Donald Trump has created quite a stir with his remarks about the military service of John McCain. Now, the crew at Fox News is coming to The Donald’s defense.
In a conversation with GOP consultant Frank Luntz, Trump ridiculed McCain’s Vietnam service, saying, “He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” In print that sounds innocent enough, but when you hear the words actually coming out of Trump’s mouth, it’s obvious that his use of the term “war hero” is not meant in a positive way. He was angry because McCain called the people who attended a Trump rally in Phoenix “crazies” and he lashed out in typical Donald Trump style.
On the July 20th Fox and Friends, host Steve Doocy starts off a conversation with Geraldo Rivera by saying that Trump was talking about McCain’s senate record, not his military record. That is the same claim made on Fox and Friends by political advisor Roger Stone, who, according to Media Matters, is on Trump’s payroll.
Rivera, one of the few at Fox News who occasionally displays a bit of journalistic integrity, isn’t buying what Doocy is selling.
At the very least,” Rivera says, “Donald Trump owes an explanation…to everyone who was ever a prisoner of war.
Journalist Sharyl Attkisson, who often produces work of questionable accuracy, “fact checked” Trump’s claim, and backed up Trump’s statement that he called McCain a “war hero” four times. Not so fast, says Politifact. They rate the claim “mostly false.” In their analysis, here’s what Politifact has to say.
Trump literally said McCain “is a war hero” five times, but always with strings attached. Twice, he was interrupted by Luntz before he could finish his sentence. Once, the statement was preceded by “I believe, perhaps.” And the last two times, Trump added “because he was captured.”
He also, of course, started all this by saying McCain is “not a war hero.”
Kathleen Kendall, an expert in political campaign communication at the University of Maryland, had this to say about Trump’s remark:
‘He’s a war hero because he was captured’ implies that anybody who is captured is called a war hero, but there’s really nothing special about them.
Rivera takes the position that most others have taken on Trump’s remarks. He says that it sounds like Trump is saying that soldiers who are captured in a war are less than those who aren’t captured. Trump, like so many prominent Republicans, couldn’t be bothered to go fight in Vietnam. But of course, if he had gone, he would now be claiming to be the inspiration for the Rambo character. Guns in both hands, cyanide capsule between his teeth. “You’ll never take me alive!!!!!”
Why is Fox so bent on defending Trump? That’s a good question. Part of it may have to do with Trump’s entertainment value. Whatever else he is or isn’t, Trump certainly knows how to attract attention. And if Fox makes him mad, then there goes any future appearances on the fairly unbalanced network. In fact, Doocy closes the conversation with Rivera by telling the audience that Trump is appearing on Bill O’Reilly’s show tonight.
Here’s the video, via Media Matters:
Featured image via video screenshot