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Fox News Under Fire For ‘A Coup in America?’ Segment: ‘This Is Alarmingly Irresponsible…Baseless. Dangerous’

Authoritarianism

Fox News Under Fire For ‘A Coup in America?’ Segment: ‘This Is Alarmingly Irresponsible…Baseless. Dangerous’




Fox News host Jesse Watters warned his viewers on Saturday night that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election is essentially a Democratic “coup” against President Trump, a suggestion that was received with shock and dismay by journalists and academics.

Watters pointed to anti-Trump text messages sent by an FBI agent in 2016 who was immediately removed from the investigation earlier this year. Watters failed to mention that the agent also took shots at Bernie Sanders, Chelsea Clinton, Paul Ryan, Eric Holder and said he “was worried about what happens if” Hillary Clinton was elected, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Fox News host suggested he “may have proof” that the probe “was weaponized to destroy [Trump’s] presidency for partisan political purposes,” adding, “if that’s true, we have a coup on our hands in America.”

His point was underscored by this chyron that appeared on screen during his interview with White House Spokesperson Kellyanne Conway:




Brian Klauss, an expert on democracy and authoritarianism, condemned Fox News for the segment, tweeting: “I’ve interviewed coup plotters, torture victims, generals, politicians they toppled & dozens whose lives were destroyed by actual coups & coup attempts…This language is so dangerous for democracy—and it’s precisely what you see before purges (which Fox News hosts are advocating)”

Kevin Baron, the Executive Editor at Defense One news, tweeted: “Coup?! I cover wars. Militaries. Actual coups. Where citizens violently rise up and kill each other for power over each other. This is alarmingly irresponsible language, even for Fox. Inflammatory. Baseless. Dangerous.”

Evan McMullin, a former CIA Operations Officer who ran as an Independent during the 2016 presidential election, tweeted: “’A coup in America?’ This is incredibly irresponsible rhetoric. It’s no surprise that the same network that still denies Russian interference for Trump, also uses this kind of language to describe law enforcement efforts to uphold the law and our sovereignty.”

Ron Nehring, a Republican political strategist, expressed outrage at the nonchalant use of the term.




Here are some more reactions to the segment:




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