Also distressing is the flagrantly authoritarian diatribe that Fox News personality Jeanine Pirro unleashed over the weekend, calling for a “cleansing” of the FBI and Department of Justice that leads not only to firings but to some employees being “taken out in handcuffs.” This is a vile statement that’s aimed straight at the investigation of the Trump campaign by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team. It’s also a chilling threat that, if acted upon, would amount to a frontal assault on the rule of law, with key members of federal law enforcement purged, presumably to be replaced by partisan hacks who would turn a blind eye to administration malfeasance.

Yet the outrage was largely limited to liberal circles. Of course there’s no way to know how viewers reacted to Pirro’s provocation, but one presumes Fox wouldn’t have broadcast it if they thought it would spark widespread hostility from the network’s core audience of hard-line Republicans. They may even have assumed that this audience would be receptive to just such a blatantly authoritarian appeal.