The three prime time hosts at Fox News hosts invoked conspiracy theories and lobbed personal attacks about the appearances of Democrats lawmakers participating in the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump in lieu of attacking the substance of the testimony given on the first day of public hearings.
This article was first published in Salon.
After describing the hearing as a “complete and utter disaster” for Democrats in her opening monologue Wednesday night, host Laura Ingraham invited Raymond Arroyo, the conservative author and lead anchor for the news division of the Eternal Word Television Network, to discuss the public hearings with her.
The pair mocked the notion that there was “bombshell” testimony after playing clips of various media personalities attesting to as much. In fact, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine revealed new evidence linking Trump to efforts to pressure Ukraine to probe his political opponents.
Ingraham claimed that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., had a “priggish” presentation and “cat eyes.” Both commentators mocked Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., for how she pronounced the word “irregular” and drew attention to how Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Nevada, had a paperclip stuck in her hair.
After showing a picture of Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent with a large water bottle, Arroyo said, “Fish are not this hydrated.” Ingraham rhetorically asked, “Is he on the treadmill? What is this with the water bottle? Do you guys see that?”
Ingraham and Arroyo also mentioned that therapy dogs were reportedly brought to Capitol Hill to provide stress relief for participants in the impeachment hearings. They laughed at the fact that the therapy dogs were present at all, as did Sean Hannity during his opening monologue.
“A great day for the United States, for the country, for the president,” Hannity said. “A lousy day for the corrupt, do nothing for three years, radical, extreme, socialist Democrats and their top allies known as the media mob.”
After adding that the testimony on Wednesday “was even more pathetic, more desperate and actually worse” than former special counsel Robert Mueller’s supposedly “pathetic testimony” on Trump’s alleged collusion with the Russian government during the 2016 election, Hannity claimed that “it was such a disaster they actually brought in therapy dogs — not making this up.”
The dogs had, in fact, been brought in by Pet Partners and the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council. Their names, including: Lola, Spumoni and Zamboni.
Hannity also described Kent and the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, who testified on Wednesday, as “self-important, uncompelling, well, seemingly more important than they really are, bureaucrats.” Throughout his monologue, the Fox News host displayed graphics describing the testimony as “the worst show on earth” and a “three-ring circus.”
Carlson, during his hour, attempted to frame the impeachment as being an unsubstantiated “deep state” plot against the president.
“If you got stuck in an airport and happened to catch some of it, you can testify to how pointless and tiresome the whole thing was,” Carlson alleged. “If nothing else, it made you realize that Democrats really have no master plan for impeachment — whatever you may suspect. They clearly haven’t thought it through. They’re making it up as they go along, as most people in DC are, and in the end, impeachment almost certainly will hurt them. The whole premise is just too dumb not to hurt them.”
Carlson then speculated that the underlying reason for the impeachment inquiry was that Democrats and State Department bureaucrats disagree with Trump about U.S.-Russia relations. After describing the reason for impeaching Trump as being mysterious, Carlson questioned whether America should view protecting Ukraine from Russian aggression as vital to America’s national security interests. Democrats made it clear during the impeachment hearing that they were investigating whether Trump had attempted to pressured Ukraine to pursue a criminal investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, as well as locate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails.
“Russia poses no threat to the United States at all,” Carlson claimed.
However, in his report released earlier this year, former special counsel Robert Mueller concluded that the Russian government had engaged in “multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election. And that allegation deserves the attention of every American.”