Credit: Fox News

Credit: Fox News

Bret Baier opens a Fox News presidential debate by, essentially, setting up Donald Trump as the outsider who won’t pledge his allegiance to the Republican Party and rule out a third-party run. It is an unforgettable moment, almost scathing in its shock value. No one is about to reach for the remote after that.

What a tone it sets.

Hours after the conclusion of the debate, when most in the Northeast are fast asleep, Trump expends some energy Tweeting about what a dick Baier is. And what a lightweight. The next day, he remarks it must have been a testosterone issue. You know, hormones. How high can you pee up the wall, Bret? His balls must have been in a twist, Trump says. What a dolt.

Oh …. wait. No.

The guy who skewered him out of the gate got a mere mention. Mild annoyance.

But the Fox News moderator who quoted Trump back to Trump, who actually used words he used about women (fat pig, dog, disgusting), and asked him to explain them, well that’s a different story. Megyn Kelly isn’t smart; she’s a bimbo. She’s angry. She’s a lightweight. He tells CNN’s Don Lemon in an interview that “There was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her… wherever.”

Of course. When an egomaniac with a penis is asked a question he doesn’t like by a journalist with a vagina, it must be about some gender-specific issue. It must. She had the audacity to ask a question about something he said that gives us a lens into his attitude toward half the nation’s population. Get her a tampon.

This right here perfectly illustrates why I have never liked the term “war on women.” It’s a tired talking point. I think it implies something that isn’t there – an orchestrated effort to diminish women. People like Trump haven’t a clue why they’re even offensive in this regard. They make it about “truth” and panties in a twist over “political correctness” but it is pure ignorance.

No one wrote these lines for him. They are what he thinks. No filter. He’s proud of it. He’s doubling down on it. He’s running on it. Trump is clueless about the greater implications of his lens on the world.

This isn’t an orchestrated “let’s keep them down” issue. No, no. What’s happening is way scarier. It is, in fact, the expression of a real world view where woman has a place. We have a collection of people (not just male people) in this country who have tunnel vision around a religious belief in women’s roles, or an old-fashioned (outdated) notion of what it means to be female, or who were taught from childhood that it’s acceptable to see women as arm candy. They don’t even know they’re threatened by women. They’re hardwired to see male as smarter, stronger, superior.

These people are with us in far greater numbers than many of us care to believe. Just skim the Fox News Facebook page from the last few days and you will see them on full display. Young and old, black and white, male and female. They won’t be watching The Kelly File any longer. They thought Fox News was supposed to be ‘fair and balanced.’

Hel-lo. This debate may have been the best example of that slogan in the network’s history. This is how it’s supposed to go. The media is supposed to ask hard questions. Good grief, this is what happens when our news is fed to us through a partisan lens no matter where we turn. Viewers actually expect that Fox News will champion the Republican frontrunner because they usually do. There’s a sense of entitlement now. We’ve created a holy mess.

There’s a candidate who has now ripped on Mexicans, questioned the service (and detention) of a military hero, and has long made it clear he doesn’t hold a high view of women. That’s his right. It’s America. He can think and believe whatever he wants. He can be defensive and operate from ego. Heck, he can run for president without laying out detailed plans of what he would do in office.

But to have sway over such a large swath of a political party? Trump is holding up a mirror on the country and showing us obliviousness on a level many of us cannot fathom.

Tell the truth. If someone told you a year ago that a Republican presidential candidate would be a frontrunner after dissing a tortured POW, you would have had his or her mental capacity checked.

I have to give him credit. I’m not a Megyn Kelly fan, but I tuned in to The Kelly File last night simply because I wanted to stand with her against Trump and all the ignoramuses that were trashing her for doing her job. When they like her, they like her. But when they don’t, the critiques get right down to her gender.

Bret Baier, they’ll get over it. The broad, not so much.