For years, the idea that one major news outlet could be outside of the mainstream media’s complete control has absolutely infuriated the left and its Swamp-based allies. For almost a quarter-century, “progressive” groups have funneled millions into an as-yet futile effort to topple Fox News, the number-one-rated cable news network.
While its also-ran competitors dutifully ran DNC or even CCP talking points (CNN was recently caught in the act), Fox News remained independent, featuring largely conservative and moderate viewpoints unseen elsewhere.
To counter its growing threat to their dominance, organizations such as Media Matters For America and others were formed to monitor programming and feed anti-Fox News talking points to major newspapers and other media outlets. Bankrolled in part by billionaire George Soros, Media Matters singles out primetime hosts during targeted pressure campaigns against network advertisers.
Media Matters is said to be behind a series of New York Times articles that led to the downfall of primetime fixture Bill O’Reilly in 2017. Since then, “progressive” groups have exploited major news events to launch coordinated smear efforts against the network using social and earned media. Long-term damage has remained elusive.
Not about to let a global crisis go to waste, left-wing activists are at it again, This time, rather than merely criticize it, they’re going nuclear, using the courts in an attempt to sue Fox News out of existence.
Because leftists see differing viewpoints as personally offensive and dangerous, they believe that Fox News’s early, far-too-independent thinking during the initial national COVID-19 response made them partly “responsible” for the pain and suffering of those testing positive. As it essentially accuses Fox of murder, making a semi-coherent case for this madness requires real imagination and a reckless disregard for the truth.
Rival news outlets, including the New York Times, have happily jumped on this bandwagon. An April 18th piece, for example, blamed prime-time host Sean Hannity for spreading misinformation that led to the death of Brooklyn bar owner Joe Joyce – despite the fact that the quote in question was made one-week after the man left on a cruise where he contacted COVID-19.
An earlier piece ran with a screaming headline on proclaiming “Alarm, Denial, Blame: The Pro-Trump Media’s Coronavirus Distortion.” In the baffling, conspiratorial piece that followed, the Times accused Fox hosts of a four-step propaganda effort led by a “Blame China” approach.
It saw a direct connection between the network and White House policy:
“Fox News became a launching pad for the idea of halting travel from China, which guests like Sen. Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, urged while also at times suggesting that the virus had been created in a Chinese government laboratory not far from the epicenter of the outbreak. On Jan. 31, the Trump administration said it would bar entry by most foreign citizens who had recently visited China.”
Exactly where the Times believes this virus originated isn’t clear (apparently not in Wuhan), but attacking Fox News for failing to parrot Chinese Communist Party talking points is bizarre. In addition, if the Trump administration and Fox hosts are in agreement, how is that unreasonable or even unusual? The network has stuck to its guns, however, with an April 15 story revealing a “Growing belief that coronavirus originated in Wuhan lab”.
Vanity Fair has followed the Times with a gleeful piece proclaiming Fox News hosts “successfully bamboozled viewers about coronavirus.” Now, they continue, “Fox is reportedly lawyering up for a potential legal backlash.”
The piece describes a “consumer complaint” filed by the Washington League for Increased Transparency and Ethics. The group essentially accuses Fox of killing Americans, contending “…it delayed and interfered with a prompt and adequate response to this coronavirus pandemic.”
But Vanity Fair also foolishly discloses an overt connection to ultra-liberal rival MSNBC, where staff writer Gabriel Sherman has been appearing to discuss the lawsuit. To what extent is this frivolous complaint being driven by NBC and like-minded media foes? All appear to be encouraging other organizations to file similar legal actions.
Is it really possible to sue a rival news organization out of business? That’s probably not their aim. More likely, it’s to force network executives to fall in line with liberal talking points — the same ones used unquestionably every single day by CNN, MSNBC and all the others.
Can you imagine a future America without even a single news outlet deviating from the left’s official party line? If these suits are allowed to move forward, this disturbing scenario could easily become reality.
Brian Maloney is the co-founder of the Media Equality Project and editor-in-chief of MediaEqualizer.com