Ever since he was confirmed as Attorney General, William Barr has been a bit of a hero in the right-wing media universe. He attacked the Russian probe. He talked about a big game about pushing Antifa back. He sharply criticized the news media. It keeps going.
Barr’s statement, which told only a simple fact, clashed not only with what Trump said, but also with how Trump’s propagandists and allies in the right-wing media feed their audiences. For weeks, these media personalities have been drawing the attention of the public, suggesting that the convicting evidence of the fraud was just around the corner. That’s why I was so pinched by Barr’s remark.
The remark practically forced these right-wing stars to choose between acknowledging the reality laid down by Barr or continuing Trump’s fantasy. Trump’s most committed propagandists chose the latter. That’s how they started throwing Barr under the bus, just like any other Conservative who would contradict because of the president. (Think about how former conservative stars like Jeff Sessions, Justin Amash, Paul Ryan, and others were treated when they were not blindly committed to Trump’s demands.)
“A liar or a fool or both”
Fox Business presenter Lou Dobbs, whose conspiracy program is the president’s favorite, brutally attacked Barrt on his show. “The U.S. Attorney General has to make that statement – whether a liar, a fool, or both,” Dobbs said. Dobbs then went on, suggesting that Barr “maybe made a compromise.” He described Barr as “apparently joining the radical Dems, the deep state, and the resistance.”
Dobbs wasn’t the only one. Newsmax presenter Greg Kelly, who has become famous in the right-wing media in recent weeks for suggesting that Trump could become an election winner, went after Barr on his show. “Some of us are wondering if he’s a fighter for the Constitution or just a bureaucrat,” Kelly said. Kelly added that he “does not believe” if Barr is “looking for a voter fraud he would not find.” And Mark Levin said he was “sorry[ted] to say that “Barr’s remarks were‘ misleading ’.
The far-right blogs were even rougher. Gateway Pundit, an extremist site that Trump has repeatedly promoted, posted an entry saying Barr declared himself “completely deaf, stupid and blind.” The post went on to say that Barr ‘s “mask when someone opposes the crime of the deep state” was “revealed as a venous lie” and that it was “fraud.” From this he concluded, “You are either correcting the damn corrupt system, or we are leaving you … The days of tolerating betrayal are over.”
Some are on fire
While Barr has been heavily criticized in the right-wing media for some critical names, others have refrained from attacking him on Tuesday night. Heavyweight Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity in particular did not skewer the AG. It will be interesting in the next 24 hours if this anti-Barr narrative prevails in the Trump-friendly media or is distributed.