If the world had a super-villain this week, it was Russian President Vladimir Putin. He continued to avoid questions of exactly what Russian soldiers were doing in Crimea, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she thought he had lost touch with reality. Yet there were a few loyal stalwarts who weren't afraid to heap praise upon Putin, despite his recent antics. "Who would be fooled by this guy's bullshit?" Stewart asked. Oh right – Fox News.
Here's how Stewart explained the current situation: "Much of the world sees Putin now for what he is: A semi-delusional autocrat who views the dissolution of the Soviet Union as one of the greatest tragedies of the late 20th century and has confused his own political propaganda for reality."
"Much of the world" does not, however, include Fox News.
First there was "Strategic Analyst" Ralph Peters who said, "Russia has a real leader, and our president is just incapable." Then there was Fox News Anchor Bill O'Reilly who said, "In a way, you got to hand it to Putin." And finally we had Rudy Giulianni, really laying it on: "Putin decides what he wants to do and he does it in half-a-day, he makes a decision and executes it quickly, then everybody reacts. That's what you call a leader."
Of course Putin deserves our praise. He's being a leader! He doesn't bother to think about his decisions! Only a feckless imbecile would do that. Except, not. Someone who acts without thinking? As Stewart explained: "That's not what you call a leader, that's what you call a toddler."
The real reason Fox News seems to admire Putin? Their ardent belief that President Obama is weak and incompetent.
Here are some things Fox News had to say about Putin: "Putin likes to hang out with his shirt off," "People are looking at Putin as one who wrestles bears," "This is a guy that wrestles tigers." You know, like a real man.
What did they have to say about Obama? "Obama wears mom jeans."
Except when Obama does act, they call him "Emperor Obama" and label him a dictator.
There has to be some sort of psychological explanation for "this love-hate relationship with authoritarian figures." Let's see what Ralph Peters had to say: "Putin actually reminds me in a peculiar way of my mother."
That's it, pack it in.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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