Fox News contributor Joe Concha and John Phillips spoke recently at the Freedom Center’s annual Restoration Weekend, held November 10-13, 2022 at the Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix, AZ.
Their comments addressed the latest absurdities that have dominated mainstream media – as they addressed the question of whether the media is redeemable.
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Joe Concha: How are you?
John Phillips: I’m good, how are you?
Joe Concha: Outstanding. I love the air here.
John Phillips: Oh, yes.
Joe Concha: You know? Hangovers go like that. It’s a nice thing. What do you want to talk about?
John Phillips: Well, the topic is, is the media redeemable?
Joe Concha: Is that a rhetorical question? And the answer is no, so good night.
John Phillips: Yeah, well, that was easy.
Joe Concha: Enjoy your lunch. Too funny. Want me to go up there and say some things, go up with a few remarks, or you want to ask me a question first? We haven’t rehearsed this [indiscernible].
John Phillips: I’m working union. I’m sitting down.
Joe Concha: Okay. Yeah, let’s just sit. That’s fine. It’s no big deal. Oh, wait a second. Oh, all right. We got a statement in — because I know this is concerning to everybody, as far as the election is concerned — before we get to the topic at hand, there’s some breaking news: Katie Hobbs’s campaign just put out a statement — she’s the Secretary of State of Arizona, which makes total sense — as most of you know — let’s see, “the counting of votes is finally moving along at a brisk pace. Yes, Florida is three times larger than Arizona and had all their votes counted in the time it takes to deliver a pizza, but we’re finally getting it right. To that end, we expect to have the vote counting process completed by Valentine’s Day. In the meantime, we have drafted Beto O’Rourke, Stacey Abrams and Charlie Crist to serve as acting governor on a rotating basis. Thank you for your patience in this matter, and don’t forget to hug an illegal today.” Well, that’s nice. Oh, man.
John Phillips: You know, the networks still have that race as too close to call.
Joe Concha: Yeah.
John Phillips: But Stacey Abrams just declared victory.
Joe Concha: That works, right?
John Phillips: Yeah.
Joe Concha: Oh, this is too funny. My son is calling me.
John Phillips: No.
Joe Concha: See, look at that. Oh, man. My son just had a birthday, actually, and I don’t know what you guys did when your kids were born, but my wife and I came to this conclusion that we were going to have the baby come out of the womb, look at him or her and then say, ah, that’s a blank, and fill in the name, right? So my wife says, that looks like a Liam to me. I’m like, yeah, I think so, honey, but I’m looking at him — let’s go Brandon. Let’s go Brandon. And she’s like, I don’t know, I got a bad feeling about this. This is seven years ago. And then when my daughter was born, like, the same thing kind of happened. See, because Cameron comes out of the womb, and we don’t know what her name is yet, and I’m like, you know what, it’s the first kid — we’re really close with — my wife’s Jean — Jean’s mom, and her name is Karen. And thank god, she also overruled me there, so.
John Phillips: Well, and then on their fifth birthday, they get to pick their gender.
Joe Concha: Yes. That’s a great point. We had some Board of Education elections just now, and there was actually some social media posts from Oneslate that actually said, Antifa are people too, and all that stuff — thankfully they lost, so that’s a good thing.
Anyway, but let’s talk about the media.
John Phillips: Absolutely.
Joe Concha: I’ve gone off on enough tangents.
John Phillips: Now, let’s start out with my favorite topic, when you talk about the media, my former employer, CNN.
Joe Concha: Yes.
John Phillips: Working for CNN was very complicated. It’s like being married to O.J. Sure, it’s an abusive relationship —
Joe Concha: Yeah.
John Phillips: But you get to fly first class, so.
Joe Concha: When were you there?
John Phillips: I was there through the 2016 election and the year after.
Joe Concha: Oh, the Zucker era.
John Phillips: Oh, yes. I was on with Chris Cuomo and hired by Jeff Zucker.
Joe Concha: Wow.
John Phillips: Yes. Couldn’t pay enough. Anyway, all right, so CNN and MSNBC, they’re going through some changes right now. CNN has new ownership, and they’ve changed some personnel. Brian Stelter is gone. Jeffrey Toobin is gone. John Harwood is gone. Over at MSNBC, they just had a big personnel change over there. Tiffany Cross, over on the weekends, she was the one that said — and this is crass, but I’m going to quote her directly here: “Florida is the dick of the nation and needs a circumcision.” And then she got canned. So the question is, Joe —
Joe Concha: Yes?
