The Trump administration—in hopes of both deflecting focus from their catastrophic handling of our country’s public health and economic well-being while creating some kind of faux scandal placing blame on former President Obama that they can connect to Democratic candidate Joe Biden—have begun something they are branding “Obamagate.” The basic premise is that then-President Barack Obama illegally created an FBI witch hunt to illegally wiretap and entrap Trump’s criminal national security adviser, Michael Flynn, in a crime.
Lawyer Bradley Moss was brought on to discuss the legal ramifications of a possible Obamagate. Asking what Mr. Moss thought of all the “transcripts, the notes we found the week before. Texts all kinds of things that now are raising a lot of questions from people about the Flynn prosecution and the Russia investigation.” Arming himself with every Trump law team argument over the past three years, Moss launched into a 60 second shutdown of every stupid conservative talking point on Obamagate.
BRADLEY MOSS: Yeah, I'm sitting here trying to figure out what exactly constitutional deprivation was there? What is the crime that people think, you know, Barack Obama and Joe Biden are going to be prosecuted under? To be clear—and this is using the words of President Trump and his lawyers for the last three years—any sitting president can get any classified information they want. According to Donald Trump, they can launch any investigation they want. They can tell the FBI to pursue only particular individuals. This is not me saying it. This is what Donald Trump's been saying for three years.
This was their argument during the Mueller probe. This was their argument during the impeachment investigation. That the president has this kind of authority. So what did we find out? That Barack Obama was aware about intelligence intercepts on the Russian ambassador when he was talking with General Flynn? That there had just been an attack on our election a couple months earlier? We were still dealing with the fallout of Russian election interference in 2016. There was a concern about a counterintelligence prom with Michael Flynn, and they had a discussion.
I'm shocked. I can't believe they had that conversation. What is the crime?
You know who was really shocked? Fox News, who quickly did what they do best: throw to a pillow commercial.
Host: Well, ah, we’re gonna have to leave it there.
Long after the COVID-19 pandemic has passed and the bodies have been buried or cremated, historians will try to understand how a country that made up only 4.25% of the world’s population somehow managed have 22% of the worldwide number of people infected with the virus.
They’ll puzzle over statistics showing huge numbers of deaths in the rural American South and Midwest, far away from the most populated areas. They’ll consult physicians and epidemiologists for a rational explanation, but will find none. They’ll look at per capita income and marvel at the fact that this country harbored the wealthiest people on the planet, with even its middle class enjoying a (relatively) prosperous standard of living compared to other nations caught up in the pandemic.
Why then, they’ll ask, did so many people die? Why were so many infected in the first place?
As reported by Jeremy Peters inTheNew York Times, the media had something to do with it.
A review of hundreds of hours of programming and social media traffic from Jan. 1 through mid-March — when the White House started urging people to stay home and limit their exposure to others — shows that doubt, cynicism and misinformation about the virus took root among many of Mr. Trump’s boosters in the right-wing media as the number of confirmed cases in the United States grew.
It was during this lull — before the human and economic toll became undeniable — when the story of the coronavirus among the president’s most stalwart defenders evolved into the kind of us-versus-them clash that Mr. Trump has waged for much of his life.
The Times carefully traces back the response by the right wing in this country to what is rapidly emerging as the greatest public health threat in U.S. history. That response was striking in its knee-jerk, reactionary cynicism. From Candace Owens' sarcastic tweeting in late February, laughing about the dire warnings of medical professionals as a “Doomsday cult of the ‘Left’” (she actually doubled down just this week, advising her audience to consider the number of deaths with “a little perspective”), to Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, who in February called the virus “a new pathway for hitting President Trump,” to the sudden about-face of Sean Hannity—in exact tandem with Trump’s vacillating messages about the seriousness of the pandemic.
The blaming by the right continues to this day, as media figures continue to try to concoct new distractions for Americans from Trump’s abysmal negligence and disregard, even as the horror unfolds in Americans’ living rooms, broadcast from hospital floors in living color on the nightly news. As Peters notes, this blame game is also nothing new.
