Showy displays of patriotism, the U.S. military and a Republican president: Fox News adores all three of these things, as 20-plus years of broadcasting amply attest. Now they’re all coming together in President Trump’s wish that the Pentagon stage a military parade to one-up the version that he witnessed on Bastille Day last year at the Avenue des Champs-Elysees in Paris, as The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.
So Fox News broke out the pom-poms, right?
Not really. “I don’t know. It seems like a waste of money,” said “Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade on Wednesday morning.
Later in the morning, retired Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, a Fox News strategic analyst, blasted the idea in a chat with host Bill Hemmer. After Hemmer took a shot at the media for comparing a U.S. military parade to similar spectacles in Russia and North Korea — and pointing out that the model is non-authoritarian France — Peters said: “Bill, I served in the military for almost 22 years, enlisted man and officer. Let me tell you: I value our tradition of civilian control of the military. . . . I don’t like the image of heavy weapons parading through our streets and the streets of American cities. . . . We would throw the training schedules out the window.”
Moving right ahead, retired Gen. Jack Keane summed up his feelings this way: “We don’t parade. We train and we fight, all right?” he told host Jon Scott.
Jennifer Griffin, Fox News’s national security correspondent, appeared on air at least twice Wednesday afternoon to note that Pentagon officials had responded with a “collective eye-roll,” and had initially regarded the whole idea as a joke. Military brass, said Griffin, have “much more pressing issues” in front of them than “planning a parade.”
Host Shepard Smith turned the anchor voice to the max-snark setting at the top of the 3 p.m. hour: “And nations like Russia, France and North Korea hold regular military parades. Washington hasn’t seen one since, like, 1991. But President Trump says it’s time to roll out the tanks. ‘I want a parade!’ ”
Here’s hoping, for once, that the president was tuning in to Fox News, the better to effect a flip-flop from this embarrassing idea.
Trouble is, he might just hit the wrong segment. In the 8 a.m. hour Wednesday, the notion of tanks roaring down Pennsylvania Avenue received a vote of confidence from Fox News White House correspondent Kevin Corke in a report for “Fox & Friends.” “I gotta tell you: That looks like it would be an absolute blast. Ideally it would happen on the Fourth of July weekend. I’d love to see it. I’m sure we would have the show right down here,” said Corke from the White House lawn. “Can I just put out a call for that? ‘Fox & Friends’ live on the Mall if it happens.”
And then there’s “Hannity” tonight.