John Phillips: Are they actually starting to move to the center, or do they just not want to end up on Judge Judy?
Joe Concha: Interesting. Oh, let me address the Toobin thing first. As everybody probably agrees, after you pleasure yourself on a work call with females watching, usually that means you’re going to get the shaft. But Toobin somehow gets a six-month paid vacation, and they bring him back, but then eventually the new management that came in realized that they can’t have him doing all this legal analysis, right, when he’s doing this the entire time. Just to assure everybody that everything’s on the up and up. So now he gets to finally ease out at CNN, and he’ll get to know himself a little bit better, and that’s always a good thing.
Oh, by the way, I’m sorry, people complimented the tie, and obviously today is Veterans Day, so let’s just take a quick moment of silence and remember all of those who sacrificed their careers by working for CNN+.
John Phillips: And on that note, let’s thank Dick Blumenthal for his service in Vietnam.
Joe Concha: Yes. That’s a very good point. To answer your question, is CNN going back to the middle, as they say are going to, well, let me address Brian Stelter first, who may have a similar title to me in terms of what I do at Fox and what he does at CNN in terms of media analysis. Stelter was a cancer within that organization. He was going to people in the press and badmouthing his new bosses, and it wasn’t exactly subtle. And then he even did it publicly as well. So when you do that, you tend to get canned in those situations, so I don’t think that was, oh, we’ve got to get rid of Brian Stelter because he’s too far to the left, because they still have basically everybody else there, like a Don Lemon, for example. And you would say, okay, if CNN’s moving to the middle, then I’m sure they’re going to hire some people that are, say, pro-Trump or pro-DeSantis or pro-Youngkin, or you know, pick your prominent Republican, and they haven’t done that, right? So I haven’t seen any hires.
John Phillips: Well, they do have a Republican: Ana Navarro.
Joe Concha: Ana Navarro, who said just yesterday that Ron DeSantis won by 20 points in Florida because he rigged the system. Ooh, I thought stolen election talk was bad. But yes, she’s the Republican strategist. That’s right, of course. Look, when you take Don Lemon, who is the lowest-rated, by far, host in primetime on cable news, and you say, you know what? We’re going to improve our network by giving him three hours in the morning because we can’t get enough of Don Lemon, apparently, that isn’t a move to the middle, right? And when you look at MSNBC, they fired — they didn’t fire her, they didn’t renew Tiffany Cross’ contract. Because she didn’t only say what she said about Florida and DeSantis; she also called Senator Tim Scott a token and Clarence Thomas an Uncle Tom. This sort of stuff, you should be fired immediately. She said this months ago, but they don’t have any standards there, so that’s a big problem.
So overall, look, once the presidential election begins — the campaign, which could be as early as next week, apparently — then CNN will revert back to whatever they were before, because it’s in the DNA. And then you look at, also, the media in general. And I’m not talking about local media. I happen to think local media is still pretty much the same it was when we were growing up, because there’s no real opinion in it, right?
John Phillips: Or budget.
Joe Concha: Or budget, for that matter, yeah. It’s like, okay, here’s who got murdered here, here’s who got carjacked here, here’s who got assaulted here, and then, oh, here’s the Powerball numbers, here’s who won the Yankee game, here’s your five-day forecast. Like, the local media is still pretty much the same. War correspondents are still pretty much the same because there’s no time for opinion when you’re running for your life, right? But political media is what we’re talking about. And what two cities are they based in?
John Phillips: New York and Washington, DC.
Joe Concha: Yes. And in the 2020 election, I believe Donald Trump got 8% of the vote in Washington and something like 12% in New York. So when you’re in that environment, that creates conformity, and even if you’re a young kid, you come out of journalism school and you want to speak truth to power and you want to do good investigative reporting, quickly you realize that that is going to be a big problem, and I’ll give you one example.
Who here remembers — and this happened, like, three weeks ago — Dasha Burns. Do we know that name? NBC? Okay. She interviews John Fetterman. And afterwards, she does a straight-up report saying he had trouble understanding my questions and having a conversation with me in general, and the mob came for her and tried to get her eviscerated just because she went against the narrative, right?
