Here's The Fox News Fantasy World Trump And Your Republican Mom Enjoyed Last Night
Tuesday was a tough day for Donald Trump. It seemed like everyone who'd been in his kitchen at some point was looking at serious jail time. Trump's campaign chairman Paul Manafort was convicted of multiple crimes (excluding, unfortunately, the greater offense of selling Trump on Mike Pence), and President Stable Genius's own personal attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to being just the type of lawyer you'd expect would work for Donald Trump. It's the sort of day where your average wannabe despot just wants to curl up in front of the TV with a pint of Ben & Jerry's and let the Calgon of news networks take him away.
First up was Tucker Carlson, who just couldn't comprehend campaign finance laws. "Is that illegal? How is that a crime?" he asked guest Alan Dershowitz, who patiently explained, as if speaking to a small child or someone bigger but dumber like Tucker Carlson, that yes, dingus, it's a crime but not an easy one to prove. Insert Lucille Bluth wink here.
Then lord have mercy, Sean Hannity showed his face. That blowhard's got his own troubles right now because his lawyer also just pleaded guilty to multiple felonies. What are the chances? Pretty damn good when they're the exact same person. An ethical news organization might suggest Hannity take the night off, but -- LOL! -- this is Fox, so they just let him rant for an hour as he turned all the known shades of red.
Hannity attacked Robert Mueller's unfair and relentless "persecution not prosecution" of Paul Manafort, who "only" worked for the Trump campaign for, like, 100 days (and, seriously, literally picked the current vice president). He couldn't fathom how an investigation into collusion with Russia would lead to convictions for bank fraud. This is because Hannity is a moron who doesn't understand how the law works. Or maybe he does and is just annoyed when it also applies to folks other than random black people on the street whom the cops "stop and frisk." ("Oh, you have some pot on you? I was just looking for Russian collusion. No harm done. Have a nice day. Cheerio!")
He also was stunned that Cohen was busted for two "minor" campaign finance violations, which I repeat are felonies. Maybe there are some felonies out there that Roy Moore wants to fuck, but Cohen didn't mess around with those. Hannity insisted that if people who worked for Trump and his campaign were in a legal shithole, it had "zero to do with Donald Trump or the Trump campaign." That's just math. He blasted the mainstream media for its "false reporting, speculation and hysteria," which was a fitting segue to the "lock her up" portion of the program. After treating viewers to a montage of spooky liberals who've done "far worse" than Cohen and Manafort because they are Democrats (duh!), Hannity claimed there was a "two-tiered justice system." I expected him to take a knee for the rest of the broadcast.
"In today's two-tiered justice system, as a Democrat, clearly you can commit financial fraud and get away with it. By the way, that's just the tip of the iceberg."
One guess who the metaphorical iceberg is.
"First of all, you can mishandle and destroy classified information, which violates the Espionage Act... and then you can delete subpoenaed emails ... 33,000 of them and acid-wash your hard drive ... and eliminate the evidence, and have your aide smash up your devices with hammers, and get away with it... And you can even have an exoneration written months before you're even investigated and get away with it..."
I think Hannity's own gravestone will read "Why wasn't this Hillary Clinton?" He did concede there were some "lessons" to learn from Mueller's "witch hunt": Don't lie to the FBI, pay your taxes, don't lie on a bank application, and "don't be friends with Donald Trump." Buddy, I've been operating under these guidelines since, like, 1988.
The panel on Laura Ingraham's white power hour discussed Cohen and Manafort for about 10 minutes before moving on to the boogey man of illegal immigration. Mollie Tibbetts was a University of Iowa psychology student who vanished last month, and Cristhian Bahena Rivera is expected to be charged Wednesday with her murder. Rivera is Mexican and came to the US illegally.
Lowlifes like Ingraham are exploiting Tibbetts's horrible death in their efforts to slime illegal immigration or perhaps more to the point brown immigration. Are all or even most illegal immigrants out there brutally murdering white women? Of course not. How much air time has Ingraham devoted to Chris Watts, the Colorado man who confessed to murdering his pregnant wife and their two daughters? Or the hundreds of American women shot this summer by their partners? Or the Parkland kids? Wait, we take that one back.
Fox's top story on its home page Monday night was Tibbetts, whose alleged killer wasn't even identified by name. He was just called "illegal immigrant," like a particularly brash rapper unconcerned whether anyone from INS listens to his dope tracks. Note that all articles on Watts maintain his individuality and humanity. Fox ran with the Tibbetts case during the actual sort-of-real news part of their programming. "The Five" co-host Dana Perino claimed, without evidence, that Americans were more concerned about illegal immigrants murdering them in their beds (I'm exaggerating slightly) than they were with any supposed emphasis-on-"white"-collar "crimes" Cohen and Manafort might've committed. This was a "speak directly into the camera at Trump watching from home" moment. No matter how perilous his legal status is at the moment, he can always count on his friends at Fox delivering him gift-wrapped talking points.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle.