Conservatives protect Trump now, conservatives protected Nixon then. The comparisons keep adding up: demonizing law enforcement, keeping a list of enemies, an all-out war on leaks… it goes on and on.
There is, however, one key difference: Nixon never had Fox.
“It is hard to overstate how unusual what is happening on Fox is,” argues Vox media critic Carlos Maza on this week’s episode of the Mother Jones Podcast. “It is not just a right-wing network. It is an incredibly well-financed and a massive ‘get out the vote’ operation,” instructing viewers on how to vote, district by district, along strictly Trumpian lines.
“This expectation that we’ll have a revisit of what happened with Nixon, that the public will just wake up and say, ‘enough is enough,’” Maza notes, “assumes there is not this incredibly sophisticated, well-funded, and wide-reaching operation.”
He warns Fox News has now become “a different kind of beast than just a propaganda network.” Fox’s coverage of the migrant caravan in the run-up to the election, for example, was so relentless and extreme that it became a de facto “mobilization network,” argues Maza— adopting and amplifying the president’s false claims that the group’s inexorable northward march was nothing less than an “invasion,” had as its objective acting as a catalyst to get his base out to vote.
“It was pretty much constant ‘caravan’, ‘invasion’, ‘disease’ ‘vermin,’” says Margaret Sullivan, Washington Post media columnist who joined Maza in the studio for the taping of the podcast. Fox News is “so far off the charts that they basically function as state media for Trump.”