Retired Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, the Fox News analyst whose departure email scorched the network for having become an anti-American, pro-Trump “propaganda machine,” apparently achieved the “nuclear” effect he wanted.
Today, I feel that Fox News is assaulting our constitutional order and the rule of law, while fostering corrosive and unjustified paranoia among viewers. Over my decade with Fox, I long was proud of the association. Now I am ashamed.
In my view, Fox has degenerated from providing a legitimate and much-needed outlet for conservative voices to a mere propaganda machine for a destructive and ethically ruinous administration. When prime-time hosts—who have never served our country in any capacity—dismiss facts and empirical reality to launch profoundly dishonest assaults on the FBI, the Justice Department, the courts, the intelligence community (in which I served) and, not least, a model public servant and genuine war hero such as Robert Mueller—all the while scaremongering with lurid warnings of “deep-state” machinations—I cannot be part of the same organization, even at a remove. To me, Fox News is now wittingly harming our system of government for profit.
For good measure, Peters also announced, “As an intelligence professional, I can tell you that the Steele dossier rings true—that’s how the Russians do things.. The result is that we have an American president who is terrified of his counterpart in Moscow.”
Yesterday, CNN’s Oliver Darcy reported some of the insider impact from Peters’ email (my emphases added).
“The thing hit like a bombshell,” a longtime Fox News employee, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to publicly discuss the matter, told CNN.
The stunning note reverberated through the Fox News community. Employees passed it along to other employees, people familiar with the matter said, with many agreeing with the thrust of the note: That Fox News opinion personalities were out of control in their devotion to Trump. One employee even told CNN that they were “jealous” about the way Peters made a splash on his way out and that the person “fantasized” about doing the same.
And it wasn’t only the rank-and-file employees who were talking about it. Fox News executives were “rattled” by the leak, afraid that the story has the potential to grow legs, as Peters is a fierce conservative with a lot of credibility within the conservative community, a person familiar with the matter told CNN.
Peters is just the most recent and the most provocative of Fox Newsers to speak out about the network’s descent. Last week, one of Fox’s most respected hosts, Shepard Smith, revealed his disregard for the Fox opinion shows in a candid Time interview. That prompted Twitter counterattacks from Trump lickspittles Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham.
“Outfoxed” filmmaker Robert Greenwald (the film was the genesis of this blog) summed it up nicely to CNN’s Brian Stelter: “The blind and ruthless kissing the ring of anything Trump has gone beyond all their previous propaganda work,” Greenwald said.
And what has to be most worrisome for Fox News is that they can no longer shrug off this criticism as just liberal animus.
(Peters image via screen grab)
His actions in quitting Fox News are not about standing up for honor and decency. They are about his attempt to distance himself and Republicans from the growing dumpster fire of the Pence White House. Many, many saner Republicans have already been moving away from Pence and Trump. Peters’ angry letter will probably help move a few more away too.
But it is interesting to see Fox News properly being sized up by even Right Wingers for what it has become – a state apologist for the likes of Donald Trump. If I were in the higher echelons of Fox News, I’d be worried to see this – they can’t afford to lose Right Wingers. If anything, this is an indication of the major problems the network is likely to face once Pence and Trump are out of office and the consequences of the Right’s behavior come into play. (The Republicans will be saddled with their deference to the Pence White House, and Fox News will forever be tarred by their inability to acknowledge the truth of what was happening.)
The Fox suits will forbid employees from spreading this Peter’s note around. Sorry, Charlie. The horse is out the gate and is running wild.
NOTE TO FOX “NEWS” EXECUTIVES
This story will continue to grow legs all over the world, especially in the U.K. Kiss your business interests goodbye.
One other note, this Peters letter won’t be the only bombshell. There is another one coming, and it involves certain people. Peter’s bombshell will sound like firecrackers compared to the big one coming up soon. It will send your advertisers running toward the door. Rupy may be forced to sell the network due to this damage.