Fox News Hosts Should Heed Mitt Romney’s Advice: Tell Viewers the Election Wasn’t Stolen
This week, Senator Mitt Romney implored fellow Republicans to publicly disavow President Donald Trump’s lies that the 2020 general election was stolen.
These comments came the same day the Department of Homeland Security issued an alert on the threat of more domestic terror attacks by individuals emboldened by the deadly Capitol insurrection, which Trump supporters carried out because they were convinced that the election was stolen and could be overturned.
Romney’s challenge came in response to arguments that a Trump impeachment would be divisive.
“First of all, have you gone out publicly and said that there was not widespread voter fraud and that Joe Biden is the legitimate president of the United States? If you said that, then I’m happy to listen to you talk about other things that might inflame anger and divisiveness,” he said.
Fox News hosts and personalities should follow Romney’s counsel and do the same: definitively tell viewers of their programs that the election was not stolen and that President Biden won.
To reiterate: the election wasn’t stolen. There were isolated irregularities in various states, as there are in every election, but it was as free and fair an election as the nation has seen in some time, according to members of Trump’s own administration.
There has been no shortage of allegations made by Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Peter Navarro, and Jenna Ellis, none of which passed muster in a court of law, a place where lying to a judge risks disbarment. The number of court filings by Trump campaign lawyers alleging malfeasance numbered roughly 70. The number that they won? Almost none of them.
The repeated lies of a rigged election metastasized over the course of the last couple of months to such a dangerous level of toxicity that thousands of enraged Trump supporters, convinced that they were victims of an unfair process, stormed the Capitol in an effort to overturn the congressional certification of Electoral College results. The pro-Trump insurrectionists chanted “Hang Mike Pence” and “Where the fuck is Nancy?” as the hunted members of Congress.
There is no question that the events of January 6th were a low point for American democracy, and one entirely fueled by the lie that the election was stolen.
It is well past time media outlets — particularly ones that promoted that lie — to do the responsible thing: tell viewers, once and for all, that the election was not stolen.
Many Fox News opinion hosts irresponsibly amplified Trump’s baseless claims under the specious guise that they were simply asking questions about election integrity seizing on — often fake — examples of voter irregularities.
To be fair, there have been a handful of contributors who have clearly stated that stolen election claims are untrue, namely Juan Williams, Brit Hume, and Geraldo Rivera to name a few. And Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade notably told viewers and co-hosts that there was no evidence to support Trump’s claims.
There is no question that Fox’s target audience is largely convinced of election malfeasance. There is a reason why Pete Hegseth was sent to report on the “Save America Rally,” which proceeded the deadly ransacking of the Capitol, for Fox & Friends. The host covered the event in the “these are our people” style, familiar to those acquainted with his diner interviews.
But offending their audience to the point that they seek refuge at wackier outlets like Newsmax and OANN is not an excuse for a news organization to deny reality.
Journalistic integrity aside, there is the remaining issue of how dangerous this all is. Those deemed a threat by the Department of Homeland Security, likely a much smaller subset of Fox News viewers, still believe the same thing as its broader audience: that Biden did not fairly win the presidency.
This is why it is absolutely incumbent upon the most-watched shows and hosts on Fox News, namely Fox & Friends, The Five, Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham, to each make clear to their viewers that the election was not stolen. It’s a matter of national security and the responsible thing to do for any program airing on a news network.
The responsible way to course correct is to set the record straight. These personalities must make clear that the election wasn’t stolen. Take the medicine, get better, and move on.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.