Brian Stelter’s second book raining fire on Fox – Network of Lies – is coming out next week, but he appeared on MSNBC’s Alex Wagner Tonight on Thursday night to promote it. Somehow, in the seven-plus minutes of Fox-bashing, they didn’t discuss Stelter’s old network CNN having its freelancer literally kissed by a Hamas terrorist. That’s an inconvenient truth for Mr. Facts First.
Instead, MSNBC put on screen Stelter’s hot quote that “Fox is the black widow at the center of the web of lies that pervert American politics.” You can’t call CNN “fake news,” but you can compare Fox to a dangerously venomous spider.
Stelter’s book is in part a compilation of all the frantic internal communications over a short period when Fox aired embarrassing segments spreading wild conspiracy theories about Trump winning in a landslide. Some of those texts are explicit acknowledgments that this was fake news.
So let’s fast forward to the part where Stelter and Wagner address the current status of Fox and Trump.
Wagner asked “Does Fox, I mean, is all forgiven? And to what do you feel like Fox feels like it needs to actively curry favor with Trump? I ask that because it’s interesting in and of itself. But because there’s going to be January 6, 2025?”
This, on the network that hires their program hosts right out of the Biden White House public relations department, from Psaki to Symone. That illustrates a close relationship between a president and a network.
Stelter said yes, Fox is still currying favor, and the turned to a quote of Rupert Murdoch recounting a conversation where Trump told him “You’re 90 percent good at Fox, but I need you to be 100 percent good. And Murdoch says you can’t have that. Of course, that’s very self-aggrandizing for Rupert, blowing off the president of the United States, saying you can’t have 100 percent. But the reality is Fox is 100 percent in Trump’s corner, and if it’s not now, it will be by the general election.”
Wagner then said “it’s just staggering that there is no semblance of contrition on the part of Fox,” like paying $787 million doesn’t count. “In fact, if anything, it’s doubling down on helping things spread, the misinformation, the lies, and really being guilty of mendacity.” So they’re still saying Trump won bigly?
Stelter uncorked a comical line, that Trump’s current lead in public polls shows that people have forgotten the Trump years. Or….they remember them as better than now, Brian.
STELTER: I sometimes feel like the country is facing memory loss, suffering memory loss, or at least some folks, some subset of the country has forgotten what the years 2017 through 2020 were actually like. That maybe it was too traumatic to be willing to remember. We’ve buried some of those experiences, ‘cause when we look at these polls that show Trump ahead of Biden with more leadership skills, with greater mental acuity. You wonder, have we all forgotten about 2017 and 2018? Some people have because it’s convenient for the Fox stars to pretend those scandals never happened.
Wagner and Stelter won’t discuss all of the misinformation that CNN and MSNBC uncorked in the Trump years, from the years of spreading Russian collusion conspiracy theories to the suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop, falsely dismissed as Russian disinformation. “Networks of Lies” could describe that period for them.