The Wall Street Journal called out Donald Trump's conservative media defenders in the wake of the Republican presidential hopeful's latest offensive remark, this time attacking Sen. John McCain's military record -- yet some of Trump's most vocal supporters are on the Fox News Channel, the Journal's corporate cousin as both entities' parent companies are run by Rupert Murdoch.
Donald Trump Attacks Sen. McCain For Time As POW: He's “Not A War Hero”
Donald Trump: John McCain Is “Not A War Hero.” Speaking at a July 18 Republican presidential forum in Ames, Iowa, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump criticized the military service of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who suffered years of torture as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, saying, “He's not a war hero. He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured.” [The New York Times, 7/18/15]
Wall Street Journal Calls Out Trump's Conservative Media Allies
WSJ: “Conservative Media Who Applaud [Trump] Are Hurting The Case.” The Wall Street Journal editorial board took on the conservative news outlets defending Trump in a July 19 editorial. Blasting “Trump and his apologists,” the paper wrote that “as for conservative media elites, too many have adopted the view that there can be no adversary to their right”:
The summer Trump polling spurt has nonetheless been instructive in exposing a growing problem on the political right. All too many conservatives, including some magazine editors, have been willing to overlook his hucksterism as he's risen in the polls. They pretend that he deserves respect because he's giving voice to some deep disquiet or anger in the American electorate.
As for conservative media elites, too many have adopted the view that there can be no adversary to their right.This was mainly a left-wing affliction in the last century as many liberals refused to condemn Communists. But today many on the right seem willing to indulge any populist outburst no matter how divorced from reality or insulting to most Americans. If Donald Trump becomes the voice of conservatives, conservatism will implode along with him. [The Wall Street Journal, 7/19/15]
One Of Trump's Loudest Defenders Is Fox News -- WSJ's Corporate Cousin
Rupert Murdoch Runs Parent Companies Of Both Fox News And WSJ. Rupert Murdoch founded and owns News Corp., which publishes The Wall Street Journal, and is executive co-chairman of 21st Century Fox, which operates the Fox News Channel. [Biography.com, accessed 7/20/15]
Murdoch Called Out Trump For Smears Of Immigrants. In a series of tweets, Murdoch took Trump to task over his immigration remarks, writing that Trump is “wrong”:
Mexican immigrants, as with all immigrants, have much lower crime rates than native born. Eg El Paso safest city in U.S. Trump wrong.
-- Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) July 12, 2015
Murdoch: Trump Is Embarrassing “The Whole Country.” After Trump's attack on McCain, Murdoch tweeted:
When is Donald Trump going to stop embarrassing his friends, let alone the whole country?
-- Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) July 19, 2015
Fox Backed Trump After He Smeared Mexican Immigrants As Criminals, “Rapists”
Trump: “When Mexico Sends Its People ... They're Bringing Drugs. They're Bringing Crime. They're Rapists.” Donald Trump characterized Mexican immigrants as criminals and “rapists,” saying that “the U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else's problems” during his presidential campaign announcement speech on June 16:
TRUMP: The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else's problems.
Thank you. It's true, and these are the best and the finest. When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.
But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we're getting. And it only makes common sense. It only makes common sense. They're sending us not the right people. [Time, 6/16/15]
Sean Hannity: “I Agree With Mr. Trump.” Fox host Sean Hannity cited his experience at the U.S.-Mexico border to defend Trump's smear of Mexican immigrants, saying, “I agree with Mr. Trump, as somebody who has been down to the border 11 times, I have seen the drug warehouses, I was there when criminals were arrested, I know the human trafficking side.” [Fox News, Hannity, 6/30/15]
Steve Doocy: Trump Is “Probably Right.” Fox's Steve Doocy excused Trump's comments, saying, “When you think about it, he's probably right. Our unsecured southern border is a problem” during the June 30 edition of Fox & Friends. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 6/30/15]
Bill O'Reilly: “Trump Is Correct In Saying That Only A Massive Wall Will Stop The Chaos.” Fox News' Bill O'Reilly said Trump spoke “too generally” but was correct in pointing out a problem:
O'REILLY: The primary mistake Donald Trump made in his campaign kickoff speech was speaking too generally about the border problem.
