Carlson’s rant on Wednesday was both sarcastic and delusional:
Political speech is not a crime in America. It has never been a crime in America. Even if bigots use your words to justify their violence, you can’t be arrested for their actions because we have the First Amendment. Political speech is sacred, period. The Supreme Court has given judgment on this many times. It is at the very heart of our system. So it is a free country.
But in perhaps the single most radical move of the entire Biden administration, the attorney general, Merrick Garland, has decided to change that. The Washington Post is reporting that the Justice Department is investigating former President Donald Trump as part of a January 6 criminal investigation.
Now this may confuse you because Trump did not commit any violence on January 6th. In fact, he publicly urged his constituents to quote, “Be at peace.” As they entered the capitol building, he told them to go home. It’s all on public record. But according to Merrick Garland, Donald Trump is still responsible for every single crime his supporters committed that day. Donald Trump’s speech is violence. This is the new rule. Your speech is violence.
Action of the campaign
Similar complaints were heard in almost every corner of the cable network’s programming. Host Laura Ingraham told her Ingraham Angle Attendees said the investigation was purely a matter of politics: “It seems like a political vendetta to prevent someone from running for office and prevent millions and millions of Americans from running for president again and winning,” he said.
He also claimed that Biden was politicizing the DOJ just like Trump: “Now, Biden’s attorney general is doing what they all warned against under Trump — he’s weaponizing the DOJ, despite his denials. has been,” he said.
And despite a mountain of evidence that Trump was working feverishly to overturn the election results and stay in office, he argued: “There’s no way [Garland] Actually believe it, what? President Trump was plotting to overthrow the government.”
Another host, ardent Trumpite Mark Levin, claimed that holding Trump accountable for his crimes — rather than the crimes themselves — would divide the nation: “The criminal prosecution of the former president of the United States—and the devastating damage it will do.” .body politic, and it will do fatal damage to polarization in this country.
Fox host Jesse Waters told the audience that this was just a psychological ploy by Democrats to boost their 2022 election chances: “They don’t need proof. Their goal is to scare you into submission. Watch Merrick Garland last night on NBC flirt with arresting Donald Trump just before the next election.
Katie Pavlich, a regular contributor who appears on Waters’ show, warned that if Garland indicted Trump, “It would look really bad. It would look corrupt. I mean, the Justice Department and the FBI are politicized. And has been used as a political weapon against Republicans for years now.
Alternatively, Pavlich chimed in Fox and friends That it was just an election-year gamble: “At the same time, they’re, you know, going after the Trump administration, endless investigations. So, the corruption and — the partnership between the FBI and the media to push this right before the election and bury the truth is really news in this scandal.
Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin turned on Faulkner focus to condemn the investigation. “It’s just an uneven application of justice, and it’s an untenable situation when the American public can no longer trust the FBI and our federal law enforcement and Department of Justice,” he said.
Jonathan Turley, a one-time liberal legal commentator turned ardent Trumpist, told an audience on Fox News that ‘ America’s newsrooms program that the legal case against Trump was “unprecedented,” apparently unaware that Trump’s actions could be characterized in the same way. Turley said: “Merrick Garland is taking on a case that is unprecedented, not only against a president, but in terms of the underlying elements being used in this type of action.”
The reality is that US law has long criminalized Trump-like behavior. It’s just that no previous president has ever done anything remotely like it.
For example, 18 US Code § 2383 (“Insurrection or Rebellion”) expressly states:
Whoever instigates, abets, aids, or abets, or gives aid or comfort to, any rebellion or insurrection against the United States or the laws thereof, shall be punished under this title or shall be imprisoned for more than ten years, or both; and shall be ineligible to hold any office under the United States.
University of California law professor James Wagstaffe, writing for Just security, Believes that Trump’s behavior before, during and after the rebellion was clearly criminal:
There is no doubt in my professor’s view that such acts fall under the federal criminal statutes for sedition and sedition. As to treason, federal law makes it illegal for any person to incite or aid in any act of rebellion against the authority of the United States, or to conspire to overthrow the government or obstruct or delay the execution of any of its laws. constitute a crime.
Similarly, it is an offense for someone to incite or incite other persons to riot, except for the mere advocating of a right to do so, as to incitement to riot. When, as here, such activities were incited through telephone calls, interstate travel, or other interstate means, federal criminal liability follows. It may also follow directly from DC law, as the Attorney General of the District of Columbia recently commented.
Let’s be clear: First Amendment protections have never been interpreted to prohibit the punishment of expression that threatens to materially disrupt the safe functioning of government or to incite others to commit violence or other illegal acts. is If such speech is actually directed at inciting such illegal conduct and the contemplated conduct is imminent or immediate, the speech is punishable.
Not that Fox News pundits are likely to face criminal charges for enabling Trump’s criminal behavior. But already, their already questionable credibility is crumbling under the weight of the facts exposed by investigators around January 6.
Sean Hannity’s longstanding defense of Trump — claiming that he actually tried to call out the National Guard that day — for example, has completely fallen apart. It turns out that Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller — who appeared on Hannity’s program and claimed Trump commanded the Guard in Washington before the uprising — actually testified under oath. To the committee on January 6 that “there was no order from the President” to call in the troops.
Fox News pundits already have their black place in American history as the monumental and pathological liars who enabled every step of Trump’s assault on American democracy. Mark Meadows’ quotes show that they are all too ready to urge Trump to stop the attacks—and then, when he refuses, take to the airwaves to blame someone—antifa, Nancy Pelosi, “the left.” ” or any of their favorite scapegoats—that may possibly be available.
As Adam Sarver observes, this isn’t just a case of shoddy or biased reporting, the kind Fox News routinely accuses its competitors of engaging in. “Even errors of fact and framing, of ideology or analysis, are different from the hosts of Fox News, who try to get their viewers to believe things they themselves know to be false,” he writes. .
“Fox News understands that its success depends on maintaining a fantasy world, rather than doing anything to upset it. That’s why some of its most famous personalities, who made most of the January 6 events shared the same horrors as other Americans, caked on their makeup, stared at the camera, and lied to the people who trusted them most. What makes Fox News unique is not that it is conservative. is, but that its on-air personalities think it’s their job to lie.”
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