Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Boundary violations

The fun thing about watching Fox isn't waiting someone at Fox to break the "rules"; it's trying to figure out what Fox's rules are from how Fox breaks other people's rules. So what are the circumstances under which Sunday morning's top story becomes "Trump will take care of it"? Apparently not the lede:

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster says neither the American people nor U.S. allies should question the stability of the Trump administration amid his predecessor Michael Flynn’s guilty plea and rumors Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is stepping down.

 “No, I don't think our allies need any reassurance,” McMaster told Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.” “In fact, what we're doing is continuing to work with them on all the key challenges we face today -- from North Korea, to the defeat of ISIS across the Greater Middle East -- the ongoing efforts in Afghanistan, Pakistan, too.” 

So ... there must be a lot to talk about.

... Wallace also asked McMaster about the president’s recent retweets of online posts linked to “Britain First,” a far-right group in the United Kingdom.

... “General, why did President Trump send out those videos?” Wallace asked.

“Well, President Trump is the best judge of why he did that,” McMaster said. “I know it was his intention to highlight the importance of creating safe and secure environments for our citizens -- to make sure that we have the right laws in place, enforcement mechanisms in place.”

370 words in, we get to the point(ish):

McMaster also addressed North Korea.

Last week, North Korea launched its longest-range intercontinental ballistic missile – a provocation to which President Trump replied, “I will only tell you that we will take care of it.” 

How exactly would the president “take care of it” given China and Russia’s complicity in propping up the regime, Wallace asked.

“Well, the president's going to take care of it by, if we have to, doing more ourselves,” McMaster said. “But what we want to do is convince others it is in their interest to do more. 

Under the standard rules of hed writing, we could at best get a week-old "Trump says 'we will take care of' North Korea." It'd be a stretch to draw "McMaster says Trump will take care of North Korea," because McMaster only vaguely says that.* And since the first few paragraphs (and the point of the interview) seem to point to concerns about whether the president is actually deranged or just acting like it, one wonders why North Korea was the headline at all.

It's a challenge keeping up with Fox and its masters these days; even if you manage to skip from one international nightmare to another, there's something new on the domestic scene. But if you want to climb the Fox ladder quickly, it's hard to go wrong with "Massster will fix it! Massster has everything under control!"

* Nor does he seem to be the one who said “I will only tell you that we will take care of it.” 

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