Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters
The cycle of Fox News coverage and President Donald Trump’s id repeated itself this weekend, this time involving the network’s coverage of the now-infamous blowup between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly.
In response to negative media coverage, Trump is now seconding a suggestion from Fox News personality Mark Levin — to end NPR’s funding, and even get rid of the organization itself.
Original controversy regarding Pompeo
Kelly’s interview of Pompeo on January 24 became heated when she asked him about the ongoing Ukraine scandal and impeachment, to which he replied that he had only come on to talk about Iran. (Kelly answered that she had confirmed with his staff that she would discuss both Iran and Ukraine.)
Kelly reported that after the interview, Pompeo challenged her to find Ukraine on a map of the world without country labels on it. She also contends that Pompeo used profanity throughout their exchange: “He was not happy to have been questioned about Ukraine. He asked, ‘Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?’ He used the F-word in that sentence and many others.”
On Saturday, Pompeo issued a statement decrying the “unhinged” media. He also called Kelly a liar and suggested that she confused Ukraine and Bangladesh.
The suggestion about Bangladesh was especially preposterous.
Fox News gets involved, triggering Trump
Despite such widespread outrage (“Bangladesh” was prominently trending on Twitter), Fox News treated Pompeo’s statement credulously. On Sunday, the Fox News web site ran a story detailing Pompeo’s further rebuttals to Kelly, including his contention that she had broken a promise for their further conversation to be off the record — which Kelly denies was ever promised at all. The story led Fox’s website.
Right-wing talk radio host Mark Levin, who has a weekly TV show on Fox News itself and is a regular on Sean Hannity’s Fox show, tweeted a link to the Fox News article, and asked, “Why does NPR still exist?”
Shortly thereafter, Trump quote-tweeted Levin and agreed.
This obvious threat comes just hours after Republican Senators had a meltdown about lead impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) referencing a CBS report about Trump threatening them if they voted against him on impeachment. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and many others rushed to mainstream media to decry the notion that Trump would ever threaten them. Fox News (and many mainstream reporters) took all of this credulously despite threatening people being Trump’s entire brand.
To wit: Elsewhere this morning, Trump threatened Schiff.