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While we were out on vacation much of the week, we were blessedly unaware that Fox News anchors Shep Smith and Tucker Carlson had had a knockdown-drag-out news/opinion fight over two days, complete with bitter snittiness (Carlson) and a very good How Dare You, Sir, I Say Good Day (Smith). It culminated in a warning from management to Smith that if the News Side kept back-sassing the Opinion Side, Smith would be removed from the air, so don't you believe it at all if you hear Mother Murdoch tell you she loves all her children equally.

On Tuesday, Shep Smith, representing the embattled reality-based side of Fox, chatted with former judge Andrew Napolitano, who said hells yes, Donald Trump asking the president of Ukraine to please look for dirt on Joe Biden was illegal AF.


Napolitano: Trump's admitted contact with Ukraine is a crime youtu.be

This was before the not-a-transcript of the call was released, but just to be clear, Smith asked, the thing Donald Trump had already admitted he'd done was a crime, yes?

Why yes indeed, Napolitano said, it's "the same crime for which the Trump Organization was investigated by Bob Mueller [...] An agreement or a solicitation for assistance for an American campaign, regulated by the Federal Election Commission, where you are seeking the assistance from a foreign government, that's the crime."

That evening, Carlson brought on his show another Fox News lawyer, Joe diGenova, who explained presidents can't commit crimes, and Andrew Napolitano is a fool, for failing to recognize this basic truth.

I think Judge Napolitano is a fool and I think what he said today is foolish. No, it is not a crime. Let me underscore emphatically that nothing that the president said on that call or what we think he said on that call constitutes a crime and even if he had said you're not going to get the money, it would not be a crime.

Why is it not a crime? It's really quite simple: It is not a crime. Because. Also, Nancy Pelosi didn't really open an impeachment inquiry, because she didn't hold a vote on it, and besides, she isn't the speaker anymore. Trump said so.

Wednesday afternoon, Smith had Napolitano back on, and they rehashed what a "campaign" is and why it can't get "help" from a foreign government, which we understand is a real law somehow. Smith also did some editorializing, saying that one Fox law talker guy calling another Fox law talker guy foolish is repugnant, plus also a lot of other Fox law talkers agree with Napolitano.

You will almost certainly guess who Carlson's very special guest was that night! Yes, it was his own inflated ego and pretended sense of outrage, followed by Joe diGenova, who agreed that it's very "partisan" to talk about the "law" if it doesn't support Donald Trump. Carlson emphasized that he's never had a partisan thought in his life, and it's very unfair to be partisan like "some of our day-side hosts," not that he's mentioning any names.

Carlson was very, very outraged at all the fighting, why can't we get along? But is there any crime? Heck no, diGenova explained, because the Constitution says everything the executive branch does is very legal and very cool:

Now, let me sort of educate Judge Napolitano. The president of the United States is the executive branch under Article II. He is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States. He can ask anyone—a citizen, a foreign leader—a question. He can make a suggestion about an investigation because he runs them.

The whole thing ended with Carlson lamenting that all that nasty partisanship from the News Side was making people cynical:

When you dress up news coverage, when you dress up, rather, partisanship as news coverage, and pretend that your angry political opinions are news, you know, people tune out.

Or at least it makes Fox News viewers tune out, because news that looks bad for Donald Trump is not news. Carlson summed up that the viewers, his smart, unbrainwashed viewers who are not partisan, "know dishonesty when they see it."

And Carlson got the last word, because according to Gabe Sherman at Vanity Fair, Fox honchos told Smith Thursday to leave poor Tucker ALOOOONE:

Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott and president Jay Wallace communicated to Smith this morning to stop attacking Carlson, a person briefed on the conversation said. "They said if he does it again, he's off the air," the source said. (Fox News spokesperson Irena Briganti denied that management had any direct conversation with Smith).

And now no one will ever be dishonest to Fox News viewers again.

[Slate / Vanity Fair]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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