When the cat’s away, the mice will play. On Friday, Meghan McCain took a day off from The View to recover from her second COVID shot, giving her co-hosts free rein to take down Fox News. The panel was clear that the conservative network’s “campaign of misinformation” is harming not just viewers, but the country at large, as its hosts have spread false claims about the vaccine, President Biden, and voter fraud. “It’s hurting the [Republican] party. I think it’s hurting the country. I think it’s hurting democracy. I think it’s hurting journalism,” said Ana Navarro, as she railed against “Faux News.”
On Thursday, a man charged with storming the U.S. Capitol on January 6 claimed that he suffered “Foxitis” and was radicalized by watching Fox News for six months. The bizarre defense strategy dominated online discourse that afternoon, and by Friday, it made its way to The View, where the co-hosts openly mocked the so-called medical condition. “That’s an interesting argument coming from a group of people who talk about personal freedoms plus personal responsibility,” said Sunny Hostin, an ABC legal analyst. “If you want to have those freedoms, then you also have the consequences that come with those choices.”
”I don’t think that legal defense would ever withstand legal scrutiny, but I will say this: what is very interesting is that Fox News, now, at this point, should be on notice that what they are doing in terms of their campaign of misinformation is really harmful to their viewers, their very loyal viewers, and to this country,” she continued, referencing Smartmatic and Dominion’s billion-dollar defamation lawsuits against the network.
ALLEGED CAPITOL RIOTER’S “FOXITIS” DEFENSE: An alleged rioter who stormed the Capitol in January said he was suffering from “Foxitis,” his attorney claiming he was watching too much Fox News — the co-hosts react. https://t.co/cVclFZQmjA pic.twitter.com/SxOov0VafM— The View (@TheView) May 7, 2021
When Joy Behar asked Ana Navarro if Fox News is harming the Republican party, the GOP (but anti-Trump) commentator was clear that it is. “We’ve seen the result of it. We’ve seen what’s happening with vaccinations and the hesitancy among some Republicans,” she said. “It has a lot to do with what they are hearing from Faux News.”
Navarro added that Fox News’ role in “the spreading of the big lie” has shifted her party away from any real ideology. “It is one purity test. It is a cultist purity test: do you follow and are beholden to Trump, or are you not?” she said. “That is the only test that Fox puts up. That’s the only test that the Republican House puts up. And it’s frankly disgusting. It’s destructive to democracy, the country, the party, and brain cells.”
Sara Haines and Joy Behar closed out the discussion with rants against Fox News personalities who put a paycheck above their moral obligation to the public. “We can lay the blame right at the door of Rupert Murdoch and Lachlan Mrudoch who pay these people enormous amounts of money and make it very hard for them to say no to the lies,” said Behar. “I just think people should make a living, but not if you really have to sell your soul to the devil and put out false and dangerous information.”
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Claire Spellberg Lustig is the TV Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.