Media critic

Bob Reams scratched out his “FOX LIES” sign on his porch before hopping in his truck. “It was premeditated. I knew what I was going to do,” says the 61-year-old Reams, who saw on television that the team from “Fox & Friends” was broadcasting from a nearby diner. “I’m a huge liberal and I believe that Fox News has just destroyed the country.”

Viewers of this execrable morning program can pretty much narrate the rest of this tale. As roving “Fox & Friends” correspondent Todd Piro was preparing to mediate a debate between two customers of Christi’s Cafe in Louisville, Ky., a man burst into the screen, equipped with a piece of paper saying, “FOX LIES.” “This is fake news,” he ranted.

Piro did the proper broadcasting thing: “We’re going to wrap this up, we’re going to go on off to commercial,” he said.

Interruption accomplished, with a fair bit of pickup from media-covering media outlets. “I’ve always wanted to protest Fox News and they came to a restaurant two miles from where I live and I just couldn’t help myself,” says Reams, a contractor. “They have brainwashed so many of my friends and believe in just conspiracy theories and bullcrap. It’s just sad to see my friends just turned into idiots.” A more immediate incentive to intervene came from the morning’s proceedings. As Piro was interviewing folks at the diner, Reams says he overhead a man criticizing the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare. “My wife retired last month and I had to get the ACA and … I think it’s great,” he notes.

In his Tuesday night Phoenix rally, President Trump singled out “Fox & Friends” for praise, calling it “the absolute most honest show and it’s a show I watch.” Which makes sense, given Trump’s thin-skinned narcissism. “Fox & Friends” routinely unfurls talking points straight from the White House. “They’re enabling them, they’re enabling this president and this administration to engage in craziness and the destruction of our values and America in general. It’s just sad, it really is,” says Reams.

By the time Reams pulled his caper, he’d completed his breakfast of biscuits and gravy. After introducing himself to the Fox News audience, he found himself escorted outside by two “goons,” as he called them, hired by the network for moments just like this one. Soon enough, he says, he was chatting with the cops, who were weighing an arrest for disorderly conduct, he says. They let him go.

Reams says he’s spent his entire life in Kentucky, and draws his liberal viewpoints from his parents as well as from “common sense.” His politics and his contempt for Fox News raise the question: Why on earth was he watching “Fox & Friends” on Wednesday morning in the first place? “You have to check out the competition,” he replies. “You have to check out what they’re saying. If I didn’t watch them, I wouldn’t hate them. I wouldn’t know what they’re up to.” So how many hours does Reams spend gauging the enemy? “An hour maybe — total. Maybe two hours,” he says. Or perhaps a little more? The point here is that Reams, protest notwithstanding, may play a bit role in the success of Fox News. A 2014 Pew Research Center study found that a sizable chunk of Fox News viewers come from “mixed” political leanings, and nearly a fifth from liberals.

There may be a lot of hate-viewers like Reams out there.

Pursuant to comments from the diner’s owner, the Erik Wemple Blog reported on Wednesday that Reams got booted before he had a chance to pay his bill. Not so, he says. He paid more than four dollars for his breakfast as well as an appropriate tip, he maintains. A diner source has confirmed his account.