The pervasiveness of the denial among many of Mr. Trump’s followers from early in the outbreak, and their sharp pivot to finding fault with an old foe once the crisis deepened, is a pattern that one expert in the spread of misinformation said resembled a textbook propaganda campaign.
A “propaganda campaign” it was, and continues to be. Modern conservatism and what we understand as the “right,” with its torch-bearer, the Republican Party, does not thrive in this country based on its inherent ideas or philosophy. The absolute dearth of legislation passed by the Republican-dominated Congress during the first two years of the Trump administration (beyond a singularly skewed tax cut for corporate America) is the best evidence of that. Republicanism and conservatism do not exist because of their “ideas,” because, frankly, their ideas are largely repugnant to most Americans. That is why they rely on inflaming division and prejudices in their base while seeking to suppress the votes of as many non-Republicans as possible. Their “ideas,” to the extent they have any, are toxic and unpopular.
So the right wing always needs an enemy to blame, someone "conspiring" against them, and they need a media apparatus to stoke fear of that enemy in their supporters. The enemy can be African American, Latinx, Muslim, or a member of the LGBTQ community; the villains can be teachers, government employees, or even college professors. More generically, that enemy can be the “media,” “liberals,” or “Democrats.” And even more broadly, “financial elites”—which, roughly translated, usually means “Jews.” It really doesn’t matter.
Tobin Smith, a former Fox News contributor and anchor, explained last year in an op-ed for The New York Timeshow the network deliberately creates enemies for its viewers, to bind them to the network by providing them a sense of grievance, of someone conspiring against their interests. He explains the psychology as activating the Fox viewer’s “fight or flight juices,” making the viewer feel as if he is being attacked. He compares it to the administration of a highly addictive drug, prompting the viewer to come back again and again for another “conspiracy fix.”
Believing in conspiracy theories is a psychological construct for people to take back some semblance of control in their lives. It inflates their sense of importance. It makes them feel they have access to “special knowledge” that the rest of the world is “too blind,” “too dumb” or “too corrupt” to understand.
The COVID-19 pandemic has offered the right a litany of enemies on whom to place blame. The Times identified a systemic pattern among right-wing media’s response to the coronavirus—so systemic that the Times was able to categorize four stages of blame-shifting at various times by the right, as they continued to deny, deflect, and above all, defend Donald Trump. The stages were, in the order they were rolled out: 1) Blaming China; 2) minimizing the risk (and in some instances, ridiculing it); 3) sharing “survivor” stories to further minimize the risk; and 4) blaming the left (or “Democrats”).
The Times amply documents all of these tactics, as evidenced by Fox News, Limbaugh, Hannity, and the entire right-wing apparatus. China-blaming started early on, with Fox News as the “launching pad” for halting all travel from China, the promotion of the phrase “Chinese virus,” and the conspiracy theories of Republican politicians such as Tom Cotton, who suggested that the virus had been concocted in a Chinese bioweapons lab. This China-bashing continues to this day, with administration officials peddling the “Wuhan virus” designation to inflame their base’s sense of xenophobia and anger.
As the Times reports, minimizing or ridiculing the risk was a staple of right-wing propaganda from January onward, with recent Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Rush Limbaugh exclaiming: “Flight attendant working L.A.X. tests positive. Oh, my God, 58 cases! Oh, my God. Oh, my God,” and Sean Hannity gleefully feigning fear: “The apocalypse is imminent and you’re going to all die, all of you in the next 48 hours. And it’s all President Trump’s fault,” the Fox News star said, adding, “or at least that’s what the media mob and the Democratic extreme radical socialist party would like you to think.” Limbaugh claimed that the coronavirus “appear[ed] less deadly than the flu,” but warned that the media kept “promoting panic.” The Times notes that a Breitbart news editor named Joel Pollak merrily published supposedly “scientific” articles minimizing the threat and emphasizing the “best possible outcomes.”
Just one day after Pollak urged Americans to “chill out” about the pandemic, the first American died.
