MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2023
The mainstream press looks away: Somehow, we're always disappointed by the work of Pete Hegseth.
Hegseth is one of the three official "friends" on the deeply atrocious Fox News show, Fox & Friends Weekend. All in all, he's movie star handsome. Based on some events we've seen him do on C-Span, it always seems to us that he's much smarter, and secretly more sincere, than the other two weekend "friends."
Even at that, we were surprised to learn, just today, about his academic background. The leading authority on his life and times tells us this:
Hegseth is an Army National Guard officer and former executive director of political advocacy groups Vets For Freedom and Concerned Veterans for America. The latter, a conservative advocacy group funded by the Koch brothers, advocates greater privatization of the Department of Veterans Affairs...
Hegseth has been active in conservative and Republican politics since his days as an undergraduate at Princeton University. In 2016, he emerged as a strong supporter and ally of Donald Trump's presidential candidacy, and served as an occasional advisor to Trump throughout the latter's presidency.
Hegseth was born on June 6, 1980, in Forest Lake, Minnesota. He attended Forest Lake Area High School and received his Bachelor of Arts at Princeton University in 2003. In 2013, he received a Master of Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
We're always surprised, and disappointed, by the way Hegseth goes along with the comically awful agitprop on Fox & Friends Weekend. That said, even we were surprised to see that his path to the big white couch led through both Princeton and Harvard.
Last night, we were disappointed by the way Hegseth interviewed "The Great One," Mark Levin, on Levin's Sunday night Fox News program.
Levin was discussing his latest book. Clownishly, this is its actual title:
The Democrat Party Hates America
Yes, that's the actual title! For the record, Levin must have repeated the childish term, "Democrat Party," a hundred thousand times during the hour.
Despite his obvious smarts, Hegseth played right along.
Who the heck is Mark Levin? Perhaps tendentiously, the leading authority tells us this:
A 2016 study which sought to measure incendiary discourse on talk radio and TV found that Levin scored highest on its measure of "outrage." The study looked at 10 prominent radio and television programs, known for incendiary discourse on political matters, and scored content on the basis of whether it used "emotional display", "misrepresentative exaggeration", "mockery", "conflagration", "slippery slope", "insulting" or "obscene language", and other factors, finding that Levin was the radio host who engaged in the most outrage.
The study found that he utilized "outrage speech or behavior at a rate of more than one instance per minute." In How Democracies Die, Harvard University political scientists Daniel Ziblatt and Steven Levitsky write that Mark Levin was among the popular right-wing talk radio hosts who "helped to legitimate the use of uncivil discourse" in American politics, and contribute to the erosion of democratic norms. According to Politico, Levin has a "penchant for hysteria."
Does Levin have "a penchant for hysteria?" We can't really say that's wrong.
Like so many others, he also has a penchant for refusing to call the Democratic Party by its actual name. But them, the childishness and the stupidity are endless in these arenas. This goes undiscussed in the mainstream press—in the New York Times, for instance.
The dumbness is endless on Fox & Friends Weekend. Hysteria tends to prevail when Levin goes on the air.
It's amazing to see the sorts of things red tribe viewers are persistently told. News orgs like the New York Times have long since agreed that this public insanity should not be reported as news. It's part of the way we all got here!
It always seems to us that Hegseth surely has to know better. But then, we sometimes get the same sensation when we watch our own tribe's imaginary friends—some of whom are said to be "dear, dear friends"—on our own so-called cable news.
What did Levin say last night? Levin strikes us as a serious nut. Fox News reports his session with Hegseth here, with some videotape provided.
Levin strikes us as a serious nut. As our nation's current "soft" secession proceeds, it seems to us that the things he says should be regarded as news.
Levin strikes us as a serious nut. We've long been puzzled by Hegseth, and strangely disappointed.