Fox Pundits Call for Protests of Trump Charges

From a Washington Post story by Jeremy Barr headlined “Tucker Carlson, other Fox pundits call for protests of Trump charges”:

Fox News hosts and other conservative commentators fulminated Thursday night against the indictment of Donald Trump, portraying it as an act of political repression, calling for protests and predicting “unrest.”

“It almost feels they’re pushing the population to react,” said Fox prime-time host Tucker Carlson, referring vaguely to Democrats. “‘We think they’re demoralized and passive, let’s see if they really are.’ At what point do we conclude they’re doing this in order to produce a reaction?”

Carlson’s guest, former ESPN personality Jason Whitlock, struck a similar tone: “They are agitating for unrest. That is the only way to interpret this,” he said, before seeming to call for some kind of response: “I’m ready for whatever’s next. And I hope every other man out there watching this show, I hope you’re ready for whatever’s next. If that’s what they want, let’s get to it.”

Carlson’s 8 p.m. show offered some of the most fiery talk on a heated night of conservative reaction to a New York grand jury’s decision to indict Trump after hearing evidence about hush money paid to an adult-film star during his 2016 race for president. Former Fox host Glenn Beck visited the show to predict the country would be “at war” by 2025; the indictment’s intent, he warned was “to inflame this country” so that an unnamed entity “could close the cage” on those who react.

While Fox’s early-evening news show delivered a fairly straight discussion of the “historic” nature of the indictment, the opinion hosts who dominate the cable network’s prime-time schedule uniformly presented it as a political plot against the former president.

“It’s an effort to take him out of the political race. That’s not allowed,” said Carlson, describing the charges as “much greater” than the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. “If you believe in our system and you want it to continue, you have to raise your hand and say ‘Stop,’ because this is too great on assault on our system.”

“This day will go down as a dark day for America,” Fox News host Jesse Watters told viewers. “This is a calculated move. Do you think Donald Trump would be indicted if he wasn’t running?”

Jeanine Pirro, co-host of “The Five,” described Thursday as “a sad day for America, a sad day for the office of the presidency of the United States, and it is a sad day for a former president. … This is hate like I have never seen in my lifetime. This is as political as it gets.”

The strongly pro-Trump Fox host Dan Bongino said the indictment proves the United States is now a “police state” but predicted it would end up handing Trump the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

“This ushers in what will probably be a very dark era of political persecution and prosecution, the type we normally associated with the Soviet Union or banana republics,” said Mollie Hemingway, editor in chief of the Federalist, during a panel spot on Fox’s evening newscast.

She and the Daily Caller’s Vince Coglianese both described the indictment as a form of election fraud, with Coglianese calling it “an exercise in election meddling — again.”

Hemingway also called for Trump’s supporters to rise up and voice their opposition. “People who care about the country need to stand up and make sure they let it be known that they don’t support this type of political prosecution,” she said.

Watters, meanwhile, maintained that the criminal charges wouldn’t “stick.”

“The president’s not going to go to prison for this. Everybody knows that. So what’s the point?”

But he encouraged his guest, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), to pursue action in Congress — “some sort of resistance, some sort of action, because there has to be a line that they can’t cross.”

While 9 p.m. host Sean Hannity called the indictment “repulsive” and “disgusting,” he ended his show by urging his audience to refrain from violence.

“I want to say to every conservative, and every Republican, and every Donald Trump supporter,” Hannity said. “Do not take their bait. We are peaceful, we are law-abiding, we are God-fearing. You are the people that really make this country great.”

Jeremy Barr covers the media industry for The Washington Post.

Speak Your Mind