Discover more from TOP SECRET UMBRA
Fox News Sinks Trump’s Stolen Election Fable
Ever since the late Roger Ailes birthed Fox News Channel in the autumn of 1996, permanently changing America’s media landscape, the network has been a bugbear for liberals, who pine for the vaunted days when the mainstream media had no competition on television. To many on the left, FNC is a false-consciousness machine which hoodwinks gullible citizens into buying lame Republican arguments. It seldom occurs to them that Ailes realized that the 45 percent of voters who tend to pull for the GOP on election day might want their own news network.
It must therefore be confusing for liberals to watch the current right-wing media fratricide. Since our election on November 3, President Donald J. Trump has declared war on Fox for its alleged disloyalty. Traitors are always more despised than mere enemies, thus Team Trump has gone after FNC with gusto. How much of this is sincere outrage or just a high-visibility way for Trump to promote a future Trump TV is difficult to ascertain. All the same, passionate loathing of Fox is suddenly normative on Planet MAGA. Which makes last night’s events on FNC something for the history books.
After two weeks of Modern Presidential complaining, mainly via rage-tweets, that the election was rigged and perhaps stolen outright by Joe Biden and the Democrats, without providing any evidence for such explosive claims, yesterday brought the much-anticipated press conference to deliver Trump’s bombshell. The stench of kayfabe lingers over such “stolen election” complaints since, in fact, the Trump operation has been pulling back from state-level legal efforts at recounts, contrary to their high-volume insistence that there was massive and systemic election fraud. It’s worth asking if any of this is serious when the president’s best-and-brightest legal eagles can’t figure out, even in affidavits, which states this supposed election theft happened in.
The real tell, however, is that yesterday’s presser was emceed by Rudy Giuliani, who once upon a time was esteemed as America’s Mayor yet who has decided to make his final act as Trump’s wacky TV lawyer. None of Trump’s real lawyers, for instance the ones who fought back against the president’s impeachment last year, were present for this spectacle, sensibly enough. Live on air yesterday, Giulani made far reaching claims of election theft, proffering no hard evidence to speak of. He then proceeded to sweat hair dye down his cheeks while comparing himself to Joe Pesci in the 1992 comedy film My Cousin Vinny. That was the normal part of the presser.
Things got weirder when Sidney Powell took the podium and acted like herself. It would be polite to term her, the Trumpist TV lawyer par excellence, a “controversialist” while the more honest term would be “nut.” Powell is heralded by diehard MAGA fans for her robust, TV-based legal defense of Mike Flynn, the president’s 23-day national security adviser, as well as her full-throated embrace of the QAnon conspiracy, which is the online hoax that Trump intends to unmask the global Satanic pedophile cabal that’s run by prominent Democrats. Since Trump has only two months left in office now, he better hurry up.
Powell’s unhinged speech yesterday embraced numerous QAnon themes while promising a last-ditch defense of the president over election theft claims: “We are not going to back down. We are going to clean this mess up now. President Trump won by a landslide. We are going to prove it, and we are going to reclaim the United States of America for the people who vote for freedom.” From there, Powell proceeded to outline a vast international conspiracy involving Dominion Voting Systems and supposed mass vote-changing at Trump’s expense, with strings being pulled by “communist money” from Cuba, Venezuela, and maybe China, as well as the former Bolivarist strongman Hugo Chávez, who has been dead since 2013. How all this worked was not explained in the slightest. Indeed, Powell presented no evidence for any of her incendiary claims
Powell’s unsourced assertion undermined not just Democrats whose victories were counted by Dominion on November 3, but the many Republicans too – a fact that was not lost on some in the GOP. She seemed to be declaring war on Republicans who refused to play along with this kayfabe as much as any Democrats. Dominion wasted no time explaining that, in fact, their firm has no ties whatsoever to Venezuela or Cuba, while noting, “The latest flood of absurdities is deeply concerning, not just for Dominion but also for our dedicated state and local partners and the electoral process on whole” – as reported by Fox News.
FNC gave Powell a chance to expand on her vast international election theft conspiracy, offering her a slot last night on Tucker Carlson’s primetime show. Tucker Carlson Tonight has become the network’s biggest draw, indeed in 2020 his weeknight show garnered the highest ratings in the history of cable news, with a nightly audience surpassing four million viewers. Rumored to possess political ambitions himself, Carlson has carved out a niche for himself as a combative yet cerebral populist with a whiff of Trumpism.
However, Powell did not appear on Carlson’s show last night, as the host explained in a monologue that will be recorded in history. Carlson stated:
A lot of Americans believe this election was rigged. They're not saying that because they're crazy and they're not just saying it because they're mad. They mean it, and that's a potentially fatal problem for this country. Elections aren't merely "central to democracy", elections are democracy. Voting is the way the public expresses its will. It's all people have. If elections don't work, our entire system doesn't work.
