Fox News Now Little More Than Trump Propaganda Machine

Fox News Channel in general, and Fox And Friends in particular, have become nothing but a propaganda network for the White House and the President.

Erik Wemple, the media critic for The Washington Post criticizes the hosts of Fox & Friends for their obsequious response to the announcement by White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham that she is unlikely to revive the White House Press Briefing:

In a chat on Monday morning’s edition of “Fox & Friends,” Grisham was talking about how the White House handles questions from reporters. The last official White House press briefing happened in March, under previous press secretary Sarah Sanders. When will the next one be? “Ultimately if the president decides it’s something we should do, we can do that but right now he’s doing just fine,” said Grisham, who’d noted the president’s frequent availability for Q&A sessions. “And to be honest, the briefings have become a lot of theater and I think that a lot of reporters were doing it to, uh –“

“Get famous,” Kilmeade interjected.

“Get famous, yeah,” responded Grisham. “They’re writing books now. They’re all getting famous off of this presidency and I think it’s great what we’re doing now.”

God forbid that journalists might write books.

(…)

So driven is the “Fox & Friends” team by boot-licking imperatives that they apparently don’t bother to pause and consider: Hey, Fox News has a correspondent who hangs out at the White House and who benefited from press briefings when they used to happen. And despite all the baloney you heard in the Grisham segment, there’s one big reason the press briefings have died: There’s just no way to defend lies and incompetence on the scale that President Trump generates each day. The job is undoable, as both Spicer and Sanders proved every time that they approached the podium. Sanders bailed out not long after the Mueller report revealed that she had lied to reporters in May 2017 when she asserted implausibly that she’d received supportive comments from FBI officials following Trump’s firing of then-FBI Director James Comey.

Instead people like Sanders and Grisham have flocked to places like “Fox & Friends,” where there is no such thing as fact-checking.

On some level, of course, one wonders why Wemple is even bringing this up at this point. With the possible exception of the few professional journalists that work at the network, such as Chris Wallace, Bret Bair, Shephard Smith, and the team of White House Correspondents led by Ed Henry, who used to work the same beat for CBS News, basically the entirety of Fox News Channel has turned into a propaganda network for the Republican Party generally and President Trump specifically. This is especially true of the evening lineup of opinion-based programming consisting of Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and Sean Hannity, of course, but it also applies to the vast majority of the so-called “news” programming at the network.

This is especially true of Fox and Friends, the network’s morning show that basically purports to replicate the atmosphere of the morning shows on the broadcast network. In reality, the show is just a soft news version of the network’s regular diet of pro-Administration propaganda that has also served as the source for some of the more bizarre tweets that you see from the President during the course of an average morning (although it is often evident that Trump is hate-watching Morning Joe on MSNBC or New Day on CNN.) It’s also worth noting that before he became a Presidential candidate Trump was a regular guest on the program, generally appearing weekly on Friday’s where the shows three hosts poured obsequious compliments all over him while he opined on the news of the day and, of course, attacked President Obama. He also used these appearances to spread his birther lies when that was a big part of his rhetoric back in 2011 and 2012. Given that, it isn’t all that surprising that the show is now basically a friendly confine where his Press Secretary and other members of his Administration can appear without having to worry about facing serious questions.

In other words, Fox News in general, and Fox and Friends specifically, has sold its soul to the President. Wemple’s criticism is well-founded, but what he focuses on has been so long-standing from that network that what we see now should not be surprising.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Media, Politicians, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Moosebreath says:

    “Fox News Now Little More Than Trump Propaganda Machine”

    You mean it hadn’t been for the last 3+ years? Alrighty, then.

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  2. Teve says:

    Vanity Fair says that behind the scenes Hannity told his friends these latest charges are serious.

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  3. Argon says:

    I saw the same thing published in the magazine “Duh! The Journal of the Bloody Obvious”, at least 15 years ago.

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  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I won’t repeat all of my comment from the Open Forum below @OzarkHillbilly: , just this short quote:

    But other disputes also broke out. Juan Williams, a host on the afternoon opinion roundtable show The Five, opined that Trump loyalists, including his colleagues at Fox News, appeared to be repeating the White House’s talking points on the issue.

    The Five’s Jesse Watters and Greg Gutfeld bristled at the implication: “What does that mean?” Gutfeld yelled. “Are you saying I got talking points?! You got to answer to the accusation!”

    Watters added: “Are you telling me I was told what to say?”

    Gutfeld went on to accuse Williams of taking his lines from the liberal-leaning watchdog Media Matters.

    I think Juan Williams touched a nerve.

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  5. Teve says:

    From the idiotically-named Mediaite:

    Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera stated he’d like to beat up the anonymous whistleblower whose complaint helped kick-start an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

    “This is gonna be what the impeachment is all about, maybe one or two little other things fall in,” Rivera said. “So it’s going to be the president of the United States in a conversation that was intercepted by a rotten snitch, I’d love to wap him, but that’s another story.”

    “Wap” is a somewhat-archaic term meaning to beat or strike. Rivera’s comment echoes Trump saying earlier that the whistleblower should be punished for “treason.”

