Fox News is the tarp on the MAGA van

Fox News has stood alone among major television networks in encouraging and buttressing Trump’s divisive message. When Sean Hannity assures his audience that all Democrats—all Democrats!—are lying to them, when Tucker Carlson insists that “our elites inflame those divisions in order to rule,” when Fox & Friends depicts the Honduran migrant caravan as something to be feared rather than pitied, they are all playing the politics of resentment and revenge. The reason why Fox News on Friday refrained from acknowledging the specifics of Cesar Sayoc’s politics is to avoid having to grapple with the implications and consequences of that strategy.

Shepard Smith, as usual, was the only Fox host Friday afternoon to acknowledge the obvious—that Sayoc’s van was “plastered in pro-Trump and anti-Democrat stickers,” including “images of American flags, logos of the Republican National Committee, pictures of President Trump… at least one sticker that reads ‘CNN sucks.’… [According to the New York Times,] one sticker has Hillary Clinton’s face in the crosshairs of a rifle scope.” As he gave Fox viewers their first sustained close-up look at the van and its stickers—all previous footage of the van had been provided in wide shots where you couldn’t see any specific stickers—Smith acknowledged that “all of the targets are high profile Democrats and/or frequent critics of the president and many are frequent rhetorical targets of the president himself.”