Carlson proceeded to highlight the press conference, commenting that Giuliant’s claims, although weakly sourced, deserve more attention from the media than they have gotten: “The media don't want to know. They're not interested. If you watched the coverage after the press conference today, you saw credentialed reporters, some of whom we know and like, actually, refuse even to acknowledge it.” He then moved on to Powell:
For more than a week, Powell has been all over conservative media with the following story: This election was stolen by a collection of international leftists who manipulated vote tabulating software in order to flip millions of votes from Donald Trump to Joe Biden. The other day on television, Powell said of Trump that when the fraud is finally uncovered, “I think we'll find he had at least 80 million votes.” In other words, rigged software stole about seven million votes in this election.
Carlson further explained that he had contacted Powell, eager to see her evidence, since what she asserts “would amount to the single greatest crime in American history. Millions of votes stolen in a day, democracy destroyed, the end of our centuries-old system of self-government. Not a small thing,” as the host put it. Carlson then delivered the kill-shot:
Now, to be perfectly clear, we did not dismiss any of it. We don't dismiss anything anymore, particularly when it's related to technology. We've talked to too many Silicon Valley whistleblowers and we've seen too much after four years on the air. We literally do UFO segments, not because we're crazy or even interested in the subject, but because there is evidence that UFOs are real and everyone lies about it. There's evidence that a lot of things that responsible people dismiss out of hand as ridiculous are, in fact, real…
So we invited Sidney Powell on the show. We would have given her the whole hour. We would have given her the entire week, actually, and listened quietly the whole time at rapt attention. But she never sent us any evidence, despite a lot of polite requests. When we kept pressing, she got angry and told us to stop contacting her. When we checked with others around the Trump campaign, people in positions of authority, they also told us Powell had never given them any evidence to prove anything she claimed at the press conference. Powell did say that electronic voting is dangerous, and she's right, but she never demonstrated that a single actual vote was moved illegitimately by software from one candidate to another. Not one.
There, last night, ended the “stolen election” saga among earth-based elements of the right. Powell’s defense, such as it is, seems to be that Carlson was a meany for asking repeatedly to see actual evidence – which she has still failed to provide to anyone in any media anywhere. Predictably, Planet MAGA has suddenly decided that Tucker Carlson is a very bad man who somehow is working for Democrats and their nebulous conspiracy. It’s difficult to admit that you’ve been conned, and we should not expect Trump cultists to accept reality about the election too soon.
However, Republicans who want to have a future once Trump leaves the White House not later than January 20 of the coming year, will start to distance themselves from the president and his kooky vote-theft claims. There are reports that members of Trump’s own family, knowing the end is approaching, are trying to walk away from such fact-free conspiracy-pushing, which is making our country’s already intense partisanship even more flammable. Trump himself, at some level, knows that it’s all kayfabe. He wants payback on the Democrats who never accepted his 2016 victory as legitimate and who, in Trump’s eyes, subjected him to four years of attacks over Russia, Ukraine, and anything they could grab on to in order to weaken his presidency.
Driven by anger and resentment, as always, Trump is making things worse for Republicans, but he never cared about them anyway. He is refusing to explore a far more politically potent narrative about 2020, namely that collusion among Democrats, the mainstream media, and Big Tech elites created an unlevel playing field for the election. Together, they killed unwanted stories, skewed reporting, and censored right-wing voices as never before, as witnessed by all of Trump’s tweets that got warnings attached to them. Such a protest against partisan bias in media, including social media, which amounts to a form of censorship, has real evidence to back it up and would resonate with many on the right, plus providing ample fodder for conservative critiques looking to elections in 2022 and 2024. Not to mention that such an argument bears more than passing resemblance to Democratic insistence that clandestine Russian interference in our 2016 election, between hacked Democratic emails, WikiLeaks serving as a Kremlin front, and torrents of online disinformation, swayed the outcome.
Instead, President Trump in his last weeks in office has decided to push hard, through loyally risible surrogates, a bizarre conspiracy theory which has no evidence whatsoever to back it up. This final Trumpian act should be seen as the fusion of MAGA superfans, QAnon faithful, and all the conspiratorially inclined bitter-enders in conservative circles. The GOP will want to rapidly distance themselves from Giulani, Powell, and others whose importance to Trump is determined by their willingness to utter blatant falsehoods for the president, as often as possible. Carlson illuminated the path last night. Republicans have much to look forward to politically in this decade, as evidenced by the absence of the expected Blue Wave on November 3, but only if they separate themselves from lunatic conspiracy-mongers who poison legitimate arguments with absurd fabrications.