You look at Paul Pelosi. Again, this is another NBC reporter. There’s still a couple of good ones out there, believe it or not. Not on the national level, but certainly in the local level. And he reported that, boy, police don’t know exactly what happened the 30 minutes before they got there when Pelosi was alone with the suspect, and then when the police did get there, I don’t know about you, but if somebody comes into my house with a hammer, unless I have nunchucks on me to fight back, when the police get there, I’m pretty sure I’m running out to their car and hiding behind it because it’s a guy with a hammer and he’s crazy. But Pelosi goes back in, and then he gets assaulted. So this is all brought up in this guy’s report, and then NBC, because they got a call, I guess, from the Pelosi camp, or some prominent Democrat, NBC executives pull the report. So even if you’re a good reporter and you try to get the word out there, you’re going to be eliminated. I’ll give you one more example.
John Phillips: Yeah.
Joe Concha: James Bennet. Editor, New York Times Opinion page. Won a Pulitzer, been there for 20 years. And Senator Tom Cotton, who’s former military, writes an op-ed that says, you know what? When mostly peaceful riots start to get out of control, maybe we send in the National Guard to help quell them. Well, you look at polling; 50% of the country agrees with this, 50% does not agree with it. In other words, it’s the perfect op-ed because it creates debate and conversation. What happens to Bennet? Woke staffers within the New York Times say, this is racist — okay — and he gets fired. Eliminated. So even if you want to be a good journalist, it’s not going to happen if you don’t follow the narrative, and that’s scary.
John Phillips: Mm-hm. It is. And the point that you made about geography bias is important, too, because when we think about media bias, we think about it in terms of partisan bias. They’re Democrats, so the stories always favor the Democrat, and they always go after Republicans. But the geography bias is very important, and it exists not just in political media, but just think about sports media for a second. If the Angels are having a great season and the Yankees are having a mediocre season, who does SportsCenter lead with? They lead with the Yankees because that’s what they care about. From their point of view, there’s New York and Washington, and everything else is a suburb of Guam, and that’s how they regard us. It really is.
Joe Concha: It’s true.
John Phillips: Going back to Paul Pelosi, this was just such a bonkers story, wasn’t it? Everything you thought you knew about that story ended up getting retracted. At first, they were both in their underwear, remember that? We don’t know if the fruit was inside the loom or not, but they were supposed to be —
Joe Concha: Oh, he’s good. You’re very good.
John Phillips: They were supposed to be in their underwear.
Joe Concha: I didn’t see this coming. You’re excellent.
John Phillips: The second thing, the second thing was we were told there was a third person there, remember that? A third person was supposed to open up the door.
Joe Concha: Just like the drunk driving thing.
John Phillips: That’s right.
Joe Concha: Yeah.
John Phillips: And I said to myself, I didn’t know it was a rotisserie.
Joe Concha: Rich Little, you’re going to have some problems tonight, man. You got to outdo this guy. Go on.
John Phillips: And then the third thing was the Today Show report.
Joe Concha: Yeah.
John Phillips: Where the police enter, Paul Pelosi lets them in, and then he — instead of running away or doing what I would do, which is running behind the cops and saying, there he is, shoot him, he goes back to the guy, who then starts attacking him with a hammer. And the question then becomes, what happened? Is it just that the media is really, really, really bad at their job? Or did Nancy Pelosi call them up and put a horse’s head in their bed? I’ll go with B.
Joe Concha: Yeah, because I mentioned the drunk driving story before. I mean, can you believe this? This guy goes out, gets hammered — he’s worth, like, $120 million, can’t just call UberX. No, no, he’s got to drive his Porsche. And he doesn’t get into an accident where he kind of hits a fire hydrant or something like that; he slams into another car and hurts the people in the other car. And he doesn’t get arrested? He doesn’t go to jail? How is this possible? Oh, right, because somebody made a call, right? So that’s why I said, he shouldn’t have even been home that night. He should have been in jail. If any of us did that, you crash your car while drunk and you hurt people in the other car, I’m pretty sure you’re in jail right now. He’s not. Walking free [indiscernible].
John Phillips: Well, I think they are lucky they just upset Nancy Pelosi, because if it was Hillary Clinton that they pissed off, those reporters would be hanging in Jeffrey Epstein’s cell.
