Scarborough's Odd Fantasy: Trump Brought Down by a Fox News 'Cronkite Moment'

November 1st, 2019 11:54 AM

Joe Scarborough turns his lonely eyes... to Fox News??

Looks that way. On today's Morning Joe, Scarborough dreamed of a scenario in which Fox News would turn against President Trump, thus bringing down his presidency. Scarborough analogized it to a "Cronkite moment." That was the time in 1968 when CBS News anchorman Walter Cronkite essentially declared the Vietnam War unwinnable. LBJ was reported to have said at the time, “if I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America.”



In this legend, Cronkite is cast as the "ultimate straight shooter, the avatar of objectvity," which he certainly was not. In the same article linked above, we see Cronkite having lunch with  Robert F. Kennedy. "Cronkite told Kennedy that he should run for president. Kennedy told Cronkite the Democrats wanted him -- Cronkite! -- to run for a U.S. Senate seat in New York."  

Even so, the notion of Sean Hannity being cast as Cronkite in the new dream scenario left former Newsweek editor Jon Meacham calling for a round of drinks "to get through it." Willie Geist was more than skeptical about such a prospect, saying it was "preposterous" to imagine Hannity, or any of the Fox News primetime hosts, turning against Trump.'

They want to "break the tribalism" around Trump, without ever conceding the tribalism that MSNBC represents, and certainly represented under their hero Obama. 

Here's the transcript.

Morning Joe
6:22 am EDT

JOE SCARBOROUGH: I do wonder if we’re in an age now where the only thing that could threaten Donald Trump would be a Cronkite moment, on Vietnam asking what the hell is going on in Vietnam after Tet. Except this time, it’s a Fox News moment, it's a Rupert Murdoch moment, that breaks the tribalism at some point.

I'm not saying it's going to happen. But I am saying that until more people at Fox News actually confront the constitutional crisis that we have in front of us, confront the fact that a President of the United States has decided to twist US foreign policy for the purposes of digging up dirt on a domestic political opponent, that tribalism continues.

JON MEACHAM: That’s a really good point. Are we in an age where Sean Hannity is Walter Kronkite? Let’s just pause there --


MEACHAM: -- and see if we can get some drinks to see if we can get through that. 

. . . 

WILLIE GEIST: Chris Wallace, and Shep Smith before he left Fox News, and Judge Napolitano and Bret Baier and there are others at Fox News who will tell the truth when that’s called for. But the idea that Sean Hannity or anybody in prime time at Fox News, which are the people who fire up the Fox News viewers and fire up the president’s base, are going to turn on President Trump, I think, is preposterous. Sean Hannity is effectively the president's communications director. So the people who are watching Fox News aren't going anywhere. 

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