Fox News fans put up with a lot from their network: endorsements of accused child molesters, ubiquitous Terror Alerts, and truly insulting ads for gold and stairlifts. But even Fox News fans agree there’s one act that’s simply going too far.
Telling the truth.
At least, that’s what a group of angry midday viewers are alleging after 3 p.m. host Shepard Smith reported that — avert your ears, Fox News fans — Hillary Clinton may not have ordered weapons-grade uranium to be sold to Vladimir Putin. To be more specific: she did not personally order the sale of Uranium One (actually a Canadian corporation with American mining rights) to the Russians.
Amid primetime Fox News hosts’ insinuations that yes, Clinton definitely sold uranium to Putin, and hey when are all branches of government gonna look into emailsVinceFosterTravelgateTonyPodesta, viewers concluded that the former presidential candidate was definitely guilty and that they were right all along when they chanted “Lock her up!” last summer… even if they didn’t realize at the time that it was for uranium dealing.
But then Smith came on and said this:
The accusation is predicated on the charge that Secretary Clinton approved the sale. She did not. A committee of nine evaluated the sale, the president approved the sale, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and others had to offer permits, and none of the uranium was exported for use by the U.S. to Russia.
He went on to note that alleged “pay for play” donations to the Clinton Foundation almost exclusively came from one person: a Canadian man who left Uranium One in 2007 — years before the company was sold to Russian interests.
And Fox News viewers were not having it.
Some called for a boycott of Smith’s show. Others called for his exile to CNN. Their rationale, apparently: We really want Hillary to be guilty, so stop telling us that the facts matter!
The viewers’ outrage is symptomatic of an era where stratified cable channels, websites, and social media feeds allow individuals to curate their own personalized version of the news, where one side is always valiant and true and the other is scheming and corrupt. It might be comforting to have one’s biases reconfirmed on a daily basis, but that doesn’t mean it’s helpful for public discourse.
As the late New York senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”
Then again, Moynihan retired from the Senate in 2001 and was replaced by… Hillary Clinton. Conspiracy confirmed. Lock her up!!!