Although it was hard to imagine Fox News’ rhetoric getting any more inflammatory or divisive, the network has found a way. Not surprisingly, it’s in sync with Donald Trump.
Media Matters published the post I was still formulating this Tuesday morning:
With the midterm elections only four weeks away, a slew of Fox News commentators are warning their conservative viewers that they are physically imperiled by a “violent” leftist “mob” and must vote to keep Republicans in power in order to protect themselves. Their argument is an effort to turn out the GOP base by weaponizing conservative criticism of the protestors who opposed Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. “
Anyone who sits right of center, anyone who’s a Trump supporter, we’re all targets” of public harassment from the left, contributor Tomi Lahren explained on Fox & Friends Tuesday morning. “The average citizen, if you’re on the right, should be concerned and in danger.” Sebastian Gorka, a former White House aide now at Fox, similarly argued that the Democrats had “normalized violence in America,” comparing the need to fight back against that purported effort to the Revolutionary War.
Media Matters argues that Fox is taking its cues from the GOP and Trump given that Republicans have weaponized anti-Kavanaugh protests as a dangerous “mob” that threatens the rule of law. “You don’t hand matches to an arsonist, and you don’t give power to an angry left-wing mob. That’s what they have become. The Democrats have become too extreme and too dangerous to govern,” Trump said at a rally over the weekend.
But I’m not sure which flame thrower was the chicken and which the egg. What we do know is that Carlson has been playing this dangerous game for quite some time:
On July 21, Carlson baselessly theorized, “The left has run out of possible verbal attacks on President Trump – there are none left – all that’s left is violence.”
On August 13, Carlson “covered” the anniversary of the white supremacists' Unite The Right rally by fear mongering about left-wing violence: He called white supremacy “incredibly rare,” then went on to dishonestly depict “left-wing extremism and violence” as “a growing crisis.” “[T]he truth is they would hurt you if they could,” he said.
On August 27, Carlson “just wondered,” “[H]ow long before someone convinces himself that we need to storm the White House, we need to take action, like physical action here? That’s the terminus of this, right? How could it not be?”
On September 20, Carlson used the imagery of a race war to smear Democrats. Attacking Democrats for complaining about an “all white, all male” group of Republican senators judging Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations that Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her, Carlson accused them of “splitting the country into tiny, warring groups” because it “helps them maintain their power. … Divide and conquer, whatever it takes.”
On October 2, Carlson fear mongered that opposition to Kavanaugh is about “white genocide.”
CARLSON: It’s exactly the kind of things that Hutu leaders in Rwanda were saying in the early 1990s. Responsible people do not talk like this. And yet suddenly it is everywhere on the left and not just the professional wackos pounding on the front door of Supreme Court. The line between dangerous extremist and U.S. senator is blurring on the left.
You’re half right, Tucker: Responsible people do not talk like this. No responsible network would allow this dangerous drumbeat. Recently, Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott claimed she wanted to dial down incendiary rhetoric. Instead, the network is turning up the flames.
As I have previously written, Pizzagate has proved that this kind of talk can provoke violence. Maybe getting out the vote is what these folks are only after. But it’s pretty clear they're skating dangerously close to provoking physical confrontation(s) – and that if it happens, you can count on them blaming the left.
Watch Carlson sound like a Rwandan Hutu who thinks you won’t notice if he projects enough of the hate speech elsewhere above, from the October 8, 2018 Tucker Carlson Tonight.
Crossposted at News Hounds.
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