Trouble in paradise: Fox stars rival

Published 6:35 pm Thursday, July 8, 2021

As a general rule, I don’t care much for the “inside baseball” stories that the big media can’t resist writing about each other, because for the most part they are either self-serving or hopelessly boring, or both. But every now and then there is one just too simply delicious to resist.

There exists, as example, something of a food fight that’s gone on for years between Fox News and the New York Times, with neither having much good to say about the other, and the only real distinction between the combatants being that the Fox folks are a lot more willing (and able) to play fast and loose with the truth.

However, in its June 26 edition, Times media columnist Ben Smith wrote a simply scrumptious little gossipy piece that managed to turn several of the Fox “celebrities” (not their one or two real journalists, but their “star personalities”) into feuding among themselves. In media spats, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Smith, it seems, made it his business to talk to some other big-time journalists—16 of them, to be precise—who all said that Fox’s spoiled frat boy host Tucker Carlson secretly gossips quite regularly with the very reporters he collectively bashes every night on his show.

Old Tucker, it seems, has been figuratively not only sleeping with but snuggling up to the enemy. Which still, of course, leaves the question unanswered: Why in the hell would the other reporters trust anything the insufferable ass said?

But more to the point of this, the Carlson game of playing both ends against the middle in order to better polish his own halo has not gone unnoticed among some of the other Murdochian henchmen at his network. A few days after Smith’s piece in the Times flipped over and dragged the apple cart at Fox, another of its right wing firebrands, Mark Levin, took a pretty obvious, if unnamed shot at dear boy Tucker on his satellite radio show: “I’ve been in this business almost 20 years. I worked in the Reagan administration for eight years. I never once, not once leaked anything to a newspaper or media outlet ever—let alone the New York Times and their ilk.”

He then went on to say doing such would constitute a blight upon one’s character, suggesting that “true” conservatives would never do such a thing and since Carlson had…Ouch.

How do you like the woodshed, Tucker?

Then later the same day, profile in courage (he never named Carlson either) and Trump sycophant Sean Hannity couldn’t resist also getting in on the eat your young feeding frenzy. He tweeted out that he “absolutely loved” that the Times had presumably lowered itself to first collect then share the Fox in-house dirty laundry.

“Here is a Hannity secret,” he wrote, “I don’t give a s(- – -) what anyone says about me. I do my show for my audience loudly & proudly.”

His indignity not satiated though, on his program that night, Hannity repeated the glad tidings: “Now the big news is that some people at Fox apparently don’t like me and said bad things about me gutlessly behind my back, according to Ben Smith, to members of the media mob.”

Gosh, what a group of great Americans—and all under the same roof, too. As my dear departed Dad (would) say, put the three of them—Carlson, Levin and Hannity—in the same barrel, roll it down the levee, and you would have an SOB on top all the time.

Meanwhile, in the house that Murdock built, that terrific trio, along with most (Chris Wallace and Bret Baier are the most obvious exceptions) of the other propagandists on the payroll continue to preach with all the sanctimony they can summon, the Sermon of Trump, truth and logic absent as it increasingly becomes.

Having blissfully so long resided within the false reality of their own creation, they must now contend with distrust and backstabbing of their intra-family feud. It’s enough to make a fellow believe there may actually be justice in the universe.

For as the heathen, devil columnist for the dreaded Washington Post Richard Cohen observed even before these latest developments: “Trump is unloved in his own house. A figure of ridicule, a theatrical creation, he is almost sympathetic. He was told by the greedy and the outright stupid that he would make a swell president. The Liars Paradox has spun out of control, with liars lying to a liar who believed the lie. What would that be called? Fox News, I think.”

Ray Mosby is editor and publisher of the Deer Creek Pilot in Rolling Fork.