When future historians document the decline and fall of American politics and political coverage in the early 21st century, they will find no better example than the following exchange. This “discussion” took place on Fox News (where else?) and it explains, better than anything I’ve read or heard thus far, the rise of Donald Trump:
STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): Meanwhile a couple days ago in Cleveland, Hillary Clinton had in total a giant cough-a-thon that lasted about four minutes. Two minutes there in front of Tim Kaine, who is standing back there watching her cough, and then on the airplane later. This was a big story on [The Drudge Report] and other outlets. However, the mainstream media, not so much. We asked our brain room1 to do some checking into the first two nights. Monday and Tuesday, how much did they cover that, the coughing fit?
AINSELY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): 15 seconds on ABC on Monday night. Nothing on Tuesday. Look, NBC didn't cover it at all. CBS didn’t cover it at all either.
BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): And on social media, when NBC did do something, they got rebuked for doing it from the campaign. “Hillary Clinton Struggles To Fight Back Coughing Attack” is what was out there.
DOOCY: It looks like all the pushback -- it's press intimidation. You write a story about Hillary Clinton -- if you go to The Drudge Report, everyday he’s had stuff questioning her health and stuff like that. These reports weren't even close to that and yet Andrew Rafferty over at NBC really took some flak.
KILMEADE: She had two coughing fits in one day.
EARHARD: And they did not report it.
DOOCY: Four minutes. Four minutes.
If Edward R. Murrow were alive to witness this, he'd be spinning in his grave.
1 Yes: Fox News has a “brain room,” from which Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade, and Ainsely Earhard are barred, for obvious reasons. On the other hand, one suspects that the Fox "brain room" is occupied by zombies from the 1990's ("Zombies from the Nineties" would be a good name for a band) brandishing copies of Newt Gingrich's "Contract for America" and chanting "Lock her up!".