Extremist Ben Shapiro got a friendly platform on The Kelly File last week where he accused President Obama of masterminding the IRS scandal - without any evidence. Megyn Kelly made a show of distancing herself from Shapiro’s conspiracy theory. But Kelly did it with the kind of wink and a nod that repeatedly signaled to her viewers that she thinks he’s a great guy.
You may recall some of Shapiro’s previous anti-Obama antics: promoting a false story that then Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel had received money from a group called “Friends of Hamas” and “uncovering” an Obama “race video” - already on YouTube for four years - that showed law-student Barack Obama speaking well of and then hugging a black radical tenured Harvard professor at a campus protest in 1990.
Shapiro should have been banned long ago from any reputable news organization. But he has a new book out calling President Obama a major criminal. So what’s not to like if you’re Fox News?
Megyn Kelly could not have been more respectful and she mounted a huge charm offensive. She put on a show of thoughtfully considering Shapiro’s every word.
“It’s a Mafia-esque organization,” Shapiro announced. He was presumably talking about the IRS and the so-called IRS scandal. But he clearly lumped President Obama in with the slur. In an accusation reminiscent of the one put forth on Fox News Sunday yesterday, Shapiro tried to argue that President Obama is so big and bad, that the lack of any real evidence tying him to the IRS’ supposed targeting of conservatives only makes him that much more guilty:
There never has to be a direct order. The president doesn’t have to order (IRS’) Lois Lerner to crack down on conservative groups. All he has to do is go out there and talk about how terrible conservative groups are. And you have to have a few senators write a few letters to the IRS. And then lo and behold, the IRS does exactly what it is that he wants, then the president expresses outrage and then time goes by and they all turn into “phony scandals.”
Instead of challenging such an outrageous remark, Kelly helped validate it.
I see your point. You don’t mean that the president is running a Mafia but you mean that in the Mafia, the mob boss doesn’t go up to the hit guy and say, ‘This is the one.’ He just sort of says, ‘Gee, Ben’s becoming a bit of a problem for me. I don’t really like Ben so much any more.’ Before you know it –“
Kelly made a hammy throat-slitting gesture to suggest that the Mafia comparison was all in good fun.
But Shapiro was obviously deadly serious. He continued:
This administration never complies with its legal obligations. It uses the executive branch as a tool to go after political opponents.
Whenever there’s a scandal, the time goes by and we’re supposed to kind of let that go. And the truth is that the policing organization here, the organization that was supposed to make sure criminality doesn’t happen, is led by probably the worst criminal in the administration, Eric Holder. Right? Who’s actually been held in contempt by Congress.
No challenge from Kelly. Her only concern seemed to be to distance herself from the allegation – and make nice to Shapiro at the same time. She said with affectionate surprise, “Harsh words!”
“Well, he is a criminal,” Shapiro continued. “I mean, he’s been held in contempt by Congress, he doesn’t care about that. He’s essentially obstructed justice… and that’s what this administration does.”
Of course, some say the contempt vote was a political stunt in an election year. But not Kelly. She was too busy managing her image. “So, note to self: Ben is not an Eric Holder fan. Got it,” she quipped. They had a good laugh together.
Then Kelly closed the segment with an emphatic, “Alright, Ben Shapiro, good to see you!”
Shapiro’s latest nonsense – that President Obama should be impeached and prosecuted – is laughable on its face. And it’s following a far right meme of trying to find equivalences in the Obama administration with the very real criminality seen in the Bush Administration. The problem for Shapiro is that there’s a difference between what happened in the Bush years and the current atmosphere of poisonous extreme partisanship being blasted at any and every action taken by President Obama and the Democrats.
Shapiro and his ilk hope that they can put their mark into the history books with all these nasty smears, so that when the official history is written, they can say that this was somehow a “corrupt” presidency. Sadly for Shapiro, too many people have been paying attention, and too many resources exist, for such myths to get much purchase. Other than at Fox News, where most of the viewers already believe that kind of material.
And what about the (almost exclusively right-wing) PACs that get caught “transferring” money to other PACs to get around campaign contribution limits? That’s a tactic that could rightly be compared to organized crime’s practice of “money laundering.”
Which explains why he’s always welcome at FoxNoise. FoxNoise—absolutely NOTHING like a “reputable news organization.”