a new "war on terror" targeting Trump supporters.
That focus on Trump supporters’ feelings, as opposed to the facts of the election and Trump’s incitement of violence at the Capitol, is seen all over Fox. In Maria Bartiromo’s discussion this morning, on Fox Business Network, she slyly signaled her solidarity with Trump supporters without actually agreeing that the election was rigged: “Well, we know that there were irregularities in this election. We know that 70% of Trump voters have said, ‘We're not buying this election, we think it was rigged.’”
Ditto for Fox & Friends cohost Ainsley Earhardt. Last week, she suggested the “feelings” of Trump voters were more important than the facts. After her two cohosts noted that Trump has been unable to produce any evidence of voter fraud, Earhardt shrugged that off, saying, “I think people who are staunch conservatives in our country just feel so, just so defeated because of this election. They do feel like it was rigged.”
Martha MacCallum’s jaw-dropping comment during the armed insurrection at the Capitol also fits the pattern: “Obviously, this is a huge victory for these protesters. They have disrupted the system in an enormous way.”
Stelter also noted (via CNN’s Oliver Darcy) that Fox mostly stuck with its usual programming during yesterday’s impeachment, rather than having its lead anchors, Bret Baier and MacCallum host a special report.
Can’t ruffle those Trump supporters fee fees, don’t you know!
(Trump caricature by DonkeyHotey via Creative Commons license.)
Frankly, we cannot “move on” in a civilized society if the people who attacked the rest of us are allowed to get away with the attempt. We’ve had too much of the “let’s just let bygones be bygones”. Too much of the turning of the other cheek and just hoping that angry Right Wingers will somehow learn their lesson by not being called out for their behavior.
What is needed now is a really stern approach. Fox News abetted the Pence White House and in fact helped direct many of its most vicious acts. Fox News pundits sang the praises of Pence’s childish spokesman throughout, after spending 8 years viciously attacking the Obama White House, and after spending 8 years before that abetting the Cheney/W White House and cheering them on. When W was clearly on the downswing after the 2006 midterms, Dems took the “high road” and said that we would avoid impeachment and we’d let all that illegal behavior go. When President Obama took office, Dems took the “high road” and assumed that Repubs would come along and try to help get the country out of the Recession. We saw what the results were. Angry Right Wingers sneered at everyone else and fumed until they were able to squeak Trump through the swing states in 2016. And when Dems complained about the viciousness, how did these reasonable angry Right Wingers respond? They tried to bully everyone else with the screams of “WE WON! YOU LOST LIBTARD!”
The way to move on from the miserable epoch of the Pence White House is twofold. The first is to clean up the mess they made – in terms of the pandemic, in terms of the judiciary, in terms of the Tax Transfer. And the lasting one is to never allow angry Right Wingers to ever try to lecture anyone again. The response when someone pulls this nonsense in the future shouldn’t be any more complicated than “NO. YOU VOTED FOR BIGOTRY. YOU SUPPORTED BIGOTRY AND HATRED. YOU DON’T GET TO LECTURE ANYONE. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.”