Is It Time to Boycott Fox News?
There’s an old joke from Jewish Europe that goes something like this:
A young Jew named Adam joins a Philanthropic and Charitable Association that’s mostly gentile. It meets once a week. Returning from one of the meetings, he runs into an old friend, Joel. Seeing Adam, Joel asks, “Adam, why is your coat covered in spit, and half of your head shaved?”
Adam shrugs, stoically. “Fech, this is just what my friends at the gentile club do every week.”
Joel looks concerned. “You’ve got to stop going, Adam. This is outrageous.”
Adam waves him off. “It’s not so bad, Joel. You should see what my friends at the other Philanthropic and Charitable Associations used to do!”
In that same spirit, we can say that we’re glad Fox News exists. Because you should see what the other networks are like!
From Liberal Aristocrats to Shrieking Zealots
Those networks, and most news sites, and “mainstream” magazines, have morphed in the past 10 years, but especially the past two since Trump won the election. They used to be overwhelmingly liberal venues, of course. But they made aristocratic feints at being broad-minded and “objective.” Broad swathes of programming were mostly apolitical, and appealed to most of America. I used to listen to NPR a lot for its classical music, culture programs, and news reports. I’d factor in the bias, and learn to listen around it. Ditto for the highbrow humor podcasts I enjoyed, like Judge John Hodgman.
But the week after Trump won, they shifted decisively. Instead of aristocrats so confident of their power that they could practice noblesse oblige, the progressives in those media seemed … scared. It made them edgy and mean. Since then, the content they put out is much more like State propaganda produced in Communist Albania. I know because I used to hunt down such propaganda in the Yale library, and read it aloud at the dinner table for laughs. Especially the clumsy “folk songs” about “Comrade Enver Hoxha” and the glories of Maoist agricultural theory. I’d joke that the Yale Daily News was only a little less biased.
Well, now there’s no difference at all.
Fox News: Fair, Balanced, and “Meh”
Except at Fox News. There the news reported actually is pretty close to “fair and balanced.” Not overwhelmingly or even consistently conservative. But somewhat representative of a country where opinion is evenly split. Where the GOP controls both the White House and the Senate, and many state legislatures.
On top of that, Fox hosts a few really worthy conservative commentators, like Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, Tucker Carlson … and Jeanine Pirro. Each of these hosts is subject, periodically, to social media witch-hunts. That’s where some intensely partisan group funded by Democrat billionaires, like Media Matters, whips up a moral panic and tries to pressure advertisers into silencing one of those four. I wrote just a few days ago about the effort to shut down Tucker Carlson, and his manful response.
But the latest attack on Jeanine Pirro is particularly awful. That’s true for several reasons. First of all, because Fox caved immediately. Judge Pirro’s show was actually censored, and she was suspended for two entire weeks. For what? For simply asking a question.
No surprise here. As Eric Voegelin wrote, totalitarian systems depend on the power to forbid fundamental questions. That’s because such systems are usually self-consistent, once you grant their premises. It’s those that are absurd, or based on lies. Like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the vulnerable spot in totalitarian worldviews lies in their foundations. So that’s what you cannot question. If you do, they will try to destroy you.
The question Pirro asked was this:
Think about it: Omar wears a hijab. Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to Sharia law, which in itself is antithetical to the United States Constitution?
What does a hijab mean? I asked an expert on Islam, Dr. Timothy Furnish. He said:
Far from being extremist, a Muslim woman donning a hijab is a sign of mainstream Islamic piety and thus of adherence to such norms. All four Sunni schools of shari`ah interpretation, as well as that of Twelver Shi`ism, mandate that post-pubescent females do so. In some parts of the Islamic world (Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen) this includes covering not just the head and hair but everything except the eyes (this is the burqa, or niqab). This is according to the Quran (Sura XXIV:31 and XXXIII:59), and the Hadiths, as explained here.
Now, maybe the answer to Pirro’s question is “No.” There are many Muslims in America who pick and choose among Islamic doctrines. You know, the way self-styled Catholics like Nancy Pelosi and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez do among Christian doctrines. If you asked whether the ashes they sported for the cameras on Ash Wednesday meant that they were pro-life, for instance. The answer would be “no.”
Senators Kamala Harris and Mazie Hirono both literally asked a Trump court appointee, on the Senate floor, whether his membership in the Catholic Knights of Columbus implied that he was pro-life and pro-natural marriage. There the answer was likely “yes.” Such questions aren’t unreasonable on the face of it.
Under the Bus She Goes!
But Fox executives decided that asking such a question of a Muslim was outrageous. They went after their own employee publicly, as CNN gleefully reported:
“We strongly condemn Jeanine Pirro’s comments about Rep. Ilhan Omar,” Fox News said in a statement. “They do not reflect those of the network and we have addressed the matter with her directly.”
What’s really going on here? The conservative site Gateway Pundit ventures a theory. If true, the explanation is particularly squalid. (Which renders it more credible on the face of things, in my book.) Kristinn Taylor suggests:
A source with intimate knowledge of the situation is claiming two Fox News hosts secretly maneuvered to get Judge Jeanine Pirro suspended over her controversial remarks about Muslim Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), with one, Bret Baier, allegedly seeking to curry favor with Democrats to reverse a decision to not allow Fox to host any of the party’s presidential primary debates by getting Fox to suspend Pirro. …
The source asked TGP for anonymity to speak freely about the behinds the scenes maneuvers:
“The original complaint came from Bret Baier’s team. Bret saw an opportunity to make Fox News acceptable enough to the left, so he could get himself a job of hosting the Democratic Debates. Bret supported one of his producers, Hufsa Kamal, in tweeting out a condemnation of Judge Jeanine to put pressure on Fox News to suspend her show. Hufsa Kamal, a producer of Special Report with Bret Baier, has a history of anti-conservative tweets.”
Of course, these are anonymous sources here. And Baier has denied this allegation outright. So we can’t know what exactly is true. But a few things are certain.
Time for One America News
Islam certainly does have a political doctrine. Indeed, it emerged in the world with a complete system of law, sharia, which orthodox Muslims believe ought to be imposed on the entire world. By force if necessary. No one questions that in Cairo, or Mecca, or Karachi. No one denies that in the Wahhabi mosques funded by Saudi money all across Europe. The clerics who preach at mosques in London and Paris say as much every Friday afternoon.
It might, just might be that the Jew-baiting Rep. Ilhan Omar rejects sharia. That she is a Muslim dissenter, as Pelosi and Ocasio-Cortez are Catholic dissenters. But it’s perfectly legitimate to ask the question.
If Fox, out of cowardice or pathetic desperation to host presidential debates between Beta Male Francis O’Rourke and Comrade Bernie Sanders, wants to help the totalitarian left suppress such questions? (Paul Ryan, who obstructed Trump’s immigration agenda and called critics of Islamic immigration un-American, just joined Fox Corporation’s board.)
Then it’s time for us to switch to One America News and Blaze TV. (They’re a lot more fun anyway.) Watch Tucker, and Laura, and Levin on Youtube instead.