A Good Friday Fox Follies would be one in which I didn’t have to mention Donald Trump and one that didn’t clock in at more than 2300 words before I add any of my own. There’s so much this week with Fox “News” finally hitting back at Trump, to attacking President Obama for being in Cuba, to attacking President Obama because the terrorist attack in Brussels happened while he was in Cuba. Get comfy as we unpack this mess.
First up, two stories you may have missed. Fox News “brainwashed” so many dads: “People are being bamboozled on a massive scale” is an article about the documentary The Brainwashing of my Dad that begins:
Filmmaker Jen Senko noticed a disturbing phenomenon. Her father, Frank, was a goofy, fun, non-political dad who treated people with respect when she was a child. However, when she was older, she noticed her father would rant about “Feminazis,” listen to Rush Limbaugh and watch Fox News. He became the family pest, forcing one-sided discussions of conservative politics and becoming enraged and unreachable after watching Fox News.
It’s a very good read and sounds like a worthwhile documentary. Meanwhile, despite its title, Grand Old People Party is more about Fox “News” than the GOP:
[…] I don’t watch Fox News, because it’s not really meant for me. It is meant for aging conservative baby boomers, which is why the network is so fixated on the particular concerns and tastes of aging conservative baby boomers. Night after night, you get nonstop coverage of left-wing protesters run amok and ISIS recruiting America’s grandchildren, delivered by perky blondes and square-jawed anchormen.
I bring this all up not to poke fun at Fox News, which employs a number of excellent, hardworking journalists. Rather, I’m struck by the parallels between the demographics of Fox News viewers and the demographics of Republican voters. The Grand Old Party circa 2016 is the Grand Old People Party.
The advanced age of the Fox News audience tells you everything you need to know about the topics it covers, the look of its most prominent personalities, and its many advertisements for pharmaceutical solutions for older gentlemen who still like to get it on. Similarly, the advanced age of Republican voters explains the contours of the GOP agenda. Democrats have a substantial edge with voters under 35 while Republicans are more likely to be on the older side of middle age and septuagenarians. The beauty of the over-65 set is that they are reliable voters. The bad news about them is that they are not long for this Earth, and they are not always in tune with the fears, hopes, and dreams of voters who will be around for decades to come.
Which goes a long way towards explaining the shenanigans and tomfoolery documented below.
After last week’s column in which I likened Fox News’ Muddled, Dysfunctional, And Totally Tortured Relationship With Donald Trump to a severe case of Stockholm Syndrome, Fox News slams Trump, says he has an ‘extreme, sick obsession’ with Megyn Kelly. FINALLY! Fox News Fires Back at Trump, Calls His “Obsession” With Megyn Kelly “Sick”, so it’s only natural that:
It got so bad that over on CNN they wondered Why Hasn’t Fox News Defended Megyn Kelly From Trump The Way It Defended Juan Williams From NPR?
DON’T BRING A GUN TO A WIFE FIGHT: While Megyn Kelly Offers Scathing One-Word Response to Trump Attack on Heidi Cruz, there are always those on Fox “News” willing to defend Trump, no matter how disgusting he gets:
Trump’s vanilla milkshake buddy always has his back:
And, then there are all those others who defend Trump, despite his sick obsession with Megyn Kelly and Heidi Cruz:
That last headline led to this online petition:
It’s just a figure of speech, right?
TERROR ALERT: Even before the bombings in Brussels, Fox “News” was attacking President Obama for opening relations with Cuba:
Then came the explosions in Belgium and even though it was pointed out that the Media Should Take Great Care Not To Smear Brussels’ Muslim Community, here are the 8 Ways Right-Wing Media Exploited The Brussels Terror Attacks.
While there was a lot of ‘Bama Blamin’ after that, this is the one I found the most amusing. Peter Johnson, Jr. (who Stephen Colbert famously pointed out has 3 names that are all euphemisms for penis) and Steve Doocy (who looks like a dipsomaniac when watched on mute) practiced their own version of Who’s On First? in Fox’s Peter Johnson Jr. Claims Obama Intentionally Dismissed Terror In Brussels To Seem Cool. Watch and read along:
STEVE DOOCY (HOST): As terror was unwinding in Brussels, President Obama went to a baseball game with Raul Castro, bonding with the Cuban dictator during the ceremonial wave. You see that there? So should the president have skipped the game amid the terror? Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. has been thinking about it. Peter?
PETER JOHNSON JR.: I’m thinking about it too much. This is the latest in the series of the frequent flyer in chief deciding he needs to do what he needs to do while the world moves ahead of him. So let’s look at a few of them. Remember Benghazi? The president decided to go to Las Vegas the next day.
