On what planet (other than Planet Establishment), is it okay for a news organization to ridicule, not only a presidential frontrunner, but also the candidate’s supporters? As you read the statement (below) released by Fox News yesterday, ask yourself if the Republican presidential field would accept such a snide and condescending attack from the likes of a CNN or NBC News:
We learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president — a nefarious source tells us that Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings.
Tell me more about the Fair and Balanced.
In an earlier post, I pointed out how strategically stupid this move was by the once-infallible Fox News. But take a step back and think about just how outrageous such a thing is from a national news outlet, especially an outlet just 2 days from hosting a crucially important presidential debate that includes the target of this childishness.
Now take another step back with the realization that not a single one of the Republican presidential candidates have come to Trump’s defense, or even had the moral courage to criticize Fox’s behavior.
No one is their own man anymore.
No one has the moxie to Rage Against The Machine.
No one has the courage to face any kind of fire from our dug-in political class.
No one except Trump.
And this is why he is winning.
Republicans have been praying for a presidential candidate who will refuse to play by rules designed to protect a failed status quo.
In the wake of Fox News’s indefensible behavior, it should surprise no one that the martini sippers among the Republican Establishment Commentariat are okay with it. Obviously, had any other news outlet released the exact same statement, these exact same people would drop their martinis and grab a pitchfork. But these are elites and elite-wannabes who need Fox News — need to be on the Thought Leader Payroll and desperately need the exposure, especially when there’s a book to sell.
Cronies gunna crony.
Never would I have dreamed, though, that other Republican presidential candidates would assume the kamikaze position in siding with Fox News — Home of the Rove! — over one of their own.
I’m especially gobsmacked by Ted Cruz, who upon learning Trump had withdrawn from Thursday’s debate, sounded as though he had been possessed by Nelson Rockefeller. It is as though Trump’s ruthless attacks on the Texas senator dried up his better angels.
“And if he thinks Megyn Kelly is so scary, what exactly does he think he’d do with Vladimir Putin? I promise you Putin is a lot scarier than Megyn Kelly,” Cruz said (among other things). Earlier that same day, no less than Jeb Bush said almost exactly the same thing: “Do you know who else is scared of tough [questions] from Fox & @megynkelly? Barack Obama. Enough whining.”
Rand Paul told Fox News that Trump’s absence is “all the better for the country, really, as far as I’m concerned. I’m looking forward to it.”
Has Trump built such a large Trump Tower in the head of his rivals that they have suddenly lost touch with a GOP base that does have the moral consistency to see that this kind of biased attack against a frontrunner and his supporters is just as wrong coming from a Fox News as it is a MSNBC?
Our field was simply marvelous in that CNBC debate. In a summation of moderator John Harwood’s appalling bias, piece by piece, Cruz took the man apart in front of the whole wide world. The rest of the Republican field then joined hands to finish the job. It was poetry. It was glorious.
But now the herd is siding with Fox News, and doing so during a year of revolution, a year of anti-Establishment fervor, a year when voters are so exhausted and brutalized by business-as-usual, they are siding with a billionaire businessman and a 285 year-old socialist from Vermont.
And this is why we lose.
Republicans are programmed — it is in their DNA to cater, to bow, to scrape to their Media Overlords.
As more and more voters swarm to an imperfect iconclast named Donald Trump, his rivals reflexively join the martini sippers to circle the temple.
It is not just wrong, it is terrible politics.