On Fox's Special Report tonight, anchor Bret Baier explained Fox News' relationship with frequent "terrorism expert" Wayne Simmons - who was arrested today for falsely presenting himself as a former CIA officer. But Baier left out some key information.
As I posted earlier, Simmons is a torture-loving liar who pretended to have worked for the CIA for 27 years and got hired under that pretense as an intelligence advisor to senior military personnel overseas. He also appeared for years as an expert on Fox News. He was such a regular that Fox's own Brian Kilmeade mistakenly thought Simmons was a paid contributor.
On Special Report tonight, Baier clarified:
BAIER: Government contractor and occasional Fox News guest Wayne Simmons has been charged with lying about his supposed career with the C.I.A. Prosecutors say Simmons broke the law by lying about his credentials on applications for consulting work. Simmons made appearances on Fox as a national security and terrorism expert. However, he was never employed by the channel and was never paid by Fox.
But here's what Baier didn't explain: how did Fox get rooked by this guy and why did they find him credible? Simmons appeared on Fox dozens of times since 2004 as an expert. Besides his phony credentials, Simmons was obviously challenged by reality. In addition to endorsing torture (a plus for Fox News), Simmons wanted "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh executed by firing squad even after the Bush administration dropped terrorism charges against him, claimed there are "at least 19 paramlitary Muslim training facilities in the US... using paramilitary exercises to plan and execute" Charlie Hebdo-type attacks all over the country, and claimed, in 2005, "if the Democrats come into power ...we'll have 911s unabated."
The answer is clear to me: Fox liked what Simmons was saying and thus never cared to look too hard at his credentials or credibility.
Maybe Fox has a better explanation but I doubt it.
Watch Baier's brief report below, from the October 15 Special Report, via Media Matters.
One of my favorites of recent memory was Fox News’ collective hair on fire alarm over liar Brian Williams not ultimately being fired. The irony, of course, is the easiest job in the world isn’t any longer being a Maytag repairman but being GOP TV™’s ombudsman who ignored – as largely did all the typically sanctimonious Fox pundits (when dealing with libs) – hero war correspondent (and serial liar) Bill O’Reilly over his Falklands coverage and other lies during his JFK assassination ramblings.
What can one say? Fox News’ high ratings relative MSNBC and CNN are slam dunk proof the quality of their news is par excellence and their rivals are complete crap. So how do we explain Fox News Business’ lousy ratings? No problem. It’s great too! Same rules don’t apply. Never mind Maria Bartiromo’s show “Opening Bell” started 119th out of 123 cable shows last year. I hear Foxies pimping her GOP TV™ “Sunday Morning Futures” talking it up like the best biz show ever.
If they were too stupid to see through him, or didn’t care because of his comments… That’s a visit from one set.
If they played an active role in him, that’s a far more serious set, and whoever gets thrown under the bus is going to prison with him… Probably as fall guys for Ailes, and the CEOs he wants to stay.
Assuming Ailes has enough of the right favours, what makes you think using them will extend past himself, a few of the top CEOs, and maybe a host or two he can’t afford to lose?