The Fox Game

One of the great shortcomings of television/video is it reduces everything to the same size in terms of scale – whether or not they deserve to be. Meaning, for example, on our TV screen we may see and hear an individual speaking seemingly earnestly and directly to the camera telling us what he thinks and he fills the screen. Similarly, we may see the aftermath of this missile strike or that strike, or this destroyed tank or that one, or this dead body or that one, all of which individually all briefly also may fill the screen.

So are both “the same size?” They are only insofar as both appear as similar-sized images on a flat, “45 inch” TV screen. However, that certainly does not mean they are of the same depth: While we can see one man talk, we cannot see thousands simultaneously being killed and imprisoned and millions displaced from their homes by an invading army.

I try to avoid doing this sort of thing on here. However, there are times when we see blatant misinformation to the point it is disturbing. (I could say it is “dis,” but I will be charitable.) I happened upon this on Twitter and as a former university lecturer (including in comparative politics) and similarly just one individual, I want to post here a rebuttal to this individual’s televised assertions below because this is no game:

He is “famous” for stating – along with many similar to him – that he is merely “asking questions.” What is on his screen up there, though, is not a question as there is no question mark. It is posted as plain fact.

But is it fact? THAT is a question and I will answer it:

Ukraine is a one-party state”…

UNTRUE. His on screen tag line there is an (at best) ill-informed sentence that seems cagily meant to play on most American viewers’ (understandable) lack of in-depth knowledge of Ukrainian politics and their natural inclination as Americans to see politics through a U.S.-centered prism.

In 2022, Ukraine applied to join the European Union, and the EU does NOT accept applications from “one-party states.” Ukraine has since the collapse of the USSR (of which it was coerced into being a part of in 1922) and its independence in 1991 developed numerous “political parties.” However, they cannot be easily compared to the parliamentary parties such as those here in the UK or with Democrats and Republicans in the U.S.

In the war emergency (assuming that Fox host accepts that Ukraine is in an “emergency” situation, that is) brought on by the Russian invasion of February 24, 2022, Ukraine does not currently have what we would consider “normal” politics, but has what might be best described as a “non-party” government (not “one-party,” which clearly implies as he knows to his viewers, and he evidently means it to, “dictatorship”). One would think that would be understandable. After all, when national existence is at stake in any foreign invasion, it is the invader who becomes “the opposition.”

The United Kingdom, for example, was governed by a “national coalition” (not “one-party”) from 1940-45 when seriously menaced with a Nazi ground invasion and as the country was being pummeled by Nazi aircraft and then later by Nazi V1 and V2 rockets.

If the UK of 1940-45 is deemed irrelevant because it is not the U.S., it is worth recalling in solely a U.S. context that political parties as we understand them played no role in the U.S. war for independence of 1776-83. All politicians (and the population) were either a “patriot” for independence or a “tory” opposed to it. After “tories” were more or less chased from all public offices (and eventually occasionally even from the country), battling what the “patriot” independence new U.S. government considered now a foreign force that was attempting to topple their government, the commander-in-chief of the U.S. Continental Army, General George Washington, was even granted “emergency” powers from late December 1776 until June 1777 by the Continental Congress.

[Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s seized Arlington Heights, Virginia mansion, with Union dead buried in his wife’s rose garden. Photo by me, 2017.]

Also many Fox News viewers appear unfortunately (at least “sentimentally”) to admire the so-called Confederate States of America of 1861-65 and I will not offer any suggestions here as to why. What matters in this post’s context is that CSA, under its “President” (former U.S. Senator) Jefferson Davis, had no political parties as we, again, understand them. As had been the case of the U.S. from 1776-83, CSA politics revolved around the Civil War and the necessity to somehow defeat the government at Washington, D.C. in order to break away from the U.S. and maintain its institution of chattel slavery. (That effort, thankfully, we recall, failed.)

Next up from that Fox host:

Joe Biden has never had the support of a majority of Americans even a single day during the Ukraine war…

DECEITFUL and MISLEADING. Biden’s personal presidential poll approval ratings are one thing, while the American people’s overall support for Ukraine is something else. The two are interestingly “mixed” together there by him. He chooses also not to note that Gallup reported this poll result in early February as the first anniversary of the Russian invasion approached: “A stable 65% of U.S. adults prefer that the United States support Ukraine in reclaiming its territory, even if that results in a prolonged conflict. Meanwhile, 31% continue to say they would rather see the U.S. work to end the war quickly, even if this allows Russia to keep its territory.”

It would seem self-evident to anyone fair-minded, that support for Ukraine is separate from presidential approval of Joe Biden.


Putin is “more popular” in Russia than President Joe Biden is in the US… it’s just true…

No, that is NOT “just true.” Vladimir Putin did not start out as a dictator, but once he became president of the Russian Federation legally in 2000, he gradually assumed more and more authority upon his office “legally.” Due to that “gradualism,” within a decade he had become largely unassailable to any political opponents. It has reached the point by now that no one is going to be able to vote him out of the presidential office, which by definition makes him a “dictator.”

But is it possible a huge majority of Russians are “supporting” him? We cannot know that because in a dictatorship no public opinion polls can really be trusted. However, even if for the sake of argument we choose to accept them in this case, that means every democratic leader out there, not just Biden, but also President Macron in France, Federal Chancellor Scholz in Germany, Prime Minister Sunak here in the UK, and the list could go on, are all “less popular” that him. Indeed, President Franklin Roosevelt was certainly also far “less popular” in the U.S. than Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin was in the USSR, too.