Their audience smiled and nodded, sure that this was all a liberal plot. While thousands around the world were becoming sick and dying from the virus, the “tone of the coverage from Fox, talk radio and the commentators who make up the president’s zealous online army remained dismissive.” This is probably what will be most remembered by those future historians, perplexed at the startling body counts in places like Alabama, Florida, and Georgia, because governors in all these states took their cues directly from such dismissiveness from people in power, and people with a platform.
The idea that this was all a “liberal hoax” was not only articulated by Trump himself, but amplified a thousand times over by Fox News and its ilk. That this cynical gamesmanship was occurring not in reference to a political campaign but a dire public health threat seemed not to matter to any of these people. They were collecting their fat paychecks, and that was apparently all that mattered to them.
After the deadly effects of COVID-19 became impossible to ignore, Fox & Friends ran a segment happily celebrating how its impact would really be quite minimal. “Survivor stories” such as Jerri Jorgensen’s were highlighted, suggesting to viewers that the virus was not a “big deal.” Limbaugh picked that one up, joking to his 15 million listeners that callers expressing concern about potential exposure weren’t phoning him from “beyond the grave.”
Finally, as the pandemic became more and more prevalent and could not be disregarded, came what Peters characterizes as the “Blame the Left” phase.
By the middle of March, the story of the virus on the right was one of how Mr. Trump’s enemies had weaponized “the flu” and preyed on the insecurities of an emasculated America.
Mr. Limbaugh blamed “wimp politics — which is liberalism.” Mr. Pollak, whose tone grew more serious, said the virus had spread while Democrats stretched out the president’s impeachment. “We now know the cost of impeachment,” he wrote.
Frank Luntz, the veteran political strategist who advises Republican leaders, said many on the right were applying the scornful, “own the libs” mentality of social media to a deadly and frightening health crisis.
We’re still at the tail end of that phase now, with conservatives and rightwing trolls attacking coronavirus task force expert Dr. Anthony Fauci with death threats, and others who have successfully punctured the right’s toxic bubble blaming January’s impeachment proceedings for Trump’s gross negligence and inaction, and, once again, blaming the Chinese. It’s not clear who the right will blame next for Trump’s colossal failure. But by the time they get around to it, many of their followers will already be dead.
Because all of this had an impact—in our politically polarized nation, how could it not? It caused millions of Americans who trusted such sources—who trusted Donald Trump—to let down their guard, to throw caution to the wind. It caused Republican governors to ignore the harrowing warnings of established science and advise their constituents to carry on as if the threat did not exist. It led those citizens to genuinely believe everything was going to be all right.
But we’re not going to be all right. Thanks to these monstrously amoral and unconcerned purveyors of Republican propaganda, many, many people are going to die who could have and should have lived. Families that should have remained intact are going to suffer the loss of people they love. And people who did actually understand the gravity of this pandemic are going to be infected by those who were lulled into complacency by that propaganda.
The full horror of what the right-wing media has done is just now becoming apparent, but in the coming weeks it will be impossible to ignore.
The situation in Italy is spiraling out of control, with infections and deaths spiking by the hour.
BREAKING: Another HUGE increase in #CoronaVirus infections in Italy Ã°Â�Â�Â®Ã°Â�Â�Â¹ 3 590 infected and 368 dead today alone. - 24 747 infected. - 1 809 dead. - 7.3% death rate. This is a human tragedy Ã°Â�Â�Â
The United States is on track to emulate Italy, both in the reach and severity of the human and economic toll. One party is doing its best to save lives. Unfortunately, it’s not the party in control of the White House, Senate, or wide swaths of the media. And those Republican efforts to confuse, obfuscate, and obstruct a real response are dismayingly effective. Let us count the ways.
Impeached President Donald Trump
From disbanding the White House pandemic preparedness task force to refusing to let the U.S. use the World Health Organization COVID-19 test, to his daily lies, it’s obvious that the rot starts at the very top. What did people think was going to happen when they put a bigoted, serial sexual harasser reality TV star in charge of the country? Those who vote on racial animus and misogyny are getting a daily reminder of what that costs our country. And ironically, or perhaps not so much so, they are the ones who will bear the brunt of the coming pandemic.
