Ralph Peters, a retired United States Army lieutenant colonel and conservative author who made headlines after quitting his longtime role as an analyst for Fox News and condemning the network, appeared on CNN with Anderson Cooper to slam his former network once again.
“For years, I was glad to be associated with Fox. It was a legitimate conservative and libertarian outlet. And a necessary one,” Peters told Cooper. “But with the rise of Donald Trump, Fox did become a destructive propaganda machine. And I don’t do propaganda for anyone.”
Peters noted that although President Donald Trump has often claimed that Congressional Democrats have conspired with Special Counsel Robert Mueller to use the “fake” Russia investigation to push him out of office, it is Fox News that is promoting a witch hunt against Mueller. Fox News, “particularly the prime time hosts” are attacking “our constitutional order, the rule of law, the Justice Department, the FBI, Robert Mueller,” and other intelligence agencies, Peters said.
“And they are doing it for ratings and profit,” he added. “And they’re doing it knowingly, and, in my view, doing a great, grave disservice to our country.”
Peters also had harsh words for Fox News host Sean Hannity, who is one of the president’s most vigorous defenders. Asked by Cooper whether Fox News’s prime time hosts actually believe their conspiracy theories about “the deep state,” Peters said, “I suspect Sean Hannity really believes it. The others are smarter, they know what they’re doing.”
“I want to cry out and say, ‘How can you do this? How can you lie to our country? How can you knowingly attack our Constitution, the bedrock of our system of government, the bedrock of our country?’” Peters continued. “And when you go after the Constitution, you best beware, because you are doing a phenomenal, indeed immeasurable damage.”
Indeed, Hannity hasn’t been particularly subtle in his disdain for Robert Mueller’s investigation, and his regularly pushed conspiracy theories, such as one recently comparing Mueller to a mob boss.
In April, Hannity presented a “Mueller crime family” chart that suggested the special counsel is in league with the “deep state” to remove Trump from office.
“If he’s going to use this sweeping analogy, I’ve decided tonight we’re going to use—the ‘Comey standard’ I call it—and make some comparisons of our own,” Hannity said, starting the mob boss section of his program with an aside he called “The Clinton crime family.”
Delving into the sexual assault allegations against former president Bill Clinton, Hannity said. “Hillary Clinton—we know she committed crime,” a reference to the FBI’s investigation into her use of a private email server despite the organization finding no evidence of criminal acts perpetrated by Clinton while she served as Secretary of State.
While describing the “Mueller crime family,” Hannity likened the Russia investigation to a “witch hunt” and accused Mueller’s office of “looking the other way” during his time as a federal prosecutor in Boston.
Peters quit Fox News in March, denouncing the network and President Trump in an email to his colleagues.
“Fox has degenerated from providing a legitimate and much-needed outlet for conservative voices to a mere propaganda machine for a destructive and ethically ruinous administration,” Peters, who often criticized former President Barack Obama’s foreign policy, wrote at the time.
“Over my decade with Fox, I long was proud of the association. Now I am ashamed,” he continued, noting that Fox’s hosts “dismiss facts and empirical reality to launch profoundly dishonest assaults on the FBI, the Justice Department, the courts, the intelligence community (in which I served) and, not least, a model public servant and genuine war hero such as [special counsel] Robert Mueller.”