Fox News’ Outnumbered Clashes Over Trump’s Press War: His Words Only Cut ‘Fragile Ego’ of Journalists

On Fox News’ Outnumbered on Monday, hosts Kennedy, Melissa Francis, and Dagen McDowell and guest co-host Judge Andrew Napolitano clashed over a column from Bret Stephens in the New York Times that offered a dire warning on President Trump‘s heated rhetoric regarding the press. McDowell was not impressed with Stephens’ article or point of view. After partially reading two sentences from the article, she asked why there wasn’t more “outrage” over his comments, like there is over Trump’s. The two tidbits McDowell read were “…maybe [Trump] thinks that most journalists, with their relentless hostility to his personality and policies, richly deserve public scorn,” and “…what should be clear is this: We are approaching a day when blood on the newsroom floor will be blood on the president’s hands.” She then asked, “How over the top is this and why isn’t there more outrage at that kind comment?” Kennedy replied that Stephens’ fears that Trump’s attacks on the media might goad people into attacking the media may be the actual danger that leads to violence. “I think both sides are overheated and misguided,” she said. “But that sort of hysteria is actually very dangerous because you’re almost goading people into violence.” Kennedy went on to say that the media should examine their own way of reporting and handling their job, and that the President needs to learn to “accept that he will be challenged.” McDowell then said to Napolitano that “so many people” in the media “love being upset and outraged” and “love being the center of attention and they enjoy not really doing any policy work and research, and they can just be lazy and say whatever comes to their mind.” Napolitano said he agrees with both Kennedy and Stephens, pointing out that Stephens discussed an actual and specific threat against him. Francis then interrupted the Judge to say that Stephens was only threatened after insulting Trump voters. “Yes, but, do you see, he received those threats after he said ‘perhaps the reason Trump voters are so frequently the subject of caricature as they so frequently conform to types,” she said, suggesting essentially that he started it. That’s not an unfair characterization of her remarks. She literally said, “It started with him insulting people who support the president, which is where a lot of these things go off the rails.” Here is the threat that he got after ‘he started it.’ From the column at the New York Times:
“Hey Bret, what do you think? Do you think the pen is mightier than the sword, or that the AR is mightier than the pen?” He continues: “I don’t carry an AR but once we start shooting you f—ers you aren’t going to pop off like you do now. You’re worthless, the press is the enemy of the United States people and, you know what, rather than me shoot you, I hope a Mexican and, even better yet, I hope a n— shoots you in the head, dead.” He repeats the racial slur 10 times in a staccato rhythm, concluding with the send-off: “Have a nice day, n— lover.”

After Napolitano said the President cannot give cover to threats like this, Francis said “of course” and then repeated that Bret Stephens started it, which she called “not helpful” and said “none of these things are good.” Jessica Tarlov at this point said that there are always caricatures, and that insults should be pointed and specific, but that “the idea that Bret Stephens could be as big of a factor in this as the President of the United States of America I think is really unfair here.” Francis asked, “Who said that?” Tarlov said, “To be having a conversation about them in equal measure and say this and that–” Everyone started arguing simultaneously. Francis said “nobody is saying that,” although moments before she said that both Stephens and Trump were equally “not good” in their statements, and despite the fact that the segment began with McDowell framing the debate in that way when she suggested an imbalance of outrage over Trump’s remarks and Stephens’ column. Kennedy said they were simply doing as Tarlov suggested, being specific in criticism, although technically, what Tarlov said was that “insults” should be more “pointed”. Tarlov then said, “Because this columnist started off by insulting this group that anything is warranted to be coming back–” Everyone objected that nobody said that, again. Francis said, “That’s for sure not the case, the President in now way should be tweeting those things, that it doesn’t make sense.” “But it’s important to note that it wasn’t in response to some sort––you know you were saying drilling down on the facts of the matter,” she said. “This started with someone insulting in an opinion piece the people who voted for the President.” “That doesn’t justify threatening him,” objected Napolitano. “No it doesn’t justify it, it doesn’t, but it’s also bad behavior,” said Francis, having a conversation about the two things in equal measure. “Everybody needs to stop with all of this.” Tarlov concluded that “you have the president of the United States of America, the most powerful person in the world, harming the Fourth Estate in irreparable ways, and this isn’t Jim Acosta’s fault.” McDowell’s final word was that “words don’t cut, they don’t cut. They cut the fragile ego of some journalists that I happen to know here in New York City and by the way, he is merely touching on how the American people feel about journalists.” “He’s merely expressing how the American people feel,” she said. Watch the clip above, courtesy of Fox News. [Featured image via screengrab] — Follow Caleb Howe (@CalebHowe) on Twitter

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