Is it any wonder that extremist right-wing propaganda mouthpieces were hyperventilating about a balloon? Seth Meyers probably said it best:
I take that back. A comment on Seth Meyer’s commentary said it even better:
Don’t know why they’re freaking out so hard over a balloon. There was a Russian blimp in the Whitehouse for years…
And now for some crucial history from November 1945 (Report on the U.S. Office of Censorship) on why FOX News should have known to just shut up about a stupid balloon.
Late in 1944 voluntary censorship was presented with a unique problem in connected with the landing of Japanese bomb-carrying balloons in the western part of the United States… Censorship asked editors and broadcasters not to mention these incidents unless the War Department officially gave out information. There was complete compliance with this request, even when six persons were killed by one of the bombs in Oregon on May 5, 1945. Stories of the tragedy did not disclose the cause. […] The Japanese received neither information nor comfort about their fantastic scheme to attack the United States.
If nothing else this could have been a case of simple unity across the American defense spectrum. There’s no good in politicizing such an obvious case of foreign interference, no gain from dumping fuel onto a Chinese fire, and instead every reason in the world to come together and quietly and calmly let the oxygen out. Censorship of toxic speech, counter-intuitively proven during WWII as essential to democracy, is being hugely undervalued as FOX keeps blowing the wrong way.
Or, as I wrote years ago, “broadcast subversion and manipulation by foreign military intelligence or domestic collaborators” has a known fix called regulation.