DOOCY: He was fundraising.
JOHNSON: Remember when James Foley was killed? The president decided to go golfing in Martha’s Vineyard.
DOOCY: He was on vacation.
JOHNSON: Remember after the Charlie Hebdo massacre? The president skipped the Paris unity rally after those attacks.
DOOCY: The president was busy.
JOHNSON: And remember San Bernardino, well they tried to tell us that wasn’t terror. He went to Hawaii and then visited San Bernardino 17 days later. So what we had yesterday, Brussels, the killing fields. The president decided that he wanted to pursue the field of dreams. The president wanted to say, I’m so cool, I’m so detached from the affairs of the world, I’m not going to be bothered by terror, you’re not going to affect my schedule. But this has been part and parcel of his M.O. going forward over the last seven and a half years and it’s hurt us in America. You know the National Terror Advisory System, we’re getting all these warnings, FBI, Homeland Security, be careful in the subway, be careful in bus stations. We’re on high alert. But they don’t raise the terror level in any way. They don’t give us any specific information. So unfortunately, this is a president who’s checked out. For a long, long time. And so his lack of a plan is him trying to show, well, I’m really a cool guy, I’m not really disturbed by this. We’re doing what we need do which unfortunately is not very much.
The Brussels bombs begat ‘Bama bashin’ big time:
And then the Right-Wing Media Lose It After Obama Dances The Tango. What’s a POTUS to do?
And, what’s a Democratic presidential candidate to do when Fox “News” uses the terror attack to smear her?
Fox’s Varney Uses Brussels Terror Attacks To Criticize Hillary Clinton For Condemning Bigotry • Giuliani: Hillary Clinton Could Be Considered ‘Founding Member of ISIS’ • Fox Hosts Agree With Rudy Giuliani That Hillary Clinton Created ISIS • Fox News cuts away from Hillary Clinton’s speech about ISIS to complain that she’s ‘too calm’ • Fox Contributor Calls Clinton’s Tone “A Little Too Calm” After Months Of Right-Wing Media Criticizing Her For Being “Shrill”
If Fox wasn’t blaming the president or Hillary Clinton for the terrorist attack, it was blaming — are you ready for this? — Political Correctness:
However, if Fox wasn’t using the terrorist attack to attack, they were using it to Pump Up Trump:
“Were You Right?”: Watch Fox’s Softball Interview With Donald Trump On The Brussels Attacks • Trump And Hannity Salivate To Put Terror Suspects ‘Through The Wringer’ In Wake Of Brussels Attacks • Donald Trump Phones in to Fox News to Bash ‘Disaster City’ Brussels in Wake of Deadly Attack • Fox’s The Five Use Brussels Terror Attacks To Promote Torture (And Donald Trump) • Donald Trump tells Fox & Friends America must be “vigilant” or become “disaster city” like Brussels • Bill O’Reilly: “Believe Me, If The Far-Left Had It’s Way Here, We’d Be Just Like Belgium” • ‘This works for him’: Fox pundit hails Trump as a ‘visionary’ after Brussels attack
Or, Fox was using it to Pump Up Cruz:
Fox Host Is “Amazed At The Blowback That Ted Cruz Got” For His Proposal To Patrol And Surveil Muslim Neighborhoods • Fox Contributor: It’s “Ridiculous” We Don’t Surveil And “Infiltrate Certain Areas Of Muslim” Neighborhoods • On Fox, Giuliani Backs Cruz’s Idea To Surveil Muslim Neighborhoods
However, if Fox wasn’t using the Brussels bombs to attack the president or Clinton, and wasn’t using it to bolster Trump and Cruz talking points, then the station was just expressing general Islamophobia:
Fox’s Charles Payne Claims Islam “Was Born Of Violence And It’s Been Spread Through Violence” • On Hannity, Rudy Giuliani Says As President He Would Pardon CIA Members Who Committed Illegal Torture On Terrorists • Fox Host: Is It “A Good Strategy” To Bomb A Neighborhood In Brussels? • Fox pundit: Muslim immigrants are really part of ‘a different form of the jihad’ • Fox’s Bolling Suggests “Taking Some Liberties” From Somalis In America In Response To Brussels Terror Attacks • Watch An International Correspondent Push Back On O’Reilly’s Anti-Muslim Fearmongering • Fox & Friends’ Brian Kilmeade Inadvertently Acknowledges That Fox Only Covers Terrorism When It Appears To Involve Muslims
Because, clearly, that’s the wrong God.
