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Over the weekend, Jim Carrey tweeted a portrait he painted that looks an awful lot like White House press secretary Sarah Sanders. In it, she is made to look angry and not-attractive. The text accompanying the portrait refers to Sanders as a “so-called Christian whose only purpose in life is to lie for the wicked.” He concluded: “Monstrous!” Like clockwork, Fox News began howling in offended anger all across its air on Monday.
It started out on Fox & Friends, where co-host Ainsley Earhardt was more appalled by the “so-called Christian” aspect of Carrey’s criticism than the painting itself. That wasn’t quite on-target for the Fox News agenda being launched for the rest of the news cycle, so the show brought on a spokesperson for some obscure right-wing nonprofit to direct the rage elsewhere: to scold “the Left” about “hypocrisy” and a lack of “tolerance.” This segment preceded an appearance by Sean Hannity on Fox & Friends — a guest spot plugged by President Trump in a tweet (“@seanhannity on @foxandfriends now! Great!”). Many on Twitter were quick to point out that this is the same president who ridiculed a reporter with a disability. (Remember this?) I guess the point is that conservative media didn’t do a lot of squawking about that, and so Fox and other outlets shouldn’t be so upset about this.
That strikes me as overreaching. The Jim Carrey flap really is yet another example of the way Fox News devotes many, many segments to ridiculing liberals for being offended by Trump or some political issue, branding them as “snowflakes.” But a caricature of Sanders sends Fox into paroxysms of pain and hurt feelings that it can use for a 24-hour news cycle: Let’s call it “weaponized snowflaking.” It’s phony outrage, programmed to make the Fox audience feel put-upon. When will its viewers figure out they’re just being manipulated?
Fox & Friends airs at 6 a.m. weekdays on Fox News.
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