Imagine having to come up with enough material to keep old men in Kansas riveted with fear 24 hours a day. This is the predicament of Fox News.
Every outrage – real or imagined, but mostly just imagined – must be amplified with each passing day, lest your viewers flee to infomercials about orthopedic socks. Just ask resident pundit Jeanine Pirro.
On her Saturday show, she was tasked with ramping up the network’s coverage of Minneapolis Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, a series that goes by the unofficial title, “Look at that Brown Woman in the Funny Hat! She’s Probably a Terrorist!”
But it’s not easy keeping an elderly audience awake past 8 p.m. So Pirro broke out some top-shelf weirdness.
Omar’s Muslim dress was “antithetical to the Constitution,” she argued.
This is not quite true, since the Constitution actually protects religious expression, a point a former judge should probably know.
But when you’re in the business of scaring old men – especially after 8 p.m. and there’s reruns of Bonanza on somewhere – you don’t have the luxury of getting lost in the fine print.
“Think about it: Omar wears a hijab,” Pirro noted. “Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to Sharia law?”
The judge likely thought she was simply working a go-to Fox move. Since there’s no evidence Omar hopes to overthrow the U.S. judicial system with strict Islamic law, it’s best to simply imply it. Omar does wear that funny headscarf, after all. Is unusual headwear not proof enough of evil intent?
You may not think so, but you’re not the one making Fox the nation’s No. 1 cable news network. Old men in Kansas are. And unfortunately for Fox, it actually has Muslim employees. They weren’t particularly happy with Pirro’s move to keep the outrage machine humming.
This includes Hufsa Kamal, a producer for the Special Report with Bret Baier, a show hosted by a guy whose hairdo could withstand a tomahawk missile strike.
@JudgeJeanine can you stop spreading this false narrative that somehow Muslims hate America or women who wear a hijab aren’t American enough? You have Muslims working at the same network you do, including myself. K thx. https://t.co/ZfKhRhlvM3— Hufsa Kamal (@hufkat) March 10, 2019
Once word of Pirro’s thesis leaked out to sane people, the condemnation only multiplied from there:
Jeanine Pirro is a disgrace. Ilhan Omar's right to wear hijab in accordance with her religious convictions is as constitutional as an Orthodox Jewish woman's right to wear a sheitel. Anything less is un-American. https://t.co/O4fpTJujao— Bret Stephens (@BretStephensNYT) March 10, 2019
Will Pirro now question all who also observe their religious dress codes about their loyalty to the US Constitution? Asking for a Jehovah, Orthodox Jewish, Amish, Sikh, Baha’i, Catholic,... friend— N.J.Qadir Chaudhry (@njqrn) March 10, 2019
In what can only be described as a Holy Shit moment, Fox resorted to something highly unusual: reflection.
“We strongly condemn Jeanine Pirro’s comments about Rep. Ilhan Omar,” the network announced in a statement. “They do not reflect those of the network and we have addressed the matter with her directly.”
Omar accepted Fox’s apology.