Why can’t we trust opinion polls of Putin in Russia now? One like that KGB thug who jails, poisons, and pushes prominent political opposition out of high-rise windows, and does not allow any truly “questioning” media to function, is inevitably going to be reported by state-backed media as “more popular” than democratic leaders abroad because opposition to the dictator is simply not allowed. So it is unsurprising that state approved “opinion polls” will show overwhelming approval of him by the mass of the public.

Any public in a dictatorship also learns for self-preservation purposes to keep its head down and stay off discussing certain subjects in public in particular – especially if their views are not in line with those clearly pushed by the state. If any pollster approached you in Russia now and asked what you thought of the president, what would you say? For merely offering a contrary opinion in a restaurant in speaking up in defense of Ukraine, that couple above was arrested.

Subsequently, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported, the husband was sent to jail for 15 days. The wife was fined and she fled Russia for nearby Armenia with their child. And they are nowhere near alone in having that experience.

Nearly 15,000 “ordinary” Russians are estimated to have been arrested for the “crime” of protesting the invasion of Ukraine shortly after it was launched. Those “15,000” are each an individual, but we can never see them quite that way, though, in U.S. media; none of them get an hour a night on Fox News to offer their views. That single Fox host’s opinion when talking to camera about the U.S. president and Ukraine is presented on screen as if his take is at least “the same size” as all of theirs might be.

[A Ukrainian flag in Slapton village, Devon. Photo by me, February 26, 2023.]

I will not accuse that host of preferring Putin, but merely do not understand his outlook. It is difficult to grasp why a “patriotic” (we assume) Fox host, and so many like him, appear to have such trouble with our U.S. aligning itself with our democratic allies on the issue of Ukraine and in opposition to the Russian effort to destroy and swallow that country. (The KGB thug has made it plain that he believes Ukraine does not actually exist.) Yet assertions like those above – that are dismissed as easily as I am doing here – go out to his viewers night after night after night…

The “one-party state” in currently comparing invader Russia and invaded Ukraine is… invader Russia.

Now, next from him:

Biden took power…

UNTRUE. This may seem purely about being picky over two words. However, since he is being picky anyone is perfectly free to be picky of him. That assertion seems a sneaky effort to imply some illegal seizure of the office by the current U.S. president without actually directly saying it was.

Joe Biden was invested with the presidential office by winning a majority of votes in the Electoral College, which receives its mandate by the electorate having voted in every state and DC. American presidents “take office,” not “power.” They especially do not “take office” against the will of the voting electorate whose wishes have been made clear through the majority of votes in the Electoral College (although one, however, certainly tried his hardest to find a way to do so in 2020-21).


“Many” believe the U.S. presidential election of 2020 was “sketchy”

“Many” believe it certainly, but they do so because they have been LIED to by outlets like his Fox News, which kept hammering away at those viewers telling/inferring/eye-rolling at them that it was “sketchy.” (“Many” is a particularly weasel word. For how “many” is “many”? “Many” also believe, for instance, the moon landings never happened.) It has also been revealed in recent weeks that was apparently done by that outlet even though it knew it was not “sketchy”. Indeed there are evidently texts from him that – it has emerged – demonstrate even he knew it was not.

What happened after November 8, 2020 was without precedent in U.S. history. A sitting president essentially threw a hissy fit because he had been defeated in the Electoral College and simply did not want to leave office and thus did everything he could think of to try to stay in office, including desperately trying to create doubt about the voting validity of his defeat, which culminated in him encouraging a mob of (misled) supporters to try to disrupt the January 6, 2021 congressional proceeding – normally an unreported formality – declaring Biden was elected president. By January 6, 2021, every major court challenge brought by that former president claiming election irregularities had been dismissed (including by judges he himself had appointed to the bench) as without foundation.


Because of “many” believing the election was “sketchy,” he does not like being “lectured” by the current U.S. president on democracy in Ukraine

A MISLED segment of the public used as justification by him there for a personal declaration of “righteous” indignation. His comment on what he does not like being “lectured” about is actually nothing but hot air. The actual real issue is does he actually want to know what is happening in Ukraine at the hands of the Russian invaders? This, for instance, is a summary of what has since February 24, 2022 – from a credible and long-standing reporting source that also supplies news content to his Fox News, the Associated Press:

Again, all of that above is reduced to “the same size” as that Fox host talking to camera telling us what he “thinks.” Are the two of “equal” significance? Is it really necessary even to ask that question?

That Fox host has no credentials of which I am aware of to lecture any Americans on Russian or Ukrainian politics. There is so much out there, though, from those who actually do have knowledge. If you are interested, and want to know where to start, I would suggest articles by world chess grandmaster and Russian democracy activist Garry Kasparov: what you will hear from him is decidedly different than what that Fox host and others like him push at us. Should one take more seriously Kasparov’s far better informed word on the invasion of Ukraine or that of that American Fox News “opinionating” host?

Lastly, as Americans this should really give one pause. The Republic of Ireland, which is officially a neutral country (it is not part of NATO and did not join the Second World War against Nazi Germany) is not at all neutral about this Russian invasion of Ukraine. If you don’t know, in a major break with its “neutrality” policy going back to at least 1937, it firmly supports Ukraine.

To borrow from that Fox host’s concluding words in that tweeted video, indeed, yes, he and his media outlet should stop lying to its viewers.

Have a good Monday, wherever you are.

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