The president seems really concerned of late that his favored cable outlet, Fox News, isn’t doing his bidding as thoroughly as he’s come to expect.
“We have to start looking for a new News Outlet,” Trump tweeted this past week. “Fox isn’t working for us anymore!”
Oh yes they are. You need look no further than an event planned this fall at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Bellevue.
In an act of stunning tone-deafness, the local branch of the Republican Party, the King County GOP, is headlining its big annual fundraiser with a leading Fox News host, Jeanine Pirro.
Tickets to the party’s Liberty Dinner in October are $150, with $300 scoring a meet and greet with Judge Jeanine along with a signed copy of her new book: “Radicals, Resistance, and Revenge: The Left’s Plot to Remake America.”
Paying a media figure to raise money for a political party like this is a terrible idea all around — for the media outlet, and, in this case even more so, for the political party, too.
For the media outlet, it shifts what you’re doing from legit journalistic commentary into propaganda. It means you’re not independent anymore — you’re a cog in the machine you’re supposed to be covering or opining about.
“First of all, Mr. President, we don’t work for you,” an incensed Fox News anchor, Neil Cavuto, said Thursday in response to Trump’s taunts.
No? If your hosts are out there getting paid to raise money for the president’s reelection, or for the Republican Party in general, then by definition, you are. You’re at least working alongside him.
Fox itself seemed to realize it had crossed over this bright line last fall when Pirro and fellow network host Sean Hannity shared the stage with Trump at a rally.
“Fox News does not condone any talent participating in campaign events,” the network said then. “This was an unfortunate distraction and has been addressed.”
That statement was either bogus, or has since been disregarded. The King County GOP has already fronted Pirro’s speaking agent $26,250 for the upcoming Liberty Dinner appearance, state campaign finance records show. The whole purpose of the dinner is to build the party and raise money for political campaigns — which is why I was able to find the payment in the campaign finance database.
So Fox is a paid partner of the Republican Party, and vice versa. At least our campaign finance laws work to shine light on arrangements like this.
The setup is even more damaging, though, to the reputation of the King County GOP than it is to Fox. It’s more proof the local party is doubling down on Trumpism, even as Trumpism drives it extinct.
Pirro is known as the “judge who speaks Trump’s language.” In the spring she got reprimanded by her own network, and lost some advertisers, for suggesting that Rep. Ilhan Omar’s wearing of a hijab means the congresswoman adheres to Sharia law and opposes the U.S. Constitution.
This past week she went off on a conspiratorial harangue about how “illegals” are coming here not for a better life, but to “replace” citizens for political purposes.
“Their plan … is to bring in the illegals, change the way the voting occurs in this country, give them licenses,” she said on a Fox radio show. “Think about it. It is a plot to remake America, to replace American citizens with illegals that will vote for the Democrats.”
This is close enough to what the El Paso mass shooter had said in his manifesto about an invasion of immigrants displacing real Americans that Pirro’s remarks drew a rebuke from the Anti-Defamation League.
“Alarming that Jeanine Pirro is repeating the appalling anti-immigrant rhetoric used by white supremacists,” the group’s president said.
Why, why, why, local Republicans, are you aligning yourselves with noxious stuff like this? Just the continued use of the word “illegals” is low down, as it turns an adjective into a noun solely to dehumanize.
When I wrote this past week that the Republican brand is cratering in the state, the former GOP Secretary of State, Sam Reed, pushed back. His stance is that local GOP elected officials are mostly good, upstanding people and shouldn’t be tarred by the occasional extremes.
“You are throwing out red herrings when you characterize our state’s Republicans by who speaks to a dinner,” Reed said. “Do speakers get invited to political party fundraisers to appeal to the broad cross section of voters? No. They are looking for red meat to fill the seats.”
True, but the meat here isn’t just red. It’s gone rancid. It seems to me Republicans will struggle in elections around here until they can tell the difference.