When Rep. Hakeem Jeffries addressed the U.S. Senate on Thursday night as part of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, there was a crucial difference between how Jeffries’ speech was covered on different cable news outlets: while CNN and MSNBC broadcast the speech, Fox News muted the speech while its pundits offered pro-Trump talking points. CNN and MSNBC allowed viewers to hear Jeffries making a compelling case for removing Trump from office; Fox News let viewers see Jeffries but not hear him. And that Trump-friendly way of covering the trial is the subject of an article journalist Aaron Rupar wrote for Vox this week.
“Starting with ‘The Five,’ the network’s early evening roundtable commentary show, and continuing throughout the evening, Fox News broadcast portions of screen-in-screen video of the trial,” Rupar explains in his Vox article. “But instead of playing the audio, network hosts provided the normal Trumpian spin. So while someone who just looked at the screen may have concluded Fox News was covering the trial, in fact it wasn’t covering it at all.”
Fox News, Rupar adds, “went as far as to broadcast screen-in-screen video of the trial during commercial breaks — but again, without the sound that was necessary to make any sense of what was being discussed.”
Fox News has the optics of covering the #ImpeachmentTrial without actually covering it. They've been showing screen-in-screen video of the proceedings without audio. Instead, hosts are providing Trumpian spin. It's propaganda giving the illusion of journalism. Remarkable. pic.twitter.com/NKbN2Sic1o
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 23, 2020
Step 1: Dems try repeatedly to get new evidence into the trial
Step 2: Republicans repeatedly vote it down
Step 3: Fox criticizes Dems for having no new evidence.
Rinse and repeat.
Fox's Jason Chaffetz: "It had nothing to do with proving the facts, there was no new evidence" pic.twitter.com/LSdPEKkzGE
— Lis Power (@LisPower1) January 23, 2020
Millions of Fox News viewers, Rupar points out, have been fed a steady diet of “propaganda” and misinformation during Trump’s impeachment trial.
“The 2.7 million people who have been watching Fox News’ impeachment trial coverage at any given time are being told a story about it that’s completely untethered from reality — one that reinforces America’s deep polarization between the roughly 50% of voters who want Trump removed from office and the 40 to 45% who continue to support him through scandal after scandal.”
Like Jeffries, Rep. Adam Schiff (the California Democrat who chairs the House Intelligence Committee) has, during the trial, made convincing arguments in favor of removing Trump from office for his impeachable offenses — which, according to Schiff, include trying to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, and withholding military aid to Ukraine in the hope of getting that investigation. Someone who watched MSNBC or CNN got to hear Schiff skillfully laying out fact after fact after fact showing that Trump committed impeachable offenses. But Fox News carnival barkers like Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, as Rupar points out in Vox, haven’t seriously addressed the facts Schiff presented — only insulted and defamed him.
Tucker Carlson began his show dismissing the #ImpeachmentTrial by comparing it to "a movie written & directed by children whose ending you already know, & by the way, it's 20 hours long, in Hungarian, with misspelled subtitles." That's how his viewers will process things. pic.twitter.com/0PXgxFuXNA
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 23, 2020
Fox News added scary music and, in one section, a red overtone to an Adam Schiff supercut from today pic.twitter.com/yV2wRdOG7d
— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) January 23, 2020
“There’s nothing Schiff could have said on Wednesday that Fox News’ evening and primetime hosts wouldn’t have spun as evidence of his mental instability, his obsession with taking down Trump,” Rupar asserts. “And while viewers were being spun on Wednesday, they were shown soundless video of the trial, the misleading implication being that they don’t have to bother watching it since Fox News is on top of it for them.”
Critics of sweeping policy changes always make one huge mistake: Robert Reich
In last Wednesday night’s Democratic debate, former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg charged that Senator Bernie Sanders’ policy proposals would cost $50 trillion. Holy Indiana.
Larry Summers, formerly chief White House economic advisor for Barack Obama, puts the price tag at $60 trillion. “We are in a kind of new era of radical proposal,” he told CNN.
By any means necessary: Trump’s prepared to cheat again in 2020 — and lie about it shamelessly
The presidential campaign is heating up and Democratic voters are wringing their hands trying to figure out which of their candidates is more likely to beat President Trump. Pundits have talked themselves in circles while strategists try to figure out which demographic mixture and turnout models will lead to victory as the number-crunchers slice and dice the polls to discover the most likely path to 270 votes in the Electoral College.
This isn't unusual but it is especially intense this time because most Democrats understand that Donald Trump is an existential crisis. Because of the nature of his implausible victory in 2016 and the surreal character of the last three years, they have lost confidence in their ability to understand politics at all.
The religious mourning of ‘Saint’ Kobe Bryant with Staples Center memorial
This morning, the 24th of February, tens of thousands of fans are set to gather at LA's Staples Center to mourn the passing of all-time NBA great Kobe Bryant who, along with his daughter Gianna Bryant and seven others, died tragically in a helicopter crash on the 26th of January.
This is, in fact, the official version of a spontaneous response that took place just days after Bryant’s untimely death, when thousands of fans gathered at the Staples Center to pay homage to the 18-time all-star. Flowers, photos, and candles were transported immediately by fans wearing Kobe’s jersey to create a memorialized space and share in the tragedy. Around the league, NBA games held moments of silence to recognize Kobe’s contribution to the sport, while individual players found ways to honor Bryant’s legacy. Some took symbolic penalties like a 24-second shot clock violation (Kobe wore number 24 for a significant portion of his career) while others broke down on the bench. Tributes emerged online as well as globally, including a court-sized mural depicting Bryant and his daughter in the Philippines. A man in North Carolina even made a custom casket in honor of Bryant that’s currently on display at the Staples Center.