An amazing thing is happening over at Fox News in the wake of the report yesterday that Donald Trump attempted to fire Robert Mueller back in June of last year. Parroting the president’s assertion that it was a “typical New York Times fake story” hosts on the network immediately dismissed it is “Fake News”. That was until Fox News confirmed the story too.
In what will go down as one of the funniest moments in Sean Hannity’s career, the steadfast Trump propagandist told his audience that the story was bogus, only to have to confirm it moments late in the same broadcast:
Hannity then quickly moved on to the very important news story of a car chase in Arizona where no one was injured — because of course that was far more important than a story confirming the President of the United States attempted (again) to commit obstruction of justice.
The following day, Trump’s favorite show, Fox and Friends, incredibly went further than Sean Hannity and attempted to discredit the story in a truly breathtaking feat of Orwellian propagandizing. Just watch:
Pete Hegseth’s attempt to discredit the Times story is especially ridiculous. “Speaking of typical New York Times, you look in the first paragraph, all of this reporting based on four people who are ‘told’ of the matter,” he said. According to Hegseth, the story “screams as a leak from the Special Counsel,” and contained “some new details that may or may not actually be true.”
Again — this was a story confirmed by its own network.
Co-host Ainsley Earhardt chimed in citing Trump’s denial of the story as evidence the story could be bogus, saying, “All right, well, the president says it’s fake news. That happened last June. Do you — you know, it’s something we have to tell you about ’cause it is a headline on the New York Times. What do you think about that? Do you even care? Something you probably do care about is immigration.”
Because of course Trump is a legitimate source for the validity of the report, and immigration is a more important issue than the President of the United States attempting to obstruct justice. So strong is the loyalty to the president that the Fox and Friends hosts are willing to throw their own network’s journalists under the bus and run with a narrative that even Sean fucking Hannity isn’t shameless enough to plug.
Expect the embarrassing debacle to continue for at least the next 24 hours as Fox News hosts who have sworn fealty to the president a) try to discredit a story their own network has confirmed, or b) minimize the story and claim Trump was well within his rights to fire a federal prosecutor investigating him for potential treason and obstruction of justice.
This is an existential crisis the network is used to given the continued denial of reality is something Fox specializes in, but it is rarely this pronounced. Clearly some reporters at the network take their jobs seriously and are committed to doing actual journalism, but to have their work trashed by their coworkers night in night out creates a serious identity problem for the Murdoch owned outlet. Given most Fox News viewers are not interested in objective reality, the very obvious inconsistencies will be ignored in order to focus on the “big stories” — like car crashes and imaginary rapist immigrants rampaging through the streets.
Still, it is mighty funny to watch for the rest of us.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.