Walters: Ex-Freeps Editor Finds a Friend on Fox News | Off Message

Bernie Sanders
Walters: Ex-Freeps Editor Finds a Friend on Fox News


Denis Finley, the former editor of the Burlington Free Press who was fired this week for posting a series of offensive tweets, found himself in more amenable surroundings Thursday night: on Fox News' primetime "Tucker Carlson Tonight."

Carlson served up a series of softball questions designed to portray the ex-editor as a victim of leftist intolerance, and Finley accepted the martyr's role gladly.

In his introduction, Carlson referred to Finley's firing on Tuesday (it was actually Monday, sir) "after he tweeted questions about a Vermont proposal to create a third gender option for driver's licenses."

Well, the tweet that touched off the firestorm was not a question but a plain statement: "Awesome! That makes us one step closer to the apocalypse."
Carlson's first question to Finley wasn't a question either. It was a statement expressing puzzlement at why he was fired.

"There's a powerful contingent of speech police out there," Finley replied. "This is an extremely liberal state, progressive state, and I kind of galvanized them unwittingly ... and they didn't want to stop until they had my head on a platter."

The former Freepster then asserted that those dastardly liberals "think it's a feather in their cap if they can get rid of someone who disagrees with them." He continued to wrap himself in the victim's mantle.

"They're asking me to toe the line. They're asking me to agree with them," Finley said. "They're holding my feet to the fire to make sure that the orthodoxy wins out."

Referring to Gannett, the Free Press' corporate parent, Carlson posited that "big companies have become the heavies for the cultural left."

"I think a lot of big media companies are more or less encouraging the left," Finley responded. "I think they want us to conform to the prevailing ideology that's out there, and the prevailing ideology that's out there is leftist."

Carlson closed the interview with a lovely Christmas Carol invocation. "They take your job away, and here we are in the middle of winter in Vermont, you got no job," he said. "So our prayers are with you, Denis. Good luck."

All that was missing was a swell of violins.

A few notes about this mutual love-fest: Finley betrayed a profound ignorance of Vermont by trafficking in stereotypes. That's unbefitting a person who was trying to reflect the community his former employer serves. He apparently arrived with a closed mind and departed the same way.

He and Carlson misled viewers on the substance of the dispute. Finley was deliberately provocative at best, downright intolerant at worst. He wasn't just "asking questions." He was poking his community with a stick.

As conservatives often do, he ascribed far more power to the leftist hordes than they actually possess. Finley wasn't a victim of liberal hegemony. He lost his job because he worked for a cautious organization that knows it can't afford to alienate any of its remaining readers. Just ask Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) if Big Media is an arm of the left. It'll give him a good laugh.

I suspect this is the first in a series of Finley appearances and Fox News program segments. Perhaps a Donald Trump tweet is in his future. Almost certainly a book deal, so he can rail against political correctness and the imagined conspiracy between Big Media and the far left.