A Department of Justice Inspector General’s report on the origins of the Donald Trump Russia investigation released Monday refuted claims that the probe started as the result of political bias against Trump on the part of FBI agents and officials. But according to an analysis by Wired magazine, Fox News viewers received a very different picture of the report.
The conservative cable news network, according to Wired writer Garrett M. Graff, told its audience that Inspector General Michael Horowitz “blew open the base corruption that has driven every attack on the president since 2016.”
Fox News has also told its viewers that Trump’s opponents have “spun a web of lies” about his involvement with Ukraine. The network has given airtime to Republicans who claim that Ukraine rather than Russia was behind the cyber-attack on the 2016 presidential election, a claim that is actually Russian propaganda, U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded.
According to Graff in his Wired report, by broadcasting “lies and obfuscations” about both the Ukraine issue and Inspector General’s report, Fox News itself has now become “a dangerous threat to the national security of the United States.”
Veteran CNBC reporter John Harwood also took to his Twitter account to express dismay over the Fox News coverage of the IG report Monday. Harwood assessed the Fox coverage in one word — “lunacy.”
Graff, however, wrote that the Fox News coverage was “worse than lunacy.” The Wired correspondent wrote that by showing its viewers “an upside-down world,” the conservative network has now caused a situation in the United States “where it’s impossible to have the conversations and debate necessary to function as a democracy.”
The writer, who is also a paid contributor to CNN, admitted that his assertion of Fox’s “literal threat to our national security” is equivalent to that posed by Russia’s Internet Research Agency may appear to be an “overstatement.”
However, he contends that the network has become so entwined with Trump that the network is “prepared to destroy America’s democratic traditions” in order to give a boost to its “most dedicated daily viewer.”
According to media researcher Matt Gertz, writing for Politico, Trump is not merely a passive viewer of Fox News. His own views, as reflected on his Twitter feed, are often directly shaped by what he has seen on the network just moments earlier.
Trump also enjoys a close personal relationship with Fox News host Sean Hannity, one of Trump’s most outspoken supporters. Trump has been reported to frequently speak on the phone with Hannity just before the President gets into bed.
Graff concludes his Wired article by stating that his “hope” is that Fox News does not “succeed in transforming our country from a functional democracy into an authoritarian cult.”