What happens when Fox News' Howard Kurtz hosts conservative Gayle Trotter, Fox “correspondent” Ed Henry and Democratic contributor Jessica Tarlov for a discussion of the media’s “sinking credibility in 2017?” You get seven Trump-friendly minutes of finger pointing that ridiculously overlooked Fox’s own missteps and misdeeds.
“It’s hardly breaking news that 2017 was a really bad year for the media,” Kurtz said in his introduction. “But how deep and how lasting is the damage?” It was a neat way of validating Donald Trump’s repeated attacks on the media without questioning their dangerous ramifications.
Conservative Gayle Trotter got things off to a Trump-friendly start: “When you think about independent, investigative journalism, we have seen, kind of the death of that this past year.” When challenged on that by Kurtz, she replied, “Labeled that way but do they have the evidence and are they all leaning in one particular way?”
Jessica Tarlov, the Democrat on the panel, is a Fox News contributor so she was a sure bet for not calling out either the Trumpian agenda of the segment or Fox’s own “investigative” reporting that has been biased and bogus. Nor how Fox’s “opinion” hosts routinely ignore facts and truth reported by its own news division.
Tarlov later said that Trump’s assault on the media is “really dangerous to the business of truth.” But she did not note how Fox serves as a willing helpmate in that effort, as was going on here. She merely said that distrust of the media is “universal” and “I would certainly not say that this is the death of investigative reporting.” As good evidence, she cited investigations into Roy Moore’s improper sexual conduct with under-aged girls.
However, Tarlov concluded by agreeing that “certainly the media credibility has taken a hit … on both sides of the aisle.”
“Objective” correspondent Ed Henry added to the Trumpian messaging. Henry blamed the “media maelstrom,” on “such a rush to find anything on [Trump]. Anything at all!” Henry even worked in a pro-Trump attack on the FBI and against former President Obama while he was at it.
Predictably, nobody “remembered” the lengths to which Fox News attacked Obama with fake news: such as the zillion segments promoting Trump’s debunked assaults on President Obama’s birth certificate. Or baselessly accusing him of being a racist, secret Muslim and/or terrorism supporter, e.g.
Henry may have “forgotten” – but we have not - how he worked a gratuitous Mitt Romney jab, that Obama may “not want America to be the strongest place on earth,” into a press conference question. Or the time he complained about how “tedious” he found it that Obama said the phrase “balanced approach” seven times.
Laughably, when Kurtz turned back to Trotter, he said, “Gayle, you mentioned mistakes, and I don’t exclude Fox News here.” Then he proceeded to cite mistakes by almost everyone but Fox: CNN, ABC and The New York Times.
Nobody “remembered” Fox’s despicable attempts last year to exploit the 2016 murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich in order to suggest that Wikileaks' release of DNC emails during the campaign was an inside hack job and had nothing to do with Russians. It was a conspiracy theory that Sean Hannity kept going even after FoxNews.com had retracted its reporting and the Rich family begged him to stop. There has even been a lawsuit from one of the investigators alleging that Fox made up quotes from him, and colluded with the White House, in order to promote its conspiracy theory.
Just in the last month, Fox had to walk back a report that claimed a Roy Moore accuser had “forged” his inscription in her high school yearbook. Fox recently announced it has “addressed” contributor Kevin Jackson’s baseless accusation that the FBI may have plotted to assassinate Trump. Also, activist DeRay Mckesson sued Fox host Jeanine Pirro for falsely saying he “directed” violence against a police officer.
In October, several Fox News employees spoke to CNN about their disgust at Fox’s Russia coverage. But you’d never know that from watching this segment.
Watch Fox News assist Trump’s anti-media messaging below, from the December 31, 2017 MediaBuzz.
To the rest of the country, and to the world, 2017 marked a vicious turn for the Right Wing, something that Fox News openly applauded – including repeated taunts and bullying coming directly from Fox News anchors to their viewers, with multiple examples coming from Bill O’Reilly (before he was reluctantly fired), Jeanine Pirro and Eric Bolling (before he too was fired). 2017 was a year that has been documented to show Right Wing media frantically trying to prop up a deeply unpopular group of autocrats while they worked to undermine our democracy and a good part of our social infrastructure.
Fox News will go down in the history books as perhaps the most nakedly partisan and one-sided media outlet ever created. An outlet that distinguished itself by nakedly opposing anything that a Democratic Party President would do and by nakedly promoting anything that a Republican Party President would do. This was already obvious enough in their pendulum swings between the Clinton, W and Obama presidencies, where their coverage went from day to night to day without batting an eyelash. But with the Pence White House, Fox News is now on record as marrying themselves to an extremist regime that is willing to go much farther over the edge than anything we’ve seen before. When this is examined in another 50-100 years, the sordid record of Fox News will serve as an example to journalists and to historians about what happens when the Far Right tries to write its own history without regard for inconvenient things like facts.
In years to come, people like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly will be trying to pass themselves off as wise elder statesmen as they attempt to opine from on high. The historical record will of course continue to show that they not only do not have any basis for trying to take those perches but that their own misdeeds greatly contributed to a level of hatefulness, bigotry and divisiveness that this country has not seen perhaps since the Civil War. And that those misdeeds were done for their own enrichment and aggrandizement. The same has already been documented for Fox News. They can bray all they want to about everyone else, but the facts are out there for all to see.