Meanwhile, Trump continues to model poor behavior; he shows on a daily basis that he is the single biggest impediment to the kind of national behavioral changes we need to see to arrest this disease with the least amount of damage possible.
Trump has decided the entire coronavirus mess is a dastardly plot to deny him a second term. He is incapable of considering the human toll of the disease, or the economic ramifications to everyday Americans. He’s concerned only about how it affects his reelection. And again, his acolytes take their cues from the top, such as the Trish Regan abomination that adorns the top of this post.
Regan did end up losing her prime time show over that segment, showing that at least someone at Fox corporate realizes that killing off their core demographic (their median age is 65). But she’s not the only pushing the theory that this is all one big political ploy to damage Trump. Trump’s very own outgoing chief of staff has been making that case for weeks. “The press was covering their hoax of the day because they thought it would bring down the president,” Mulvaney told attendees at the conservative CPAC conference, at the same time the disease was spreading among its attendees. “The reason you’re seeing so much attention to [the coronavirus] today is that they think this is going to be what brings down the president. That’s what this is all about.”
And of course, let’s not forget Trump:
Ã¢Â�Â�TheyÃ¢Â�Â�re trying to scare everybody, from meetings, cancel the meetings, close the schools Ã¢Â�Â� you know, destroy the country. And thatÃ¢Â�Â�s ok, as long as we can win the election,Ã¢Â�Â� POTUS told guests at Mar-a-Lago last weekend. https://t.co/UxZb0GumFU
He literally says it’s okay if the country is destroyed as long as he wins reelection. He doesn't give a shit about the economic or human toll of the pandemic and will act only to safeguard his electoral effort. And that’s why we don’t have testing. He thinks a higher number of confirmed cases makes him look bad.
President Trump "did not push to do aggressive additional testing in recent weeks [because] more testing might have led to more cases being discovered of coronavirus outbreak, and the president had made clear the lower the numbers on coronavirus, the better for the president" https://t.co/aa2QHQVbPk
We all knew this. Even Republicans knew this when they acquitted him during the impeachment trial. Yet they didn’t care. So they own this: Every death, every job lost. It’s all on them.
The Trump executive branch
Donald Trump had white nationalist Stephen Miller and idiot-boy Jared Kushner whip up a random-ass “I’m doing stuff” speech just hours before airing, with little regard to any consequences their spur-of-the-moment “proposals” would create. Among them, a complete ban on all travel and commerce between the United States and Europe that single-handedly almost completely crashed the US economy. Embarrassingly, the administration had to walk that back—no, it didn't apply to the cargo. And no, it didn’t apply to Americans. (So … what’s the point? Americans have super awesome immunity powers?) Yet in the panic that situation created, Americans rushed back home and … created these kinds of scenes at US customs points of entry:
#BREAKING: Passengers stuck in long lines for immigration at @DFWAirport tell us there are no offers of hand sanitizer, gloves, or masks from U.S. Customs / Immigration. Travelers say theyÃ¢Â�Â�ve had no screenings of temp yet and no one following #coronavirus protocols. pic.twitter.com/9viCnWdncz
By supposedly acting to prevent the disease from entering the United States (even though, um, it’s already here), those morons in the executive branch didn’t think “maybe we should bolster staffing at customs checkpoints. Maybe we should create a plan to space out people, so we wouldn’t create the Petri dish we’re supposedly trying to prevent.”
It is in precisely older, rural counties that hospitals are being closed in record numbers. “The hospital closure crisis is most pronounced in states that have declined Medicaid expansion, the policy in the Affordable Care Act that offers coverage for individuals whose income is at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty line,” reported Mother Jones. “Of the 106 rural hospitals that have shut down since 2010, 77 were located in states that hadn’t expanded Medicaid, the study found.” In their zeal to stick it to Obamacare, those older rural areas are losing exactly the one thing that saves the lives of the elderly and those with compromised immune systems once infected—hospital beds.