Joe Concha: Yeah. He’s got a great point. And you know, it always wasn’t like this. Believe it or not, you look at Gallup, right? Gallup polling, 1976, all right? This is post-Watergate, and 72% of Americans said they trusted the media, Cronkite and Mudd and Brinkley and so on. So yeah, you could trust those guys. And then it just went off a cliff around 2006, 2007. Even as recent as, like, 2004 was something like around 45%, 50% trusted the media. And then, right off, basically when Obama came into play, and then obviously, who was it — Bernie Goldberg, wrote that great book, A Slobbering Love Affair, right?
John Phillips: Oh, yeah. Bestseller.
Joe Concha: And then from there, it just — and particularly with the rise of social media, then each side took their camps, and that’s that. So when you hear that, well, only 32% Americans trust the media — when you just poll Republicans, that’s somewhere around 9%, which I really want to go bowling with that 9% sometime.
John Phillips: Right? I mean, that’s what I got to see.
Joe Concha: But the thing is, the mistakes. Brian Stelter would always say, well, journalists are human beings and they just make mistakes sometimes, but they always correct them. Uh, no, A; and B, why do the mistakes only go in one direction?
John Phillips: It’s true.
Joe Concha: What bombshell has come out about the Biden Administration that turned out to be completely and totally wrong? It hasn’t. It hasn’t been invented, that’s why. No Russian bounty story or anything like that. So 80% of independents — this is according to one NBC poll — said that they — and this is independents, so let’s take Republicans and Democrats out of it. They believe that the media reports news they know to be fake or false a lot, and once you have that perception, it is virtually impossible to put Humpty Dumpty back together, to bring up Mr. Stelter again. Take it away.
John Phillips: Yeah, and also, on the subject of fake news, what they do frequently is not tell overt lies. How they produce fake news is with the framing. So when I was working at CNN, I remember doing a segment, and it was something that Donald Trump did that favored gays and lesbians. And the headline on the screen, where we were debating it, was “Trump yet again breaks another campaign promise.”
Joe Concha: Yet again, mm-hm.
John Phillips: You go back and you look at what happened when Barack Obama changed his position on gay marriage. It wasn’t, Barack Obama breaks another campaign promise; it was, “Historic event occurs; Barack Obama becomes the first president to support gay marriage.” Both things are factually true. But because of the framing, you’re led to believe one thing with one candidate and another thing with another candidate. One is completely negative framing and one is positive framing.
Now, you mentioned social media, and social media is buzzing right now because Elon Musk just bought Twitter. Oh, yeah.
Joe Concha: Can I make one point before you go to Elon?
John Phillips: Yeah, go ahead.
Joe Concha: All right. When — it’s a funny rule with Republicans and Democrats as far as framing is concerned, right? With Republicans, it’s a flip-flop and a broken promise. With Democrats, they evolved on the issue, right? And framing is everything. So we saw with Ron DeSantis earlier this year, he passes the Parental Rights and Education bill, which, as somebody who has a first- and a third-grader, who doesn’t want his kid taught about gender identification, sexual orientation — it’s just me, I don’t know — he passes a law that says you can’t do that. So what does the media do? What do they call it? “Don’t say gay,” right? Even though “gay” doesn’t exist anywhere in the bill. And then after a while, the headlines say, Ron DeSantis’ Don’t Say Gay bill, not “what critics call” or anything. Suddenly the perception is now reality. The good news is that DeSantis won by 20 points in Florida; he won in counties such as — what was it, Miami-Dade?
John Phillips: Oh, yeah.
Joe Concha: Yeah, and Palm Beach County. Like, places that you’re not supposed to win before. So that’s the good news, folks. We say, how do we fight back against the media? Trust me, they’re punching themselves down. Because when you have, before the 2016 election, for example, talking about influence, the Hill does this whole massive look at all the endorsements across the country from major newspapers, and we went through 59, and 57 went to Hillary Clinton and two went to Donald Trump. And what that got Hillary was, let’s see, a concession speech and a set of steak knives, right? In other words, it meant nothing. All these newspapers are saying, this is how you should vote, and everybody’s like, screw you, and they went the other way anyway. So it’s not the old media like we talked about in 1976 where if Cronkite said something, you kind of listened, right? Now, it’s like, yeah, I don’t trust the messenger. Let’s talk about Elon.
