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Fox News to Kacey Musgraves: Shut Up, Sing, and Don’t Say ‘F-ck’

Pearl-clutching talking heads fret over “wholesome country music” after Musgraves asks that “somebody fucking do something” to end gun violence

Kacey Musgraves

A Fox News host criticized country singer Kacey Musgraves for profanely calling for an end to gun violence.

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Fox News host Ainsley Earhardt wants to know where all the “wholesome country singers” have gone. The talking head tightly clutched her pearls over Kacey Musgraves calling for an end to gun violence onstage at Lollapalooza last weekend by — be still my heart — using an emphatic swear word.

“Somebody fucking do something,” Musgraves, a Texas native, pleaded during her set, encouraging her audience to join her in shouting the words. Apparently it was too much for the virgin ears of Earhardt and her guest, Fox Nation host and author Todd Starnes, to bear. Despite the fact that 31 people died in two mass shootings in the United States this past weekend, this dynamic duo is more concerned with an assault on some mythologized country music values.

“What is happening to country music? She’s up there preaching about gun control, but how bout her language?” Earhardt asks.

Starnes takes it one step further, inexplicably suggesting that Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton, and Trisha Yearwood stage an intervention with Musgraves. Why? Because, according to Starnes — channeling that most nonspecific of Trumpisms — “some country music fans are saying” they don’t want country singers to get political. “Sing. That’s what we paid good money to hear you do,” he says. In other words, entertain us. You know, like a dancing bear in a cowboy hat.

Unless, of course, you’re Trump sympathizer John Rich, who just this past Monday appeared on Fox News to crow that his charity song about not talking about politics, “Shut Up About Politics,” has become “a national sensation.” He also announced that he was donating proceeds from the song to Folds of Honor — on behalf of himself and the Fox News show The Five.

The whole Earhardt/Starnes segment is surreal in its daftness, culminating in Starnes claiming that record label executives are behind some clandestine effort to force a liberal change on country music. It’s all so very Q!

But what Starnes fails to realize is that country music has always had a liberal bent: See J.R. Cash or Willie Nelson, a close personal friend of Musgraves who once gifted her (gasp!) a joint and last year played a show in support of Trump’s nemesis-du-jour Beto O’Rourke. Maren Morris, Brothers Osborne, and Margo Price have all raised their voices in support of gun control too, as have Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, and Eric Church, poking holes in Earhardt’s suggestion that it’s the “younger country singers coming onboard” who are to blame.

Naturally, there couldn’t be a conversation about country music and politics without someone bringing up the Dixie Chicks. It’s Starnes who checks off that cliché  here, wrongly asserting that Musgraves has already been “Dixie Chickified” — his butchered attempt at the Music Row shorthand for having one’s music pulled from country radio. (Newsflash: you can’t pull music from the airwaves that already isn’t being played.)

“When you’re talking about country music you don’t want to talk about going after people’s guns,” Starnes warns Musgraves. “That’s like bringing store-bought chicken to Wednesday night church supper.”

Perhaps Starnes has never heard her message of inclusivity, the Grammy-winning Golden Hour. At least Earhardt claims she loves and has downloaded a whole two Musgraves songs. “‘Butterflies’ and ‘Rainbows’ [sic],” she says. Good choices, to be sure, but might we suggest “High Horse”?

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