Unless you’re living under a rock, we’ve all heard about the FBI obtaining a warrant to search former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida for classified documents under the Espionage Act.
What you may not have heard, is Fox News' handling of a meme posted on Twitter that made U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, the judge who signed off on Monday’s search warrant, look like he was partying with convicted sex offender Ghislaine Maxwell on a private plane.
Brian Kilmeade displayed the meme while covering for Tucker Carlson during his primetime show. It was so bad that Sean Hannity actually felt compelled to point out that the picture was photoshopped and that it was probably Jefferey Epstein’s body replaced with Judge Reinhart’s head.
This completely inappropriate decision to display an inaccurate photo of a federal judge receiving death threats and antisemitic tropes due to his involvement in the Trump case destroys any little bit of credibility and integrity that Fox News has left.
We all know that Fox News served as state television during the Trump Administration. Since he left office, the strange relationship between a news outlet and a former President has continued. At any given time, one could turn on Fox News to hear one of Trump’s enablers singing his accolades to whoever will listen.
We learned through the January 6th hearings about the unprofessional relationship that Donald Trump had with Fox primetime stars, such as Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, and Lou Dobbs.
They accounted for some of the first people to text the former President and his Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, on January 6th when the insurrection was raging, and it became clear that President Trump wasn’t going to do anything to stop it.
Journalists and I use that word loosely when referring to Fox News contributors, should NOT have that type of relationship with the President that they’re trying to hold accountable.
It was nearly one full day after the irresponsible segment aired that Brian Kilmeade decided to address the incident on Twitter. But he wasn’t apologizing. He claimed that the entire situation was a joke or a goof. They were just playing around at Fox News.
“Last night while subbing for Tucker Carlson, we showed you an image of Judge Bruce Reinhart w/ Ghislaine Maxwell that was sourced on screen to a meme pulled from Twitter & wasn’t real,” Brian Kilmeade posted online. “This depiction never took place & we wanted to make clear that we were showing a meme in jest.”
Imagine a “professional” news organization displaying a meme from a random Twitter user as if it was accurate and objective news and then blaming it on a joke?!?
This judge is being stalked, harassed, doxed, and threatened with violence by far right-wing extremists. “Let’s find out if he has children… where they go to school, where they live… EVERYTHING,” one person wrote on a message board where the judge’s address was posted.
Members of shady online far-right communities are posting Judge Reinhart’s personal information, including his phone number, address, and names of his friends and family members. One user on a message board formerly called TheDonald wrote “I see a rope around his neck.”
No matter what side you are on, whether you approve of Donald Trump or not, there is no place for this behavior in America. We need to have an independent judicial branch whose members are not in fear to make difficult, but prudent decisions. That’s why federal judges get lifetime appointments — so they can do their job without the threat of retaliation or worrying about the wants of the public. This man was carefully trained for years to analyze the law and his decision should be considered settled.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has huge decisions to make in the coming weeks and months. Trump is under investigation in many places for many crimes and the proceedings are starting to heat up. The DOJ also needs to be able to operate without fear of political reprisal. That being said, I would also like to note that House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy made some threats of his own after news of the FBI search was made public.
“I’ve seen enough,” McCarthy tweeted. “The Department of Justice has reached an intolerable state of weaponized politicization. When Republicans take back the House, we will conduct immediate oversight of this department, follow the facts and leave no stone unturned. Attorney General Garland, preserve your documents and clear your calendar.”
I find it amusing that AG Merrick Garland is being threatened to preserve his documents when President Trump flushed all of his down the toilet.
Let’s go out this November and vote these lawless traitors out of Congress and keep the Congressional majority for Democrats! Our democracy depends on it.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2022 Monica Leigh French