John Phillips: Yeah. So the first thing that happened after Elon Musk bought Twitter is that Kathy Griffin got suspended. Second thing that happened is that Whoopi Goldberg said she’s quitting. And third thing, and this just happened, Anthony Weiner says if you want pictures of his genitalia, you’re going to have to wait for the Christmas card.
Joe Concha: Ah, Carlos Danger. Didn’t see [indiscernible] Kirsten Powers as well, isn’t that his ex-girlfriend?
John Phillips: Yes, yes, yes, she was a co-worker. Nice lady.
Joe Concha: Amazing. And then Huma Abedin is dating who now, Bradley Cooper, right?
John Phillips: Is she?
Joe Concha: Yes, I heard. Wow, talk about a tangent. Let’s keep talking Elon.
John Phillips: So what do you think is going to happen with Twitter under Elon Musk? Do you think all of these blue checkmarks who are fit to be tied over this decision, they’re going to stay on Twitter, or they’re going to find some alternative platform for them to spew the lies?
Joe Concha: They are addicted, right?
John Phillips: Yeah.
Joe Concha: Was that for the audience? Yeah, they stay or go? Show of hands, stay? Wait, if it’s an addiction, why isn’t Hunter Biden on?
John Phillips: It’s a great point. He could sell a lot of paintings that way.
Joe Concha: Yeah. Look, Elon, he buys this company that — you look at stocks, right, over, like, six, seven years, and everything in terms of tech, social media has skyrocketed. Facebook not recently, of course, but it got to a point where you’re doing quite well if you own — if you bought that stock 10 years ago. But Twitter, for whatever reason, never performed well. It was a horribly run company, but also from an ethical standpoint, we all know how they run things, right? They’re a Democratic super pack. Before the 2020 election, two weeks beforehand, not just them tamping down a story and not, say, amplifying it on their site; if you shared, if you’re just a member and you shared that New York Post story about Hunter Biden’s laptop, you were locked out of your account. This was, like, Pyongyang kind of stuff. Complete censorship.
So Elon comes in and says, okay, I’m going to make it a free speech platform, and everybody goes ballistic saying that he’s a threat to Democracy. No, it’s the exact opposite, actually. What he’s done, he’s liberated it. So hopefully they can start to make profits and — but I don’t think anybody leaves, because a lot of people that work in media completely depend on it to promote themselves, advertise themselves, but also, a lot of people in this business — not me, I swear to god — they need constant affirmation, verification that they exist. So they’re always on there, like, look at me kind of thing. So yeah, that’s not going to change anytime soon.
John Phillips: I’m also of the belief that Twitter is a way for print reporters who are largely jealous of people who work in broadcast — they’re jealous of people who host cable news shows, they’re jealous of people who are recognizable — because when you write for a newspaper, they just see your name. They don’t know your face. You don’t get recognized in the airports. But on Twitter, you’re somebody. You’re recognizable. And it gives them power and influence and feeding their ego in ways that they otherwise would never be able to get.
Now, let’s spend some time talking about the conservative media, too, because we now have a situation that’s unfolding in the country where there is a rift on the right in terms of who is going to be the leader for the Republican nomination for the presidency in 2024. On one side, you’ve got Donald Trump; on the other side, you have Florida governor Ron DeSantis, and Trump is going after DeSantis, and the response has been Trump getting hammered by the New York Post, by Fox News, by Wall Street Journal. I saw Mark Levin just went after him with knives yesterday. So the question is, what does the conservative media do when you have the two most popular people on the right going at each other’s throats?
Joe Concha: What I would do, personally, is just report it out. And then if I have an opinion on it, and I get paid to give opinions, I’ll give my opinion. In this case, this may not be very popular in this room, but for Donald Trump to go after Ron DeSantis three weeks before the Georgia election is ill-advised. And — thank you. And I don’t think it’s 2016 anymore. I don’t think you can apply a nickname to DeSantis and somehow that’s going to have the effect that it did during that election. As I said, Ron DeSantis, he is the one bright spot that we saw on Tuesday night when everybody thought a red wave was coming, and it’s kind of odd, when you think about it, that the red wave never materialized except in the United States of Florida.
