Since the latest round of “Scandalmania” began, and long before it, we’ve been writing about how Fox “News” Republicans have been suddenly been pretending to care about “Big Government” overreach.
In truth, they’ve never given a damn about any of it, unless it seemed to be something they could use to hurt Barack Obama and Democrats in some way. But, even then, the fake outrage was extraordinarily selective.
With the revelation by Glenn Greenwald at the UK Guardian, exposing the Obama NSA’s secret FISA court order to obtain blanket access to months of records from “all telephone calls in [Verizon’s] systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries,” one might be dumb enough to think that Fox and the Republicans and, especially, U.S. House Oversight Committee Chair Rep. Darrell Issa, would be in an absolute uproar upon learning of the president’s tyrannical Big Government overreach and invasion into the private lives of American citizens.
But, of course, we’re not that dumb.
Other than Sen. Rand Paul, apparently, few on the right could care less about any of it. That is, of course, because they never actually cared about Big Government or tyranny or invasions into the private lives of American citizens in the first place.
Alex Seitz-Wald at Salon explains it well, noting that between the time the story broke and about 2pm Eastern Time Thursday, Fox News and Fox Business, together, had mentioned the story only three times. “Two were quick straight news segments, while the third was a little riff from the Fox & Friends crew.” At the same time, he writes, “Fox and Fox Business have mentioned the nine-month-old Libya scandal over 25 times.”
This is why conservative scandalmongers can‘t have anything nice. When they’re handed a real scandal that should confirm all of their worst suspicions about government overreach, they fail to take the bait and fall back on a stale non-scandal that cable news has chewed over for months already. They know Benghazi is safe territory for them and that their viewers like it, but it’s too bad the most popular cable news network isn’t doing a better job of informing their viewers about legitimate Obama administration problems.
This afternoon, WorldNetDaily, the birther news website, blasted out an email to readers: “Mother of all scandals: Obama’s war on Christians.”
“This should be a litmus test for Republicans: either take action against this program, or never invoke liberty or limited government again,” Conor Friedersdorf tweeted, regarding the NSA story.
And, of course, that was all before Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill’s arguably even more alarming story (also confirmed by the Washington Post) revealing a massive, previously undisclosed, confidential NSA program named PRISM, which now affords the agency “direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other U.S. internet giants, according to a top-secret document obtained by The Guardian.” The program, they report, allows “officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats.”
Fox and friends are, no doubt, scrambling, even now, to ignore that story as thoroughly and as quickly as possible as well. Because, ya know, Benghazi! Or something… Or, maybe it’s the fact that both programs were begun under George W. Bush, back when Fox and friends didn’t even pretend to give a damn about Big Government overreach —other than when they were calling for more of it.
Copyright 2013 The National Memo