Thanks to Donald Trump, I have become an avid consumer of Fox News. Tracking The Donald’s swift, irrevocable failure and resultant removal, via either a soft coup of diminishing influence tacitly agreed upon by both parties and all agencies, or outright impeachment, the legitimate news sources are of little use to me. The daily reports of Trump’s unethical, illegal, and stupid behavior will have nothing to do with the termination of his tenure in office. That’s exactly how he represented himself on the campaign trail, without adverse effect. This dumb chapter in America history will only come to a close when the chickenshit self-interested Republicans stop running ceaseless interference and damage control and realize that their initial instincts were right on, and that hitching their wagons to this particular orange turbanesquely-coiffed horse is tantamount to political suicide. As these Republicans, and Fox News, are currently pandering to the same narrow minority demographic of Trump’s base, their conversion should coincide. That’s why I watch. Fox News is the canary in the coal mine.
The few Fox pundits with accomplishments beyond the narrow confines of a Fox broadcast, and therefore career options that accommodate more independent thinking, have already quit the full time cheerleading, as we see when Karl Rove, despite Bill O” Reilly’s panicked attempt to shout over him, describes Trump’s loyal base as constituting around thirty percent of the voting public, meaning that even if his base is supporting moves like the Muslim ban, it will probably guarantee he’ll lose the next election badly. Or Krauthammer, again overriding O’ Reilly, talking about the validity and integrity of the women’s marches, while noting that Bill O. R. is obviously “afraid of those women.”
Over the last month, we have seen Fox’s focus on the administration first stumble:
“Even fiscal conservatives think the border wall is a good idea despite the $15 billion, er, $25 billion…,”
“This is not a Muslim ban, well okay Trump did specifically order a Muslim ban, but that’s not illegal…well it is, but…”
“Betsy DeVos is…qualified, or…smart…It isn’t Betsy DeVos’ fault she’s unqualified and stupid, and quite frankly that’s rude and irrelevant to point out!”
“Trump is really getting things done…well, not actual things actually done, but he is definitely signing many, many pieces of paper…”
…and then fall, abandoning the White House altogether. The entire news agency appears committed to avoiding mentioning Trump or anything Trump-related whenever possible, preferring to run stories about white people getting harangued or beat up by liberals or minorities, teachers behaving badly (and what’s with the right-wing hatred of teachers? scarring childhood memories of a dunce cap?), or a Christian somewhere being mistreated. When, however, the shambling shadow of Trump looms so large it cannot be avoided, Fox runs a reiteration of one or more of these three headlines:
1) Democrats/Liberals/The Left is melting down/terrified/hysterical over Trump’s latest shenanigans.
2) You can’t trust any non-Fox media source.
3) All the stuff Trump is doing, Obama also did.
Beyond being vague and childish, the truly encouraging part is that each of these statements concedes defeat. We’re being begged how to frame Trump’s inevitable failure. There’s nothing here that the administration is doing. This is not even a White House of chaos, since chaos denotes unpredictability and dynamic action. This is an administration of incurable inertia. There’s nothing to support. There isn’t any there there. “Make America Great Again” has transformed into “Kind of Like Obama, Except We’re Not Allowed to Really Do Anything.”
Soon, Paul Ryan, Fox News, et al. will begin to understand that it was not, in fact, some hidden underestimated “True America” propelling Trump to his imaginary landslide victory, but a fringe minority with very little influence or appeal outside its own cloistered ranks. While, for an intoxicating moment it looked like we white men could roll back the clock to a time when we didn’t have to try so damn hard, it turns out that anger and stupidity are not, in fact, adequate qualities of leadership after all.
Ultimately, the grand experiment of the Trump presidency will have delivered a brief period of nothingness, and a correction.