THE RIGHT GOD: However, Fox “News” has a funny-not-ha-ha habit of defending the Christian God. Or, at least what its evangelical audience are roiled about this week:
Maybe Doocy is a dipsomaniac after all.
COMEDY CORNER: It’s the funniest thing he’s done since Al Capone’s vault turned up empty. Geraldo Rivera is on Dancing With The Stars and I would advise getting your snark on early. Based on Week One, in which he stood around and smiled while his partner danced around him, I think he’ll be voted off Dance Island very soon. Watch:
But then I’m the guy who famously said The Five wasn’t long for this world. Before we leave the Comedy Corner completely:
Watch the whole thing, but memorize Larry Wilmore’s words:
“A major news network — a so-called ‘major news network’ — and a major Presidential candidate slamming a major religion has nothing to do with political correctness. It’s just wrong.”
ANOTHER TRUMP TANGENT: Both Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity thought they could burnish Trump’s creds by bringing Univision’s Jorge Ramos on their shows to humiliate him. Both were humiliated instead.
Bill O’Reilly vs. Jorge Ramos: Two ways to cover Donald Trump • Sean Hannity Melts Down After Jorge Ramos Calls Out Donald Trump’s Racism • ‘I Don’t Need Any Lectures from You!’ Hannity Explodes in Fiery Clash with Jorge Ramos • Sean Hannity Attacks Jorge Ramos For Pointing Out Trump’s Bigoted, Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric • Univision’s Jorge Ramos lays waste to Bill O’Reilly, then Sean Hannity:
In sparring with Hannity, Ramos found noteworthy a recent one-hour interview that the host had completed with Trump. “You can be more challenging with Donald Trump, Sean, and you haven’t been.” A similar Ramos blast landed last week in O’Reilly’s lap: “You let him get away with anything.” Both hosts rejected the criticism, even though they have to know it’s true. They are in the vanguard of Trump apologists and bear a share of the responsibility for his buildup. Right in between these two fellows on the Fox News schedule, meanwhile, is Megyn Kelly, who provides skeptical, yet balanced, coverage of Trump. And gets attacked for doing so.
LAST LOOFAH LAFFS:
Historian wannabe O’Reilly launched into a lesson that could have been straight out of the work of pseudo-historian David Barton, who promotes the totally bogus narrative that America is a “Christian nation” founded on Christian principles – a notion, popular in the Christian right, used to justify anti-gay, anti-abortion legislation and prayer in school – stuff that O’Reilly heartily endorses.
O’Reilly described the “brave men and women” who “wanted freedom which they believed back then was God’s intention that man live free of oppression.” (Does O’Reilly know that once these godly folks got set up, they then oppressed others, such as the Quakers?) Bill recommended that we godless heathens spend Sunday reading about “Judeo-Christian philosophy and how it was forged in America, how it influenced everything we do even today.” He continued the homily “Judeo-Christian philosophy, our laws, everything we do.” He offered more advice: “If you’re not included to worship, then education yourself. Easter is a great time to do that.”
THE TARANTULA BITES: In today’s exciting episode Andrea Tantaros gets her comeuppance:
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT’S DUE: AKA even a stopped clock finds a nut once in a while.
During the week, after I tweeted out Conservative Fox Guest: If You Care About Capitalism, Vote Clinton Or Sanders Over Trump, the aforementioned Conservative Fox Guest started following me on Twitter. Welcome Jonathan Hoenig. Based on past interactions with Fox “News” personalities, I predict this won’t end well. *
Meanwhile, Fox’s Krauthammer Calls Cruz’s Proposal To Patrol Muslim Neighborhoods “A Terrible Mistake”, while Fox’s Goldberg: Same Conservative Media Attacking Obama’s Trip Would Have Defended Reagan’s Vacation After Russia Shot Down Americans.
FOX BYTES: Fox’s Plan To Turn Eric Trump Into A Liberal Media Victim Over White Powder Threat Goes Off The Rails • Brian Kilmeade Pimps Bogus Controversy Over Pledge Of Allegiance “Ban” • Fox’s Jesse Watters Calls Emory University Students ‘The Enemy’ • Megyn Kelly Slyly Works To Ensure Garland As SCOTUS Nominee If Clinton Wins
* Headly Westerfield’s most famous Twitter bun fights was with James Rosen, who blocked him after Westerfield stumped him at Beatles’ trivia and then revealed his secret source in his revisionist book The Strong Man, about Watergate villain John Mitchell.