Every single late night host devoted a segment on Monday night to the Trump administration’s recent “zero tolerance” immigration policy, which has resulted in over 2,000 children being separated from their parents at the border so far. The comics seized on the inhumanity of keeping asylum-seeking children in cages, with Colbert even bringing out “the Devil” to defend these actions, because who else would do such a thing?
The answer, of course, is Fox News, home of a veritable Olympic dream team of stone-cold stooges.
While the roster of conservative pundits breaking kayfabe to call for an end to this disgusting policy includes Alan Dershowitz and noted sexual harassment aficionado Bill O’Reilly, Trump’s base has gone to bat for him in a big way. Monday’s defensive attacks began with Fox & Friends officially describing DHS Secretary Kristjen Nielsen’s unequivocally false denial of any child-separation policy as “setting the record straight.” Hours later, resident weasel Steve Doocy carefully explained that the cages in which these children are being kept are not actually cages but rather walls built out of chain-link fences. An important distinction! Now we know the lyrics Billy Corgan meant to sing that time were, “Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in several walls built out of chain-link fences.”
As hard as the morning crew on Fox News worked to downplay or deny any foul play on the part of the Trump administration, the night shift is when things got truly Orwellian. Client #3 Sean Hannity somehow came off as one of the more reasonable members of the bunch, by sticking mainly to the Trumpian lie that Congressional Democrats have the power to end the child-separation policy, but choose not to do so, for political reasons. Yes–this cowardly, easy-to-disprove position (“the policy is bad but it’s out of Trump’s hands”) was only the ground floor of where Fox News went on Monday night.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) June 19, 2018
Flagrant white nationalist Tucker Carlson chose the route of attacking anyone outraged over Trump’s policy as elite virtue-signalers who don’t care about Real Americans. How he arrived at lumping together the broad swath of people who are livid over this issue as one group eludes me; as does the logic of referring to them as “the ruling class” while those enforcing the policy control all three branches of government and are almost uniformly ultra-wealthy–as Carlson is, himself.
“A lot of people yelling at you on TV don’t even have children, so don’t for a second let them take the moral high ground,” Carlson says, reaching for anything at all to grab onto here. Then he continues down one of his favorite paths: white nationalist scaremongering about the evolving demographics in America.
“Their goal is to change your country forever,” he says. “And they’re succeeding, by the way.” If anyone is succeeding, though, it’s Carlson–at making white Americans fear and resent their neighbors, and desensitizing them to whatever inhumane policies the government applies to asylum seekers.
Perhaps worst of all, though, is Laura Ingraham, whom readers might recall taunted Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg for not getting into four colleges a few months ago.
With a Cheshire Cat smile on her face, Ingraham insisted the detention centers where the immigrant children separated from their parents are being housed “are essentially summer camps,” and that the furor over them is typical phony liberal outrage. (You know, the kind of outrage you expect from Hall-of-Fame liberals like former First Lady Laura Bush.) Because people like Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham can’t conceive of acting out of actual empathy, they attack anyone who may be doing so as faking it.
In addition to explaining why the left is definitely ginning up phony outrage over this issue, something a Real American would never fall for, Ingraham spent her show doubling down on the supposed legitimacy of this child-separation policy. To that effort, she welcomed aboard Attorney General Jeff Sessions, someone intimately involved in pushing it through. Sessions reiterated that while children are indeed being separated from their parents at the border, the policy could result in fewer border crossings–a net win at any cost, apparently.
Sessions also lashed out at critics who compared the detention centers to their obvious analog: concentration camps. “In Nazi Germany, they were keeping the Jews from leaving the country,” he said. It’s like that old saying: when you have to explain the subtle nuances of how your policies are different than Nazi Germany, everything is going great.
In Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler coined the phrase Big Lie to describe a lie so “colossal” that no one would believe someone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.” According to a report prepared during WWII by the U.S. Office of Strategic Services, Hitler’s primary rules were:
Never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.
Sound familiar at all? It’s pretty much exactly the Trump Doctrine, and its something Fox News alternately mirrors and puppeteers.
During Barack Obama’s presidency, Fox News served as the opposition party in opinion-based news coverage. No false-scandal was too small or silly to spend several days fomenting alarm over. By contrast, all throughout Trump’s chaotic presidency, Fox News has become the exact photo negative of its former self. It has rebranded into the Everything’s Fine! network. Don’t worry, everything’s fine! And anyone saying otherwise is lying to you! (Tucker Carlson literally said that second part, almost verbatim.)
Everything most certainly is not fine. Perhaps things would improve at least a little, though, if the most-watched cable news network refrained from consistently and transparently serving as state TV.