‘Where do you draw the line? If that line doesn’t exist then you are complicit,’ says John Avlon
The presenters, along with the network’s senior political analyst John Avlon, were discussing Tucker Carlson’s new 6 January documentary-style conspiracy show called Patriot Purge, set to air 1 November on Fox Nation.
In the trailer for the show, titles flash up on the screen saying “The War On Terror 2.0″ and “The plot against the people”.
“The helicopters have left Afghanistan and how they’ve landed here at home,” says Mr Carlson.
“The left is hunting the right,” says a voiceover in the teaser. The programme questions whether the insurrection of the Capitol on 6 January was a “false flag” operation, and an interviewee says patriots have been put in a “Guantanamo Bay, for American citizens, leaving them there to rot.”
The CNN presenters shared their contempt for Fox host Tucker Carlson, who they believe is pedalling conspiracy theories and contributing to the “rewriting of history”, but then turned their attention to the chairman of the network – media mogul Rupert Murdoch.
“While the direct responsibility may fall on Tucker Carlson, the larger does fall on the people who run the company,” said Mr Avlon. “Many may view this as that’s not me. This is a business decision. You can say it is the height of cynicism, which is it is. You are dealing with dangerous stuff in our democracy. It is not only on Murdoch to say what’s too far, what’s the lie, stop rationalising this to play to a niche out of the far right.”
He continued, by asking what is too far. “Where do you draw the line? If the line doesn’t exist, you’re complicit,” he said.
“Why does Rupert Murdoch want to destroy America?” Ms Keilar said in response.
“That’s one of the things the Facebook Files has shown us. We have seen it happening over a long period of time. You need to keep them addicted to anger, anxiety, excitement. It has been literally weaponised by the ex-president and his minions and people who enable him in congress. The rise of hyper-partisan media helped to lead us to that moment. And Rupert Murdoch is a driving force.”
Anti-hate organisation the Anti Defamation League (ALD) has “strongly” urged Fox News to “reconsider airing” Patriot Purge.
“Let’s call this what it is: an abject, indisputable lie and a blatant attempt to rewrite history,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO and national director of ADL. “As an organisation committed to fighting antisemitism and all forms of hate, we remain deeply concerned that the false narrative and wild conspiracy theories presented by Carlson will sow further division and has the potential to animate violence…
“I have to ask: where is the line for you and Fox? How many more people need to die or how many individuals must subscribe to groundless conspiracies before you say enough is enough?” Greenblatt suggeste that rhetoric like that depicted in Patriot Purge could “catalyse violence”.