By:
December 14, 2020

President Donald Trump keeps spewing baseless and dangerous conspiracy theories about the election and Fox News is right there alongside to enable him. The latest example is a Saturday interview with the president from the Army-Navy football game that “Fox & Friends” ran on Sunday morning.

Speaking with Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade, Trump continued to say things like “rigged election” and again insisted that it’s “not over” and, “We keep going and we’re going to continue to go forward. We have numerous local cases.”

Trump told Kilmeade, “They didn’t run a good race. They cheated. They dropped hundreds of thousands of ballots. They did things that nobody’s ever seen. And we caught ‘em.”

None of that is true.

Kilmeade lightly pushed back — so lightly that it really wasn’t pushback — by saying, “But your guys have been unable to prove it as of now.”

This is the same Kilmeade who said in mid-November that Trump should start coordinating with Biden on COVID-19 and national security. Yet as Trump lied time and time again to Kilmeade during their exchange, Kilmeade did little to stop him.

You could make a claim that Fox News should not even have run the interview. There was nothing new in Trump’s baseless claims. The excuse of, “Well, he’s the president, so we’re going to run it and let the American people decide,” is reckless journalism. But when it comes to dealing with Trump, this is common for Fox News.

Why else would Fox News allow My Pillow guy Mike Lindell on its airways Saturday to point up at Marine One and say, “There’s our president for four more years?” (By the way, that clip is from Fox News’ website, which shows more of its enabling.)

There are polls that show the majority of Republicans believe the election was stolen from Trump even though that has no basis in reality.

“You have to wonder where they are getting that from,” CNN political commentator S.E. Cupp said on Sunday’s “Reliable Sources.” “And they’re getting that from their favorite news outlet — Fox News, OAN, Newsmax — where that lie is being perpetuated over and over and over again. They are either saying that ‘It is true, that the president won,’ or they’re saying, ‘It’s possible.’ Both are problematic. Both are bad. And neither are journalism. And when you purport to be a journalism outfit, your obligation is to tell facts as they exist even if they are not what your viewers want to hear.”

This piece originally appeared in The Poynter Report, our daily newsletter for everyone who cares about the media. Subscribe to The Poynter Report here.

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Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer for Poynter.org. He was previously part of the Tampa Bay Times family during three stints over some 30…
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