Fox News has not mentioned recent remarks in which retired Gen. Michael Flynn, former President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser, expressed support for a military coup in the United States.
During a Q-and-A session on Sunday at the For God & Country Patriot Roundup, a four-day conference in Dallas featuring some of the leading adherents of the QAnon conspiracy theory that Flynn keynoted, he was asked “why what happened in Myanmar can’t happen here.” He replied, to cheers from the crowd, “No reason. I mean, it should happen here.”
Myanmar’s military seized control of the country in February and imprisoned its civilian leaders, on the false pretext that Myanmar’s recent landslide election had been tainted by widespread voter fraud. The junta declared a state of emergency and has since killed peaceful protesters and arrested journalists. QAnon supporters and users on far-right message boards have lauded the coup and called for the U.S. military to take similar action against President Joe Biden over false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election.
After video of Flynn’s comments went viral and triggered a backlash, he claimed on social media that he had been the victim of “media manipulating my words” and that “there is NO reason whatsoever for any coup in America, and I do not and have not at any time called for any action of that sort.” But as The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake pointed out, Flynn’s explanation doesn’t make sense and his remarks followed numerous instances of him “doing things that undermine the U.S. government or seek to quite literally unseat those in power.”
Many major news outlets covered the former national security adviser’s call for a military coup. Notably, CNN had devoted at least two hours to the story through 10 a.m. Wednesday, while MSNBC gave it at least 39 minutes of coverage over the same time frame. But Fox, whose propagandists had treated Flynn has a heroic victim of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe and successfully lobbied Trump to pardon him, hasn’t mentioned the story at all.
While Fox hosts ignored Flynn’s coup comments, they did find time to devote multiple segments to a purportedly “woke” waterfront development in Seattle as part of the network’s habit of fueling the culture war by turning local news stories into outrage for its national audience.
Flynn’s remarks are part of a worrisome pattern. The consensus position among Republicans is that Democrats used voter fraud to steal the 2020 election from Trump. The party’s internal divide is largely over whether to respond through antidemocratic violence (like the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol) or through legalistic efforts to ensure the GOP wins future elections by suppressing Democratic votes or overturning unfavorable results (as seen in GOP-controlled states nationwide). And Fox, as the GOP’s propaganda apparatus, has been alternatively encouraging and denying the existence of the extremist elements, while backing the legislative efforts.
This is trending in an incredibly dangerous direction as the 2024 elections approach.