Does this mean all the DLers who fantasize about him can stop feeling guilty?
[italic] For more than a week, a plain-spoken former federal prosecutor named Sidney Powell made the rounds on right-wing talk radio and cable news, facing little pushback as she laid out a conspiracy theory that Venezuela, Cuba and other “communist” interests had used a secret algorithm to hack into voting machines and steal millions of votes from President Trump.
She spoke mostly uninterrupted for nearly 20 minutes on Monday on the “Rush Limbaugh Show,” the No. 1 program on talk radio. Hosts like Mark Levin, who has the fourth-largest talk radio audience, and Lou Dobbs of Fox Business praised her patriotism and courage.
So it came as most unwelcome news to the president’s defenders when Tucker Carlson, host of an 8 p.m. Fox News show and a confidant of Mr. Trump, dissected Ms. Powell’s claims as unreliable and unproven.
“What Powell was describing would amount to the single greatest crime in American history,” Mr. Carlson said on Thursday night, his voice ringing with incredulity in a 10-minute monologue at the top of his show. “Millions of votes stolen in a day. Democracy destroyed. The end of our centuries-old system of government.” But, he said, when he invited Ms. Powell on his show to share her evidence, she became “angry and told us to stop contacting her.” The response was immediate, and hostile. The president’s allies in conservative media and their legions of devoted Trump fans quickly closed ranks behind Ms. Powell and her case on behalf of the president, accusing the Fox host of betrayal.
“How quickly we turn on our own,” said Bo Snerdley, Mr. Limbaugh’s producer, in a Twitter post that was indicative of the backlash against Mr. Carlson. “Where is the ‘evidence’ the election was fair?”
The backlash against Mr. Carlson and Fox for daring to exert even a moment of independence underscores how little willingness exists among Republicans to challenge the president and his false narrative about the election he insists was stolen. Among conservative media voices and outlets, there’s generally not just a lack of willingness — they have proved this month to be Mr. Trump’s most reflexive defenders.
For months before the election, as Mr. Trump spread disinformation about the reliability of mail-in ballots, Republicans largely avoided contradicting him and insisted that his concerns about fraud were not entirely unreasonable. And in the weeks since election night, when Mr. Trump falsely declared himself the winner and then refused to accept President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory, the acknowledgments that the race is settled have come mostly from former officials like President George W. Bush, or from a few current office holders, like Senator Mitt Romney, who have not been afraid to air their differences with Mr. Trump.
The same fear that grips elected Republicans — getting on the wrong side of voters who adore Mr. Trump but have little affection for the Republican Party — has kept conservative media largely in line. And that has created a right-wing media bubble that has grown increasingly disconnected from the most basic facts about American government in recent weeks, including who will be inaugurated as president on Jan. 20, 2021. In the hours after Mr. Carlson’s monologue, word of which spread quickly across social media, Mr. Trump’s supporters not only went after Mr. Carlson but also Fox News. The network has become a source of particular frustration with many on the right after taking a more skeptical view of Mr. Trump’s claims about voter fraud and refusing to reconsider its call on election night that Mr. Biden would win Arizona.
[cont'd at R1]