No matter how much we cheer on Shepard Smith or Andrew Napolitano for standing up for truth and accountability on Fox News in the age of Trump, most fans are watching when the pro-Trump propaganda airs in the morning and at night.
Robert Leonard, news director for two radio stations in Iowa, explained what anyone who watches Fox (or reads this blog so you don’t have to) should already know: that many American conservatives don’t just support Trump, they see him as a hero.
Appearing on CNN’s Reliable Sources yesterday, Leonard talked about the different views of impeachment in his neck of the heartland:
LEONARD: Well, the Democrats smell blood in the water and they're very excited. A lot of them are happy the trigger was finally pulled because Trump has done a lot of things in their mind that are impeachable.
Some of the independents are moving away from Trump especially people that actually voted for Obama twice then Trump.
But most of the conservatives I know, especially the evangelical, religious right conservatives, are standing strong behind President Trump because he is a kind of a golden hammer that's what's needed to break what they see as the liberal stranglehold on our society that's dismantling America, as they see it, brick by brick.
Host Brian Stelter held up a column Leonard wrote a few years ago for The New York Times, headlined, “Want to Get Rid of Trump? Only Fox News Can Do It.” It was written in July, 2017 when the possibility of impeaching Trump rested on the Mueller investigation. Noting that Sean Hannity probably had more power in an impeachment process than then-Speaker of the House Paul Ryan or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Leonard further wrote:
Even if the investigation turns up clear evidence of presidential misconduct, I believe it would be impossible for the party to consider impeachment without Fox’s support. The first Republicans to even mention impeachment would probably be vilified by Fox and find themselves facing an angry constituency and a primary opponent next election. Yet if Fox turns, it’s inevitable.
Leonard told Stelter that is still “absolutely true” two years later.
LEONARD: But I've got to be more specific this time. Fox News has turned. It's a very different beast than it was a couple of years ago when I wrote that. Now they're starting to point out some of the problems with President Trump's behavior, his actions. Fox opinion, however, hasn't.
And even Tucker Carlson's little sidestep the other day didn't really mean anything because most of us don't see Fox News per se, we see Fox opinion. It's Fox & Friends in the morning, it's Tucker and Sean at night. By the time we have the kids, grandkids put to bed, sit down after supper, it's all opinion. And so Fox opinion would have to change big and I don't see that happening unless we see something truly egregious that would move my Republican friends.
But it's going to take a lot. They really think that the personal qualities, his willingness to break all rules and expectations of the presidency are what is needed, no other Republican could have done what he's done for the evangelical right, the Republican right that he's done. Everybody else would have been too conventional. He's a kind of hero still.
LEONARD: The thing -- what's ultimately going to solve this current problem I think and what's going to -- our only solution is the truth. And that's the truth that will win at the end.
Republished with permission from Newshounds.