Yes, it’s great that Jennifer Griffin is doing a terrific job of fact checking Fox News hosts’ disinformation, but what kind of “news” network needs someone to do that?
A February 25th Washington Post article by Jeremy Barr is headlined, “Jennifer Griffin keeps fact-checking her Fox News colleagues on Ukraine.” The article goes on to cite her strong push back on comments made by hosts Sean Hannity, Steve Doocy, Harris Faulkner and others.
For example, Barr writes about Griffin countering the hosts of The Five pushing the Russian line that there would be no invasion of Ukraine:
Late last week, the hosts of Fox’s popular show “The Five” were not yet convinced by U.S. intelligence reports that Putin had decided to invade. Panelist Greg Gutfeld went so far as to claim that President Biden and his administration had “manufactured” the Ukraine crisis for partisan purposes.
Griffin pushed back hard. “First of all, I need to level-set with the conversation I’ve just been listening to,” she said. “What we are witnessing right now is not something that just changed in the last 24 hours … This is something we’ve been watching [for at least two weeks].”
Likewise, when Gutfeld and Lisa “Kennedy” Montgomery asserted during the show that Biden’s team was hyping the threat of war to distract from the political trouble at home, Griffin was ready with facts in hand.
“Right now, every American should be watching this and knowing that this is deadly serious,” she said. “This is not some wag-the-dog situation.”
Wednesday night, Griffin pulled the “well, actually” card when Hannity promoted right-wing disinformation that might be used to sanitize a Russian bioweapons attack. It just so happened that Tucker Carlson pushed the same line, sans Griffin, and it just happens to be the same conspiracy theory that Putin pushes.
Greg Sargent explains:
The Griffin-Hannity moment arose after the White House pushed back against Russian claims of U.S. biological weapons labs in Ukraine. Press secretary Jen Psaki denounced this as “disinformation” that might telegraph a Russian bioweapons attack as a “false flag."
To no one’s surprise, Tucker Carlson devoted a segment to the idea Wednesday night, using his usual “I’m just asking questions” routine to imply there might be something to it. Griffin then went on Hannity and pushed back, noting that these labs are left over from the Soviet era and that the United States has been working to “convert the facilities safely.”
Sargent detailed the bogus origin of the conspiracy theory as well as the “long public record pointing to what this program really is, and what it’s supposed to accomplish.”
Then he asked why the right wing is echoing Russian propaganda designed to undermine the U.S.-led effort to aid Ukraine. “For some on the right, it’s almost as if typical partisan zeal to undermine the Biden administration has crossed into something much darker, at a moment when the stakes could not be higher,” he wrote.
“Something much darker” is where Fox has been for a while now. Any network that would deliberately undermine a presidential election, gaslight the January 6th insurrection, deliberately endanger its viewers with COVID and vaccine disinformation, is somewhere very dark indeed.
But now, perhaps mindful that the network is seen as siding with Vladimir Putin while the rest of the world is ostracizing him, someone on high seems to think that dropping in Jennifer Griffin allows the network to say, “We’re just covering all sides.” Never mind that they are also suggesting that nobody knows the real truth.
Clearly, Griffin is not just showing up on various Fox shows on her own. The shows are booking her and producers generally know in advance what a guest will say. Furthermore, she is clearly not going rogue in any of these discussions. In the clip below, Hannity lets Griffin speak at length and without interruption. Barr notes that after a somewhat contentious exchange with Harris Faulkner, the host thanked Griffin for her “excellent reporting” and that she was back on the show the next day.
This is not to take away from anything Griffin says or does. But why are the opinion hosts not getting their facts straight from their supposedly knowledgeable colleague before they spout off on the air? I think the answer is obvious: The network wants to push its very dark, if not treasonous, propaganda and then absolve itself via Griffin.
It reminds me of an abusive husband who, after he beats his wife, buys her a fancy piece of jewelry and then boasts about what a devoted husband he is. Except that in this case, it’s the American public being abused about the facts of an international crisis, in the middle of that international crisis, pushing the same falsehoods as our adversaries in this crisis, while claiming to be a news outfit.
Yes, there’s something very dark going on. And Jennifer Griffin’s quality reportage seems more like a cynical effort to distract from that rather than any sincere effort to shed light.
You can watch Griffin debunk the biolabs lie below, from the March 9, 2022 Hannity, via Crooks and Liars.