President Joe Biden implored Americans in his inaugural speech to come together and unify, but the right-wing media machine has wasted no time dishonestly trashing him — foreshadowing what the next four years of coverage from outlets like Fox News will look like.
On Fox News Wednesday night, the network decided against airing most of the “Celebrating America” inauguration special — which every other network carried — opting to instead allow propagandists like Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity to deliver fiery anti-Biden sermons.
Hannity raged against Biden, bashing his inaugural address — which received bipartisan praise and which Hannity’s colleague Chris Wallace, a top anchor at Fox, said was “the best” inaugural speech he had “ever heard” — as “truly unremarkable” and saying it “sounded like an uninspired student council speech.”
Hannity went on to call Biden “weak” and “cognitively struggling” -— two themes he and other allies of former President Donald Trump had pushed hard during the campaign, and that voters had resoundingly rejected — before saying he felt like he had to “puke” after watching news coverage of the inauguration.
In the previous hour, Carlson had focused on Biden’s denunciation of white supremacy and domestic terrorism, which the President vowed to confront and defeat.
“Those are America’s enemies, we must wage war against them,” Carlson said, mocking Biden’s pledge to confront extremists.
Carlson, whose show has become a favorite for far-right groups including white nationalists and who had to part ways with his head writer after a CNN Business investigation revealed that he had posted racist remarks online under a pseudonym for years, asked for “very clear language” defining white supremacy. He said that “innocent people could be hurt in this war.”
It was a not-so-subtle suggestion that Biden and Democrats might use the power of the federal government to wrongfully target their political opponents.
The other arms of right-wing media were not much friendlier.
Newsmax TV, the right-wing cable channel that promoted the lie that the election had been stolen from former President Donald Trump, featured segments Thursday night bashing Biden’s “radical immigration agenda” and saying he had “contradict[ed] himself in ‘unifying’ speech.”
Rush Limbaugh, the king of conservative talk-radio, said Biden’s speech might have been “one of the least memorable inaugural speeches that there’s ever been.”
Limbaugh framed the speech like this for his audience: “In this speech Biden called us domestic terrorists and then called for unity in the same breath.”
On the right-wing web, Breitbart featured front page headlines Thursday referring to Biden as “GLOBALIST JOE” and declaring that “CORPORATISTS SALIVATE” at his presidency.
The top headline on the far-right Gateway Pundit website Wednesday falsely claimed the election had been “stolen” from Trump.