Before dealing with comedian Bill Maher's MJ-induced brain fart from Friday night (that the Democrats are wimps for not agreeing to a FOX News televised debate), blabbing:
"Last week, the Democrats made a terrible decision when they announced that they had turned down Fox News."
Let us try to agree to what ought to be an unremarkable proposition: FOX News is the modern day epitome of yellow journalism. Indeed, the modern incarnation of PRAVDA - the former Soviet state propaganda arm - its one mission to brainwash Soviet citizens to believe they never had it so good.
Obama, for his part, didn't hold back saying that those who watch FOX news are "living on a different planet from those who get their information from other sources." Of course, any sane and educated person who watches FOX News- even for five minutes - would see that remark is spot on. The complete remark made was:
"One of the biggest challenges we have to our democracy is the degree to which we don’t share a common baseline of facts. If you watch Fox News, you are living on a different planet than you are if you are listening to NPR.'"
I have posted on this bifurcation of news- information sources for some time, warning it creates two distinct national perspectives and no nation can last for long if it contains two populations accepting widely divergent realities. I have also singled out FOX News as the biggest culprit in gutting the febrile and already gullible brains of a segment of the populace, dividing our nation more with each passing month. FOX's role in deforming and debasing perceptions was first exposed thirteen years ago when surveys disclosed how many FOX viewers actually believed the codswallop that al Qaeda was part of Saddam's Iraqi forces. Nearly all who believed this to be true (67 percent) were FOX News viewers. This compared to 22 percent who obtained their news from CNN, ABC, NBC and CBS.
Another endlessly recited FOX News lie (in 2011) had been spuriously questioning Obama's birth certificate and attacking the legitimacy of his citizenship and hence right to be President. This slander was fueled by Donald Trump putting in his two cents, including referring to Obama's step-grandmother and repeatedly claiming Obama was born in Kenya. Not mentioned, and doubtless inciting too much fact for Fox zombies, was that this was debunked in 2008.
We also know that since Trump's ascension to power FOX has literally become state TV, otherwise known as FOX Pravda, or simply "Trump TV". The reason is they are shameless in their pandering to Trump, humping his most rancid, unhinged conspiracy theories and his scattered generic delusions. The imps responsible range from Laura Ingraham - who dumped on one of the Parkland Survivors (David Hogg) - to the insufferable trio of dingbats known as Fox and Friends who humped other nonsense, to Sean Hannity, and the odious, bow-tied twerp Tucker Carlson.
In effect with the possible exceptions of Chris Wallace (son of esteemed CBS newsman Mike Wallace) and Shepherd Smith, there are NO truly qualified or serious journalists in the ranks of the network. Even if we were to grant that only members of this elite duo be allowed to ask the candidates questions, there is no assurance that a cockeyed order wouldn't emanate from on high (Murdoch) that "gotcha" or CT inanities be tossed out to cause one or more to stumble, which would then be inflated in Murdoch's Wall Street Journal. Or on FOX News.
So knowing all this, why on Earth would a political party trying to unseat the most odious, most reviled president in history- in fact almost certainly a traitor- agree to do presidential debates on such a biased venue? Especially one for which, let's face it, Trump literally takes his marching orders. It would literally be political suicide, and crush any hopes for a Dem victory given how Rupert Murdoch (irrespective of the crew delivering the questions) would ensure they are rigged, devastatingly stacked, or trip- wired to cripple the Dems.
Do I really, really need to remind blog readers of the devastating question asked in 1988 to then Dem candidate Mike Dukakis (by Bernard Shaw), i.e.
''if Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?"
See the question asked live and in person at link below:
Make no mistake that the questions the FOX panel would come up with - at the orders and behest of Rupert Murdoch - would make Shaw's question look like a verbal party favor. One possibility I toss out there, knowing how FOX has played into wacky conspiracy claptrap:
"If newly uncovered FBI surveillance were to show Hillary Clinton ran a child sex slave ring in 2016, would you be prepared to have hearings on her actions now? If not, why not?"
Or, more likely:
"If Christopher Steele had been found to have made the infamous "pee tape" how soon would you hold hearings and order him to appear? Would you demand a new Mueller probe?"
Ah, 'batshit crazy' you say. No way! Well, don't be surprised because if the Dems were stupid enough to allow themselves to be captives to FOX anything could happen. The point is, FOX would be playing for its deranged base who would then spread all manner of insolence and BS on their social media, including: 4chan, Infowars, Gateway Pundit, Reddit and related enclaves of web trolldom.
