On the Wednesday morning edition of Fox & Friends, the co-hosts gave a peculiar message to their viewers about how to watch the crucial events of the Senate impeachment trial against President Donald Trump: Don’t even bother.
“If you watch some of it, there were snippets — and we’re showing you the good stuff — it was unbelievably boring,” said Steve Doocy. “And I don’t know how people can follow it.”
Pete Hegseth also chimed in: “We watched so that you don’t have to watch the entire thing.”
“I don’t think the majority of people watched,” added Ainsley Earhardt. “I think they just turn to us to be able to summarize it for them, because it was so long.”
The fact is, watching actual legal proceedings — even the half-political, quasi-judicial process of an impeachment trial — is not like watching an episode of Law & Order, in which the courtroom fireworks are all contained in a few minutes. In real life, this can all be very slow, with long and drawn-out arguments.
But it’s still important to understand important issues like government corruption and the limits on power, and it’s worthy of discussion by an active and concerned citizenry. And clearly, the last thing Fox wants is an informed public.
An early taste of this preference came Tuesday afternoon, when Fox anchor Dana Perino declared: “It is somber, it is serious, and I think you could see today, you know, it is a little bit like watching paint dry. … By Thursday, I think that some senators will be crying uncle and their names might be Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Amy Klobuchar. Because they have an election that they want to win that continues on. They’re going to try to get surrogates out there. Because of this schedule, they’re no longer going to be able to take quick trips there to do a quick rally and get back in time.”
Things got a lot more explicit on Sean Hannity’s radio show. Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett appeared as a guest and joked, “I understand there’s a run on NoDoz at Walgreens.” He characterized the day’s proceedings as “a soporific debate over what procedures to adopt,” adding, “Frankly, you know, it’s going to be a tepid bore.” (Not exactly the kind of legal analysis that would give people an understanding of what was going on.)
Later in the program, Hannity complained to his producer: “I’m trying to, like, be interested. I’m watching the proceedings. It is boring me to death what they are doing here today,” and the crew even played a snoring sound effect.
That night, Fox Business host Lou Dobbs brought on longtime Republican strategist Ed Rollins, who said: “It was the longest, most tedious day. I thought I was in, you know, at a graduate course in boring mathematics or something.”
On the subject of mathematics, perhaps the next motto from Fox News could be “2 + 2 = 5.”