A Day With State TV
Tucker’s racism is horrible, of course, but it’s just of a piece with a network that just pumps out destructive propaganda all day:
Tuesday was an especially ugly day for Fox News.
It began with revelations that host Sean Hannity helped spread Russian propaganda about Seth Rich’s murder. It ended with an astoundingly racist attack on Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) by host Tucker Carlson. In between, hosts slut-shamed sexual assault accusers and spread misinformation about former President Barack Obama. Put everything together and it encapsulated all the channel’s worst impulses.
Take Carlson’s increasingly aggressive attacks against Trump administration adversaries, which culminated with his xenophobic indictment of Omar, a Somali refugee and one of the first Muslim women to serve in Congress: He attacked her as “living proof that the way we practice immigration has become dangerous to this country.”
And yet through it all, President Donald Trump continued to amplify the network’s content on Twitter, illustrating how far off the rails both the president and the cable news network he can’t stop watching — the top-rated one in the country — have gone.
Early Tuesday, Yahoo News published Michael Isikoff’s in-depth report on the origins of the conspiracy theory about Seth Rich, a Democratic National Committee staffer who was killed on the streets of Washington, DC, in July 2016.
Three years later, Rich’s killing remains unsolved, though police investigators believe it was a robbery gone wrong. But shortly after it happened, Rich’s demise became subject of a right-wing conspiracy theory that held he was murdered because he had leaked DNC emails to WikiLeaks — a claim that, if true, would indicate that the US intelligence community’s conclusions about Russia being behind the hacks of Democratic targets in 2016 were mistaken.
According to Isikoff’s account, this conspiracy theory originated from a baseless intelligence “bulletin” put together and disseminated by Russia’s foreign intelligence service, which is known as the SVR. Details from the bulletin were posted on an obscure website that often spreads Russian propaganda, WhatDoesItMean.com, and eventually made their way onto the airwaves of Sean Hannity’s Fox News show.
And while Seth Rich trooferism was not adopted by the mainstream media, it did add to an air of uncertainty about whether the elections were really being ratfucked, which in turn led to the hacked emails given saturation coverage not as a story about ratfucking but as anti-Clinton stories, with Assainge’s spin on them often being uncritically accepted.
And while Brett Kavanaugh already has his life-tenured seat as a hyper-partisan mediocrity on the nation’s highest court secured, humiliating and intimidating past, current and future victims of sexual assault is a conservative principle in itself apparently:
Christine Blasey Ford drank in high school. She talked to boys. Somehow that’s… news? Mollie Hemingway, the Federalist and Fox News should all be ashamed of themselves. This is disgusting. https://t.co/J6LGfOShqd— Jill Filipovic (@JillFilipovic) July 10, 2019
All of this might seem too obvious to merit coverage, but Fox News is one of the most important factors that allows a party that offers a massively unpopular agenda to remain electorally competitive. And Democrats need to stop treating it as a news network, which it’s not.