COLORADO SPRINGS, February 24, 2016 – Martha McCollum, a favorite morning news anchor on Fox News, summarized the GOP presidential race by listing the latest batch of competitors. Once again, as at so many other times in the past two months, there was no mention of Dr. Ben Carson.
To be fair, Carson’s name usually is omitted from most news shows as they describe the line-up. But over time, Fox News has come to represent “fair and balanced,” if only by giving the political right comparable air time to the political left.
But by that network’s actions during this contentious political run-up to the election, they have revealed themselves to be firmly in the “Establishment Camp.”
Today, Rush Limbaugh posited on air that perhaps Bernie Sanders, the Democratic challenger to insider Hillary Clinton, is nothing more than a shill, a stand-in, for the party to allow its one and true candidate, Miss Hillary, to once again prove her cojones and “overcome” adversity, thereby “earning” the right to the presidency.
If the Republican front-runner were being similarly shielded, might Carson be one of the dupes put up by the Republican establishment to accomplish the same purpose? “Look at Donald Trump,” they’d say. “Challenged by this outsider, upstart neurosurgeon. Watch as he overcomes the challengers to rise to the top.”
Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?
A more likely scenario to explain Fox News’s consistent omission of Carson’s name could be the unpleasant truth of the matter: that Fox News, on the right, is no better than CBS, NBC, ABC, LA Times, New York Times, CNN and PBS, on the left. That these stations, one and all, are there to keep their thumbs in the proverbial dike of public opinion.
Television news shows are like the little vent atop the pressure cooker.
“Give the public so-called opposing viewpoints, but not too many. Never, ever go as far as hateful talk radio. There are accepted norms, but never, never venture off the political reservation of correct speech and accepted dogma.
Never risk being labeled a hater, racist, or, as one news show posited about Trump, another outsider, ‘Hitler-lite.’”
Perhaps, in the end, it’s simply about the money. Fox News, like the others, needs access to the political scene. It also sadly seems to seek a sort of legitimacy or approval from the other more mainstream media. To that end, perhaps it needs to go with the flow, not with upstarts like Carson.
Once approval is sought, be it by an individual or an organization, a stultifying staleness and sameness sets in. When the business-as-usual candidates are the only ones promoted on air, the republic is back to square one again.
Don’t they get it yet? This election has been all about “the outsider.”
It’s a shame that Fox News and the rest have lined up to circle the wagons around the establishment candidates.
For which action, many of us are now asking,
“Et tu, Fox News? Et, tu?”