This novel coronavirus is treatable as long as severely impacted patients can be hooked up to respirators. But given available hospital beds, that becomes impossible once a critical mass of patients is infected, they outstrip the supply of hospital beds, and they are then left to die, gasping for air. That’s why the Italian death toll has climbed so high, with doctors having to perform battlefield-style triage—is this patient too old? Too (otherwise) sick? Do they have small children at home? Even patients who survive initial triage may be unplugged if someone with a greater survival chance shows up. It is beyond nightmarish.
And you know what? The United States has fewer hospital beds, per thousand people, than even Italy.
South Korea: 12.3
United States: 2.8
South Korea has handled the virus better than anyone else, and guess what, having hospital beds is part of the answer. Meanwhile, thanks to conservative hostility to the Affordable Care Act and its fealty to a for-profit health care system, our number of beds has fallen between 2010 and 2017, despite the population having grown by 16 million in that time frame.
Republican elected officials
The Democratic House passed a coronavirus response bill on Friday. Republican Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell went on vacation over the weekend, adjourning the Senate as a result. He doesn’t plan on checking on that House bill until Tuesday, lunch, at the earliest, even though Trump has signaled that he will sign it.
They just don’t give a shit.
Here’s Oklahoma’s Republican governor Kevin Stitt, Friday night, in a now-deleted tweet:
Of course, it stands to follow that if Trump doesn’t think this is a big deal, then those who blindly follow him will shrug off any attempts to contain the virus, or “flatten the curve.” Flattening the curve is slowing the rate of transmission so that people don’t get sick all at once. The more you can spread it out, the less stress on those limited hospital beds.
Trump’s favorite bootlicker, Rep. Devin Nunes, went on Fox to tell viewers to go out on the town. “One of the things you can do, if you're healthy you and your family, it's a great time to just go out, go to a local restaurant,” he said, dooming who knows how many people to death. “Likely you can get in easily. There's, you know, let's not hurt the working people in this country that are relying on wages and tips to keep their small business going. [...] Go to your local pub.”
It’s no surprise that most of the irresponsible dismissing of COVID-19 featured above is happening on Fox News. The network has prostrated itself before Trump, effectively becoming like a state-run propaganda arm. They won’t do anything to get on the wrong side of Trump. It’s a feature, not a bug.
On Fox & Friends, Jerry Falwell Jr claims people are "overreacting" to coronavirus, the national response is "their next attempt to get Trump," and the virus itself is a North Korean bioweapon. pic.twitter.com/2JPuNBW7C3
— McSpockyÃ¢Â�Â¢ Ã°Â�Â�Â½Ã°Â�Â�Â�Ã°Â�Â�Â� #VoteBlue2020 (@mcspocky) March 15, 2020
If you’re sitting here wondering what the hell is wrong with these people, you’re not alone. Trapped in their conservative anti-science media bubble, they’re whipping themselves up into a fervor of denialism and frothy conspiracy theories.
The results are devastating. Republicans simply don’t believe that they should take COVID-19 seriously.
The coronavirus partisan divide is real. Twice as many Democrats (60%) are changing plans or taking precautions than Republicans (31%). 88% of Republicans are satisfied with the government's response. Among Democrats? 11%. Survey report @Civiqs 3/8-11: https://t.co/sGoSTbhEsI
And it’s even worse among Fox News viewers, only 9% of which are “extremely concerned” about the virus. These are the same people who live in mortal fear of an “illegal” coming and murdering them. The big difference? They will definitely end up knowing about someone who died of the novel coronavirus, while those mythical hordes of undocumented murderers only exist in the imagination of the network’s most bigoted hosts. (48% of MSNBC viewers are “extremely concerned,” which is still low. It should be 100%. But that network isn’t sowing misinformation.)
I used to joke that Republicans would come out in favor of cancer if President Barack Obama ever declared his opposition to it publicly. At least, it was supposed to be a joke. Now we find out that a global pandemic killing tens of thousands has become a partisan issue. Not because it is a partisan issue. There is nothing Republican or Democratic or liberal or conservative about a deadly disease. But because Trump’s botched handling of the pandemic makes him “look bad,” and there is no greater sin in the world than making Trump look bad.