So to go after DeSantis right now, I don’t think it’s the way to go, and the problem is, it’s not just confined to DeSantis. The president went after Glenn Youngkin today, says that his name sounds Chinese and that Youngkin never could have been elected without Trump’s help. And meanwhile, when you go back and look at that election last year, Youngkin — Trump didn’t campaign for Youngkin in person once. He did a six-minute video, but Youngkin won by running on the issues. DeSantis won by running on the issues. Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia ran by running on the issues. And I think in 2024, it’s got to be an issue-based campaign and not a personality contest, because I don’t think that’s — you got everything on your side right now. Economy, border, crime, education. We have the winning argument. So let’s make it about the argument instead of the person.
Now, some could say, well, you’re anti-Trump. You’re a RINO. Paul Ryan just called you and told you to say that. No, it’s just me, guys. I’m Joe in his basement. I do most of my hits from my studio in my basement. No one talks to me beforehand. No one tells us what to say. And that’s what makes Fox actually interesting. There are different opinions on things, instead of the echo chambers that you see on the other networks. Now, I have a contract coming up, so hopefully this gets back to my bosses, because I’ve got a good [indiscernible]. I’m kidding, I just signed it yesterday. Swear to god. Two years. I’m there for two years more.
John Phillips: Congratulations.
Joe Concha: Thank you.
John Phillips: And he’s telling the truth. I can see his phone. He is not getting any marching orders from anyone. He’s betting on football.
Joe Concha: Except my dad. Yeah, it’s true. Too funny.
John Phillips: No, the one thing that Trump doesn’t understand, I think, about his attacks on DeSantis is, Ron DeSantis is not Jeb Bush.
Joe Concha: Yeah.
John Phillips: The Republican base was not in love with Jeb Bush. They did not want Jeb Bush. The party was trying to force Jeb Bush on us, but we, the people in the Republican party, did not want that. And when Trump pushed back, he spoke for us. Ron DeSantis not only just won his election in a landslide, by 20 points, Ron DeSantis is a once-in-a-generation type of politician who brings so much to the table. Many of us in this room agree with him politically, and that’s part of the reason why we like him. But for a lot of people who are not political animals, they evaluate politicians with different criteria. The state of Florida just got hit with a Category 4 or Category 5 hurricane that not only hit Naples and the coast but went all the way through the state, hit many of their population centers.
Joe Concha: Orlando, Jacksonville, yeah.
John Phillips: And death and doom were predicted, anticipated after that hurricane hit, and what happened? They were prepared. Whatever got damaged got fixed. He minimized the loss of life. The government worked. The government functioned. And the government worked and the government functioned because of Ron DeSantis. And if you are not a political animal, and you look at this tragedy that hit the state of Florida, and you look at the competent government that did exactly what it was supposed to do, and they moved on with life as normal in a day or two, and you contrast that with these Banana Republics that can’t even count votes in a week?
Joe Concha: Yeah.
John Phillips: Ron DeSantis is a guy who should be copied and admired and celebrated, not denigrated.
Joe Concha: And to that end, speaking of copied and imitated, people say that DeSantis looked at Trump and what he did and said, ah. That’s the roadmap, right? And with Trump, in terms of border, trade, regulations, energy independence, we have him to thank for that. So this isn’t a get Trump out of here, bring in DeSantis, this is thank you, Donald Trump; you brought up issues that no one else was talking about and you did it in a fearless and unapologetic way. And that’s what DeSantis is doing. Great. But again, there’ll be a primary, I would imagine Trump will run, I would imagine DeSantis will run, Pompeo, you’re going to have several people on the ballot, and just vote accordingly. But I think fighting inside the tent — and it’s the Reagan commandment, right? Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican?
John Phillips: Oh, yeah, [indiscernible].
Joe Concha: Yeah, something like that. Anyway. What else we got?
John Phillips: We got 10 minutes left, so I know they said we should ask — or take some questions.
Joe Concha: Ooh, can we do one more thing with — I know you wanted to talk about media reaction to John Fetterman.
John Phillips: Oh, yes, yes, yes.
Joe Concha: We got to do this.
John Phillips: Yeah.
Joe Concha: So after a number of incoherent interviews, and then his debate performance against Dr. Oz, anyone who was critical about the cognitive abilities of John Fetterman was determined to be able-ist, and I don’t know about you, but I, for one, was not one of them. In fact, I wish the man well. And after he was declared to be the winner of that race, I couldn’t wait for his celebration speech where he conceded. Oh, good night, everybody. That was a memorable moment.
