For those of us who are beginning to realize that this senatorial election in Alabama is poised to change the political landscape in America, I want to add my voice to the debate. As an avid viewer of Fox News, CNN and MSNBC, I would watch the coverage on each network and ask myself: “What is the deal with the disconnect I see in the coverage between Fox News and the others?”
Let me preface my opinions: I am under no illusion as to the political leanings of Fox News vs CNN and MSNBC. Fox is republican, CNN and MSNBC is democratic. Each news outlet is going to support the party and candidates they prefer. However, in my naive news consumer mind, I thought surely the facts of each reported story would not be in doubt, only the interpretation of the facts.
Then, while watching Fox News, I noticed a different tactic used to report it’s version of the news: willful blindness. By not reporting on some parts of a story, Fox News (Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson) violates press ethics by omitting the provable facts.
Case in point: Fox News’ coverage of the Roy Moore scandal. Roy Moore is the Alabama judge who is running for Jeff Session’s vacated Senate seat against democrat Doug Jones. When the Washington Post first reported on Roy Moore’s pedophilic tendencies (citing multiple vetted and reliable sources), Sean Hannity had Mr. Moore on his evening broadcast to answer the allegations. To Hannity’s credit, he did ask the relevant questions to the embattled candidate, fishing for a hard denial by Mr. Moore.
Mr. Moore made his case on Hannity. It wasn’t very strong. Kudos to Fox News for airing the interview. A few days later, when a high school yearbook owned by Beverly Nelson was revealed to contain an inscription and signature from Roy Moore himself. If this 1977 yearbook is shown to be real, then the yearbook is a damning piece of evidence against Roy Moore, who maintains that he does not know and has never met any of his accusers.
Uh oh, Sean. All of Fox News’ if-then statements are looking to be affirmed. Somewhat chagrined by this new piece of evidence, Mr. Hannity went on his show and gave Roy Moore 24 hours to release his side of the story, and it had to be credible. Mr. Moore did not release a credible version of the events in his accuser’s statements. The next time Sean Hannity addressed the Roy Moore issue, he walked his comments back to ‘let the voters of Alabama decide.’ Coincidentally, Donald Trump had just supported Roy Moore from the front lawn of the White House as he boarded Air Force One.
Ok, all that background is established. Now, here is the key to understanding the hypocrisy at Fox News: watch the women, not the men. Specifically two women. Ashley Pratte and Jessica Tarlov. Pratte is a conservative reporter and commentator for US News and World Report, and a commentator on Fox. She has appeared on Your World with Neil Cavuto. Jessica Tarlov is also a conservative analyst and commentator for Fox News.
On Tuesday December 5, 2017, during the broadcast of Your World with Neil Cavuto, Ashley Pratte said the unthinkable. She revealed on air that she supports Doug Jones and has contributed to his campaign. She echoed the words of Mitt Romney who tweeted that the republican party needs to put ‘principle before party.’
Ms. Pratte prefaced her own words by giving her republican background. She’s been a republican all her life, has volunteered for republican campaigns, and never previously voted for a democrat. The other two commentators sharing the screen with Ashley were left agog. Watch the video.
Taken aback, host Neil Cavuto prodded: “So you disagree that the President’s view, whatever you may (inaudible) decades old charges, if you want a democrat in there who’s going to be doing all the things we as conservatives don’t like.”
Before Mr. Cavuto could finish his sentence, Pratte had given a resounding YES. Ashley Pratte has gone against Donald Trump and her network to take a principled position against Roy Moore, putting ethics above party.
She is a hero, in my opinion. It is one thing to go against Roy Moore on CNN and MSNBC. You are safe, you are among friends. However, to go against Roy Moore on Fox? Unprecedented to say the least.
And I haven’t even gotten to the real meat of this post. Jessica took her argument deep into the dragon’s lair by giving her anti-Moore opinion during Sean Hannity’s show. On Thursday, December 7, 2017, Jessica Tarlov went on Fox News to reveal her opinion. She came out and said “Today, the Clintons are irrelevant,” thus taking all of the wind out of Mr. Hannity’s argument of the deep state helping Hilary and Bill out, while applying a double standard to republicans.
Hannity responded with his side of the argument, saying in effect that he has been consistent in all his reporting. He said in reference to John Conyers: “He’s denying it, it needs to be investigated, it’s serious, but we’ve got to get to the facts, and we’ve got to get the truth.”
What Hannity didn’t say (in so many words) was that he believes the men first. It doesn’t matter if the accusations are true or false, Sean Hannity has shown us the fundamental error in the presupposition we make in our society. We believe men first, women second. The man could be lying and the woman could be telling the truth, but we take his word for it first, and the burden of proof is laid at the feet of the female accusers. Wouldn’t it be nice if we believed the women first and then made the men proove that it wasn’t true? Wishful thinking, I know.
Jessica shot back with “Step number one is that we need to believe women.” There it is step one. Now if we could just get the rest of the women at Fox News to see the light.