It might be funny or the material for easy partisan points, except people are dying, and a lot more will die before scientists find a vaccine. And while we could be making efforts to mitigate the carnage, both in human and economic terms, we have an entire half of the country’s divide refusing to accept our new reality and demanding we pretend all is well, nothing to see here, please carry on, preferably at your local pub or cruise ship.
It’s staggeringly irresponsible. The final culmination of an ideology so divorced from reality, that it will literally kill, disproportionately, the older and rural people that form its base. And—this is legitimately ironic—it is liberals trying to save their lives.
The best antidote to hot takes is hard data, and the February Daily Kos/Civiqs pollis here with your cure. This month’s survey of 1,543 registered voters was conducted online from Feb. 11-14 and reveals that 60% of Americans disapprove of how the U.S. Senate conducted Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. And with the Iowa Democratic caucus debacle just behind us and the Nevada caucuses imminent, 58% of Americans support eliminating the presidential caucus system.
Other noteworthy findings in this month’s poll include:
The majority of Americans (52%) disapprove of Trump’s job performance as president.
Support for eliminating presidential primary caucuses cuts across party lines. Majorities of Democrats (68%), Republicans (51%), and Independents (54%) want to end the practice.
More Americans rank George W. Bush’s presidency above Trump’s (48%-44%), but 91% of frequent Fox News viewers rank Trump over Bush.
Additional issues surveyed include support for continuing Trump investigations by the U.S. House, the Trump administration’s newly expanded travel ban, and support for the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday.
February’s numbers unequivocally reveal that Americans feel the GOP Senate majority failed in its duty to administer the impeachment trial fairly.
This month’s survey provides additional evidence that frequent Fox News viewers are deeply disconnected from mainstream Americans. While 60% of all Americans disapprove of how the Senate conducted Trump’s impeachment trial, 68% of faithful Fox viewers approve. And while only 45% of Americans believe Trump is handling his job as president well, a whopping 93% of frequent Fox viewers think he’s doing great.
Civiqs is a survey research firm that conducts scientific public opinion polls on the internet through its nationally representative online survey panel. Founded in 2013, Civiqs specializes in political and public policy polling. Results from Civiqs’ daily tracking polls can be found online at civiqs.com.
Contrary to popular belief, Fox News is more than just an echo chamber for Donald Trump. Because sometimes Donald Trump is an echo chamber for Fox News. But what’s absolutely certain is that Fox News is not an outlet that anyone should trust when looking for a source of factual, reliable news or analysis. That’s not just the opinion of everyone who has ever bothered to look away from the & Friends couch; it’s also the opinion of the people inside Fox News. As revealed by a series of internal memos, even Fox News has made it clear that it should not be trusted—especially when it comes to the matters at the heart of Trump’s impeachment.
As The Daily Beast reports, an internal Fox briefing book explicitly calls out frequent Fox contributor John Solomon. Solomon used his position at The Hillto publish a series of articles spreading propaganda about Joe Biden’s supposed crimes in Ukraine. Solomon has made multiple appearances on Fox to discuss impeachment and make claims that Biden used his position to protect his son. Sean Hannity put Solomon forward as a “crusading investigative reporter,” and Republicans on Capitol Hill, including Trump’s defense team, regularly cited claims lifted from Solomon’s articles in attacking Biden.
But inside Fox, the truth was that they knew Solomon was lying—and then some. The report notes that Solomon was not disclosing conflicts and was using unreliable sources, misrepresenting sources, and “publishing false and misleading stories.” Overall, the internal report called out Solomon for being an “indispensable” part of a “disinformation campaign” orchestrated by Rudy Giuliani.
Giuliani is singled out as another broadly unreliable character who used his Fox appearances to regularly hide, distort, and deny the truth. That includes lies Trump’s personal attorney spread on Fox about former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. The briefing book also notes that Giuliani has a “high susceptibility to disinformation,” and draws connections from his actions back to exiled Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash.
Also on the list of liars are Fox “legal experts” Victoria Toensing and Joe diGenova, both of whom have been supporters of and attorneys for Trump, and both of whom are also employed by Firtash.
