There are a lot of things I would like to be, but that dream will never materialize. If I had my choice of roles in life, I would have loved to have been a professional baseball player or a concert pianist. There are two jobs that I would never aspire to have. One is being the speaker of the current U.S. House of Representatives and the second one is being an anchor on Fox News.
Why anyone would want to be the current speaker is a mystery. Kevin McCarthy, in his fixation to become the House leader, sold his soul to a small group of crazies who have already taken away most of his powers and have the ability to oust him with the snap of a finger. McCarthy has been forced to elevate members such as Rep. Marjory Taylor Greene to positions of power and has demonstrated almost daily that he is powerless to lead the House at a time when leadership is desperately needed.
Sometime in the very near future, the House will have to vote on extending the federal debt limit. What that means in plain talk is that the government agrees to pay its current bills and those from the past, including the cost of the Trump tax cuts. Despite a lot of noise and bluster about a plan, McCarthy has yet to come up with even a press release outlining how to avoid a government default in the next few weeks.
All of Washington knows that the if United States were to default on its obligations, that would include Social Security payments and paying government employees. A default would trigger a national meltdown.
McCarthy’s headaches are made even worse by virtue of the fact that he has a margin of only four members to get a bill passed with just Republican votes. To date 10 of his members have stated that they will never vote to pay the government’s past due obligations. So absent getting some Democratic votes, the country is on its way to a fiscal disaster. There is also no doubt that if McCarthy were to make any deal with the Democrats, his conference would vote to oust him from the speakership.
As far as the second job I wouldn’t like to have, I would not like to be an anchor on Fox News. Fox has just agreed to pay close to $1 billion to Dominion Voting Systems for damages caused by its anchors defaming the company over the 2020 election. The settlement avoided a brutal trial, which would have caused the network fresh embarrassment over its internal e-mails, admitting that the claims about Dominion were absolute lies.
The Dominion resolution doesn’t end Fox’s headaches. Another voting machine company is suing Fox with claims similar to the Dominion allegations. That litigation will probably be settled, but its resolution will further tie the hands of Fox when it comes to its reporting practices. Almost every day since the 2020 election ended, Fox had staked its financial future on false claims that the election had been stolen. Night after night its anchors went on air with multiple statements about voter fraud knowing that these claims were a lie.
The settlement of the Dominion case is a major warning signal to all the television networks that they must exercise extraordinary diligence before they air claims that may be untrue. As a practical matter, the major fallout from the lawsuit hits Fox right in the pocketbook. Fox has a political agenda and it must cater to one group of viewers only who will leave them in droves if Fox anchors don’t tell them what they want to hear.
That’s why I wouldn’t want to be Kevin McCarthy or a Fox anchor. McCarthy is afraid that almost anything he says will get him impeached and all of the Fox anchors have to be worried that if they follow management’s script, they will be dragged into a courtroom and see their careers ended.