Impeach a President, But Not Sue Fox News?

(Justin Baragona, Daily Beast, Feb 7, 2021) How Fox News Primetime Jacked Up Trump’s ‘Big Lie’

“The president may be on trial this week for his outsized role in fomenting the MAGA mob, but he had plenty of help from right-wing media in boosting his lies, spin, and innuendo.”

I find that interesting, how about you?

Here we have the first president to be impeached twice, charged this time with inciting an insurrection. Okay, I get that. But what about Fox News’ part in the crime? And it is a crime. Baragona goes on to say:

The “Big Lie,” as it’s now been labeled, is the comprehensive collection of unfounded allegations and wild conspiracies peddled by Trump and his allies in conservative media and the GOP, that Joe Biden’s decisive electoral victory was “stolen” due to widespread voter fraud.”

“Comprehensive collection of unfounded allegations and wild conspiracies” is an interesting take on the fodder a so-called news agency chooses to pass on to viewers. Not only ‘passed on,’ but leaned in with their heavy hitters, Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham.

“In the two weeks after Fox called the election for Biden on Nov. 7—joining other news outlets—the network began casting doubt on the election results or pushed conspiracy theories nearly 800 times on its airwaves, according to liberal watchdog Media Matters.”

Yeah, I would call 800 times leaning in

So, what does that make Hannity, Carlson and Ingraham, co-conspirators with the man facing impeachment? Certainly they could not be guilty of less that that. During those 800 repetitions of Trump’s Big Lie, voter-fraud in the Biden win had lost some sixty times in the courts and was so bizarre as to not even be heard by the Supreme Court. If not co-conspirators, Fox News at the very least aided and abetted

Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.” That’s the law.

So who has standing to bring charges against Fox News, Hannity, Carlson and Ingraham?

Me, as a (seldom) viewer? You? Any of the 2 1/2 million FOX viewers? The Federal Communications Commission (FCC)? Leaving me aside for the moment, what does the FCC actually do?

Mostly, it dithers. But it’s a government agency and they’re usually at their least dangerous when dithering.

But one thing it does that may be pertinent is award and renew licenses to operate. One no-no in the renewal process is “an adverse finding or adverse final action against it or its owners by a court or administrative body in a civil or criminal proceeding involving a felony, mass media-related antitrust or unfair competition law, the making of fraudulent statements to a governmental unit, or discrimination.”

It’s that ‘making of fraudulent statements’ that may be a toe-stubber

Of course the FOX big-hitters didn’t make those statements to a government unit, they made them to me and their 2 ½ million viewers—repeatedly–over 800 times. I don’t even know what eight-hundred times two-and-a-half-million is, but it’s a hell of a lot of eyeballs.

What I do know is that Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham are narrowing their audience to the conspiracy-theorists, white-supremacists, Proud Boys oddballs, Three-Percenters and Oath Keepers.

Fox just threw Lou Dobbs under the bus

Lou did essentially the same stuff, but he was 71 and more expendable. Besides, he would probably go quietly.  Now it seems the Big Three have tied their futures securely to the fortunes of Donald Trump and his supporters. Hmmm, an entire news network tied to the future, not of Superman, but the Man of 30,000 Lies.

Is it a bird, is it a plane? No, it’s SuperLiar, able to leap tall tales in a single bound.

It will be interesting to see how that all plays out.


Image Credit: salon.com

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