Fox News announced on Monday that Jesse Watters would become the permanent host of their 7 p.m. hour in two weeks. No one was more disgusted than CNN, where Erin Burnett has been thumped by Fox in that hour by a rotating cast of substitute hosts for the last year.
Brian Stelter tweeted, "Jesse Watters is a logical choice for Fox's 7pm time slot — the evening schedule is now full of flame throwers — from Watters through to Greg Gutfeld." Oliver Darcy joined in: "The installment of Watters into the 7pm time slot cements a strategy Fox initiated soon after Trump lost re-election: Even more right-wing commentary, even less news."
Permit me to repeat that Stelter put an "expert" on his "Reliable Sources" show who proclaimed Donald Trump would kill more people than Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, and Mao Zedong combined. CNN has compared Trump to Hitler so often that it sounds like the Fake History Channel.
The night before the Stelter/Darcy flame-fest, this was the Sunday night schedule on CNN:
First, at 9 p.m.: "Fareed Zakaria's Special Report: The Fight To Save American Democracy." Then at 10 p.m.? "CNN Special Report, 'Trumping Democracy: An American Coup.'" At 11 p.m., another hour: "Attack on Democracy: The Roots of Trump's Insurrection."
Somehow, it's never "flame-throwing" to assert that Trump's echoing Hitler. Zakaria announced, "Donald Trump is not Adolf Hitler. But Weimar's death highlights a danger for all democracies, specifically the way conservative elites, determined to keep the left out of power, align themselves with an anti-democratic demagogue. The story in Germany began with a big lie."
Zakaria and his selected voices name-checked Hitler 24 times. At one point, Zakaria proclaimed, "Within weeks, Adolf Hitler made himself a dictator. And soon, he was killing off enemies and rivals, including many of the right-wing insiders who had enabled his rise. Democracy in Germany was dead."
Right next to that? A soundbite of Trump: "They'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong." This implies Trump endorsed killing off enemies and rivals. Zakaria added: "Its lessons for America are sobering."
Then, he aired Harvard professor Steven Levitsky smearing the conservative movement: "The willingness of mainstream conservatives to back into potentially authoritarian options, because of fear of their rivals, is something that I think we're seeing playing out in the United States today."
That's some serious flame-throwing.
This is a trend. In 2019, Zakaria dragged the conservatives with another Sunday night ragefest titled "State of Hate: The Explosion of White Supremacy." Explosion?
In 2016, Zakaria hosted a Sunday night special lauding Barack Obama and roasting his enemies as racially hostile fanatics. He preposterously concluded the show by claiming Obama's administration "was largely scandal-free, and he did it all the while under a microscope, because he looked different."
Benghazi, Fast and Furious, IRS abuse, Hillary Clinton's email server? Never happened.
The silliness and dishonesty didn't stop there. Van Jones underlined alleged Republican racism by claiming, "I can't name one thing that this Congress supported this president on in eight years. You have to have an extraordinary explanation for this level of obstruction."
So, taking down Osama bin Laden — the Republicans didn't support that? In fact, Congress under Republicans passed hundreds of laws that Obama signed.
Wildly exaggerating history would fit the CNN formula, to borrow from Darcy: less and less news, more and more left-wing rage.
Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org. To find out more about Tim Graham and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.