Democrats should not be wasting their time by appearing on Fox News. There is no upside to subjecting oneself to the abuse and dishonesty that is the core of Fox’s editorial mission. Fox News has demonstrated repeatedly that they have no interest in presenting fair coverage of Democrats or liberal policies. And now more than ever, they exist to promote Donald Trump and to malign his critics.
If anyone needs further proof that Fox News is anathema to progressive politics, or any expressions of truth, they only need to look at the interview of Amer Zahr, a Bernie Sanders surrogate, that was conducted on Fox Wednesday morning (video below). Host Ed Henry seemed determined to misrepresent the positions of Sanders in the most deceitful terms imaginable. He framed his questions with overt bias asking Zahr to address “not just the plans that are socialist in nature, but the fact that Bernie Sanders on that stage continues to defend the regime of Fidel Castro.” Which Sanders has not done.
It’s fair to say that Sanders displayed some rather impolitic instincts by allowing that Castro’s Cuba did advance certain social policies that included access to education and healthcare. But that’s a long ways from defending his regime. It’s just bad form to appear to be complimenting a dictator, even if the comment is true. But then, after a long and slanted lead in, Henry enumerated some of Castro’s atrocities (murder, rape, imprisonment) and asked the preposterous question, “How do you defend that?” Well, of course, no one defends that. And the very phrasing of the question to imply that Zahr or Sanders does defend it is just plain repulsive. Zahr offered a more elaborate reply:
“It is almost as if maybe you guys weren’t listening to Bernie Sanders last night and what he said repeatedly which is that — and the same thing President Obama said — which is, there were some good things that came out of what he did but authoritarianism which he practiced and Bernie Sanders was very clear that Fidel Castro was an authoritarian, that that should be denounced at every turn, that dissent should be allowed and shouldn’t be imprisoned. He said that over and over again.”
But Henry wasn’t going to be deterred from his mission of noxious slander. He followed up by outright lying that Sanders said that “he’s OK with socialism and communism.” Which, of course, Sanders never said. So Zahr replied with surprise and disgust that…
“You guys have to stop lying on the air. He didn’t say he’s OK with socialism and communism. That’s just not true. He said he is not OK with authoritarianism wherever it happens. And you guys want to throw around these terms, that’s fine, the truth is our ideas are popular with the American people, these are progressive ideas.”
Stung by reality, Henry tried to dismiss the garbage he had been spewing by pretending that “I’m asking a question.” But as Zahr noted, “It’s a ridiculous question.” Henry was, in fact, building a false narrative to undermine Sanders and the Democrats. He could not have been more obvious and offensive.
This however, is an object lesson on why Democrats need to shun Fox News. They will be subjected to this treatment every time. What possible benefit is there to suffering through such abuse? You are not going to change the minds of any Fox News cult viewers. You are only letting Fox exploit you to affect some measure of credibility. And while some of the responses by Zahr were satisfying and admirable, they do not justify having lowered oneself into the Fox abyss of lies.
The Sanders campaign has an odd relationship with Fox News that is somewhat self-destructive. On the one hand they recognize that Fox is profoundly biased and dishonest. They know that Fox produces stories like the one just two days ago that claimed that Sanders was to blame for the stock market crash. (no, really). On the other hand, Sanders’ campaign manager recently made the bizarre comment that Fox News is more fair to Sanders than MSNBC. But this interview is the best evidence that that is not only untrue, it’s downright delusional.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.