Fox News dropped its “Fair and Balanced” motto in 2017, and has been doing its best to embody the change ever since. On Tuesday, the network reached new heights of shameless propaganda during Donald Trump’s post-arrest speech in New Jersey.
During the network’s live coverage of Trump’s address, Fox briefly aired side-by-side footage of President Joe Biden speaking at an overlapping White House event, along with the chyron “WANNABE DICTATOR SPEAKS AT THE WHITE HOUSE AFTER HAVING HIS POLITICAL RIVAL ARRESTED.”
Trump pleaded not-guilty on Thursday to 37 federal criminal counts brought by the Justice Department as a result of a special counsel investigation into the former president’s hoarding of classified documents. The charges include violations of the Espionage Act, conspiracy to obstruct justice, corruptly concealing a record or document, and concealing a document in a federal investigation.
The indictment explaining the charges against Trump, which was unsealed on Friday, included evidence that Trump had improperly stored classified documents in easily accessible areas at his Mar-a-Lago resort — including a ballroom and a bathroom. Prosecutors also included the transcript of a recorded conversation in which Trump allegedly showed a highly classified document in his possession to individuals who lacked security clearance.
The scope of evidence was so egregious that even some members of Fox’s dayside TV lineup were unable to defend the former president. On Friday, Fox News contributor and legal analyst Jonathan Turley called the indictment “extremely damming.”
“There are some indictments that are just bare-bones, this is not,” Turley said, “it’s overwhelming in detail. The Trump team should not fool itself, these are hits below the water line.”
Frequent Fox guest and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Andy McCarthy told the network that the indictment “shows intent and knowledge on [Trump’s] part that he had documents that were classified that he wasn’t allowed to, or legally able to, communicate that to people who didn’t have classification clearances.”
On Sunday, Trump’s former Attorney General Bill Barr eviscerated Trump and his sycophant’s defenses of the former president on Fox News Sunday.
“It’s a very detailed indictment, and it’s very, very damning,” Barr told host Shannon Bream. “This idea of presenting Trump as a victim here, a victim of a witch hunt, is ridiculous… He’s not a victim here. He was totally wrong that he had the right to have those documents. Those documents are among the most sensitive secrets that the country has… He had no right to retain them, and he kept them in a way — at Mar-a-Lago — that anyone who really cares about national security, their stomach would churn at it.”
But the sober reading of Trump’s legal predicament has clearly not permeated Fox News’ primetime television lineup, when the bulk of its viewership tunes into the network. Just after Trump left the stage on Tuesday, Fox host Mark Levin appeared on Hannity and attacked members of his own network fact-checking Trump’s claims about the Presidential Records Act.
“How much dumber is this going to get before this is over?” Levin asked.
We would all truly love to know.