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Stop Applauding Fox News When They Sometimes Come Close to Telling the Truth

Credit should be given to truth tellers who do so on a consistent basis

A view outside the News Corporation building in New York, New York, USA, 20 March 2019. On 20 March, the $71.3 billion merger between Disney and 21st Century Fox became official.Disney Closes $71.3 Billion Fox Deal, New York, USA - 20 Mar 2019

A view outside the News Corporation building in New York.

ALBA VIGARAY/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

On Friday, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace made news by merely stating the obvious while giving his take on an interview with Attorney General Bill Barr that aired on the same network.

The part that stood out to most was when Wallace said, “What really comes across to me most of all is that for two years Donald Trump sat there and said ‘I don’t have an attorney general. I don’t have somebody out there looking for and protecting my interests.’ He clearly has that now with Bill Barr.”

What followed were tweets, takes and headlines that said Wallace was being straight on a network that is widely acknowledged by most as going full state TV in the Trump era.

But the caveat that was largely ignored was Wallace’s follow-up to his faux straight-shooter take on the interview: “Not saying that Barr isn’t right in everything he says,” Wallace said. “But he clearly is protecting this president and advocating his point of view on a lot of these issues.”

By adding, “not saying that Barr isn’t right in everything he says,” Wallace attempts to appease the core Fox News audience while at the same time trying to come across as even-handed. It’s disingenuous. Sure, Wallace took some heat from a few Trump sycophants who go ballistic when someone on friendly turf states an obvious fact that doesn’t include praise of Trump, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the media or political pundits should hand out platitudes.

When someone on Fox News comes close to telling a truth or simply states the obvious, headlines blare and Twitter reacts as if someone actually said something that could get them fired from the “news” network. (See: anything Shep Smith says.)

This is an example of wider political problem. On one side, the Democrats, seem to be always looking for the good in their counterparts, at the ready to gobble up any crumb thrown their way. It’s a weak approach and has proven, on the state and national level, to be an unsuccessful strategy, if you can call it that.

If Trump, even for a second, hints at cooperating with Democrats on say, infrastructure, or when he voiced support for DACA, before doing an about face and shutting down the government over immigration, applause comes from everywhere except from single issue ideologues like Ann Coulter and others of her ilk.

On the other hand, Republicans like Mitch McConnell make it clear that he and his cohorts are determined to destroy those who disagree with their worldview. Infamously, McConnell stated his goal was to derail anything Obama put forth. And it worked.

Republicans worked hard to weaken Obamacare and succeeded. They made sure to block Obama’s supreme court nominee Merrick Garland, holding out hope they would win the presidency and fill the seat Antonin Scalia vacated with a like minded conservative. And they did.

Even now, with the discussion around impeachment, Democrats and some media types plainly see that this president has committed offenses that, at the very least, rise to the level that proceedings should begin in the House. Still, they act timid and overly thoughtful. It all connects to a passive political mindset that has failed time and time again.

Credit should be given to truth tellers who do so on a consistent basis. Not to those who sometimes go against the grain and then backtrack with the next sentence.

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