The morning after a clip of actor Vince Vaughn having a brief, amicable conversation with President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump in a private box at the national championship college football game in New Orleans went viral, Fox News went to desperate lengths to make it seem as though Democrats are mad about it.
The problem, however, is that there isn’t much evidence anyone aside from right-wingers is actually mad.
In fact, Fox News’s article about how Vaughn supposedly “faces liberal outrage after he was seen with Trump during national championship game” prominently features a tweet from Washington Examiner staffer Siraj Hashmi, who is hardly a liberal, sarcastically quipping that “Ladies & gentlemen, I regret to inform you Vince Vaughn is CANCELED” — but the tweet is presented in David Aaro’s article as though Hashmi is a liberal who meant it earnestly.
Hashmi later noted on Twitter that the Fox News article caused right-wing trolls to flood his Instagram page with abusive comments. And the few other examples of “liberal outrage” in the piece were gleaned from the far fringes of Twitter. (Fox News still hasn’t figured out that Hashmi isn’t actually liberal as of Tuesday afternoon — his tweet was falsely cited as an example of “liberal cancel culture” on Outnumbered.)
The clip of the conversation between Trump and Vaughn — a libertarian who supported Rand Paul’s presidential bid — was originally posted to Twitter by former Deadspin staffer Timothy Burke, who wrote, “I’m very sorry to have to share this video with you. All of it, every part of it.”
I'm very sorry to have to share this video with you. All of it, every part of it. pic.twitter.com/ELMbDHZbZq— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) January 14, 2020
As you’d expect, a few left-wing accounts did react to Burke’s clip with comments like, “Sad. Vince Vaughn is one of my favorites. I always knew he was Republican but this, so gross ... I don’t need a Wedding Crashers sequel anymore.” But the idea that there was some sort of concerted liberal backlash to the clip is make-believe aimed at ginning up outrage.
Beyond the article on Fox News’s website, “Vince Vaughn blasted for talking to Trump at game” was a prominent topic on Tuesday’s Fox & Friends. Despite a dearth of examples of Vaughn being blasted, hosts Brian Kilmeade and Steve Doocy went as far as to suggest that the Vaughn incident is a slippery slope toward a second civil war.
“Unless America talks to the other side and we can just talk to each other, they might as well just split the country right in half,” Doocy said.
“We tried that once,” replied Kilmeade.
Doocy: "Unless America talks to the other side and we can talk to each other, they might as well just split the country right in half"— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) January 14, 2020
Kilmeade: "They tried that once"
Doocy: "Well they did, but that's what we're going to. If you can't talk to each other, we're in big trouble" pic.twitter.com/lELNNSjAd7
Later, despite not being able to cite a single example of a prominent Democrat expressing outrage toward Vaughn, White House spokesperson Hogan Gidley told the hosts, “Democrats seem to be more upset at this exchange than they do at [Iranian military leader Qassem] Soleimani killing Americans citizens.”
“Good point,” host Ainsley Earhardt replied.
Hogan Gidley says LSU-Clemson's cheers for Trump were the most incredible cheers he's ever heard, "a unifying moment" ruined by Democrats being madder at Vince Vaughn than Qassem Soleimani, an absolutely ridiculous non sequitur that isn't even true. Ainsley says "good point." pic.twitter.com/z7wW3WlkOj— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) January 14, 2020
The irony is that in trying to portray liberals as irrational and “triggered,” Fox News accidentally illustrated the extent to which that entire discourse is projection. In trying to own the libs, they owned themselves.