Last week, a new talking point was born. At a press conference, Jen Psaki claimed, with a completely straight face, that it was actually Republicans who wanted to “defund the police.” That was a continuation of Democrat attempts to project their swath of recent failures onto their political opponents, with the border crisis being another example.
But while you’d expect Psaki and the like to say really silly, indefensible things, you’d hope that Fox News’ chief “newsman” would at least look at things with a critical eye, recognizing that such framing is ludicrous.
Instead, we got this.
Fox News' Chris Wallace to Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN):
"Congressman Banks, you voted against that [Rescue] package, against the $350B, just like every other Republican in the House & Senate — so can't you make the argument that it's you and Republicans who are defunding the police?" pic.twitter.com/mrttqMGLuG
— The Recount (@therecount) June 27, 2021
There’s a lot wrong here, not the least of which is that Wallace apparently does not understand what the term “defund” means. Putting aside what that $350 billion was actually earmarked for down at the micro-level, it is not defunding the police to not add additional spending via a partisan boondoggle bill out of Washington. I mean, quite literally, that is not the definition of defunding something. Rather, it’s an allegation that Republicans were not for additional funding.
Regardless, equating a $2 trillion “rescue plan” that spiked inflation, kneecapped the jobs market, and included massive amounts of unnecessary spending with wanting to defund the police is a logical leap so far as to have broken legs at the end of it. By Wallace’s logic, no politician can ever vote against any new spending bill because somewhere in that bill will inevitably be something possibly worthwhile. But that’s not how any of this works. If the Democrats, for example, couple abortion funding with funding for homeless shelters, Republicans would have a moral obligation to object to the bill, at least if they are traditionally conservative on the issue of abortion.
Democrats are now claiming that not wanting to pass their boondoggle “rescue plan” meant you wanted to defund the police, a contention so stupid as to make one’s head hurt just pondering it. And Chris Wallace was all like “yeah, that sounds right.”
— Bonchie (@bonchieredstate) June 28, 2021
Further, if Wallace wanted to actually make his point, he’d have to show that there was a budget deficiency specifically surrounding law enforcement in the places the rescue plan threw money at. He, of course, does not even attempt to do that, instead just repeating Psaki’s talking point verbatim as if it’s factual. If a Democrat city chose to defund the police (at some level) to use the money elsewhere during the pandemic, it is not a Republican congressman’s job to make up the deficit by blessing an incredibly irresponsible and harmful “rescue plan” at the federal level. Rather, the ire should be pointed at those who so mismanaged their budgets locally, either intentionally or out of bad decision making.
I understand seniority and that Wallace has been a staple on Fox News for a long time, but times change. Wallace has clearly changed. The Trump era broke him, and perhaps his superiors should take notice because he’s hurting their network. At the end of the day, news channels have an audience. Fox News is not supposed to be a mirror image of CNN. Chris Wallace is not supposed to be an older version of Jake Tapper. Fox News can allow this to continue at their own peril.