Fox News, our national funhouse mirror, shares blame for Trump fiasco

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Natasha, foreground, and Gizmo, at their usual post. | Neil Steinberg/Sun-Times

We have two cats, Natasha and Gizmo. Old cats, given to lazing on our bed all day. But occasionally one will, in a burst of industry, drag a freshly killed mouse out of the inner recesses of our 110-year-old farmhouse and leave it in a conspicuous spot. A present.

Social media is kinda like that. There is always some eager soul who finds a hurtful comment about me in the enormity of the internet and leaves it on my doorstep.

“Gosh, isn’t this awful?” they say. “I thought you’d want to see it.” Why yes, yes it is awful. Thank you for sharing.

No human birddog is even necessary anymore. It’s now done automatically.

“Neil Steinberg’s tweet was featured in Fox News” happily informed me.

Oh goody. Thanks! I never look at Fox News. I haven’t the stomach to see reality so deformed. It’s like looking at photographs of spoiled food. Something that should be appealing — the news — rendered noxious by corrosive agents.


Sighing, I turned my attention to “Mainstream media attacking Trump’s ‘dumb’ idea for military parade” by Brian Flood.

True enough. As if spurred by an accidentally accurate headline, Flood begins his analysis this way: “The mainstream media have suddenly taken a drastic stance against parades.”

Stop right there. Fox News is the mainstream media. The most watched cable network, as they are always ballyhooing. No. 1. It’s part of their whole weepy, poor-me charade, that plucky rebel operations like Fox News — reinforced by allies like that newsletter, The Wall Street Journal, among the top circulation newspapers in the country — pretend they don’t have a lock on enormous, uncritical audiences.

But let’s not get stuck on that. “The mainstream media have suddenly taken a drastic stance against parades.”

Is that what you took away from the boggled reaction last week to Trump’s demand for a big, Bastille Day-like military parade? That suddenly the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and the Rose Bowl Parade, and all parades everywhere are in peril, called into question by that old devil, the liberal press, which after all is known for turning on America’s most cherished traditions and savaging them, because we hate America and are bad people?

Or could it possibly be that Donald Trump has established himself as an egomaniac who surrounds himself with generals and has a habit of hiding behind the military or, more accurately, using it as a human shield, the way he tried to recast the NFL protests against police brutality as an affront to our troops and flag?

The article is actually a quite comprehensive catalog of the solid arguments against the parade. Most in the form of tweets.

“America traditionally shows off its freedoms, not its military. The weak do that,” writes CNN’s Chris Cuomo.

My favorite is a photograph of the infamous white supremacist Tiki torch parade in Charlottesville, Virginia, last August, with the caption, “Didn’t Trump already have his parade?”

And yes, there was my humble contribution:

“Shouldn’t we hold off on the big parade until AFTER Trump is driven from office?”

The story ends with a common trope. The standard Republican dodge when they’ve done something stupid and a howl of public indignation rises — they paint their justly earned criticism as “hysteria.”

“A parade also would require various permits and a ton of planning, so it’s not happening anytime soon,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said. “But that hasn’t stopped the hysteria from liberal media members.”

The story ends with Fox News contributor Tammy Bruce observing “one sure way you know this is a great idea is by how upset liberals have already become.”

This illustrates the chasm between Democrats and Republicans. Even though the former are convinced that the president is a self-dealing traitor, many cling to the notion his supporters are, at heart, decent fellow citizens who must somehow be gently coaxed back into the American dream.

I’ve never heard it suggested it’sgoodthat Republicans are outraged at the Justice Department investigating the crimes of this administration orgood they live in squirming terror of immigrants. Democrats don’t want them to be upset. They just are. Thanks in part to Fox News and its ilk, which shares the blame for our current national disgrace.

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