Here’s the head-exploding quote from Washington Post political columnist Phillip Bump today:
Speak up, Bret Baier. Speak up, Chris Wallace. Join colleague Geraldo Rivera in making public your unvarnished thoughts about “Patriot Purge” and all the other non-journalism that somehow qualifies for prime-time airing at Fox News. Your insistence on addressing the network’s outrages “internally” is a cowardly approach and one that is, by all evidence, not working.
The Washington Post, and indeed Phillip Bump himself, are ethically estopped from attacking Fox News for “non-journalism.” In fact, the sudden escalation in attack on Fox News by the worst mainstream media Democratic propaganda purveyors—like the Post—appears to be just another tactic in the now desperate “We have to save Joe Biden!” push by the same people who should be fairly and critically documenting the unfolding catastrophe in D.C..
This all began because of the noisy exit of Fox News contributors Stephen Hayes and Jonah Goldberg, both neocons in exile and NeverTrump acolytes of the disgraced Bill Kristol, who has promoted the Democratic Party, representing all of the policies he had spent his career deploring, because he couldn’t stand being on the same side as the unmannerly, boorish Donald Trump. It was, or should have been, easy to figure out the motive for Hayes’ and Goldberg’s resignation: they are the co-founders of the Dispatch, and saw this as a route to cheap publicity. (Using a benefactor like this is ungrateful, slimy and unethical, but never mind.)
The alleged (and by alleged I mean “fake”) justification for kicking Fox News in the teeth on the way out the door was that Tucker Carlson’s special on Fox Nation,“Patriot Purge,” a three-part film about the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol was “a collection of incoherent conspiracy-mongering, riddled with factual inaccuracies, half-truths, deceptive imagery, and damning omissions—you know, like the Post’s coverage of the “Russian Collusion” hoax. Naturally, Fox News foes were thrilled at this, and suddenly Hayes and Goldberg are principled heroes. Bump’s conceit is that the “real journalists” on Fox News should rise up and demand that dangerous and divisive pundits like Carlson, Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity be slapped down, or better still, jettisoned for the good of the republic.
Let me stipulate: I don’t trust Carlson and Hannity any more than I trusted Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck (or Keith Olbermann, Joy Reid, Don Lemon, Laurence O’Donnell, Rachel Maddow…). None of them are journalists; they are all partisan, biased, ratings-seeking opinion-mongers. But Fox News’ biased pundits are swamped by the number of progressive pundits whose reliability and professionalism is no better, and often worse. Of course Bump and the Post want Fox News to dump their rabble-rousers: with them sidelined, the Left’s Big Lies (and Big Omissions, like the Hunter Biden laptop story and the Clinton campaign’s role in setting up Donald Trump for three years of investigations) have a clear field to tilt the next election.
Like the New York Times, the Post’s Bump doesn’t even try to hide the evidence of its motives and disingenuousness. The smoking gun is the focus on the January 6 riots, which are still the fulcrum of the left’s media narrative that Trump is a “threat to democracy.” This claim is at least as false, inflammatory and divisive as Carlson’s argument that the Biden administration is trying to use the power of the government to chill dissent and opposition. I’d argue that it’s worse. The prosecution of the January 6 rioters stands in sharp contrast to the lack of prosecutions in the summer’s BLM riots (conducted by presumed Democratic Party allies), and Merrick Garland’s warning to CRT-opposing parents was exactly the kind of alarming abuse of power Carlson was bloviating about.
Then there are Bump’s revealing choice of authorities. One is “Hoax,” the anti-Fox News screed by fake CNN media watchdog Brian Stelter. Stelter, remarkably enough, is more untrustworthy than any of Fox News’ pundits, because he pretends that he’s an objective journalist when he’s really (and obviously) an inept partisan hack. The other source cited by Bump is this article from that famously objective news source, NPR (do I need a sarcasm emoji?), which repeatedly calls the January 6 riot an “insurrection.” That is a partisan “big lie” that Garland essentially rebuked in his Congressional testimony. No one is being prosecuted for insurrection, which is a federal crime. NPR’s typical anti-Fox News hit job also criticizes the network for airing “Greg Gutfeld’s opinion-driven comedy show.” You see, Gutfield’s comedy is generally at the expense of progressives and Democrats, so this shows that Fox News is evil. Incidentally, has NPR (or the Post) ever expressed concern that every other comedy show on the networks and cable is relentlessly anti-conservative? It has not.
Remember that Bump uses these sources in the process of condemning “non-journalism that somehow qualifies for prime-time airing at Fox News.” Does Bump read his own paper? Here’s the headline on this week’s column by one of the more flagrant of the Post’s non-journalists, Dana Milbank: “Lauren Boebert is what George W. Bush called the ‘worst of humankind.’” Nothing inflammatory there! (Where IS that emoji?) Over at Simple Justice, Scott Greenfield does a nice job exposing the nonsense of long-time Post columnist and editorial board member Ruth Marcus, as she predicts the end of democracy as we know it because the Supreme Court has a conservative majority (“Rule of Six,). Eugene Robinson has a hysterical op-ed today titled, “If the Supreme Court throws out ‘Roe v. Wade,’ it will tear the country apart.” I could cite dozens, indeed hundreds of other examples from the Post over the past five years, but my files are more up-to-date on the New York Times’ “non-journalism” from the likes of Charles M. Blow, Michelle Goldberg, Maureen Dowd, Paul Krugman et al., because, after 30 years of subscribing to the Post, I determined that the Times was less biased and more trustworthy.
And it is.
But the Times, like the Post, is in no position to demand restraint and responsible punditry from Fox News—not until it starts demanding better conduct from its own.