Overall, the briefing book shows that Fox News was aware that it was putting out information that was unreliable, suspect, and often downright lies. What it doesn’t show is that it made any effort to stop doing it. And all of the noted liars continued to be given a platform as guests on Fox programs.
Fox News’ Chris Wallace slammed conservative pundit Katie Pavlich on air, telling her to “Get your facts straight” after she tried to claim all kinds of made-up facts in her defense of Donald Trump. In question was Pavlich’s revisionist retelling of how the Democratic House’s impeachment inquiry was hampered by obstruction. In Pavlich’s imagineering, the Democratic Party is breaking with impeachment tradition by pushing an incomplete case, “and every impeachment beforehand, the witnesses that were called had been called in the House before being brought to the Senate. So there are questions here about the process.”
That’s not true. It’s not even a little bit true, and Wallace cut Pavlich off to tell her as much: “They hadn’t all been called in the House, and in the Clinton impeachment, they’d been called by the general independent counsel. They had not been called by the House.”
Right-wing pundit Katie Pavlich is just the kind of dumb that Trump’s Republican Party loves: willing to toe any line of misinformation, no matter how many obvious facts and contradictions there are. Appearing on Fox News with conservative luminaries such as Brett Baier, Pavlich was promoting the old conservative trope that the difference between Clinton’s impeachment trial and Trump’s is that the Democratic Party keeps trying to add new things to it, because it’s going so terribly. The basis of this bit of bullshit is that Donald Trump’s White House has refused to allow anyone to testify, while his Department of Justice has done more work trying to cover up his criminal behavior than any of the actual work it’s supposed to do as a department.
Wallace has been as critical of President Trump as anyone can be on the Fox News network, even admitting to the public that Trump has damaged our freedom of the press. But it’s hard to tell whether Wallace is angry at the lies being spread, or how stupid the spin is. The segment opened with Wallace saying proof that the John Bolton news that broke over the weekend was “big” was how intensely people like Pavlich were trying to spin it.
The Republican Party continues forward with its oblique defense of Donald Trump’s impeachable crimes. This on the heels of bombshell news that former national security adviser John Bolton wrote in his soon-to-be-published memoir that Trump froze the congressionally earmarked financial aid to Ukraine subject to them opening up a public corruption investigation into the Biden family. By any measure this would be a smoking gun. In fact, back in September, even Fox & friends’ Steve Doocy could agree to that. In a clip you can watch below from Sept. 24, 2019, Doocy explains how the whistleblower complaint only means something if someone could truly point to Donald Trump withholding aid because he wanted an investigation into a campaign rival—Joe Biden.
STEVE DOOCY: If the president said, you know, “I’ll give you the money but you’ve got to investigate Joe Biden,” that is really off-the-rails wrong.
Ainsley Earhardt agreed.
Steve Doocy: "If the president said 'I will give you the money but you've got to investigate Joe Biden,' that is really off-the-rails wrong. But if it's something else, you know, it would be nice to know what it is." pic.twitter.com/wWpuLqeRUT
Steve Doocy spent Monday pushing back those goal posts, while Fox News brought on corrupt politician after corrupt politician to pooh-pooh these bombshell revelations. Speaking with alleged sexual molestation accessory after the fact Rep. Jim Jordan, Doocy asked this of the new Bolton allegations. Calling these allegations something that “we have heard before,” Doocy went on to both illustrate exactly why the news is damning, while also saying it didn’t matter now, for no reason.
DOOCY: This is something we have heard before but now, because it’s John Bolton, and he was in the room, what does this change?
Media Matters put together this clip showing Doocy in September and Doocy on Monday.
Listen, everybody has the right to change their minds about things. In fact, as more and more evidence is revealed, one should be able to change their mind as they now have new information to work with. And yet, somehow, Steve Doocy is so filled with the poison of cynicism, he is able to seamlessly change the parameters of the argument in such a way that it makes me wonder if Steve Doocy’s mind is simply filled with a gaseous sulfur-smelling void.