Curling into his Fox News cocoon

Was it Moe? Or Larry or Curly?

I had to roll the tape in my head to determine which Stooge our president portrayed as he climbed his figurative hook and ladder to advise Paris on how to save Notre Dame Cathedral from destruction.

That he offered himself at all brought to mind a scene from the 1963 comedy classic, “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” where the Three Stooges face a fiery calamity with blank stares.

Cathedral aflame? Trump took time out of his governing day to advise the French to use “flying water tankers.”

Bad idea, said those who knew what they were talking about. A big water drop would cause the church’s walls to collapse and also ruin anything still reclaimable.

Such is the privilege of the know-it-all in-chief. Rest assured, Trump’s water-dump strategy was portrayed as a stroke of genius that day on Fox News.

The rest of the world cringes when he tweets, but he thrives on a kindred audience of people with opinions, backed up by nothing. Skillfully, he channels every grunt and gripe of the arm-chair set. As does Fox News.

After the release of Robert Mueller’s findings, I saw a man-on-the-street interview in which one individual, clearly versed by all things Fox, called the investigation “a joke.” Sadly, the interviewer didn’t ask, “Could you tell me why?”

Even if the probe hasn’t (yet) produced an indictment of this president, it resulted in 34 others, with several convictions: a scandal of Himalayan proportions.

As Washington Post media critic Paul Farhi pointed out, the Mueller report “largely validated news reports that Trump disparaged.” Translation: That “fake news” was mostly on the nose.

As Mitt Romney is our witness – “sickened at the extent and pervasiveness of the dishonesty and misdirection” – the fakery is all on the other foot, whether it came from the slippery tongue of Sarah Sanders or just about anyone else who ever presented Trump’s case to the people – Fox News especially.

There was Sanders – the day after the Mueller report blistered her for lying about the pretext for firing James Comey – getting an aloe sponge bath from Sean Hannity. Yes, Sarah. Take your time to explain away nearly two years of steady and dedicated prevarication.

It would be an interesting exercise for Hannity, Tucker Carlson and Co. to ponder what the Fox News spiel would be if even one page of Mueller’s 400-plus pages, even one of the 10 instances of possible obstruction identified by Mueller, applied to malfeasance alleged against Barack Obama.

Don’t forget the crimes attested to by Trump’s fixer, Michael Cohen: insurance fraud, bank fraud and tax fraud among them. What if Hillary Clinton’s former attorney had alleged the same?

Don’t ask “Fox and Friends.” Here, however, is what Ryan Goodman, who teaches law at New York University, told NPR about what Mueller found:

“Any American but for the president would be indicted for these actions.”

“A big joke,” says Mr. Fox News Viewer. Hmm. That’s interesting. So, it was a big joke that, as Mueller writes, “without a doubt” Russia engaged in a massive attack on our elections system to ensure Trump’s election, far exceeding hacked emails and Wikileaks (which at various points Trump said he loved; now he knows nothing about it – no-thing).

That attack included attempts to compromise state elections systems. That attack included attempts to broker an end to sanctions on Russia from Team Trump before Trump actually gained office.

What do you say, Mr. Fox News Viewer? It’s all a joke?

Sadly, the only joke is the man who remains our president until we can remove him.

So, back on that imaginary red fire truck, siren wailing, which of the Stooges is he? Of course he’s the one in the bangs, the one barking the orders.

He’s the one holding the high-pressure nozzle, with Curly (Sean Hannity) and Larry (Tucker Carlson) holding the hose.

Longtime Texas newspaperman John Young now lives in Colorado.

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