Merry Christmas everyone!
If you’ve spent anytime watching FOX News in prime time this week (yes I do watch FOX News – it’s important for me to be informed about what is being said there), you probably have seen Jesse Watters. With Christmas week upon us Watters was filling in at various times for both Tucker Carloson and Laura Ingraham, two thirds of FOX’s cable ratings leading primetime lineup.
The FOX host rose to fame weeks before the 2016 Election, with a moderately racist segment on Chinatown in New York. Watters has since been a conventional FOX talking head, doing the usual FOX things that CEO Suzanne Scott encourages. One of his most notable recent comments was talking about winning Native American lands “fair and square” on the battlefield which hearkens me back to the comments of the clownish US Senator S.I. Hayakawa (R-California) who said of the Panama Canal “we stole it fair and square.” (I should note that Hayakawa was a distinguished Japanese-American academic who counted Ronald Reagan among his admirers, but was complete buffoon as a public official.)
So this past week it was no surprise to see Watters speaking at the Turning Points USA conference, in front of young people whose world view sees the likes of Viktor Orbán as inspirations while seeing liberal democracy as a fundamental evil. But Watters stole the show from far more famous individuals by calling for Dr. Anthony Fauci to face a “kill shot.”
I don’t agree with some who claim this was a direct call for Fauci’s assassination, though I do believe the language used by Watters was deliberately provocative and could be easily misinterpreted given the tone of the campaign waged by the right against Dr. Fauci for the last 21 months.
It wasn’t a call for a real “kill shot,” but a metaphorical one if you view the comments in context. However it was a call to accost the leading public health official in this nation and entrap him while using language (perhaps intentionally?) ambiguous enough to be misinterpreted.
As I have said over and over again on this site, I view attacks on Dr. Fauci in a fundamentally different way than I view attacks on the President or any Democratic elected official. Dr. Fauci has served this nation selflessly for a half century, never seeking public office or the limelight unless duty called. It is increasingly unbecoming for right-wing media personalities or elected officials on the right to make him the issue – but that’s how the right fights its cultural wars these days, on the specter of personality and fear.
What’s galling is rather than apologize and FOX clear up the matter, it’s clear they’ve doubled down on Watters, rewarding him with a remarkable amount of prime time exposure this week.
Have they no shame?