These days there’s so much batshit crazy coming from Fox News it’s impossible to watch and not end up buried in a guano avalanche. Admittedly, though, it’s been kind of fun watching the network descend into conspiratorial nether regions previously occupied by fringe outlets like Breitbart and InfoWars, whose semiliterate troglodyte commenters are halfway to the psych ward, if not being processed as we speak. It’s the nutters gone conservative mainstream.
Sean Hannity has been the conductor on this high-speed crazytrain, loudly and eagerly announcing all the stops along the way: Birthertown, Seth Rich Square, Uranium One Depot, Deep State Station – a veritable bucket list for conspiracy tourists. He even once spent the first 17 minutes of a show covering a “story” by the National Enquirer – yes, the National Enquirer next to the Danielle Steele novels at the checkout line – about how Hillary Clinton had a fixer who arranged and covered up her supposed bisexual trysts.
But while Hannity might be the conductor on the crazytrain, Trump is the engineer. Hannity long ago decided for himself that it’s the final destination or bust, and he’s all aboard until the two of them reach whatever epically deranged terminus awaits. That means that no matter what happens along the way, Hannity has to assure himself – and his viewers along for the ride, THIS IS FINE.
Which is why Hannity mounts ever-increasingly conspiratorial counterattacks on behalf of Trump, who’s more at risk of going off the rails with each passing day: Trump is fine. It’s the FBI, it’s Robert Mueller, it’s the media, it’s George Soros, it’s the Obama deep state, it’s the WORLD trying to derail us! But we will win! So much winning!
I imagine this is the kind of they’re-closing-in-but-we-got-this attitude that could be found among the true believers in the Führerbunker. Whether this presidency ends with Trump and Hannity taking cyanide together after a shotgun marriage remains to be seen.
This week Hannity couldn’t have exemplified better the lengths he’s willing to go to cede whatever’s left of his sanity in the name of serving Trump. Eighteen minutes into his Thursday show, Hannity received news about the big story in the New York Times describing how Trump tried to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller in June, but was dissuaded. Hannity wasn’t buying it:
HANNITY: At this hour the New York Times is trying to distract you. They have a story that Trump wanted Mueller fired sometime last June and our sources – I’ve just checked in with many of them, they’re not confirming that tonight. And the president’s attorney dismissed the story, and says “Nope. No comment. We’re not going there.” And how many times has the New York Times and others gotten it wrong?
For the record, Trump attorney Ty Cobb was quoted in the Times story as saying “We decline to comment out of respect for the Office of the Special Counsel and its process.” That’s not a dismissal. It’s a no comment that, as I noted yesterday amounts to a tacit confirmation. But whatever. Hannity basically called the story fake news.
But later in the show, he was humbled for a couple of nanoseconds:
HANNITY: All right so we have sources tonight just confirming to Ed Henry that, yeah, maybe, Donald Trump, wanted to fire the Special Counsel for conflict. Does he not have the right to raise those questions? You know, we’ll deal with this tomorrow night.
[Cuts to high speed automobile crash]
Then on Friday, Hannity spent his opening monologue hammering the New York Times.
“This is the biggest non-story ever being hyped by the liberal media that we all know hates President Trump,” said Lumpy. “The reason the brain-dead partisan press is breathlessly spreading the fake news in their echo chamber is because they want to create a distraction.”
Funnily enough, the Times dropped a big story earlier that day about how Hillary Clinton had rebuffed recommendations that her then-campaign’s faith adviser Burns Strider be fired after he allegedly sexually harassed a subordinate several times. It’s a completely legitimate story, and one that should be repeated by other outlets, unless maybe you’re Sean Hannity later on in that Friday show?
HANNITY: So Hillary Clinton claimed for decades she was a champion of women, according to a brand-new report during her 2008 presidential campaign intervened to keep a senior adviser from being fired after accusations arose he repeatedly sexually harassed a subordinate.
Instead, Strider was ordered to undergo counseling and lost several weeks’ of pay. And we reached out to Clinton for a comment and her spokesman referred us to a statement for the law firm that represented the campaign in ’08 that said quote, “To ensure a safe working environment the campaign had a process to address complaint of misconduct or harassment when matters arose they were reviewed in accordance with the policies and appropriate action was taken.”
Best not to cite a source when that source is the source of a story that you just called fake news because that’d just be silly. Best not to trouble your audience with the publication’s identity.
It really must be hard to make a pitstop at cognitive dissonance when you’re barreling full- speed toward toward insanity.
As this train rolls on, all we pedestrians can do is watch with equal parts horror and awe. Meanwhile inside the train, EVERYTHING IS FINE.
Final stop: Crazytown.