Well it would seem that Fox News ‘Inquisitors’ were again in what was so very obvious, attack mode when it came to Donald Trump. From idiotic Chris Wallace and his equally idiotic slide show to Megyn Kelly and her flip-flop videos, Fox News came loaded for bear to what was less a debate and more of a political broadside attack on Donald Trump last night. This was something that I would have expected to see on CNN or MSNBC, not on what’s supposed to be the ‘conservative alternative.’ I watched for about 30 or 40 minutes before turning to ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’.
This time, they seemed to have vowed to one another that Trump simply would not be permitted to get away with vagaries about cutting waste and abuse. This time, they vowed, he wouldn’t wriggle out of past contradictions like shedding past skins. So compete with slide shows, loaded questions and attitude, they were going to get their man, one way or another. So on a day when Trump spent much of his time beating back attacks from leaders of his own party’s establishment, starting with 2012 loser Mitt Romney, he walked straight into what the Fox moderators had waiting for him.
It was Chris Wallace who was first out of the gate. And in what was, I guess, an effort to make ‘Daddy Mike’ proud as he looked up from beyond the Gates of Hell, that he said, “Your numbers don’t add up, sir,” after Trump went into a standard response about how he would cut waste and abuse from the Education Department and EPA to cover his tax plans. But, with these three having planned a coordinated strike, Wallace was quick to produce a graphic, that he had standing at the ready, showing that cutting all of both agencies would barely trim the deficit, let alone pay for huge new tax cuts.
And when Trump pivoted to another topic– how the government loses money by not being able to negotiate lower prices with pharmaceutical companies, you could almost see Wallace salivating. Because having already anticipated Trump’s move, and before Trump could even finish talking, Wallace already pulled up yet another equation. Wallace said, “Let’s put up full screen number two.” Then he added, “You say that Medicare could save $300 billion a year negotiating lower drug prices. But Medicare total only spends $78 billion a year on drugs. Sir, that’s the facts.”
Then came the highly anticipated return engagement between Trump and Ms. Megyn, who appeared to have had more than a little work done. Kelly, as you may recall, was the anchor he repeatedly scorned for having taken him on in Fox’s first debate last summer by highlighting his comments about women over the years. Trump avoided confronting Kelly in January by skipping that month’s Fox News debate entirely. This rematch proved to be more of a throwdown as Kelly seemed to dare Trump to go after her as she launched some of the toughest questions of the night his way.
Kelly said, “Mr. Trump, one of the things people love about you is they believe you tell it like it is. Time and time again in this campaign, you’ve actually told the voters one thing only to reverse yourself within weeks or even sometimes days.” And as she did she proceeded to tee up three video clips of Trump changing his position on Afghanistan, Syrian refugees and whether George W. Bush lied about Iraq. She then asked, “How is any of this telling it like it is?” And then added, “You change your tune on so many things, and that has some people saying, what is his core?”
For many of those watching, including myself, it was as though the ‘Fox Three’ had now chosen to officially take on the job of taking Trump down since none of the other candidates had managed to do so with any significant level of success. The moderators weren’t nearly as persistent with the other candidates as they were with Trump, a decision, I suppose you could argue, that seems justified by his standing as the likeliest nominee. But since when is it the job of debate moderators to head up an attack on the frontrunner? Sure, it’s Trump this time, but who might it be next time?
It was earlier in the week that Wallace, in explaining why certain candidates would get more questions than others, said, “I think we certainly take note of who are the candidates that seem to have a better chance of nomination as opposed to those who don’t.” Wallace went on to say, “I think we went out of our way early on in the process to treat everyone as much the same as possible, but to be certain people at the center of stage will get more questions and will get more response to attacks.” But what Trump was on the receiving end was an unusual level of hostility.
In addition to Wallace’s number crunching and Kelly’s flip-flop videos, the moderators also highlighted quotes from a court decision involving Trump University and showed an odd John Kasich campaign ad that questioned whether Trump and Vladimir Putin would team up to “make tyranny great again.” Kasich chose not to take part in the Trump melee, choosing to avoid an attack on Trump which would invite a response. When provided with an opportunity to join in he simply said, “I’m not biting.” A fact that apparently went over well with various focus groups.
But the other two up there on the stage were only two eager to ‘bite’, chiming in, almost, as if on cue at every opportunity handed to them. It just seemed all a bit too coordinated for me. But I’m told that the hard hitting questions stopped for a while after Wallace, Kelly and the third moderator, Bret Baier, left the stage and the cameras turned to Bill O’Reilly for the immediate post-game interview with Trump. I wouldn’t know, I’m not crazy about O’Reilly either. And by then I was likely watching as Ronan and Peter Quill duked it out over the ‘Infinity Stone.’
During the brief time I spent watching, I was trying to remember when it was that I last saw any of these ‘journalists’ go after a Democrat, or even an ‘Establishment Republican’, with the same level of intensity that they have continually gone after Trump. And anyone watching who allowed these moderators to change their opinion of Trump simply fell right into the trap that was set for them. And why should we believe these moderators and their pretty graphics any more than we should believe Trump? I mean who came into this debate with the more obvious ulterior motive?
And finally, lest anyone gets the wrong impression here, and presumes me to be a Trump supporter, let me be very clear. At this stage of the game I most certainly am not. But I have become more than a little disappointed in my candidate in that he seems to be far too willing, once he gets on the debate stage, to become little more than a Fox News attack dog in their effort to rid the race of Trump. But make no mistake, unlike so many others, should Trump be our nominee, I will vote for him against Hitlery. Because staying away from this very crucial election makes no sense.