Meanwhile, over at Fox, it will apparently be a while before we see Judge Nap. Again, one wonders if the Fox bosses were truly mortified by his willingness to traffic in a wiretap conspiracy theory, or if they are just posturing to avoid the blowback from tolerating such narratives in the rollercoaster Trump era.
Andrew Napolitano’s libertarianism and judicial background have informed his decade of service on Fox radio and TV shows. His views have been an important feature of the Fox palette, among the muscular red-meat conservatism of Sean Hannity, the “no-spin” above-it-all countenance of Bill O’Reilly and a cadre of right-of-center analysts.
But on March 16, he made a reach designed to attach credibility to the President Trump’s insistent but as yet unsubstantiated charge that President Obama ordered a wiretap of Trump Tower: “He used GCHQ. What is that? It’s the initials for the British intelligence-finding agency,” he said. “They have 24/7 access to the NSA database…So, simply by having two people saying to them, ‘President Obama needs transcripts of conversations involving candidate Trump’s conversations, involving President-elect Trump, he’s able to get it and there’s no American fingerprints on this.”
This did not sit well with actual British Intelligence, and it earned some distancing from Fox colleagues on the air. Bill O’Reilly lamented that the unsupported wiretap assertion was broadly harmful to the Trump agenda, while Shepard Smith took it upon himself to serve as the network PR department: “Fox News cannot confirm Judge Napolitano’s commentary,” he proclaimed with furrowed gravity. “Fox News knows of no evidence of any kind that the now-president of the United States was surveilled at any time, in any way. Full stop.”
Ooh, “Full stop.” Shep’s not kidding around…..