NTSB drone image of Francis Scott Key Bridge, Fox Business, Joe Biden
NTSB drone image of Francis Scott Key Bridge and Cargo Ship Dali, March 26, 2024. Fox Business overlay. Photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from NTSB / Wikimedia, FOX Business / Aaron Rupar / Twitter, and The White House / Flickr .

Fox News and the rest of the right-wing media are doing their best to scare people into voting for Donald Trump… and they sometimes go to absurd lengths to do so.

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Did you stub your toe today? Did you fail to win the Powerball jackpot? Did you not get that promotion you were hoping for? Did a bridge collapse in your city? Is there anything else wrong in your life? If so, Fox News has identified the likely reason for these problems: The “open border.”

Mere hours after the partial collapse of Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, which was hit by a cargo ship, Fox Business personality Maria Bartiromo attempted to link the tragedy to a porous southern border.

In an interview with Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), she shifted effortlessly from the deadly disaster to immigration policy. 

“The White House issued a statement on this saying there’s no indication of a nefarious intent in the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge. The ship involved in the collapse of the bridge is 948 feet long and called The Dali, a Singaporean-flagged container,” she noted before getting to the heart of this story. “Of course, you’ve been talking a lot about wrongdoing or the potential for foul play, given the wide-open border.”

Speaking on the “news” network founded by immigrant Rupert Murdoch, which is now run by London-born Australian Lachlan Murdoch, she then went on to note that President Joe Biden is refusing to take executive action on “securing the border.”

What happened in Baltimore and border policy are about as related as Bugs Bunny and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but kudos to Bartiromo for toeing the company line. 

As we have pointed out, it is quite obviously the goal of Fox News (and other right-wing propaganda outlets) to make “the immigrant invasion” the focal point of its coverage from now until the election. The reason is simple: With the economy improving, scaring viewers into (falsely) believing that the US is a crime-ridden hellscape because of Biden allowing brown-skinned supercriminals flooding across the border is the best way to help Donald Trump win this year’s election (as we noted, Fox is also trying to achieve that goal by keeping any bad news about the former president — including that which it accidentally broke — away from its audience).

That’s why you’ve got to give Bartiromo an A for effort… although trying to tie this tragedy to the border might have been especially dumb. 

For one, the cargo ship that slammed into the bridge was leaving the United States, not entering it. In addition, at the time of the crash, there were two local pilots aboard to help the ship navigate its exit from the Baltimore Harbor, which means any kind of evidence-free suggestion that this accident could have been foul play is incredibly stupid. 

The only way immigrants factor into this story is that all victims were natives of Central American countries. That shouldn’t be overly surprising since hard-working immigrants coming to the US often take dangerous and low-paying jobs Americans avoid. 

For example, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, construction is considered to be a “high-hazard industry.” Not surprisingly, immigrants make up a disproportionate share of construction workers. 

It’s unclear whether Bartiromo knows any of this… but she probably wouldn’t care if she did because you can’t let facts get in the way of a good propaganda opportunity. 

However, it would also be unfair to single her out in this case.

Others in the right-wing mediaverse tried to blame the accident in Baltimore on everything from the Democrats’ infrastructure bill to COVID-19 lockdowns and inclusive hiring practices. 

For example, on Newsmax, Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) lamented that only $40 billion of the infrastructure bill (which she opposed and that only passed with Democratic votes), was reserved for traditional roads and bridges. 

If you are keeping score, that is $40 billion more than Mace wanted to spend on roads and bridges. 

Meanwhile, speaking to Bartiromo, GOP Rep. Jeff Van Drew (NJ) used the bridge collapse to pontificate about “diversity, equity, and inclusion” hiring practices. Not surprisingly, he is opposed to them.

Finally, back over on Newsmax, American Conservation Union Chairman Matt Schlapp suggested that COVID-19 lockdowns could be the reason why a ship that lost all power drove into a bridge. 

In other words, true to the motto of never letting a good crisis go to waste, Republicans and their media mouthpieces tried to tie this high-profile tragedy to any policy or initiative they don’t like. 

It’s actually somewhat surprising that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) didn’t think Jewish space lasers were involved, although she did call for an investigation to determine whether this was an accident or an attack. 

Rest assured, Marge, when a 1,000-foot cargo ship slams into a bridge, destroys it, and interrupts trade while also killing a half dozen construction workers, there will be an investigation. 

Chances are that you will not like the outcome, however, since this is pretty clearly an accident and not some nefarious plot. 

But that likely won’t stop many Republicans from placing the blame for this tragedy on Biden’s age or transgender swimmers. 

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