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Fox News doubles down on caging kids as 'essentially summer camps'

Ken Tucker
Critic-at-Large, Yahoo Entertainment
People in a Texas detention center. (Photo: AP)

Things are getting confusing on Fox News regarding the Trump administration’s severe new immigration crackdown. All of the channel’s opinion-ators are obliged to support Trump no matter what. But, darn it, video — and now audio — of shivering, crying children separated from their parents and locked up in empty, repurposed big-box stores, some of them in cages — well, it makes it tricky to keep on backing Trump with Fox’s usual clarity of purpose. On Monday morning on Fox & Friends, Steve Doocy began the day as America’s foremost cage-denier: “While some have likened them to concentration camps or cages,” Doocy said, “you do see that they have those thermal blankets. … Some have referred to them as ‘cages,’ but … they built walls out of chain-link fences.” Here’s an idea: Then why not put your son Peter in one of them, Steve?

At noon on Monday, a brawl broke out on Fox’s Outnumbered, where cracks were beginning to show in the unified front Fox News tries to maintain. While guest Jason Chaffetz defended the forced removal and imprisonment of children, the mono-named Kennedy — who can usually be counted upon to toe the party line — broke free, sneering sarcastically, “Yeah, I’m sure all these mini-rapists have bombs strapped to their chests.”

By Monday night, Tucker Carlson was engaging in his standard tactic, radical whataboutism, asking his audience, what about American lawbreakers who are sent to prison — aren’t they being separated from their children? Yeah, man: America first! Sean Hannity kept his priorities straight: He led off with a hard-hitting segment about … Hillary Clinton’s email server. Of course. But at 10 p.m., Laura Ingraham picked up the slack, insisting that the nationwide protests against the Trump policy was just “faux liberal outrage.” Ingraham also said the child cages are “essentially summer camps [or] boarding schools.” She had Attorney General Jeff Sessions on so he could refute the accusation that his kid detention centers are comparable to concentration camps. This is the best he could come up with: “Well, it’s a big exaggeration: In Nazi Germany, they were keeping the Jews from leaving the country.” (UPDATE: Noting that her comment got people “upset,” Ingraham later doubled-down on the “boarding school” comment, as can be seen here, saying, “The San Diego Union Tribune today described the facilities as essentially like what you would expect at a boarding school.  So I will stick to there are some of them like boarding schools.”)

If what they’re peddling weren’t so appalling, you might almost feel sorry for these highly paid media stooges for child punishment: The Fox folks have to try to make sense of Trump’s words, which on Monday included this illiterate gush: “We have the worst immigration laws in the entire world; nobody has such sad, such bad, and actually in many cases such horrible and tough. [sic] You see about child separation, you see what’s going on there.”

It’s obvious Trump barely understands the policies he is putting in place — he’s following the Stephen Miller-Steve Bannon nationalist playbook without, as usual, comprehending the implications of what he’s doing. There is no such excuse for Tucker Carlson and the rest of them. They know what they’re up to.

Tucker Carlson Tonight, Hannity, and The Ingraham Angle air weeknights at 8, 9, and 10 p.m., respectively, on Fox News.

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