My next column in The Everett Herald:
Nothing better explains America’s unbridgeable political divide and why Trump’s supporters are convinced they’re right and disinterested in learning otherwise, than Fox “news” coverage of the impeachment “trial,” compared to that of MSNBC, CNN, and C-Span. The ones showing the proceedings stem to stern. The ones who recognize the seriousness of what’s happening and the importance of viewers seeing it for themselves.
Only Trump State Television cut away from the initial presentations, frequently showed video with no audio while dissembling dismissively. Knowing what their viewers want, they spooned it out: misleadingly edited and censored information, slanderous commentary, validation of their toxic beliefs. Any appetite among the enFoxed for disenthralling themselves has been systematically and effectively extinguished. By Fox.
Certain detoxification won’t happen, Fox “news” mainlines its half-truths and no-truths like heroin. Has their audience seen that video of Trump, sounding like the mob boss he is, telling his goons to “get rid” of Ambassador Yovanovich? Do they care that he’d previously claimed he hadn’t? Or wonder why he wanted a smear-job when he could have just removed her?
How about the news of Bolton’s book? Republican Congress-creatures, who once complained there were no “first-hand” witnesses, said, “This changes nothing.” Fox’s talking heads immediately dismissed him, their former hero, as a “tool for the left.” See how it works?
Even during impeachment, when all citizens should demand the full story, Fox omits and distracts. Clearly, Foxolytes prefer the ignorance Foxing heads provide. If they didn’t welcome it, their sainted source wouldn’t have done this.
It doesn’t get more blatant. Yet the beFoxed believe theirs is the truthful network, giving Congressional Republicans cover in spinning away Trump’s unfitness, mocking those who call upon their patriotism and remind them of their oath. Fox “news” is camo pants.
Knowing the Foxagandized won’t understand its irrelevance to Trump’s shakedown or ask if it was about corruption, why he eschewed a US-based investigation, Flimsy Lindsey (thanks, PM) promises to call the Bidens if Bolton is subpoenaed. Aimed at the same audience, Trump’s “trial” team argued that Trump can do anything – ANYTHING! -- as long as he “believes” it’s in the national interest. That’s as insane as it is un-American.
Whether or not Republican senators believe their own twaddle, it’s obvious they care more about their careers than their country, confident of inFoxicated absolution. Assuming Foxotees didn’t see Adam Schiff’s late-night speech last week, here it is.
That sound is Trumpists laughing him off as “pencil-neck,” because that’s what their Jesus-approved role model calls him. It’s the sound of shovels, as Republican Senators bury their consciences; the sound of burning parchment, of millions of “patriots” dismissing words that deserve conscientious consideration, no matter one’s political views. Words that echo what once made America great.
It’s unlikely the prevariFoxed watched Mr. Schiff’s next-day elucidation of the importance of US support for Ukraine and the damage done by Trump’s withholding military assistance for his, and only his, benefit. Except, as always, Putin’s, too. Fake news, penciled out.
“We have the material and they don’t,” crowed Trump at Davos, exulting in Republicans’ refusal to issue subpoenas. How demeaning of his excusers; what confidence in their and their voters’ disinterest in facts. But if any took offense, they swallowed it, as they have all of Trump’s attacks on truth and democracy.
As Mr. Schiff noted, many patriotic State Department officials risked careers in defense of America. Republican senators? None. Ah, but if the preceding didn’t bother them, they took grandiose offense when Mr. Schiff mentioned a news report about threatened piked heads. At last! A Foxerrific excuse for ignoring a “president’s” malfeasance. Trump, meanwhile, kept it classy (it’s why they love him).
Schiff also laid out what a propaganda coup it was when Putin pegged Trump (no pun) as a tool who, he concluded, by dint of flattery and who-knows-what-else, would defend and repeat their lies about Ukraine, not Russia, interfering in our election. And about non-existent servers. It’s there for the hearing, but words can’t penetrate reinforced concrete.
Fox didn’t invent rightwing preference for fake news and lazy thinking. Like Trump, it liberated, magnified and cashed in on it.
After Trump is acquitted, he’ll act as if given carte blanche to do whatever he wants, to whomever he wants, whenever he wants. The Constitution will have become a useless relic. As short-sighted Republican congress-dwellers look away, uncaring, Trumpists will kneel before their newborn king, bearing gifts.[Image source]