It is all very easy for comedian Bill Maher to make sport about this refusal to appear on FOX as he did in his Friday night Real Time show, but this is deadly serious business. This is about this nation's future, and whether we have four more intolerable years of Trump - from which we may never recover - or start anew to gain respect in the world and mend our own civil divisions. Or at least begin to.
But all yucks aside, the biggest insult to his viewers' intelligence was comparing assorted Repukes (like former Reps. Jack Kingston (GA) and Dana Rohrbacher (CA)) going on his show and sharing their views, with Dem candidates going on FOX for a presidential debate.
Excuse me, Maher, but that's comparing chalk and cheese, apples and oranges. At worst Kingston - if he spouts Reepo rubbish - will get some boos from the Real Time audience of 200 or so. The Dems- if they get a horrific rigged question (like Bernard Shaw hurled at Dukakis), could be made to look as clueless and hopeless as Dukakis did, and have their presidential ambitions just as easily shattered. Worse, Trump given endless time to respond with his own brand of putdowns and tweets- endlessly broadcast in FOX "cinemascope" in the aftermath. Oh, and on an continuous loop!
"But ya know they could prepare for it!"
Yeah, maybe they could. But maybe the question might be so far out of left field, so outlandish, they'd never see it coming or have any inkling how to respond and not be eaten alive in the media, i.e. "If JFK were still alive today would you prosecute him for his sex crimes?"
Perhaps the most toxic fallout would be the very act of dignifying all that FOX represents, validating it via sheer presence. Not to mention, in the process, enabling the further spread of FOX's vile, irrational beliefs and memes - including many that have already been exposed as false. Those include the phony "Uranium One" gambit, and HRC conspiring with the FBI and Christopher Steele to go after poor Donnie Dotard.
One can certainly understand a jive turkey and hack like Lance Morrow jumping on this FOX News debate bandwagon- but one expects a more discriminating intellect and take from Bill Maher. Even on a 'New Rules' segment.
In the case of Morrow, his recent op-ed ('Shocked By Bad Journalism? Please, WSJ, March 13, p. A15) confirmed for me he scribbles most of this dreck while on MJ candy eaten with Ripple. How else explain writing such twaddle as:
"The Democrats consider FOX a propaganda arm of the Trump administration, but they have their own propaganda arms"
This besotted nincompoop then goes on to actually cite CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post and New York Times In other words, the few remaining repositories of actual news and facts in a nation now flooded by FOX's fake news, Dotard's 9,000 lies and whackjob conspiracy ideations from the likes of QAnon, Info Wars and Breitbart.com.
Morrow, who's become a suck up to right wing spiels and tropes since TIME tossed him overboard, then scrawled:
"It will be fatal the Democrats' chances in 2020 ...if they won't' tolerate points of view that differ from progressive orthodoxy'
Hardly! It will rather be fatal if the Dems show up to remotely confer dignity on FOX and its distorted orbit of disinformation, misinformation and hyping outlandish conspiracy bunkum such as the FBI - James Comey "conspiracy" to bring down Trump, or related gibberish. In short, there is absolutely no upside, zero, for the Dem candidates to show up for a FOX debate, while there are umpteen downsides. Even Morrow, tool that he is, concedes "True, Sean Hannity whispers in Trump's ear".
And also that Hannity's whispers often translate to Trump actions and reckless tweets that affect the rest of us. But to assert "there is historical precedence" for such behavior shows how out on a limb (in terms of sane opinion) Morrow is. I mean to even remotely think, far less write, that the Hannity -Trump relationship is on a par of that between JFK and the Washington Post's Ben Bradlee is not only deluded but demented. I can assure Morrow (whose weed -Ripple combo seems to have left his brain up his ass), that at no time did JFK ever allow Bradlee to dictate national policy to him, such as Trump allows Hannity, i.e. on immigration, guns etc.
The difference is that Kennedy was his own man, and possessed the intellect, confidence and courage to make his own decisions not a puppet to let others (like a Hannity or Putin) do it for him.
Morrow does try to assure us that "FOX employs many credible journalists" and names Chris Wallace and Brett Baier among them. But again, a couple is not "many" and even if these "credible" ones were allowed to ask debate questions, there is no guarantee - as I noted earlier - good ol' Rupert wouldn't have final say on what's actually asked.
No, the conclusion is that going on FOX for a presidential debate would be a massive self-inflicted error of stupendous proportions. There is nothing to be gained, and way too much to be lose. Oh, and little in the way of recouping the losses!