Lincoln Project founder and former board member Steve Schmidt excoriated Fox News and its owner, Rupert Murdoch overnight after the far-right wing cable network aired a town hall style debate between Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan and venture capitalist Republican J.D. Vance, both vying for a U.S. Senate seat in Ohio.
In a lengthy twitter thread Schmidt described the Fox News hosts as “propagandists,” and a “villainous cast of extremist liars.” He labeled Fox News “the most corrupt institution in the United States run by the most dangerous immigrant who was ever welcomed here,” referring to Rupert Murdoch. Fox News on Monday reported that Schmidt is now helping Ryan with his campaign.
Many have been praising Congressman Ryan after video of him at the Fox News event went viral. Two versions of the video each earned over 600,000 views in under 18 hours, including one posted by communications strategist Sawyer Hackett.
Pretty impressive to watch @TimRyan take a clearly stacked Fox audience from boo’s after he brought up January 6th—to loud applause after not backing down at all.
— Sawyer Hackett (@SawyerHackett) November 1, 2022
Talking about the January 6 insurrection Ryan, in the video, is met with boos from the Fox News audience, but as he continues to talk, he wins over the crowd.
He asks them to be respectful and says, “I don’t care about your politics.” The boos came when he said 140 capital Police officers were attacked, and one was killed on Jan. 6. But then he told the audience that he sits on the House subcommittee that funds the Capitol Police. “These are my friends,” he told the audience.
“They were trying to stop the peaceful transition of the government,” Ryan continues, as the crowd grows silent. “What else were they doing there?”
“They’re going to kill Mike Pence. They want to kill Nancy Pelosi. Now somebody’s beaten up Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer. J.D. Vance raised money for the insurrectionists.”
“I don’t care what your politics are. Americans should say, ‘no,’” and that’s when the applause started — and when Fox News host Bret Baier cut him off to go to commercial.
Steve Schmidt, a veteran GOP political strategist whose work at The Lincoln Project, many would say, helped defeat Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign, unleashed possibly one of his most prolific attacks.
“Tonight two Fox News anchors Bret Baier [and] Martha MacCallum delivered a clinic on dishonest journalistic hackery with their hostile, loaded and ludicrous badgering of Tim Ryan,” Schmidt charged. (Quotes altered to spell out Twitter handles for easier reading.)
“The two Fox News propagandists destroyed their credibility against any real world standard of fairness, probity or integrity. It was a joke. Both Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum rubbed and massaged J.D. Vance like he was Veal. A MAGA-ass kissing veal chop. It was breathtaking.”
“A significant portion of the Fox News crowd was radicalized,” Schmidt observed. “The angry man in the Under Armour hat behind Tim Ryan, which increasingly seems to be militia wear for the extremist movement, is a perfect avatar of the impact of Fox News in enraging and dividing people.”
“Then it happened. Tim Ryan told the truth about January 6th and what happened. The radical faction of the Fox News audience stoked, angered and incited by Rupert Murdoch and his villainous cast of extremist liars went crazy.”
“Big parts of the crowd objected to the assertion by Tim Ryan that the insurrection occurred at all,” Schmidt said.
“The radical faction of the crowd booed and hissed but Tim Ryan wouldn’t give an inch. He defended the wounded cops and condemned extremist political violence. In an instant he revealed himself as a ‘man in the arena’ fighting for the right.”
That’s when Schmidt blasted Baier.
“Bret Baier made no intervention at a moment of madness. Instead he exposed himself utterly in the worst ethical lapse of his career. It was astounding. He sat silent; his face frozen and disfigured by Botox injections, quizzically looking at Tim Ryan as if there was some question around what Tim Ryan was saying was real or not. He did not set the record straight on an indisputable matter of indisputable fact. Instead he held open the possibility that the booing crowd could be right with his silence and performative who knows look.”