This may come as something of a shock, gentle reader, but it turns out Fox News has been willfully lying and misrepresenting on its airwaves.
And, no, this time we’re not talking about Sean Hannity endorsing the Big Lie, and we’re not talking about Tucker Carlson’s absolutely ridiculous (repeated (and repeated)) claims that the January 6th riots at the Capitol were a false flag operation. We’re not even talking about Laura Ingraham’s claims that Covid restrictions in the U.S. are somehow equivalent to Nazi Germany!
No, the current Fox faux outrage du jour is the recently released Durham Probe: specifically, the Mainstream Media’s unwillingness to play along with covering it.
But even acknowledging that Fox is always the tail that wags the Republican dog, and that, this week in particular, as they attempt to distract from the meltdown that was last week’s RNC’s censure of Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, there’s an extra incentive to wag that dog hard enough to grift Fox’s siloed viewers into an extra frothy zombie fury, there’s something about this story that just feels…dumb.
First, Fox News published this basely inaccurate story to its website accusing Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign of paying to “infiltrate” the Trump White House in an attempt to link Trump to Russia, and then it hammered the lie again and again in its primetime programming. That this is basically the Fox News equivalent of throwing so much mud against the wall that eventually some will have to stick might have gone without saying, if not for the extra, extra, extra, self-satisfied response that it churned up among Fox’s favorite personalities online.
“Don’t even mention Wategate to me again!” shrieks Sebastian Gorka, on Twitter.
“Trust Durham.” demands George Papadopolous.
“They spied on President Trump.” asserts the laughable Jim Jordan, who was so enthusiastic for this story that he appeared personally on Fox News to complain about it, and has either Tweeted or reTweeted about it upwards of 18 times (and counting).
“CLINTON CAMPAIGN SPYING” blurts Sean Hannity in a delighted pitch to viewers to tune in tonight for “a major update to […the] bombshell.”
“Day 2 of #Hillarygate and still no msm coverage other than @FoxNews and @NYPost.” complains Laverne Spicer, a Florida Congressional candidate, evidently unaware that no less-credible coverage exists than the two outlets she mentions.
Or, take it from the man who stands to benefit from lopsided coverage of this fake story the most, former President Donald Trump: “Can you imagine that, what should be the biggest story of our time, bigger than Watergate, is getting absolutely no mention, ZERO, in the New York Times, Washington Post, ABC Fake News, NBC Fake News, CBS Fake News, ratings-dead CNN, and MSDNC…” Trump said in a statement.
The list literally goes on and on. Hundreds, maybe thousands more posts to message boards and Twitter and Facebook from delightedly “outraged” conservatives nationwide.
Now, let’s take just a short second to debunk this stupid story:
Here’s The New York Times’ explanation of why it’s stupid, a non-story, and certainly nothing that “proves” anything about Hillary Clinton or Trump having been spied on. Annnnnnd, guess what?
“The entire narrative appeared to be mostly wrong or old news — the latest example of the challenge created by a barrage of similar conspiracy theories from Mr. Trump and his allies.”
“The conservative media also skewed what the filing said. For example, Mr. Durham’s filing never used the word “infiltrate.” And it never claimed that Mr. Joffe’s company was being paid by the Clinton campaign.”
“Most important, contrary to the reporting, the filing never said the White House data that came under scrutiny was from the Trump era. According to lawyers for David Dagon, a Georgia Institute of Technology data scientist who helped develop the Yota analysis, the data — so-called DNS logs, which are records of when computers or smartphones have prepared to communicate with servers over the internet — came from Barack Obama’s presidency.”
And, I mean it, LOLLLLLLLL. So the actual filing not only didn’t implicate the Clinton campaign in any wrongdoing, but the “spying” that was going on wasn’t even “spying” on Trump, it was “spying” on Obama?
Unsurprisingly, “A spokesman for Mr. Durham declined to comment.”