Joseph diGenova’s anti-Semitic and baseless accusation that George Soros controls “a very large part” of State Department officials, including yesterday’s impeachment hearing witness George Kent, has engendered a demand for an on-air retraction and the banning of diGenova from the network. We agree 100%.
As I wrote in my last post, diGenova helped Fox Business host Lou Dobbs smear Kent and yesterday’s impeachment hearing with baseless suggestions that Kent is some kind of a Soros operative. DiGenova declared there’s “no doubt that George Soros controls a very large part of the career foreign service of the United States State Department” as well as “ the activities of FBI agents overseas.” “Kent was part of that,” diGenova further claimed. Dobbs neither questioned nor challenged any of those assertions.
Today, the Open Society Foundations, where founder Soros is the chairman, wrote a letter to Fox News asking for a retraction and the diGenova ban. From The Hollywood Reporter:
"This is beyond rhetorical ugliness, beyond fiction, beyond ludicrous," Open Society Foundations' president, Patrick Gaspard, said in the letter to [Fox News CEO Suzanne] Scott. "It's patently untrue; it is not even possible. This is McCarthyite."
Referencing past commentary about Soros on the Fox News Media networks, Gaspard said: "I have written to you in the past about the pattern of false information regarding George Soros that is routinely broadcast over your network. But even by Fox's standards, last night's episode of Lou Dobbs' show hit a new low."
Media Matters has also called for diGenova to be banned and notes (as did Gaspard) that Fox had banned another guest in a similar situation:
DiGenova’s comments, suggesting that the Jewish financier is a shadowy puppet master controlling vast swaths of the federal government for his own dark purposes, are “right out of the propaganda mills of Hungary’s Viktor Orban and other rightist anti-Semitic movements in Eastern Europe,” as Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall noted. Indeed, they are so reprehensible that Fox has previously ruled that such remarks earn a lifetime ban from the network’s platform.
When Judicial Watch research director Chris Farrell said the “Soros-occupied State Department” had funded caravans of Central American migrants during an October 2018 appearance on Dobbs’ program, the network condemned his “rhetoric” and said he would not be invited back. (Dobbs himself did not react to Farrell’s statement and in fact undermined the network’s response; he has his own record of anti-Semitic Soros smears.)
But diGenova is a far more important guest to Fox than Farrell. As I laid out in my last two posts, he’s an integral cog in Fox’s pro-Trump Ukraine propaganda. Media Matters has a concise explanation:
Farrell’s relatively low status as a sometimes guest made the calculus easy for Fox: By cutting him loose, the network’s PR team could head off the subject and forestall niggling questions about the Soros conspiracy theory’s pervasiveness on its airwaves. Meanwhile, pro-Trump hosts like Dobbs and Hannity could simply slot in Farrell’s Judicial Watch boss, Fox regular Tom Fitton, for future segments.
By contrast, diGenova is essential to Fox’s conspiracy theory machine. He and [wife Victoria] Toensing were deeply enmeshed in Trump personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s scheme to help Trump’s reelection by running a shadow foreign policy effort in Ukraine. They have employed or been employed by leading players in the plot to smear Joe Biden and undermine the intelligence community's findings that Russia interfered in our 2016 election, all while making dozens of appearances on Fox News and Fox Business to detail the ins and outs of the twisted narrative they helped assemble (diGenova alone has made at least 65 appearances this year, according to Media Matters research).
Just how important Fox considers diGenova was seen in the aftermath of his on-air attack on Fox News’ senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano. On the Tucker Carlson Tonight show, DiGenova called Napolitano “a fool” for saying earlier in the day, on the Shepard Smith Reporting show, he thought Donald Trump committed a crime during that now-infamous July 25th phone call with the president of Ukraine. When then-host Shepard Smith subsequently defended Napolitano by calling diGenova’s attack “repugnant” and cited numerous attorneys who agreed with Napolitano, host Tucker Carlson attacked Smith as dishonest. Fox News management reportedly responded by threatening to fire Smith.
Smith resigned from the network a few weeks later. DiGenova remains.
Watch the comments would have gotten a guest booted from any legitimate news network below, from the November 13, 2019 Lou Dobbs Tonight, via Media Matters.
I find it ironic that the GOPer defence of that phone call is nothing more, nothing less than confessing to being unable (aka unwilling) to understand simple English. They are quite literally admitting to being illiterates.
Although nobody but a Latin-infatuated lawyer would have used the term “quid pro quo” during an extorsion/ bribery scam, anybody with sixth-grade literacy skills would understand that that’s precisely what Trump meant when he said … "I have a favor to ask of you, though.
(Donald J. Trump speaking to Volodymyr Zelensky in July 2019).