Fox & Friends told Trump to pardon Navy SEAL and hours later he did just that

It sounds like the plot of a potential sci-fi/horror blockbuster: an evil news empire gains control of the brain of a United States president and sends him commands over the air which he dutifully carries out, no matter how destructive to the fabric of the nation.

In the world of fiction, however, the plot inevitably delivers a savior to rescue the country from the clutches of the zombie puppet president and his nefarious controllers.

In our real world, no savior has yet to arrive, but the specter of an American president who seems to take his orders directly from the hosts appearing on a dastardly news broadcaster has manifested itself so thoroughly that it is nearly impossible to deny.

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The proof of this frightening phenomenon comes in the controversy surrounding the pardon that Donald Trump granted to Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher —  an act that led to serious discontent in the upper reaches of the Pentagon where it was seen as an assault on the military justice system as serious as any of the president’s attacks on the rule of law in the civilian justice apparatus.

The outrage by senior military officials over Trump’s interference in the penalties that would have otherwise been applied to Gallagher under the Uniform Code of Military Justice was so great that rumors of threatened resignations by Navy Secretary Richard Spencer and Rear Adm. Collin Green — the top commander of the Navy SEAL forces — emerged.

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While Spencer denied the claims that he threatened to resign over the disagreement with the president over the proper discipline to apply to a service member who commits a war crime by murdering a prisoner of war and then posing for photos with the dead body, by yesterday he was “terminated” by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper on the direct orders of Donald Trump.

While Trump may have delivered the orders to Secretary Esper, Matthew Gertz, a senior fellow at Media Matters for America, presents a compelling case that the president was convinced to do so by the televised morning rant about Gallagher by Fox News host Pete Hegseth.

Given that the Trump administration makes major foreign policy initiatives based entirely on tin-foil-hat conspiracy theories — such as its ludicrous and debunked claims that Ukraine rather Russia was the primary source of 2106 election interference in defiance of actual intelligence reporting by the nation’s agencies dedicated to ferreting out the truth — the idea that the president is being controlled by signals emanating from his TV set is not much more implausible than the ideas being promoted by Trump and his defenders on a daily basis on Twitter.

Even when one dismisses the concept that the president is the subject of formal mind control, the influence of what Donald Trump views on Fox News gives the cable news outlet a disproportionate influence on the decisions and actions of the president.

This wouldn’t be a problem if the Rupert Murdoch-owned news channel restricted its content to reporting facts rather than regurgitating the memes of right-wing extremists in TV sound bites, but, given the true propagandistic raison-d’etre of the network, the replacement of expert opinions with that of Fox News talking heads as the primary source of advice for the President of the United States is just one more example of how far the nation has fallen since the inauguration of Donald Trump.

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Vinnie Longobardo

Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile, & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.


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