Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Hillary's Real Debate Opponent

Hillary Clinton faces just one major hurdle before she makes history in three weeks as the first woman ever elected president. She has to get through the last "debate" on Wednesday night.

When she gets there, she will find a man on the stage who will be determined to take her down and stop her heretofore unstoppable momentum. He is one of the primary mouthpieces for a powerful political organization with unlimited resources. He is a documented sexist who spends much of his time on the TV shows of overheated Clinton-haters like Sean Hannity. He came up through the ranks of his profession by riding the coattails of his father, and destroying his reputation by selling out to the highest bidder.  He is known for using "information" from right-wing sources to attack Democrats of all stripes. He comes from an alternative fact universe, where real facts (climate change, etc.) are ignored and phony facts (voter "fraud", etc.) are emphasized.

Yes. The only thing standing between Hillary Clinton and the White House is Chris Wallace.

Wallace is the falsely-objective face of Fox News, a network designed by Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes as a propaganda tool for the Republican party, thinly disguised as a "news" organization. Immediately after Fox started up in 1996 (not coincidentally, half-way through the last term of the very successful President Bill Clinton), the channel and its "reporters" were admitted into the White House correspondence corps and elsewhere in the Washington establishment, somehow without question.

And, now, 20 years later, the Fox fake-newsies have really arrived with the incomprehensible appointment of Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace to moderate the last presidential debate of 2016.  You don't believe it? Just ask them. Wallace has been making a victory lap on Fox shows all this week, celebrating how awesome it is that a Fox "personality" has weaseled his way into a potentially historic position.

Wallace is not only a sold-his-soul hack from a partisan network -- he is personally and professionally severely conflicted in this race. That is not only because the Fox News Channel, in both its news and "opinion" shows (FNC claims an editorial separation that does not exist), have been completely on the Trump Train since the putrid little-fingered man took the Republican nomination.  It is also because Roger Ailes, Wallace's former boss, unceremoniously fired by the network for Trump-like sexual harassment and lechery, is now a key Trump adviser on, of all things, debate prep.

Wallace is more than just a former employee of Ailes.  He is in love.

"Roger Ailes is the best boss I’ve had in almost a half a century in journalism. I admired him tremendously professionally, and loved him personally...There are people in tears. I shed mine a couple of days ago..."
Well, boo-fucking-hoo. You can just imagine how Wallace's "love" for Ailes translated to the long-suffering women in heavy makeup and cocktail dresses in the Fox "news" room. He must be, like, a hero to them.

Let's play my favorite game: What If A Democrat Did It?  Imagine, if you will, a pretend-newsreader from a Democratic propaganda outlet (there are none on the level of Fox News -- that includes MSNBC, which confounds right-wingers with legitimate journalists and actual facts...but I digress) appointed to the Sacred Chair by the Commission. Imagine also that the Democratic candidate was being closely advised by the network personality's former boss. Love and all that.

Imagine the unhinged screeching by the ubiquitous right-wing media over that kind of arrangement. They would not only howl at the moon on their various free outlets 24/7 for weeks, they would assume that Bizarro Wallace would naturally be feeding questions to Bizarro Ailes to feed to Bizarro Trump.

As Democrats, we don't play that, but maybe we should. Too many people on the straight media nod and accept that Wallace will be fair, with no evidence to back it up.  You know that Wallace will pull his punches with Trump.  You know he will ask Hillary about various Fox-only memes, such as the "quid pro quo" that wasn't (and that she had nothing to do with in any event) and phony outrage about an idiot contractor bragging about things he wasn't doing to a convicted criminal's gotcha operation. You can bet Wallace will try to hammer her on her emails, the Russian-hacked Podesta emails -- whatever the reprehensible trolls at his network are working on for Hannity's next show. Oh and Benghazi. Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi.

Hillary will be having none of this, of course. As the most experienced, poised, articulate, prepared person ever to run for president, she's beat better than these punks -- Wallace and Trump, ganged up against her in a last-ditch effort. Trump can whine and bleat and make his desperate noises; and Wallace can pretend to be serious while spinning his usual Fox lies, but the result will be the same. Cue Gloria Gaynor, Hillary -- I Will Survive.

When the dust clears in three weeks, the legitimization of Trump will be as dead and meaningless as his business prospects. But the legitimization of Chris Wallace and Fox News will unfortunately cause a permanent stain on the history and future of television journalism.