And then we actually had — I swear this happened. On MSNBC, a whole panel, agreeing with Katy Tur, the anchor, who said that John Fetterman is presidential material — I’m not making that up. You can check your phones on this right now — and I’m looking at my screen and go, no, I think he’s more vice presidential material. You could have a Biden-Fetterman ticket, and then the bumper sticker could be, it’s a no-brainer. Doesn’t that work? DeSantis [indiscernible]. That was my best line. I thought of that this morning.
Yeah, so I mean, but boy, just to depress everybody, the state of this country — thank you, Rich Little. The state of this country where that guy gets elected. Again, my mother had a stroke. I get it completely. And I know that six months later, she hadn’t fully recovered, and you never really — once — whenever you’re at six months, that’s what you’re going to be, and that’s what we’re going to get with John Fetterman. And the thing is, it’s not like he won a Congress seat. It’s a six-year contract of his wife running Pennsylvania, and that’s a problem. Anyway.
John Phillips: You know, as much as I wish him well, I do blame John Fetterman for one thing. He did get me called into a meeting with my boss the day that Barack Obama endorsed him. He did. I went on the air and I said, I’m surprised that it was Barack Obama who endorsed John Fetterman and not Michelle. And my sports anchor said, well, why is that? And I said, well, usually it’s Michelle who’s pushing vegetables on us. Oh.
Joe Concha: Good night, everybody. Things just got ugly.
John Phillips: So I’ve got to do another one of those classes again.
Joe Concha: Yeah.
John Phillips: All right, we’ve got time for a couple of questions.
Joe Concha: Did you drink before this? I’m being serious. That took balls, I gotta say.
John Phillips: Yeah, questions? The red-haired lady?
Audience member: Hannity always says you should have your own show.
Joe Concha: Does he?
John Phillips: Hannity said what? I’m sorry.
Audience member: You just mentioned your contract’s coming up for renewal.
Joe Concha: Yeah, I just signed it.
Audience member: So what are the chances you’ll have your own show?
Joe Concha: Yeah, Hannity has said that once or twice, right? I don’t even know how to react anymore. You should have your show. Yeah, I know, Sean. We’re at 54 times you’ve said that. When’s it going to happen? I would love to have my own show. I think I’d want 7 p.m. on Saturdays. That’s one little hole we have where we’re repeating something at that time. With Jimmy Fallon, wouldn’t that be fun? Joey and Jimmy? I think that would be funny. Because I want to do comedy. Not comedy, but I want to be like a Jesse. You know?
You see what the formula that works at Fox is. It’s incredible. The Five is far and away our #1 show. And it’s on at 2 o’clock in Los Angeles. People are at work, 3 o’clock here, 4 o’clock in Chicago. And it’s because — let me put it this way. Somebody asked me once — I think it was O’Reilly, actually. He said, what separates Fox from the other networks? And that’s an easy answer. It’s like what Roger Ailes used to say, is that we found our niche audience, half the country. Okay, yeah, maybe that’s it. But I think in the end, people are authentic. The people that you see on there, like Gutfeld and Dana and Greg — Harold Ford is a gem, believe me. He’s such a nice guy and a sensible Democrat. We wish we had more of them. The judge — I’m going to forget people. Tucker, obviously. They’re all the same on screen as they are off screen.
And I know when I used to go on CNN — this is before Zucker, basically. It was a more sane network — they were just so self-important and full of themselves, and you just got this feeling, like, why are you acting so differently on the air than you do in person? So it’s an authenticity thing. So I hope — you know, people say, you should take over for Howie Kurtz. Howie’s not going anywhere. He’s 11 o’clock on Sundays, and I like Howie, but I would love my own show, because my kids are a fortune. I mean, if my daughter wants to go to Georgetown, where my wife ran track at, it’s now $80,000 a year, $320,000 just for college over four years. That means, before taxes, I have to earn a half a mill just to send one kid to school. So Fox, please, for the good of my kids’ education, give me a damn show! Thank you.
John Phillips: You do know there’s an opening over at Ellen?
Joe Concha: Oh, there is, that’s true.
John Phillips: Yeah.
Joe Concha: Or NewsNation, maybe I can go to.
John Phillips: There’s more people in this room than watch that network at this point, but Cuomo’s getting a million out of them, so go figure. Another question?