But it's not ordinary Mexicans doing the raping. It's the gangsters, and Trump should have made that clear.
The truth is there is little supervision on the Mexican side of the border. Cities like Juarez and Nuevo Laredo are literally run by the drug cartels.
Border security in Mexico is non-existent and has been for decades.
That situation will not improve.
So Trump is correct in saying that only a massive wall will stop the chaos. And even then, drugs and people will get through, although not to the extent they do now. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 7/6/15]
And Fox Continues To Defend Trump Even After Latest Attack On McCain's Military Service
Doocy: Mainstream Media Didn't Report That Trump Immediately Corrected His Statement. On the July 20 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy defended Trump by claiming the presidential candidate was taken out of context by the media, instructing viewers to “keep in mind after he had this statement... He says it one time, then immediately corrects himself and says he was a war hero four times.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/20/15]
Brian Kilmeade Questions If Trump's Remarks Are “Being Blown Out Of Proportion.” On the same edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade wondered if the controversy around Trump's comments are “all being blown all out of proportion now by the Democrats and Republicans.” Guest Roger Stone agreed, claiming that “Trump is out front because he is speaking the hard truths.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/20/15]
Doocy: Trump Critical Of McCain's Senate Record, Not Military Service. Later on in Fox & Friends, Doocy again attempted to spin Trump's comments asserting that, “If you listen to the comments in total, he's not critical of John McCain the war hero, he's critical of his Senate record”:
DOOCY: Of course if you missed the ... mainstream media had this headline, 'Donald Trump says John McCain not a war hero,' we're about to play you the original comments. He did say that, but then he instantly, pretty much immediately, corrected himself and he does call John McCain a war hero four times.
If you listen to the comments in total, let me just say this, if you listen to his comments in total he's not critical of John McCain the war hero, he's critical of his Senate record. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/20/15]
Fox's Harris Faulkner Blames McCain For Trump's Insult. On the July 20 edition of Fox News' Outnumbered, co-host Harris Faulkner blamed McCain for Trump's inflammatory comments, saying that McCain “is not admitting that he kind of started this whole thing.” [Fox News, Outnumbered, 7/20/15]
Bolling: Trump Was “Taking The Shot At John McCain For His Service As Senator,” Not His Military Service. On the July 20 edition of The Five, co-host Eric Bolling attempted spin similar to what Steve Doocy did, claiming Trump was attacking McCain's record as a lawmaker, not as a military service member:
BOLLING: If you listen to the whole -- from the beginning to the very end, there's a back and forth. Donald Trump is talking about John McCain taking shots at his fanbase, or the people that showed up at his last rally, the audience kind of claps, they laugh, they're egging him on. There's another question about McCain, about his service, as senator, and they kind of [laugh], he takes another shot and they kind of laugh. And then it goes to but he's a war hero, and then it's almost like Donald is on a roll, and he just throws it out there -- and then corrects himself, and says, no, he's a war hero four times, as you point out. Personally I think John McCain is a war hero, and I would tell you, talking to Donald Trump, he will probably tell you the same thing, he's a war hero. But I think what he was taking the shot at McCain was, was his service not to the American people, or to the county, his military service. Taking the shot at John McCain for his service as senator, and there is a big difference there. So should he do it over, would he do it over? Donald's not going to apologize. You're right, it's just not in his nature to apologize. [Fox News, The Five, 7/20/15]
O'Reilly Excuses Trump's Attack On McCain: “I Know He Thinks He's A Hero.” On the July 20 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly explained that he doesn't believe Trump really believes John McCain is “not a hero”:
O'REILLY: I don't think -- and I don't want to play psychologist here -- but I have known the man for a long time and I go to games with him, you know, and all that, and we both get booed and cheered. I don't think he means half of what he says. He's a showman, he needs to get attention. I just don't think he -- I know he doesn't think John McCain, you know -- I know he thinks he's a hero. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 7/20/15]
Trump Lashed Out At WSJ For Critical Editorial
Trump: “Who Cares!” About The Journal. Trump responded to the Journal's editorial on Twitter:
The ever dwindling @WSJ which is worth about 1/10 of what it was purchased for, is always hitting me politically. Who cares!
-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 20, 2015
This post has been updated with additional examples.