    Rivera was speaking on Fox & Friends Friday morning about the whistleblower’s complaint, which alleges Trump was trying to coerce the Ukrainian government to help him gain an edge in the upcoming election.

    Rivera also lamented the treatment of Trump, complaining the “poor president” was beset by “snitches and rats.”

    “Imagine this poor president, his whole tenure in office has been marked by snitches, and rats, and backstabbers, and it’s amazing how he functions at all,” he said.

    Co-host Ainsley Earhardt argued there is no proof the president did anything wrong by asking the Ukrainian president to investigate Joe Biden’s family.

    “You would have to have proof of quid pro quo … if we don’t have proof that the president was holding back because he wasn’t getting information about Joe Biden’s son, he is not guilty,” she said.

  6. Tyrell says:

    That is a good point that I agree with. And also that other networks have gone the same direction: down the drain with their slanted philosophy and Jerry Springer atmosphere. CNN used to be a respected news network. Now it is the object of jokes. Even Larry King and Ted Turner say it is “not news”. Look at MSNBC. You have the commentators hollering and screaming (Matthews, Hayes). Can they go one hour without mentioning Trump?
    I don’t watch these political party news channels. I have gone to alternative news sources that offer facts, not slanted political opinions. They do not resort to sensationalism, sleeze, and insults to our intelligence. They do not respect the viewers. I want facts, not someone’s opinion and “spin”. The main stream news is basically depressing. I want to see some coverage of good news – people helping others, tech break throughs, accomplishments, education.
    CNN does have some good tech and science features. They should drop their crazy news department and go into sports – give ESPN a run for their money.
    CNBC has good financial features.
    “It’s all Trump” (Ted Koppel on network news)

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  7. michael reynolds says:

    @Tyrell:

    I want facts, not someone’s opinion and “spin”.

    No, you don’t want facts. If you really want facts the best bets are WaPo and the NYT. You of course dismiss those sources precisely because they actually do give facts. What you want, Tyrell, is people telling you your prejudices and ill-informed assumptions are correct. You are constantly clueless and in this day and age that’s 100% your fault.

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  8. michael reynolds says:

    Fox News lies because Fox News viewers want to be lied to. I’d love to see a nice, neat Venn diagram of Fox News viewers and white evangelicals. They have the same brainwashing – white evangelicals are trained to believe implausible nonsense from loud, angry con men selling fear from the pulpit, and they move seamlessly to being lied to by loud, angry propagandists selling fear on TV.

    Evangelical Christianity is the gateway drug, the oxycodone if you will, before they move on to the Fox Fentanyl.

    These people are being told lies because they want to be told lies. They demand lies.

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  9. gVOR08 says:

    @michael reynolds: To put it differently, Rupert Murdoch recognized that the key to business is to giving people what they want. That giving his audience what they want means foregoing any pretense of journalistic ethics or civic responsibility never entered his mind.

  10. Teve says:

    “He’s not a president, he’s history’s IQ test for America.” – John Fugelsang

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  11. charon says:

    @Moosebreath:

    You mean it hadn’t been for the last 3+ years? Alrighty, then.

    The right wing belief system combined with the GOP nominating process is, by nature, driven to keep getting more and more extreme (and more and more populated by grifters).

    FNC has moved to greater and greater extremity and ever more of a grift right along with.

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  12. Joe says:

    I’d love to see a nice, neat Venn diagram of Fox News viewers and white evangelicals.

    If, michael reynolds: @michael reynolds, you examine the middle letter of the fOx name, you will see the very Venn diagram you were asking for, or perhaps two concentric circles only because Fox’s viewership is a little wider.

  13. steve says:

    The real news people have a right wing slant, but are generally not outright propagandists. Link to comments by Chris Wallace shows that he understood the whistleblower complaint was serious and had already been shown to have a lot of substantiation, and that it was improper to attack a whistleblower as though they were committing treason.

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/mike-pompeo-grapples-for-ways-to-outlast-hurricane-rudy?ref=scroll

    Further, it is quite telling that John Solomon, the opinion writer who went from peddling the Uranium One conspiracy to now pushing the Biden stuff mostly appears on the Hannity show, not so much with the real news people who seem to understand that Solomon’s place is on the conspiracy shows.

    Steve

  14. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    There is an interesting point about FNC: without Fox News the whole Murdoch Empire would be pay TV in Australia, a bunch of unprofitable newspapers and potentially unprofitable US broadcast network without a large studio.

  15. An Interested Party says:

    @Teve: It remains the most amazing thing about all of this…that there are still millions of people in this country who think he did nothing wrong, even with all this obvious evidence, including evidence he himself provided…it’ll be fascinating to watch and see when the first cracks start to develop among his defenders who are politicians and what kind of torrent that may lead to…

    @Andre Kenji de Sousa: It’s nice to know that millions of Americans are the main thing propping up mass idiocy for profit…

  16. de stijl says:

    Uhm. Fox News has been GOPTV since it’s inception.

    This not a new phenomenon. It’s baked-in behavior. It’s literally what they were designed to do.

  17. de stijl says:

    @Andre Kenji de Sousa:

    That makes my head hurt. I would like to apologize for the US to the world. We’re very sorry.

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