Audience member: One question.
John Phillips: Yeah.
Audience member: Any truth to the rumor that Joy Reid with MSNBC may be gone? She is the worst.
John Phillips: Yes.
Audience member: Of all the people at MSNBC, she’s horrific.
Joe Concha: So another stat I’ll give you is — this was per Gallup — 84% of Americans believe that the media is responsible for the division in this country. Again, 72% trusted them in ’76, and now 84% believe they’re dividing the country completely. And Joy Reid is at the top of that line, in playing the race card from the bottom of the deck all of the time. I would hope that since Tiffany Cross didn’t get her contract renewed, that maybe they’re just waiting out Reid’s contract, save a little money so they don’t have to pay her not to work, and then she’ll be gone as well. But we saw even with Tiffany Cross that plenty of folks like Jemele Hill are now demanding a meeting with the MSNBC boss — who’s black, by the way — saying that she should be reinstated. I would hope that she gets fired. I would hope that the Jim Acostas of the world are gone as well. These people serve no journalistic purpose. They are not journalists; they are activists.
John Phillips: Well, in addition to being —
Joe Concha: That was the [indiscernible] line.
John Phillips: — politically extreme, she also said that the Democrats lost the Texas gubernatorial election because of gerrymandering.
Joe Concha: How do you do that, exactly, in a state race? That’s interesting.
Audience member: [Indiscernible] nobody understands inflation.
Joe Concha: Oh, Joy Reid said, nobody understands inflation. What act did Biden pass two months ago? Anybody want to answer that one? The Inflation Reduction Act. But Republicans are brainwashing people with a word that doesn’t exist. I mean, it’s 31 flavors of stupid. Yeah, it’s insane. Next question, gentleman in the back.
Audience member: What happened to intelligence in this country?
Joe Concha: What happened to who to what? What did he say?
Audience member: The intelligence.
Joe Concha: Intelligence?
Audience member: Like, think before you vote. What’s going on? What’s your opinion about, where did intelligence go in the United States of America?
Joe Concha: That’s the thing. I think emotion — Democrats — who was it, Steve Moore gave me a great line. Sorry, Steve, you’re here, and I’m stealing this line, if you have a speech later. But Steve Moore said that Democrats push politics while Republicans push policy. In other words, Democrats vote on emotion only. That’s how a Fetterman gets elected. Oh, I feel so sorry for him. Boy, it’s so brave that he did that debate. What about his stance on crime, or he wants to release one third of the prison population? Does that matter to you? No, that Oz, he’s from Jersey. I’m going to vote against him. It’s like, what? I mean, yeah, so where is the intelligence in voting? You want to take this one, because I’m dumbfounded.
John Phillips: Well, look at the public schools. The public schools no longer teach the basics. They try to brainwash the kids to believe what they believe, and as a result, what you have is you have a work force that doesn’t know how to read and write the English language, they don’t know basic math, they don’t know basic science. The party of science is the party that shut down the schools for two years, so nobody learned anything except just sitting in their bedroom for two years playing video games. That’s not an education. That’s a crash course on how to be an active shooter.
Joe Concha: It’s true. And my wife and I, we just had our parent-teacher conference recently, and my daughter, who is as determined and as — just a gem of a kid, and if you follow me on social media, you see a lot of videos of her playing soccer and running track, but it was a little disturbing; they said, oh, your daughter is excellent at math, but in reading, she’s reading at a second-grade level and she’s in third grade. And I just wonder if COVID had anything to do with that, because she’s a smart kid, but it just seems like they’re behind. My son’s behind in terms of speech because for so long he was wearing a mask, and that was in pre-K, where you really learn communications and eye contact, and he always, like, looks down when he talks. It’s like, oh, son, you gotta look me straight in the eye.
So yeah, I thought that that would really be a difference-maker as far as this election when you get by inflation, crime, border, I thought that the educational issue and what Democrats did to our kids, people would remember that and they’d vote accordingly. But again, you take one seat in the Senate, you win Georgia, and then suddenly, I don’t care if you win a game by an extra point in a field goal; you win the game. So if you get those chambers, I know it’s not the blowout that everybody wanted, but that’s still pretty damn good that when you’ve got two thirds of the government working for your party. So Georgia, baby, Georgia.
John Phillips: Joe, it’s time for lunch.