How did America get to a point where one of its two major candidates for president is a man who once spouted conspiracy theories about President Barack Obama’s birthplace and called to ban Muslims from the US?
On Monday, Full Frontal host Samantha Bee offered one answer: Fox News.
Bee looked through the work of former Fox News executive, alleged sexual harasser, and reported Donald Trump campaign adviser Roger Ailes, who led the conservative cable news network as it spouted ridiculous conspiracy theories and hate against Muslims.
"In a way, the Donald Trump campaign is the dark harbor Roger Ailes has been sailing toward his entire career," Bee said. "Trump’s murky blend of politics and entertainment plus a healthy dash of racist fearmongering are nothing but the cask-age distillation of a poison Roger Ailes started brewing years ago."
Take questions about whether Obama is secretly a Muslim. Instead of letting such conspiracy theories remain on the fringes on the web, Ailes’s Fox News elevated them to the national spotlight — like that time Fox & Friends’ Steve Doocy said, "There is some information in Insight Magazine that Barack Obama was raised a Muslim and went to a madrassa."
Or when Fox News stoked fears about a Muslim community center to be built near the site of 9/11, which pundits on the network called the "ground zero mosque" and an "Islamic supremacist mosque."
Or when Fox Business host Eric Bolling actually said, "Our president sitting with one of Africa's most wanted? It's not the first time he's had a hood in the big crib," referring to the White House. "So what's with all the hoods in the hizzy?" (Bee quipped, "Something tells me you're the one who owns a hood.")
"Ailes’s greatest achievement, besides making viewers afraid of everything, was to breach the dam between the lagoon of right-wing fringe hogshit and the aquifer of information so it all got mixed together," Bee said.
Bee argued that early on the Republican Party leadership disavowed the xenophobia and Islamophobia that makes up much of Trump's campaign today, going back to when George W. Bush, just nine days after 9/11, told Muslims that Americans "respect your faith" and that Islam's "teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah."
At the same time, Fox News helped foster a culture of hate — running segments about the ground zero mosque and stoking conspiracies about Obama. Bee walks through all of that and more, even drawing on an Alien analogy to top off her segment. Watch it above.