This was an eye-opening story in yesterday’s New York Times (you can read it below from the AP site) which opens the possibility that Trump just possibly went too far for a few of his come hell or high water supporters at Fox News:
Tucker Carlson, the network’s conservative 8 p.m. host, upbraiding the White House for its attempts to justify the killing of a top military commander in Iran.
“It’s hard to remember now, but as recently as last week, most people didn’t consider Iran an imminent threat,” Carlson said at the start of his Monday show, going on to mock Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, for saying intelligence agencies had identified an undefined Iranian threat.
“Seems like about 20 minutes ago, we were denouncing these people as the ‘deep state’ and pledging never to trust them again without verification,” Carlson told viewers, eyebrow arched. “Now, for some reason, we do trust them — implicitly and completely.”
At 9 p.m., Fox News made way for the pro-Trump commentary of Sean Hannity, who declared “the world is safer” after the death of the commander, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
But Carlson’s dissent showed how a right-wing media world that typically moves in lock step with the president has struggled to reconcile Trump’s surprise escalation with his prior denunciations of open-ended conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Stephen Bannon said: “This is a very complicated issue, and the people who support President Trump, from Tucker Carlson all the way to Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham, are really trying to work through this. What you’re seeing now — live on television, live on radio — is people working through what this means.” Bannon also said that a war could threaten Trump’s support among “working-class, middle-class people, particularly people whose sons and daughters actually fight in these wars.”
He went on: “Why was it necessary to kill this guy and to kill him now and to exacerbate the military issues, given the fact that President Trump looks to us as someone who’s not trigger-happy? That still has to be explained. I don’t know if it’s the president addressing the nation. I don’t know if it’s the president getting on ‘Fox & Friends.’ But clearly, at some point and time, the president’s got to walk through not just what his logic was, but also where he wants to take this.”
On “Fox & Friends” the New Times article tells us that Brian Kilmeade told Geraldo Rivera he was “elated” by the news of the Soleimani assassination. Rivera responded by referring to the false intelligence peddled by the George W. Bush administration to justify the Iraq War. He said, “don’t for a minute start cheering this on.”
Could Trump’s putting the United States on the brink of a hot Middle East war be the first fissure in the blind support for everything Trump says and does at Fox News with three popular personalities breaking ranks with the others?
I rather doubt it. It would be too good to be true. I suspect this will be a flash in the pan and they will soon return to marching in lockstep to the Trump drumbeat.
However, it is possible that if Trump decides he needs to wag the dog again and escalates the war without provable and significant provocation Fox New will no longer be a reliable bastion of unquestioning Trump support.
I saw the segment on Morning Joe which had Republican Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee saying that the briefing the White House gave about the justification for the Soleimani assassination was one of the worst they ever heard in their lives. I wondered if or how Fox News had covered this. Here’s their article.
Check the coverage on Fox here: