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Republicans, Fox News and Right-Wing Media Use Lies, Fear, Hate, Racism, Propaganda, Alternative Facts and Conspiracy Theories to Divide America and Promote the Rabbit Right Agenda - Page 3

By Erik Wemple

Recent personnel actions at Fox just happen to have fallen when people turn away from their phones and laptops. On Friday, March 13, news emerged that the Fox Business show of Trish Regan had gone on hiatus — along with another show — as part of the network’s resource shift toward the coronavirus. Days earlier, Regan had issued a fact- and reason-defying riff on air about the politics of the coronavirus. “Coronavirus Impeachment Scam,” read the on-screen graphic as Regan denounced the common villains of Fox programming: “Many in the liberal media using, and I mean using, coronavirus in an attempt to demonize and destroy the president,” she said, triggering a momentous backlash pointing out that the coronavirus was a real public-health crisis. Then, on Friday afternoon of last week, Fox disclosed that the network had “parted ways” with Regan. There was no good explanation. “[W]e thank her for her contributions to the network over the years and wish her continued success in her future endeavors.” Those hollow words come in lieu of any Fox reckoning with some of the coronavirus programming that has come from its opinion hosts. In particular, franchise prime-timer Sean Hannity. The fossil record shows that Regan’s troubles began when she made irresponsible statements just like the irresponsible statements of Hannity, who on Feb. 27 said this, “Tonight, I can report the sky is absolutely falling. We’re all doomed. The end is near. The apocalypse is imminent, and you’re going to all die, all of you in the next 48 hours and it’s all President Trump’s fault,” said Hannity, in typically benighted and dangerous commentary. “Or at least that’s what the media mob and the Democratic extreme radical socialist party would like you to think. They’re now sadly politicizing and actually weaponizing an infectious disease, in what is basically just the latest effort to bludgeon President Trump.” We pointed out the parallel after Regan’s show went on hiatus. We asked: Why no hiatus for Hannity? Take a look, again, at the side-by-side view: Hannity, Feb. 27: “They’re now sadly politicizing and actually weaponizing an infectious disease, in what is basically just the latest effort to bludgeon President Trump.” Regan, March 9: “Many in the liberal media using, and I mean using, coronavirus in an attempt to demonize and destroy the president.” Where is the fairness? We have posed that question to Fox News and will update with any response. There could be an argument that Regan made her despicable comments more than a week after Hannity’s, a period when public awareness of the coronavirus threat advanced. But by the time that Hannity made his “weaponizing” comments, the dangers were unfolding in China, in Italy, in Iran and elsewhere around the world. In late January, in fact, Hannity interviewed Anthony S. Fauci, longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and contemplated the possibility of a public crisis. “What if it is worse?” asked the host. Weeks later, that cautious, curious posture was gone. In late February, Hannity’s rhetoric amped up as the coronavirus started to gobble up more and more national mindshare. For context, consider this sequence of events:

The Lynchburg city manager said that the university’s president, Jerry Falwell, was not “totally transparent” with her about opening up the dorms again.
By Lachlan Markay, William Bredderman, Olivia Messer

When Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. announced Monday that he was reopening the school’s residence halls to students amid the coronavirus pandemic, he implied that he had received the blessing of officials in Lynchburg, Virginia, to do so. “They thanked us for making that decision,” Falwell told the Liberty University News Service, describing a call to move classes online but also, in his words, to get his students “back as soon as we can—the ones who want to come back.” In fact, Lynchburg City Manager Bonnie Svrcek says that while she did thank Falwell for moving to online classrooms, she was led to believe that the school was also abandoning plans to invite students back into residence halls following spring break. Neither she nor Lynchburg Mayor Treney Tweedy said they signed off on Falwell’s decision to re-open Liberty’s dorms. On Tuesday, Svrcek told The Daily Beast that Falwell was not “totally transparent” with her or Tweedy during an exchange on March 16 in which, according to Svrcek, Falwell told the two leaders that his school would “move to an online platform.” “He added that some food services would remain open for on-campus international students who have not gone home and some lab classes and the school of aviation will continue,” Svrcek told The Daily Beast. “The mayor and I thanked him for this shift that we believed meant that students would be told to not come back to campus with a few exceptions.” That Falwell chose to go forward without the blessing of the city officials wasn’t surprising. He is perhaps Donald Trump’s most unapologetic ally in evangelical Christian circles, and the president himself is eager for schools, businesses, and public establishments to reopen and get the country past its coronavirus-induced economic slump. But for some students at Liberty, the notion that they will now be coming back from various parts of the country to mix and mingle in one shared campus was less than appealing, and yet another sign that their college president was putting loyalty to Trump over other considerations. “It seems like [Falwell] wants everything to be open pretty quickly, following Trump. I saw this morning that [Trump] wants businesses to reopen,” said one Liberty senior, who asked to remain anonymous due to fears of retaliation by Liberty administrators. “Jerry literally follows anything that Trump says.” Falwell has consistently downplayed the severity of the coronavirus crisis, even suggesting that nationwide efforts to control its spread represent a plot to undermine the Trump presidency. Last week, however, he did move the school to online classes while keeping it open for students who wished to return to campus or who, in the cases of some international students, simply had nowhere else to go.

By Oliver Darcy, CNN Business

New York (CNN Business) Anchors at Fox News failed to meaningfully challenge President Trump as he repeatedly misled the network's viewers during a virtual town hall on Tuesday, effectively surrendering its airwaves to the President as he even appeared to cite a conspiratorial outlet to argue his case. While Fox News is known as the home to such pro-Trump hosts as Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, Tuesday's town hall was held by Bill Hemmer and Harris Faulkner, two anchors the network bills as members of a supposedly fearless and hard-hitting news division. But neither Hemmer, who is the chief breaking news anchor at Fox News and was broadcasting from the White House, nor Faulkner, who was broadcasting remotely from a studio, effectively pushed back on Trump during the two-hour event -— despite obvious misinformation peddled by the President. Trump, for instance, repeatedly compared the coronavirus to the seasonal flu. "We've never closed down the country for the flu," the President said. Hemmer, however, repeatedly failed to note that Covid-19 has a significantly higher mortality rate than the seasonal flu. The World Health Organization has estimated the mortality rate to be 3.4%. And Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the United States, has estimated that it is about 2%. Fauci even previously told Fox News, "The mortality for seasonal flu is 0.1% so even if [Covid-19] goes down to 1% it's still 10 times more fatal." At another point during the interview, Trump said he would "love" for the country to "open by Easter" on April 12. Instead of challenging Trump, and noting that his deadline is at odds with what many medical professionals and infectious disease experts have said, Faulkner replied, "Oh wow. OK." Hemmer added, "That would be a great American resurrection." After being criticized online for his failure to follow up, Hemmer came back from a commercial break and asked Trump the question again: "You'd like to be back to normal by Easter Sunday. That's 19 days from now. Is that true? Is that possible?"

The cancellation of an 89th birthday party for Rupert Murdoch highlights a disconnect between his family’s behavior and statements made on air by some Fox commentators.
By Ben Smith

If you were watching some of the commentators on Fox News and Fox Business in the first 10 days of March, you wouldn’t have been too worried about the coronavirus — it would be no worse than the flu, and the real story was the “coronavirus impeachment scam.” Many of the networks’ elderly, pro-Trump viewers responded to the coverage and the president’s public statements by taking the virus less seriously than, a week later, everyone else had. Public health experts have said that some of them may die as a result, as I reported this week. But one elderly Fox News viewer, a crucial supporter of President Trump, took the threat seriously: The channel’s chairman, Rupert Murdoch, who was to celebrate his 89th birthday on March 11. On March 8, as the virus was spreading, the Murdoch family called off a planned party out of concern for the patriarch’s health, according to a person familiar with the cancellation. There were about 20 people on the guest list. The person who told me about the canceled party did so to highlight the disconnect between the family’s prudent private conduct and the reckless words spoken on air at their media company. The canceled party is perhaps the most glaring instance of the gap I wrote about this week between the elite, globally minded family owners of Fox — who took the crisis seriously as reports emerged in January in their native Australia — and many of their nominal stars, who treated the virus as a political assault on Mr. Trump, before zigzagging, along with the president, toward a focus on the enormity of the public health risk.

Carlson, Hannity, and Ingraham served up a triple shot of absurdity.
By Aaron Rupar

First, Fox downplayed the coronavirus threat for weeks. Then, two weeks ago, their anchors abruptly pivoted. But on Monday night, the network’s coverage of the crisis slid back off the rails in spectacular fashion. All three of the shows making up the network’s top-rated primetime lineup — Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham — featured segments about the coronavirus that ran with misinformation President Trump has embraced, from advocating that people start thinking about heading back to work even if it could leave more people dead to promoting unproven and potentially dangerous drugs as coronavirus cures. Trump and his high-profile backers are struggling to come to grips with the reality that there are no shortcuts back to normalcy. And now shows watched by millions could put a lot of people’s health and lives in danger. “Those of us who are 70-plus, we’ll take care of ourselves. But don’t sacrifice the country.” Tucker Carlson’s Monday night broadcast came on the heels of Trump’s marathon news conference — one in which he insisted that he plans to reopen the American economy next week even though 138 Americans died from the coronavirus on Monday, the most on a single day yet. Carlson, however, didn’t seem particularly bothered by Trump’s position that trying to revive the economy is just as important as saving lives through social distancing. And during his interview with Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R), the quiet part was said loudly. “My heart is lifted tonight by what I heard the president say,” Patrick said. “My message is, let’s get back to work. Let’s get back to living. Let’s be smart about it. And those of us who are 70-plus [years old], we’ll take care of ourselves. But don’t sacrifice the country.” “So you’re basically saying that this disease could take your life, but that’s not the scariest thing to you. There’s something that would be worse than dying?” Carlson asked. “Yeah,” Patrick replied.

   Tx Lt Gov Dan Patrick says grandparents would be willing to die to save the economy for their grandchildren pic.twitter.com/wC3Ngvtsbj
   — Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) March 24, 2020

Patrick’s position, in short, is that after just a week of social distancing measures, older Americans like him — the demographic experts believe are most at risk of dying due to Covid-19 — should be willing to risk death to get the economy going again. And in that respect, his thinking echoed the president’s, who claimed on Monday that keeping the economy shut down “causes other problems, and maybe it causes much bigger problems than the problem we’re talking about now.”

After weeks of minimizing coronavirus, now conservatives are trying to blame Democrats for the pandemic
By Amanda Marcotte

For weeks, Donald Trump clearly believed he could lie the coronavirus away. As David Leonhardt of the New York Times carefully chronicled, starting on Jan. 22, Trump began a campaign of falsehoods geared towards tricking Americans — and especially the stock market — into thinking everything was going to be fine, this epidemic was "very well under control," that "like a miracle" the virus "will disappear" and that anyone who suggested otherwise was participating in a "hoax." Fox News and other right-wing media, in the endless infinity symbol of conservative lies, both led and followed Trump on this, blanketing red-state America with a steady drumbeat of assertions that the "liberal media" was exaggerating the crisis to hurt Trump. Furthermore, all this happened in the face of substantial evidence that Republican voters and Fox News viewers, who tend to be older and live in rural areas with poorer access to medical care, are more likely to die from coronavirus. Life, as the Twitter dorks say, comes at you fast. Coronavirus has been reported in 49 states now, and cities are going on lockdown to prevent the spread. After multiple failed stunts geared toward trying to trick investors, Trump finally held a serious press conference on the crisis Monday. All those right-wing pundits on Fox News and talk radio, being utterly shameless, have switched seamlessly from denying that we have a coronavirus problem to claiming that Trump has been showing mighty leadership — and oh yeah, trying to blame Democrats for the problem. The shift from outright denialism to North Korea-style fawning and deflecting the blame was, of course, entirely predictable. The entire right-wing noise machine, now shaped completely around the bottomless ego-flattering needs of a failed businessman who demagogued his way into the White House, has always disdained facts in favor of keeping up a relentless drumbeat of tribalist messaging to convince their audiences that they are always in the right, no matter what. Any disagreement from liberals, in this worldview, reflects their secret anti-American agenda. Still, it never stops being remarkable how shameless conservative punditry can be about insisting they were always at war with Eastasia and that we're crazy to suggest that, just yesterday, they told us we were at war with Eurasia. For instance, for weeks — and as recently as last week — Fox News host Sean Hannity continued to use the word "hoax" to describe the coronavirus crisis and suggested that public health experts were "scaring people unnecessarily." Now Hannity is singing a different tune, admitting that we "need to prepare for the worst-case scenario."

Now that Trump has been forced to take the coronavirus seriously, his Fox boosters have pivoted to praising how well he’s done. And any criticism is just partisan “politicizing.”
By Justin Baragona, Maxwell Tani

The cable-news network that for weeks seemed to refuse to take coronavirus outbreak fears seriously has pivoted to heaping praise upon the president for taking it seriously. Now that President Donald Trump has been forced to soberly address the coronavirus outbreak, after weeks of calling fears about the virus a Democratic “hoax,” some of his biggest boosters on Fox News have also moved from that dismissive talking point to a new one: Do not criticize the president while he leads us through this crisis. After weeks of downplaying fears about COVID-19 or actively spreading misinformation about its origins and repercussions, Fox News hosts and guests over the past several days have lauded the president’s handling of the global pandemic, and bashed anyone who raises concerns about the Trump administration’s response. Fox News primetime star Sean Hannity—a close confidant of the president’s who has been referred to as the unofficial White House chief of staff—dramatically changed his tune about the seriousness of the crisis at the top of his show on Monday night. Days after suggesting the so-called “deep state” was using the pandemic to hurt the American economy and push “mandated medicines,” Hannity called on all Americans to unite behind the president to overcome the crisis. “This very moment is a critical time for everybody in the country,” Hannity proclaimed in his opening monologue. “If we all joined as Americans—the virus doesn't discriminate against Republican, Democrat, liberal, conservative—if we can do this for 15 days, thousands of American lives will be saved!” Less than a week after downplaying the severity of the virus by citing the then-low U.S. death toll, Hannity went on to warn how dangerous coronavirus was to the population as a whole.

For the first time ever, Team Trump, so adept at lying, is confused about which lie to tell.
By Molly Jong-Fast

Team Trump has finally found itself in a crisis it cannot propagandize its way out of. Unfortunately, this has not led Team Trump (the administration and its various Fox News-based media arms) to pivot to the brash notion of telling the truth. No, of course not. For the first time ever, though, Team Trump is very confused about which lie to tell. Historically, the Trump administration and Fox News have been meticulous messengers, able to turn almost everything into a way to “own the libs.” But COVID-19 is providing Trump very few opportunities for lib ownership. Previously, before we hit the crisis stage, we got weeks of obfuscation, and the president’s conviction that “it’s going away. We want it to go away with very, very few deaths.” Now, Trumpists are trying to grapple with the possibility that the global pandemic may in fact be real. As COVID-19 has decimated Italy, killed thousands of Chinese nationals, and spread like a brush fire through at least 47 states, it’s becoming harder and harder for Trumpists to deny the truth. But because they’re Trumpists, they are still trying desperately to stick to the party line. The problem is they’re not completely sure what that party line is. The Trumpists’ messaging has become completely inconsistent, vacillating between Laura Ingraham’s conviction that COVID-19 is a way for Democrats to “to smear the administration in a number of ways,” and Newt Gingrich saying that it was “the Wuhan that poisoned the world. That’s what you get when you get Chinese trade.” Trumpists seem completely conflicted between their love of racism and their passion for denial of obvious facts. How can Trumpists learn to message a pandemic they’ve been saying isn’t real for weeks? Many Trumpists will do what Jerry Falwell did Friday morning, which was to dismiss the pandemic while also using it for a little racism and conspiracy talk. After going on the president’s favorite morning show, Fox & Friends, and saying that people are “overreacting,” Falwell tweeted, “Could Covid-19 be the ‘Christmas gift’ North Korea’s leadership promised America back in December?” That the disease is no big deal but also the fault of North Korea is a hard needle to thread. Some won’t even bother threading it. One of Trump’s most sycophantic sycophants, Sebastian Gorka, took the opportunity to praise Dear Leader, saying that Trump "has been utterly proven correct" on the "Wuhan virus." Of course Trump has been saying for weeks that the virus would “disappear,” which is obviously not correct, as we are up to 1,700 infected today, and that’s without widespread testing that would put the real number even higher.

Pundits such as Sean Hannity are struggling to maintain an information bubble while they praise Trump.
By Nick Robins-Early

Right-wing media outlets and pundits spent weeks dangerously minimizing the severity of the coronavirus and claiming that accurate reports on the outbreak were part of a liberal conspiracy to defame President Donald Trump. But now that the reality of the virus as a public health crisis and economic disaster is becoming unavoidable, some partisan media outlets have refocused on a different message: Trump is doing a great job of handling a serious outbreak. He’s always been doing a great job. The pivot began after Trump gave his first national address about the coronavirus on Wednesday night and declared a travel ban on a number of European countries. Although Trump’s confusing statements did not address key issues like the dearth of tests for the virus in the U.S., the speech contained the most direct remarks he has made so far acknowledging the severity of the outbreak. But the damage may have already been done. Right-wing outlets and personalities diminishing the coronavirus could lead to more illness and more deaths if the public ignores warnings from health officials or credible news reports. Given that Fox’s viewers tend to be older, they are also especially vulnerable for coming down with COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. These attempts by the partisan media to downplay the crisis could quite seriously put lives at risk. Now these outlets and media figures are facing a challenge: how to maintain an information bubble that calls any criticism of Trump a liberal hoax, while there are clear and tangible effects of the coronavirus on everyday lives. It was one thing to argue Trump did nothing wrong when he solicited foreign aid in an election, but as markets plummet, major events are canceled, schools are closed, and workers are sent home, it’s nearly impossible to ignore that something very bad is happening on the president’s watch.

The US needs to brace for coronavirus. But Fox News is framing efforts to prepare as a partisan fight.
By Nicole Narea

Conservative commentators on Fox News are downplaying the potential risk of the novel coronavirus spreading throughout the US — describing the panic over the pandemic as a partisan tool that has been used to attack President Donald Trump. On his evening show Thursday night, host Sean Hannity spent the bulk of his opening monologue accusing detractors of Trump’s response to Covid-19 of sowing partisanship and hysteria — a message that has resonated with the president, who is an avid viewer and tweeted about it after the show. “Since the beginning, all they’ve done is use the virus, politicize the virus to bludgeon President Trump,” Hannity said, referring to Democrats. “All the same people who have done the same thing for three straight years. ... Russia, Russia. Ukraine, Ukraine. And impeach, impeach. Now, corona, corona.” Friday morning, Fox & Friends suggested that it’s safe to travel. “It’s actually the safest time to fly,” host Ainsley Earhardt said. And Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of the evangelical Liberty University, spread unfounded conspiracy theories about how Democrats are playing up the virus to attack Trump and how it could potentially be a bioweapon. Fox News is communicating that panic over the virus is the problem. But at this point, the American public needs to take the threat of the virus seriously. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported more than 1,200 cases nationwide as of March 12, but due to insufficient testing, there are likely many more cases that have gone unidentified. Congress’s in-house doctor told staffers on Wednesday that 70 million to 150 million people in the US could eventually be infected. Experts recommend that people practice social distancing, but if they fail to do so, the virus could spread too quickly, overwhelming medical resources and leading to unnecessary deaths. What Fox News has been publicly telling viewers is very different from how the network has been responding to the virus internally: Network executives have taken a number of significant precautions, the Daily Beast’s Maxwell Tani reported. They told employees in a memo that they would implement work-from-home policies, decrease the number of in-studio guest bookings, and deep-clean their offices, and urged staff to keep in mind that they are “providing an important public service to our audience by functioning as a resource for all Americans.” But at least some Fox shows haven’t heeded that advice. On Friday morning as a guest on Fox & Friends, Falwell claimed that the public was overreacting to the threat of virus, incorrectly likening it to the flu. He suggested that Democrats’ attempts to raise alarm over coronavirus is just their latest ploy against Trump following their failed effort to impeach him. He even proposed, without any evidence, that North Korea could be behind the virus.

Fox & Friends host says now is ‘the safest time to fly.’ It’s not
By Daniel Funke

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, airline stocks have plummeted. Companies like Delta, American and United have cut or reduced flights. Photos show empty airport terminals around the world. On March 13, Fox & Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt took those signs to mean that now is a great time to take a trip. "It’s actually the safest time to fly," she said during the Fox News morning show. "Everyone I know that’s flying right now, terminals are pretty much dead — ghost towns." As of March 12, more than 125,000 people have been infected with COVID-19 in 117 countries, with 4,613 deaths. In the United States, there have been 1,629 confirmed cases in 46 states, with 41 deaths. In a March 11 address, President Donald Trump announced a sweeping ban on travel from 26 European countries. While the White House maintains the move will slow the spread of the coronavirus, some experts doubt the restrictions will have much of an effect. PolitiFact wanted to know whether Earhardt was correct to say that now is the safest time to fly. We reached out to Earhardt for evidence, but we haven’t heard back. Official guidance on COVID-19 contradicts what she said on Fox News.

Officials warn at-risk groups against traveling
Officials are advising older Americans and those with chronic health conditions to reconsider their domestic and international travel plans to avoid COVID-19. On its website, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there are "several things you should consider when deciding whether it is safe for you to travel" in the U.S., including:

Fox News brass may be taking COVID-19 seriously by banning non-essential employee travel, but several hosts are actively encouraging viewers to get out there and fly.
By Maxwell Tani, Justin Baragona

Fox News brass has prohibited its employees from all non-essential business travel amid the coronavirus outbreak. But some of the network’s hosts are sending viewers the opposite message: There’s never been a better time to travel! In a memo to staff on Thursday, Fox News executives Suzanne Scott and Jay Wallace warned employees of COVID-19’s dangers and announced an internal policy “prohibiting all non-essential business travel since last Monday,” advising staff to work from home, and reducing in-studio guest bookings. The company also shared with employees a CDC advisory page cautioning against traveling to Europe and abroad. The advisory noted that while the agency does not generally issue travel restrictions in the U.S., “cases of COVID-19 have been reported in many states, and some areas are experiencing community spread of the disease. Crowded travel settings, like airports, may increase your risk of exposure to COVID-19, if there are other travelers with COVID-19.” Despite these official warnings, and the internal Fox News policy, some of the network’s hosts have decided to encourage their viewers to pick up and travel. During Friday’s broadcast of Fox & Friends, co-host Ainsley Earhardt said that sparsely booked flights and near-empty airports mean “It’s actually the safest time to fly.” She added: “Everyone that I know that’s flying right now, terminals are pretty much dead. Ghost towns.” Besides claiming it’s the “safest” time to fly—during a pandemic—Earhardt also gushed over the comfort and extra space passengers will enjoy on these emptier flights. “Remember back in the day when you had a seat next to you possibly empty?” Earhardt excitedly noted. “You could stretch out a little more. It’s like that on every flight now.”

Some of the network’s hosts have spent the past week mocking COVID-19 fears, but an internal memo from Fox bosses underscores the severity.
By Maxwell Tani, Justin Baragona

As the coronavirus continues to spread worldwide and throughout the U.S., some Fox News hosts have actively downplayed its severity, accusing Democrats and the media of pushing a hoax to undercut President Donald Trump. In stark contrast, Fox News brass is taking the outbreak very seriously. In a Thursday memo to staff, obtained by The Daily Beast, Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott and network president Jay Wallace warned employees about the risks of COVID-19, and announced steps the network will take to combat its spread, including telecommuting, reduced in-studio guest bookings, and enhanced office cleanings. Fox News brass also emphasized the channel’s duty to keep viewers informed with accurate information, underscoring the seriousness of the unfolding epidemiological situation. “Please keep in mind that viewers rely on us to stay informed during a crisis of this magnitude and we are providing an important public service to our audience by functioning as a resource for all Americans,” the memo said. While the memo called on employees to keep in mind that viewers trust the network to keep them informed in a time of a growing crisis, many of Fox’s most prominent personalities and hosts have repeatedly downplayed and minimized the risks posed by the virus that has already killed dozens of Americans and more than 4,000 people worldwide. Earlier this week, Fox Business Network host Trish Regan delivered a breathless bonkers rant in which she described the crisis as “another attempt to impeach” Trump while accusing the “liberal media” of using the disease to “demonize and destroy the president. As she bemoaned the “crescendo” of Democratic hate, an on-air graphic blared “Coronavirus Impeachment Scam.”

By Oliver Darcy, CNN Business

New York (CNN Business) As the coronavirus pandemic gripped the country over the last several weeks, television viewers — especially those supportive of President Donald Trump —- had one place they could go to for some sense of solace: Fox News. "If you are over the mass hysteria, if you're over politicizing and weaponizing of the coronavirus, you are not alone," Sean Hannity, the highest-rated host on Fox News, assured the network's prime time audience this week. Indeed, over the past several weeks, top hosts and personalities on the conservative cable news network downplayed concerns about the virus, baselessly accusing credible news organizations of overhyping the crisis to hurt Trump politically. At other times, Fox News hosts and personalities pointed to the death toll of the seasonal flu, misleading the network's audience into thinking that the coronavirus was receiving more attention because it is novel, while the flu in fact kills more Americans and was, thus, more dangerous and cause for alarm. That's not to say that some of the coverage on Fox News was not straightforward. The network has had a number of reporters in the field assigned to cover the coronavirus, and shows have hosted various doctors who have provided sound medical advice. Harris Faulkner, for example, hosted a special with four doctors on her program earlier this week. Additionally, some personalities have taken the situation seriously from the start. But a significant part of Fox News' coverage had been aimed toward framing the response to coronavirus as unwarranted hysteria. The often-dismissive messaging from Fox News hosts was particularly notable, given that, like other cable news channels, the viewers who make up the network's audience skew older and are, thus, the most vulnerable to the disease. The remarks from the hosts also raise concern given how much influence figures like Hannity wield over Trump, especially since Trump recycled some of those very talking points on Twitter and when speaking with the press to initially dismiss the public health crisis. By Thursday, after Trump addressed the nation from the Oval Office and the seriousness of the crisis settled in with millions of Americans, it was clear some Fox News hosts and personalities started taking the matter far more seriously. But still, others have continued to pollute the airwaves with misleading information. Hannity on Wednesday night, after Trump's speech, acknowledged on his program that the coronavirus poses "a lot of serious risks and a lot of serious challenges." He noted that "in serious situations, truth matters, facts matter." But in the very same episode that he made those comments, the Fox News host continued to mislead his audience. Hannity contrasted the novel coronavirus fatality numbers with those of the seasonal flu, despite knowing that the novel virus' mortality rate is significantly higher. Hannity knew it was a misleading comparison because the night before on his program Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told him that the coronavirus is at least 10-times more lethal than influenza. Meanwhile, throughout all of Fox News' coverage, Fox Corporation, the parent company of the network, has taken the matter seriously. The company has restricted all non-essential travel. And, in a Thursday email obtained by CNN Business, Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and President and Executive Editor Jay Wallace announced several sweeping measures to protect employees, including asking staff able to work from home to do so starting Monday.

Which is really saying something.
By Justin Peters

On Wednesday night, Sean Hannity informed the viewers of his nightly Fox News program that—and I am not being hyperbolic—the thing to know about the novel coronavirus was that the Trump administration had done a great job containing it. “No president has ever done more, acted more quickly, to slow the spread of a disease,” Hannity declared of the viral outbreak that has been deemed a pandemic by the World Health Organization, prompted the suspension of most professional and amateur sports, and killed thousands of people worldwide. “We labeled it [as the coronavirus] on Jan. 7. On January 31 of this year, three weeks later, the Trump administration declared a public health emergency. No president ever acted that fast.” Go, team! Since the novel coronavirus first came to America, many marquee Fox personalities have been rushing to diminish its seriousness while simultaneously blaming everyone but the Trump administration for the virus’ rapid spread across the United States (which, of course, is not that serious). On Wednesday, as he has done all week, Hannity argued that the novel coronavirus was less of a threat than the seasonal flu. “There have been 1,200 cases of corona versus 34 million cases of the flu,” Hannity said. “As the senior director at Johns Hopkins pointed out this week, the flu is having much more of an impact than coronavirus. These are facts.” On her own program Wednesday night, Laura Ingraham echoed Hannity’s skepticism. “Where the risk is minimal, the business of America must go on,” she said. “FDR told us that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Earlier this week, on the Fox Business Network, host Trish Regan informed her viewers that the “chorus of hate being leveled at the president is nearing a crescendo as Democrats blame him—and only him—for a virus that originated halfway around the world. This is yet another attempt to impeach the president.”  On this matter, as on so many other things, Regan, Ingraham, and Hannity are dead wrong. First of all, it beggars belief to say that the Trump administration has done an exemplary job of containing the spread of the coronavirus. “This is an unmitigated disaster that the administration has brought upon the population, and I don’t say this lightly,” Harvard Global Health Institute director Ashish Jha told Bloomberg; on Twitter, Georgetown University global health law professor Lawrence Gostin called Trump’s temporary European travel ban “incoherent.” Second, in point of fact, COVID-19 isn’t just a more mild version of the flu. It’s something different, and it is incredibly dangerous for the elderly and immunocompromised. Fox News is risking its aged viewers’ lives by downplaying the risks of COVID-19. The network’s coverage here is grossly irresponsible.

   Sean Hannity is *STILL* citing seasonal flu numbers on his show in an apparent effort to suggest it is perhaps a greater cause for concern than the coronavirus. pic.twitter.com/u332Zhr3kr
   — Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) March 12, 2020

But this irresponsibility with the facts should come as no surprise to anyone who has ever watched Fox News. This is, after all, the same network that insisted that Uranium One, the Steele report, and Peter Strzok’s text messages comprised the real Russia scandal; that brought the word “Burisma” into the national conversation and consistently referred to the impeachment proceedings as the “Schiff-Schumer Sham Show”; that ginned up a fearsome migrant incursion in order to drive xenophobic voters to the polls at the 2018 midterm elections; that has consistently minimized the dangers posed by man-made global warming when it has bothered to report on it at all; that has mainstreamed the notion of a vast “deep state” conspiracy against President Trump; that confers the mantle of expertise on idiots such as Dan Bongino, the ex-Secret Service agent and thrice-failed political candidate who, in the most recent episode of his podcast, urged listeners to “Take a Stand Against Coronavirus Hysteria.” The Trump-boosting minimization of the novel coronavirus pandemic may well be a new low for Fox News—but it’s also a logical extension of the network’s decades-long war on objective reality.

The “Late Night” host zeroed in on one Fox Business host who compared the coronavirus to impeachment.
By Matt Wilstein

Seth Meyers just happened to notice an “absolutely insane” rant from Fox Business host Trish Regan this week that helpfully sums up the message that President Donald Trump and so many other Fox viewers are receiving on a nightly basis about the coronavirus pandemic. “We’ve reached a tipping point,” Regan declared Monday night. “The chorus of hate being leveled at the president is nearing a crescendo as Democrats blame him and only him for a virus that originated halfway around the world. This is yet another attempt to impeach the president.” “Cool,” the Late Night host replied. “Thank you for time-traveling here from an old episode of Dynasty to tell us that. Seriously, don’t you have a bunch of dalmations to steal?” “Trump and his allies on Fox News are manufacturing an alternate reality where coronavirus is a fake crisis being inflamed by Democrats for political purposes,” Meyers explained. But at the same time, he accused Trump of being “very eager” to use the crisis for his own “personal and political benefit,” most notably by proposing a bailout for the industries that support him. Mostly, he could not believe the Fox host was comparing coronavirus to impeachment. “Democrats aren’t even talking about impeachment,” he said. “They’re all huddled around TVs desperately hoping Joe Biden doesn’t get into a fistfight with a voter.”

Taking President Trump’s lead, many commentators have played down fears.
By Jeremy W. Peters and Michael M. Grynbaum

Sean Hannity used his syndicated talk-radio program on Wednesday to share a prediction he had found on Twitter about what is really happening with the coronavirus: It’s a “fraud” by the deep state to spread panic in the populace, manipulate the economy and suppress dissent. “May be true,” Mr. Hannity declared to millions of listeners around the country. As the coronavirus spreads around the globe, denial and disinformation about the risks are proliferating on media outlets popular with conservatives. “This coronavirus?” Rush Limbaugh asked skeptically during his Wednesday program, suggesting it was all a plot hatched by the Chinese. “Nothing like wiping out the entire U.S. economy with a biothreat from China, is there?” he said. The Fox Business anchor Trish Regan told viewers on Monday that the worry over coronavirus “is yet another attempt to impeach the president.” Where doctors and scientists see a public health crisis, President Trump and his media allies have seen a political coup afoot. Even on Wednesday night, after Mr. Trump gave an unusually somber address to the nation in which he announced he was suspending all travel from Europe for 30 days, Mr. Hannity criticized Democrats and vigorously defended the president’s response to the crisis, saying that when he instituted travel restrictions on China over a month ago, “no president had ever acted that fast.” Distorted realities and discarded facts are now such a part of everyday life that the way they shape events like impeachment, a mass shooting or a presidential address often goes unmentioned. But when partisan news meets a pandemic, the information silos where people shelter themselves can become not just deluded but also dangerous, according to those who criticize conservative commentators for shedding any semblance of objectivity when it comes to covering the president. “This sort of media spin poses a clear and present danger to public health,” said Charlie Sykes, a longtime conservative host and author who published a book, “How the Right Lost Its Mind,” in 2018. “If you have people out there who feel all of this is overblown, and feel the need to act out their lack of concern by not taking precautions, it could be exceptionally dangerous. “That’s not just a problem for the right wing, that becomes a real threat to the general population,” added Mr. Sykes, who is also a contributor to MSNBC. “When people start dying, the entertainment value wears off.”

Steer clear of MAGA hats: They're being told the whole thing is a hoax, and their leader's got it under control
By Heather Digby Parton

President Trump said that Russian interference in the 2016 election a hoax perpetrated by the Democrats to destroy his presidency. He claimed his impeachment was a Democratic hoax too and last week he said the coronavirus — or at least media coverage of the coronavirus — was one as well. None of those were hoaxes. But that doesn't mean hoaxes don't exist. In fact, when it comes to the coronavirus crisis, disinformation, propaganda and hoaxes abound. Ironically, one of the sources is, you guessed it, Russia. That's unnerving, to say the least. But the story is confusing, with social media platforms insisting they are uninformed about these activities and the government refusing to share its methodology. Unsurprisingly, the right wing has eagerly jumped on some of the disinformation, such as the lie that the virus is a Chinese bioweapon. In fact, one of the president's most fervent supporters, Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, went on national TV to spread it, doubling down when called on it by experts. It's unclear where Cotton got his "hypothesis" but it had already been debunked by numerous sources at the time he was telling millions of people it was possible. As Richard Ebright, a professor of chemical biology at Rutgers University, told the Washington Post, "There's absolutely nothing in the genome sequence of this virus that indicates the virus was engineered. The possibility this was a deliberately released bioweapon can be firmly excluded." The Bill and Melinda Gates conspiracy theory took hold deep in the right-wing fever swamp early on. BuzzFeed reported on it back in January: If these rumors and lies were started by the Russian government it just proves, once again, that they know their targets. But the truth is that Americans don't really need their help. The right-wing media is doing a great job of misleading half the country all by themselves.

The right-wing personalities have a head-spinning chat about poor Americans on Hannity’s radio show.
By Ron Dicker

Bill O’Reilly showed a wealth of ignorance Wednesday in saying that impoverished Americans “live very well.” (Listen to the audio clip below.) The right-wing commentator made the remark to his old Fox News colleague Sean Hannity while the two discussed capitalism “through the prism” of the Democratic presidential debate. O’Reilly, appearing on Hannity’s radio show, accused Democrats of wanting to “destroy” capitalism. Hannity set up O’Reilly’s remarks by saying aspirations of having a nice house and car are “achievable, but only in America, but only because this system of capitalism has created the greatest advancement of the human condition, because we’re free.” O’Reilly replied that Americans have already achieved that standard of living, then spouted off on the disadvantaged. “Most people in America, even people in poverty, live very well,” said O’Reilly, who was a top-rated Fox News host until he was fired in 2017 for sexual harassment. “You know the studies, that poor people in America have air conditioning, have cars, have big-screen TVs. They live pretty well compared to the rest of the world.”

By Erik Wemple Media critic

In an interview on his Monday night program, Fox News host Sean Hannity pressed Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii about her position on drug policy. When she didn’t directly answer his queries on heroin legalization, he said, “Don’t make me be a jerk.” Actually, Hannity needs no encouragement on that front, as he showed in another moment on Monday’s program. In a field trip to a rally for former vice president Joe Biden in New Hampshire, Hannity talked up the Democratic faithful. A highlight compilation featured the host in a series of good-natured exchanges with Biden supporters, who issued compliments about Hannity’s looks and demeanor. “You are nicer in person. You seem nicer than you are on TV, I have to give you that,” one woman said to Hannity. Yet Hannity couldn’t stop himself from spreading the sorts of false narratives that generally go directly to a much different audience with each edition of “Hannity.” For example, he approached an older man and mentioned the famous 2018 speech in which Biden boasted about withholding $1 billion in loan guarantees from Ukraine. “You saw the tape of Joe Biden: ‘You’re not getting a billion of our taxpayer dollars unless you fire the prosecutor investigating my son, who has zero experience in energy that’s being paid millions.’ Do you have a problem with that?” asked Hannity.

In documents obtained by The Daily Beast, Fox’s research team advises colleagues to be wary of “disinformation” from several Trump-boosting on-air regulars, including Giuliani.
By Will Sommer, Maxwell Tani, Andrew Kirell

Fox News’ own research team has warned colleagues not to trust some of the network’s top commentators’ claims about Ukraine. An internal Fox News research briefing book obtained by The Daily Beast openly questions Fox News contributor John Solomon’s credibility, accusing him of playing an “indispensable role” in a Ukrainian “disinformation campaign.” The document also accuses frequent Fox News guest Rudy Giuliani of amplifying disinformation, as part of an effort to oust former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, and blasts Fox News guests Victoria Toensing and Joe diGenova—both ardent Trump boosters—for “spreading disinformation.” The 162-page document, entitled “Ukraine, Disinformation, & the Trump Administration,” was created by Fox News senior political affairs specialist Bryan S. Murphy, who produces research from what is known as the network’s Brain Room—a newsroom division of researchers who provide information, data, and topic guides for the network’s programming. The research brief is especially critical of Solomon, a former opinion columnist at The Hill whose opinion pieces about Ukraine made unsubstantiated claims about its government interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Solomon’s pieces for The Hill fueled Giuliani’s efforts to dig up dirt in Ukraine, which eventually helped lead to Trump’s impeachment. Trump has also frequently cited Solomon’s questionable reporting on Twitter in his own defense.

The hosts of Trump’s favorite morning show worked overtime on Monday morning spinning the bombshell revelations from John Bolton’s forthcoming book.
By Justin Baragona

The morning after it was revealed that former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s forthcoming book claims Donald Trump tied military aid to Ukraine investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Trump’s favorite morning show Fox & Friends dutifully downplayed such claims, doing everything in its power to defend the president. As first reported Sunday by The New York Times, Bolton wrote that Trump told him in August that he wanted to keep the freeze on $391 million of congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine until the country’s officials agreed to investigate the Bidens. This contradicts a central element of Trump’s defense—that the holding up of the aid had nothing to do with the president’s partisan desire for Biden probes.

With the president having already raged on Twitter overnight that he “NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens,” Fox & Friends’ curvy couch denizens and their guests went into full spin mode on Monday morning. Co-host Steve Doocy, who in September said it would be “off-the-rails wrong” if Trump said he’d give Ukraine money only if the country investigated Biden, sang a drastically different tune in light of the Bolton blockbuster. Co-host Brian Kilmeade, meanwhile, said the president’s big takeaway from this and the “Lev and Igor tapes” is that he “has to do a better job vetting his staff.” (Interestingly, before becoming Trump’s national security adviser, Bolton spent more than a decade as an on-air commentator for Fox News, often appearing on Kilmeade’s show.) Fox News contributor Mike Huckabee, meanwhile, reiterated Kilmeade’s concern about those who are “disloyal” to Trump within his own administration. “That is dishonorable, it’s dishonest, it’s disgusting, and people like that shouldn’t be listened to,” he huffed.

“Don't make me start giving out the phone number!”
By Justin Baragona

During his radio show on Friday, Fox News host Sean Hannity appeared to threaten to publicize Republican senators’ phone numbers if they vote to allow witnesses to be called during the Senate impeachment trial, which could begin as early as next week. “They now get to present their case to all of you Republican senators,” Hannity said, in comments first spotted by Media Matters. “Don't make me start giving out the phone number!” It isn’t entirely clear, however, what phone number Hannity was threatening to start “giving out.” Within the context of his remarks, though, it would appear to be either senators’ office numbers or the United States Capitol switchboard number.

Hannity has a history of urging his listeners to call up lawmakers or other political figures in an effort to sway opinion. Earlier this week, he aired Congress’ main number on his primetime show, telling viewers to tell their Congress members to “do their damn job.” Last month, he told listeners of his radio show to call the Georgia governor to switch his choice for a Senate replacement. The pro-Trump media star went on to complain that it is the House of Representatives’ “sole Constitutional role” to impeach, claiming that they “decided in their insanity and psychosis and rage to abuse that power and bring up what is a non-case.”

The “Late Night” host busts “Fox & Friends” host Ainsley Earhardt for only believing U.S. intelligence agencies when it’s convenient.
by Matt Wilstein

“2020 is off to a great start,” Seth Meyers said at the top of his first “A Closer Look” segment of the new year. “I’m just fucking with you. 2020 is already the worst.” The Late Night host spent most of his blistering piece going after President Donald Trump and members of his administration for trying to lie America into war with Iran much in the same way the Bush administration falsified intelligence to sell the war in Iraq. “But that’s not good enough for Fox & Friends host Ainsley Earhardt, who said today that we just have to trust the intelligence agencies,” he said.

With that, he cut to a clip of Earhardt expressing shock and disbelief that anyone would be “critical” of U.S. intelligence agencies. When her co-host Steve Doocy suggested that some Americans just want “details,” she shot back, “Well, they can’t have it. They can’t have it. Everything can’t be made public.” She summed up the administration’s position as “you just have to trust us.” “I’m sorry but I’m not inclined to trust an administration that lies about everything. Even the dumbest things,” Meyers replied. “Let’s not forget, this is a guy who literally drew a circle on an official weather map in Sharpie to claim that Alabama was going to be hit by a hurricane and then pretended he had no idea how it got there.” He predicted that Trump’s evidence would be a map of Iran with the words “Iran bad” scrawled on it in his own handwriting. “So there you go, you heard Fox & Friends—we have to trust our intelligence agencies,” the host continued. “I wonder though if she felt the same way back in May when the intelligence agencies were investigating Trump.”

The former campaign chairman “understood his conversations with Hannity to be a message from Trump” after he came under scrutiny by the feds, according to newly released memos.
By Maxwell Tani

Paul Manafort said he used Fox News host Sean Hannity to receive backchannel messages from President Donald Trump while prosecutors investigated him for financial crimes, according to newly released memos from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

Among the several hundred pages of memos published by BuzzFeed News on Thursday, which contain summaries of FBI interviews with key Trump administration and campaign officials, the Fox News anchor’s alleged role as an unofficial messenger between the president and his former campaign chairman comes into sharp focus.

According to the release, Manafort did not speak to Trump or anyone closely associated with the president or his legal team besides Hannity around the time that The New York Times and other outlets reported on a 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between Manafort, Donald Trump Jr., and Jared Kushner and a lawyer linked to the Kremlin. Manafort described Hannity as a close friend and “certainly a backchannel” to Trump, saying that he understood Hannity was in communication with the president.

By David Smith

As the GOP counter-offensive runs on fake news and conspiracy theories, critics say truth itself is under attack “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four,” George Orwell wrote in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. “If that is granted, all else follows.” The pro-Donald Trump industrial complex has not yet denied basic arithmetic. But as impeachment looms, his allies appear to be waging an increasingly frantic political and media counter-offensive that puts truth itself in the dock.

A bewildering array of fake news, warped facts and conspiracy theories have been propagated in the past week by conservative media, Republican politicians, White House officials and the president in his own defence. It is, commentators say, a concerted disinformation war, intended to crowd out damaging revelations as the House of Representatives prepares its ultimate sanction.

“The more facts come out, the more desperate they get,” said Kurt Bardella, a former spokesman and senior adviser on the House oversight committee. “They know in a debate centred on facts, truth and reality, they lose. Their only mechanism to survive is to muddy the waters, distort, distract and hope if they repeat lies often enough, they become real.”

But Rick Wilson, a Republican strategist and author of Everything Trump Touches Dies, said: “I’m not surprised at Ted Cruz being sycophantic to Trump. Trump broke Ted Cruz a long time ago. The Republicans have the worst political Stockholm syndrome we’ve ever seen. “These guys are all in an abusive relationship with Trump. I don’t mean that in a flippant way. They behave the way you see victims of domestic violence behave. But they’ve got culpability in this thing: they’re not just victims, they’re enablers.”

The segment prompted numerous rebuttals condemning the "maliciousness of the attack" on the legacy of the children's TV host.
By David Mikkelson

Fred Rogers, the beloved host of the long-running children’s television show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” died in 2003. In July 2007, the hosts of Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends” morning program — Alisyn Camerota, Steve Doocy, and Brian Kilmeade — aired a segment (using titles such as “Blame Mr. Rogers,” “Was Mr. Rogers Wrong?” and “Is Mr. Rogers Ruining Kids?”) in which they took Rogers to task as an “evil, evil man” for supposedly encouraging generations of children to grow up with a sense of self-entitlement:

By Erik Wemple, Media critic

Fox News host Sean Hannity hung his credibility on the report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz into the origins and integrity of the Russia investigation. For months and months, he has hyped the report and its focus — whether federal law enforcement adhered to rules and procedures — in promising big revelations. Back in July, he said, "My message to the DOJ is very simple: We deserve to see the full report. After all, Mueller’s findings, they were released with extremely limited redactions. And we are expecting the same treatment for the Horowitz report, because the American people deserve the full truth, equal justice must be served. The sanctity of our republic is at stake.”

Last month, as the host licked his chops over the coming feast, he cited sources indicating that the revelations would “shock the conscience.” Such mentions helped Fox News far outrank its competitors in citing the name “Horowitz” on air, as these figures from the GDELT Project and the Internet Archive demonstrate:

New Day
Fox News hosts are offering their own interpretation of the FBI report recently released by the Department of Justice Inspector General.

“Putin does hate America. You . . . help his anti-American objectives with these ill-informed rants”
By Matthew Rozsa

Ambassador Michael McFaul, who represented the U.S. in Russia under President Barack Obama from 2012 to 2014, criticized Fox News host Tucker Carlson for claiming that Russian President Vladimir Putin does not hate America.

“I speak Russian. I know Russia. I've lived there for 8 years of my life,” McFaul tweeted Tuesday morning. “You are wrong Mr. Carlson. Putin does hate America. You (I assume unwittingly) help his anti-American objectives with these ill-informed rants. Be a patriot. Stop attacking Americans & defending Putin.”

McFaul included a link to a clip of Carlson dismissing the supposed “Russia collusion hoax” as a delusion of the left, telling his viewers on Tuesday night that “the irony, of course, is that Putin, for all his faults, does not hate America is much as many of these people do. They really dislike our country. And they call other people traitors, because they’re mouthing the talking points of Putin.”

“Obviously, there has been a turn toward Russia apologism [due to] the Mueller Report about Russia intervention in the 2016 election and leading now to the Ukraine impeachment hearings,” A. J. Bauer, a visiting assistant professor of media culture and communication at New York University, told Salon. “But I think an important point is that Fox News’ pandering to Putin, and celebrating Putin as a strong leader, actually long predates the Trump era. You can look back to earlier this decade, back to 2012 and 2014 — this was around the time when Putin was becoming president again after that little detour as a prime minister — and Putin was producing these propaganda images where he was shirtless riding a horse and all of this proto-masculine imagery.”

By Erik Wemple

Lou Dobbs has no excuse whatsoever.

In October 2018, a guest on his Fox Business program — Chris Farrell of Judicial Watch — made a bizarre claim about a connection between the Central American migrants moving through Mexico and Hungarian-born Jewish philanthropist George Soros. The migrants, he said, “have affiliates or are getting money from the [George] Soros-occupied State Department and that is a great, great concern.” The comment horrified viewers when it re-aired after the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue; the suspect in the case, Robert Bowers, “frequently reposted anti-Semitic content that alleged Jews control the nation,” according to the New York Times.

The resulting outrage was loud enough to prompt a rare, on-the-record response from the network. “We condemn the rhetoric by the guest on Lou Dobbs Tonight,” said Gary Schreier, Fox Business Network’s senior vice president of programming, in a statement. “This episode was a repeat which has now been pulled from all future airings.” The network signaled that it wouldn’t invite Farrell back on the air. (Fox News and Fox Business are both part of Fox News Media.)

TV host doubles down on support for Putin after ‘joking’ about ‘rooting for Russia’ last week
By Conrad Dunca

Fox News host Tucker Carlson has backed Russia over Ukraine for the second time in a week and suggested some US journalists hate America more than Vladimir Putin. Mr Carlson said the US should “probably take the side of Russia” in a dispute between Mr Putin’s country and Ukraine, even though Ukraine is a US ally.

On Monday night, Republican congressman Jim Jordan denied suggestions that Donald Trump is helping Russia by pointing out that the Trump administration has placed sanctions on the country. However, the Fox News presenter quickly replied that he “totally opposed” those sanctions.

“I should say for the record, I’m totally opposed to these sanctions and I don’t think we should be at war with Russia… I think we should probably take the side of Russia, uh, if we have to choose between Russia and Ukraine,” he said. Last Monday, Mr Carlson said on his primetime TV show that he was “rooting for Russia” in the conflict with Ukraine, before walking back that comment as a joke later in the episode. His support for Russia on yesterday’s show, which included a segment defending Mr Putin, did not come with that clarification.

By Jenni Fink

Former Director of the United States Office of Government Ethics Walter Shaub said that Fox News host Tucker Carlson's rooting for Russia in the Ukraine conflict shows a shift in contrasting opinions in America. "This clip is just one more exhibit supporting the case that it's no longer left vs. right but democracy vs. authoritarianism," Shaub tweeted on Tuesday. "I think many still underestimate the threat to the republic."

On Monday night, Carlson had Richard Goodstein, who served as an adviser to both President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on his show, Tucker Carlson Tonight, to discuss impeachment. During the segment, Carlson said he supported Russia and asked Goodstein why people should have to root for Ukraine.

"Those of us that are watching think preserving democracy is important," Goodstein said. "Russia is trying to undo our democracy. They're jealous of us." Goodstein also pointed to a comment former Vice President Dick Cheney made at The Economic Times' Global Business Summit in 2017.

Cheney said there was no question that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his government tried to interfere with America's "basic fundamental democratic process." The Russians' interference in the 2016 election, Cheney said, would be considered an "act of war" in some quarters.

Carlson pushed back against the threat level Goodstein assigned to Russia, asking him if he thought Russia was a greater threat to the United States than China. The former Clinton adviser characterized the two countries as threats in different ways. While China was a threat to America economically, our democracy, according to Goodstein, hinges on Ukraine being able to stop the Russians' impositions against Western Europe.

“The reality is this is someone who said white supremacy is a hoax and why does Fox allow him to still be here in the first place?”
by Justin Baragona

Democratic National Committee Vice Chairman Michael Blake tore into Fox News and host Tucker Carlson during a Tuesday morning Fox News interview, directly asking anchor Bill Hemmer why the network still employs Carlson following his infamous claim that white supremacy is a “hoax.”

Brought on to discuss Carlson’s Monday night prediction that former first lady Michelle Obama will eventually be the Democratic presidential nominee, Blake took the opportunity to hijack the goofy premise and blast both the network and Carlson.

“She is not running,” he asserted. “But the core question is why the hell does Tucker Carlson still have a job here in the first place? The reality is this is someone who said white supremacy is a hoax and why does Fox allow him to still be here in the first place?”

Earlier this year and mere days after a white supremacist deliberately targeted Mexicans in the El Paso mass shooting that left 22 dead, Carlson took to his primetime show to claim white supremacy is “not a real problem” and a “hoax,” prompting calls for his firing.

CNN - During an interview with CNN's Brian Stelter, 2020 Republican presidential hopeful Joe Walsh slammed Fox News and conservative talk radio for their coverage of the impeachment probe of President Donald Trump. Video

“I think you often say there’s a difference between the news side and the opinion side,” Zucker told media critic Brian Stelter on Thursday. “I think you’re wrong.”
By Maxwell Tani - The Daily Beast

CNN chief Jeff Zucker on Thursday went off on Fox News, bashing the rival network as “conspiracy TV” and indicating that he’d be open to hiring former Fox anchor Shepard Smith. “I think Shep’s a great journalist,” Zucker said during an on-stage interview with Brian Stelter at CNN’s Citizen Conference in New York. “I understand he’s not able to take any jobs for the foreseeable future. When he’s available, he is somebody who is very talented and I would be very open to talking to him.”

Smith abruptly exited Fox News two weeks ago after months of clashing with some of the network’s overtly right-wing primetime stars. The daytime news anchor also repeatedly drew outrage from the president over his penchant for fact-checking the many unfounded claims of Trump and his Fox News allies. Zucker suggested that Fox News had become an “untenable” environment for someone like Smith, “who was a truth-teller who set out to hold people in power accountable. That is not something that organization does, that is not something in full force there, not even in half force.” The CNN chief also didn’t mind pushing back on his own reporter’s defense of parts of the network.

After Stelter, host of CNN’s media-focused Reliable Sources, claimed that while Fox is often driven by right-wing punditry, it does still employ serious journalists, Zucker offered his own media criticism of his media critic. “You repeat that line a lot and I think it’s one of the mistakes you make in your journalism,” Zucker told the star weekend host. “Are there a handful of great journalists in that org? Sure. Are there are one or two really good anchors at that organization? Sure. But that doesn’t make it a news organization, that doesn’t make it a journalism endeavor.” Full Story

By Erin Jensen, USA TODAY

Carl Cameron, a former Fox News reporter who was with the channel for more than 20 years, is voicing his concerns after Shepard Smith shocked by announcing his departure Friday. Cameron, who says his "Campaign Carl" moniker came courtesy of Smith, appeared on CNN's "Reliable Sources" Sunday to discuss the impact his former colleague's exit may have on the channel. "There are an awful lot of really good journalists at Fox News Channel. It's just that they're vastly outnumbered by the opinion makers, and the opinion makers are more interested in playing to people's bias than anything else," said Cameron. "And it makes it very difficult for journalists to actually give people honest facts when the air time is shrinking constantly." Cameron also expressed his concern over those who will be filling Smith's slot.

"If they're actually news journalists, then that'll be a good sign for the 3:00 hour," Cameron said, "and if it's not, if it's opinion mavens, then that'll be just another big chunk of real journalism that won't exist there." Until the network names a permanent replacement, it will become an hour-long news show titled "Fox News Reporting," featuring a rotating cast of anchors, the network announced in a news release. "Over the course of the Trump administration, more and more, the opinion hosts have been criticizing the journalists," Cameron said, "and so, that really pits bias against straight journalism… That's a huge part of what frustrates the journalists at Fox News because they shouldn't be arguing with people who are there to comment on the news and completely neglect what was just by the journalists." Full Story

By Daniel Moritz-Rabson

Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade initally joined the chorus of voices condemning President Donald Trump's decision earlier this month end support for Kurdish fighters in Syria. But now, Kilmeade is accusing Democrats of hypocrisy for criticizing the president's decision to abandon Kurdish forces who served as key allies in U.S. efforts to weaken the Islamic State group. "Just keep in mind, too, as you see Nancy Pelosi and others outraged, I thought Buck Sexton's tweet was right on the money, when he said around 500,000 human beings were killed in Syria while Barack Obama was president and leading for a political settlement to that civil war. Media has been outraged in the last 72 hours over our Syrian policy. They're more outraged over the last 72 hours over our Syria policy than they were at any point over the last seven years of slaughter. Let alone the millions that have flooded in and destabilized portions of Europe," Kilmeade said on Tuesday, reading a tweet from Sexton, a conservative talk show host. Despite condemning regime conduct in Syria, the U.S. focused its military activities on ISIS to avoid a direct confrontation with Russia. Obama's policy towards Syria was established to avoid prolonged involvement in the country, a tactic that generated criticism as humanitarian crises spread across the country. Despite the vast humanitarian concerns, many Democrats did, in fact, continue to push for a diplomatic settlement. Yet the current outrage is focused on Trump's rapid abandonment of Kurdish fighters who worked with U.S. troops and, for five years, were relied upon as a key ally. Kilmeade, as well as the other Fox & Friends hosts have regularly deflected criticism of Trump by saying Democrats are being political opportunists or hypocrites. Despite his rebuke of the left's response to Trump's decision to withdraw support from the Kurdish fighters and pull troops from Syria, Kilmeade was critical of Trump's policy as recently as Monday. Full Story

The Damage Report - Geraldo Rivera destroys Sean Hannity on-air. John Iadarola and Jayar Jackson break it down on The Damage Report. Follow The Damage Report on Facebook: more...

By Lucian K. Truscott IV

I just got a death threat from a coward on Facebook, but It's the guys in ties on the TV I'm worried about. Some guy named James Neally, sent me a death threat a couple of weeks ago via Facebook Messenger.  “Keep taling (sic) about the potus that way you did in your last article and it will be the end of you and your family.” Nice, huh? I spent several hours talking to the FBI about it this week. They’re trying to find James Neally and they’re not having much success. Facebook won’t reveal their records on Neally’s account to the FBI.

He’s got a YouTube channel, on which he posted several videos of himself playing “Cripple Creek” on the banjo, but when I linked to one of the videos on my Facebook page, he took all of them down. He’s hiding now, which is what white supremacist right-wing fanatics do when they’re not actually going out and killing people, like Patrick Crusius did last week when he shot 22 people to death at a Walmart and wounded dozens of others. Going to a Synagogue, or a Walmart, or a public school, or a nightclub, or a movie theater and gunning down a bunch of people down, is what these guys do when they want to spread the evil lies of white supremacy.

They seek attention, and they get it by killing people. We have a legitimate reason to be afraid of Patrick Crusius and his ilk because their deranged attachment to white supremacy causes them to kill people to bring attention to their cause. But I don’t think there’s much cause to fear the James Neallys of this world, because all they’re trying to do is shut you up. They don’t want people like me writing the things I write because it threatens their fellow white supremacists. In James Neally’s case, the white supremacist he’s trying to protect is the president of the United States. Full Story

By Emmanuel Ocbazghi

INSIDER's Manny Ocbazghi opines that Fox News pundits have been echoing white supremacist talking points during segments on immigration. These talking points are tied to a conspiracy theory called "The Great Replacement." The Great Replacement theory says that nonwhite populations around the world are maliciously marginalizing and deliberately replacing white populations. Manny: Ever since Fox News started in 1996, they have been on one. - And by the way, for all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white. - Poor families in America have, 99% of them have a refrigerator. - A fist bump, a pound, a terrorist fist jab? Manny: Recently though, Fox News opinion programs have been accused of something far more sinister. Tucker Carlson: How, precisely, is diversity our strength? Can you think, for example, of other institutions such as, I don't know, marriage or military units in which the less people have in common, the more cohesive they are? Jared Taylor: Diversity of the kind we're all supposed to be celebrating, whether it's religious or racial or linguistic or cultural, all of that, they are sources of tension and conflict. Manny: That's Jared Taylor, a popular white supremacist. If you're asking, "Why in the world does Tucker Carlson sound like that guy?" You are not alone. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that Fox News opinion programs have been echoing white supremacist talking points to their millions of viewers...oh no, wait, that's exactly what I'm saying. Here's how they do it. By now, we all know what racism is. It's racist to assume that I'm good at basketball. It's true, but it's racist. White supremacists have a specific purpose, though. They believe in policies that will lead them to the ultimate goal: a whites-only society. That's because they believe that white people are inherently superior to other races, and, therefore, shouldn't coexist with them. However, that goal is threatened by what they call The Great Replacement.

By Douglas Perry | The Oregonian/OregonLive

Over the course of two decades, Fox News Channel established a distinctive brand: it was a news-gathering organization that fit the conservative American's worldview. That meant backing old-school, free-enterprise economics, and, on the culture front, taking up the late William F. Buckley Jr.'s famous ambition to stand "athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no one is inclined to do so." That was then. The Fox brand is now deep in the midst of a years-long revamp. The cable-news network, as it grew in power, put traditional conservative principles on the back burner in favor of overt partisan warfare.

Most viewers didn't notice any difference, despite Fox jettisoning its slogan, "Fair & Balanced." But this more combative approach ultimately spun out of control, leading last year to the network embracing Trumpism -- even as Buckley's conservative journal, National Review, was devoting an entire issue to revealing Donald Trump as a conservative fraud. The pivot for Fox News required it to fully commit to pushing conspiracy theories, the sine qua non of the Trumpian mindset. Below we showcase 10 conspiracy theories that helped turn the Fox News Channel into the Donald Trump Channel. (Needless to say, this is far from a comprehensive list; we’re focusing on some of the channel’s and conservative media's most impactful conspiracy theories.)

Birtherism: Barack Obama was born in Kenya, not the United States, and therefore was an illegitimate president. (The U.S. Constitution requires that the president be a “natural-born” citizen.) This is the false accusation -- Obama was actually born in Hawaii -- that launched Donald Trump from reality-TV star to political star. Trump pushed birtherism for years on Fox News. “Why doesn’t he show his birth certificate?” Trump asked over and over on the cable channel. When Obama did release his birth certificate, the charge shifted. In 2012 Trump insisted that “an extremely credible source” had told him that Obama’s official birth certificate had been faked. Trump "nurtured the conspiracy like a poisonous flower, watering and feeding it with an ardor that still baffles and embarrasses many around him," the New York Times wrote in 2016. As the presidential campaign headed into the stretch run last year, Trump finally acknowledged that Obama had been born in the U.S. -- but he insisted, falsely, that his opponent, Hillary Clinton, had started the “birther” rumor and he had simply tracked down the truth. “I finished it,’’ he said. “President Obama was born in the United States -- period.’’

Fox News shields President Trump. But his love for their conspiracies might bring him down.
By Nicole Hemmer

On Tuesday night, Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera spoke to Fox News host Sean Hannity, on Fox News, about the role Fox News would play in protecting President Donald Trump from impeachment. “You know, if it wasn’t [for] your show, Sean, they would destroy him absolutely,” Rivera told Hannity, who, when not hosting his television and radio shows, informally advises Trump. “You are the difference between Donald J. Trump and Richard Nixon.” He’s half right. Fox News is playing a critical role in protecting Trump from Nixon’s ultimate fate. But it’s also played a critical role in luring Trump into committing Nixonian misdeeds. Let’s start with what Rivera got right. Hannity may not save Trump from impeachment, but conservative media outlets have protected Trump’s presidency throughout his first term.

They have done so not by winning new allies — his approval numbers remain low with everyone but Republicans — but by ensuring that Republicans in Congress, his real firewall against being removed from office, remain on his side. Nixon needed a Fox News, and he knew it. When he won the presidency in 1968, he was not in a strong position. He’d led the popular vote by less than 1 percent, Democrats held both houses of Congress, and Nixon was convinced that the press corps was against him. He believed two things were necessary to fully exercise the powers of his new office: a strong, loyal Republican Party and a pro-Nixon media. Getting the party on his side wasn’t hard. Nixon had earned a reputation as a party man throughout the 1960s. After losing his bid for president in 1960 and California governor in 1962, he went back out on the campaign trail in 1964 and 1966, stumping for every Republican who would have him. He did the same as president — with one exception. In 1970, despite angling to support Republican candidates across the country, he turned on New York’s Republican Sen. Charles Goodell (father of NFL owner Roger Goodell).

He threw his support instead behind James Buckley, who ran as a member of the Conservative Party and who ultimately unseated Goodell.  Goodell’s sin? Speaking out against the Vietnam War. Nixon wanted Republicans in office, but they had to be loyal. The other thing Nixon wanted was his own media outlet. Believing most mainstream outlets were in the tank for the Democrats, he was keenly interested in developing an alternative Republican news source. His administration had explored the idea of GOP-TV with future Fox News founder Roger Ailes, who at the time was a political media consultant. GOP-TV would create pro-administration segments and mail them out to local outlets across the country (a model that was more like Sinclair Broadcasting’s than Fox News’s). At the same time, conservative activists were also developing a scheme for a corporate takeover of CBS, hoping to transform it into a right-wing network. Neither of those projects worked, and as the Watergate crisis mounted, Nixon was in a precarious position. Yes, he had won reelection in a historic landslide. But his propaganda machine never had much power. Conservative media, such as it was, aggressively supported Nixon throughout the crisis, but it was simply not powerful enough to reshape the emerging consensus around administration wrongdoing or to keep Republican officeholders in line. Outlets like National Review stood by Nixon’s side, spinning every possible defense against impeachment, but they made very little impact. The dam broke; Republicans jumped ship; Nixon’s presidency ran aground. At the beginning of his impeachment inquiry, Trump is in a very different place. He has a powerful propaganda system and a devoted Republican Party, from the base to the leaders in Congress.

Hannity has promoted conspiracy theories, such as casting doubt on Barack Obama's birthplace and the murder of Seth Rich, and falsehoods, including untrue accounts about Hillary Clinton's health. He was an early supporter of Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. Since Trump's election, Hannity has often acted as a conduit for Trump's messaging, criticizing the media and attacking the special counsel inquiry. He speaks to the president on the phone most weeknights, has spoken at the president's lectern during a Trump rally and White House advisors have characterized him as the "shadow" chief-of-staff. According to Forbes, by 2018 Hannity had become one of the most-watched hosts in cable news and most-listened-to hosts in talk radio due to his closeness and access to President Donald Trump.

By Kat Tenbarge

The Sunday morning slate didn't have very many defenders of President Donald Trump. There were no appearances by any members of the Trump administration on the Sunday morning political shows, but a few GOP members did make it on the air, including Senator Ron Johnson from Wisconsin. In a fiery back-and-forth with NBC's "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd, Johnson reversed the stance he held at a constituent event in his home state on Friday. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Trump blocked Johnson in August from telling Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky that US aid was on its way, at the same time that the president was appealing to Zelensky to investigate his potential 2020 contender Joe Biden. "I was surprised by the president's reaction and realized we had a sales job to do," Johnson said, indicating that the president was using the aid package as a bargaining tool for his political purposes. "I tried to convince him to give me the authority to tell President Zelensky that we were going to provide that. Now, I didn't succeed." On "Meet the Press," Johnson instead pushed a conspiracy theory that members of the FBI and CIA are conspiring to bring down Trump with investigations into his conduct and that the press was pushing a false narrative that Trump was digging up dirt on his 2020 opponent.

A Trump identity crisis at Fox as Hannity frets, Lachlan Murdoch prepares for a post-Trump future, Paul Ryan whispers in Rupert’s ear, and Shep Smith and Tucker Carlson trade blows.
By Gabriel Sherman

In public, Donald Trump’s allies are putting on a brave face, repeating talking points, mostly staying on message. But in private, there are few who believe that the allegations leveled by an intelligence agency whistle-blower that Trump abused American foreign policy to leverage Ukraine into investigating Joe Biden won’t result in considerable damage—if not the complete unraveling of his presidency. “I don’t see how they don’t impeach,” a former West Wing official told me today. “This could unwind very fast, and I mean in days,” a prominent Republican said. Trump’s final bulwark is liable to be his first one: Fox News. Fox controls the flow of information—what facts are, whether allegations are to be believed—to huge swaths of his base. And Republican senators, who will ultimately decide whether the president remains in office, are in turn exquisitely sensitive to the opinions of Trump’s base. But even before the whistle-blower’s revelations, Fox was having something of a Trump identity crisis, and that bulwark has been wavering. In recent weeks, Trump has bashed Fox News on Twitter, taking particular issue lately with its polling, which, like other reputable polls, has shown the president under significant water. Meanwhile, Trump’s biggest booster seems to be having doubts of his own. This morning, Sean Hannity told friends the whistle-blower’s allegations are “really bad,” a person briefed on Hannity’s conversations told me. (Hannity did not respond to a request for comment). And according to four sources, Fox Corp CEO Lachlan Murdoch is already thinking about how to position the network for a post-Trump future. A person close to Lachlan told me that Fox News has been the highest rated cable network for seventeen years, and “the success has never depended on any one administration.” (A Fox Corp spokesperson declined to comment.) Inside Fox News, tensions over Trump are becoming harder to contain as a long-running cold war between the network’s news and opinion sides turns hot. Fox has often taken a nothing-to-see-here approach to Trump scandals, but impeachment is a different animal. “It’s management bedlam,” a Fox staffer told me. “This massive thing happened, and no one knows how to cover it.” The schism was evident this week as a feud erupted between afternoon anchor Shepard Smith and prime-time host Tucker Carlson. It started Tuesday when Fox legal analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano told Smith on-air that Trump committed a “crime” by pressuring Ukraine’s president to get dirt on Biden. That night, Carlson brought on former Trump lawyer Joe diGenova, who called Napolitano a “fool” for claiming Trump broke the law. Yesterday, Smith lashed back, calling Carlson “repugnant” for not defending Napolitano on air. (Trump himself is said to turn off Fox at 3 p.m., when Shep Smith airs.) Seeking to quell the internecine strife before it carried into a third day, Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott and president Jay Wallace communicated to Smith this morning to stop attacking Carlson, a person briefed on the conversation said. “They said if he does it again, he’s off the air,” the source said. (Fox News spokesperson Irena Briganti denied that management had any direct conversation with Smith).

His colleagues, however, firmly defended the president, calling any impeachment talks “ridiculous.”
By Justin Baragona

The Daily Beast - Fox News’ Steve Doocy has now drawn a line in the sand when it comes to President Donald Trump seeking assistance from a foreign leader in the upcoming election. We’ll see how long it will stand. During Tuesday’s broadcast of Trump’s favorite morning talk show Fox & Friends, Doocy declared that it would be “really off-the-rails wrong” if the president offered a quid pro quo in exchange for the Ukrainian government opening an investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

In the wake of a blockbuster Washington Post report that revealed Trump ordered to withhold nearly $400 million of military aid to Ukraine days before he pushed the Ukrainian president to investigate the Bidens, Doocy said that the freeze of money “doesn’t look like good timing” before offering up a defense for Trump. “But Fox News has confirmed that apparently the president wanted to make sure that the new president of Ukraine understood that if you are going to get this money, we really want you to end corruption before we give you that dough,” he added. “Then there are other stories out about whether or not other allies and other countries were actually kicking in as much money as they should on the world stage.” Co-hosts Brian Kilmeade and Ainsley Earhardt then rallied to the president’s side, stating that they do not have a “problem with the timing” of the withholding of aid and claiming that “it’s ridiculous” for House Democrats to be discussing impeachment over this. Doocy, meanwhile, acknowledged that there should be a scenario that they can all agree is inappropriate. “If the president said, I will give you the money but you have got to investigate Joe Biden, that is really off-the-rails wrong,” he stated. “But if it’s something else, you know, it would be nice to know what it is.”

By Lisette Voytko - Forbes Staff

Topline: Fox News came under heavy criticism after conservatives on the network criticized 16-year-old climate change activist Greta Thunberg, with one guest calling her “mentally ill” and host Laura Ingraham roasted on Twitter by her own brother after comparing Thunberg to one of the evil spawns of Children of the Corn. Fox News apologized Tuesday for pundit and Daily Wire podcast host Michael Knowles who, while appearing on The Story Monday night, called Thunberg a “mentally ill Swedish child.” Knowles seemed to be erroneously suggesting that Thunberg’s autism (which she had referred to as her “superpower”) is a mental illness.

Fox issued an apology to multiple outlets, stating: “The comment made by Michael Knowles, who was a guest on The Story tonight, was disgraceful—we apologize to Greta Thunberg and to our viewers.” Buzzfeed News also reported that Fox News stated it had “no plans” to book Knowles for future shows. Autism advocacy organizations issued condemnations. National Autistic Society tweeted that it was “unbelievable & shameful.” The Autism Society also called it “shameful to issue a derogatory statement to a youth advocate.” The Autistic Self Advocacy Network told the Hollywood Reporter it was “unconscionable to attack someone for their disability, especially when that person is a child.” Later in the evening, Fox host Laura Ingraham compared Thunberg’s appearance to that of the homicidal fundamentalist youths in Stephen King’s Children of the Corn. Ingraham’s brother Curtis Ingraham responded, writing:  “I can no longer apologize for a sibling who I no longer recognize.” Tangent: President Trump also took note of Thunberg Monday, referring to her as “a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future.” Thunberg responded by making that her Twitter bio.

CNN Anderson Cooper 360 - CNN's Anderson Cooper points out the irony of White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham's latest comments on "Fox and Friends."

Fox News has always been partisan. But has it become propaganda?
By Jane Mayer

In January, during the longest government shutdown in America’s history, President Donald Trump rode in a motorcade through Hidalgo County, Texas, eventually stopping on a grassy bluff overlooking the Rio Grande. The White House wanted to dramatize what Trump was portraying as a national emergency: the need to build a wall along the Mexican border. The presence of armored vehicles, bales of confiscated marijuana, and federal agents in flak jackets underscored the message. But the photo op dramatized something else about the Administration. After members of the press pool got out of vans and headed over to where the President was about to speak, they noticed that Sean Hannity, the Fox News host, was already on location.

Unlike them, he hadn’t been confined by the Secret Service, and was mingling with Administration officials, at one point hugging Kirstjen Nielsen, the Secretary of Homeland Security. The pool report noted that Hannity was seen “huddling” with the White House communications director, Bill Shine. After the photo op, Hannity had an exclusive on-air interview with Trump. Politico later reported that it was Hannity’s seventh interview with the President, and Fox’s forty-second. Since then, Trump has given Fox two more. He has granted only ten to the three other main television networks combined, and none to CNN, which he denounces as “fake news.” Hannity was treated in Texas like a member of the Administration because he virtually is one. The same can be said of Fox’s chairman, Rupert Murdoch.

Fox has long been a bane of liberals, but in the past two years many people who watch the network closely, including some Fox alumni, say that it has evolved into something that hasn’t existed before in the United States. Nicole Hemmer, an assistant professor of Presidential studies at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center and the author of “Messengers of the Right,” a history of the conservative media’s impact on American politics, says of Fox, “It’s the closest we’ve come to having state TV.” Hemmer argues that Fox—which, as the most watched cable news network, generates about $2.7 billion a year for its parent company, 21st Century Fox—acts as a force multiplier for Trump, solidifying his hold over the Republican Party and intensifying his support. “Fox is not just taking the temperature of the base—it’s raising the temperature,” she says. “It’s a radicalization model.”

For both Trump and Fox, “fear is a business strategy—it keeps people watching.” As the President has been beset by scandals, congressional hearings, and even talk of impeachment, Fox has been both his shield and his sword. The White House and Fox interact so seamlessly that it can be hard to determine, during a particular news cycle, which one is following the other’s lead. All day long, Trump retweets claims made on the network; his press secretary, Sarah Sanders, has largely stopped holding press conferences, but she has made some thirty appearances on such shows as “Fox & Friends” and “Hannity.” Trump, Hemmer says, has “almost become a programmer.”

CNN Reliable Sources - Hosts and guests on Fox News are questioning Joe Biden's "senility" and strength. Julie Roginsky, a former Fox contributor, says "everything that Shawn Hannity and everyone else has said about Biden applies to Trump times a thousand. And yet, that's never pointed out."  

By Bill McCarthy

Fox News host Tucker Carlson celebrated the departure of former national security adviser John Bolton, saying the moustachioed war hawk was actually a lefty. "If you’re wondering why so many progressives are mourning Bolton’s firing tonight, it’s because Bolton himself fundamentally was a man of the left," Carlson said Sept. 10 on his show. Carlson said Bolton was "one of the most progressive people in the Trump administration" and alleged that he "promoted Obama loyalists within the National Security Council." "There was not a human problem John Bolton wasn’t totally convinced could be solved with the brute force of government," Carlson said. "That’s an assumption of the left, not the right." "Don’t let the moustache fool you," he added. But it’s Carlson’s claims about the former national security adviser that are ridiculous. (Fox News did not respond to requests for comment.)

A lifelong conservative: First, a note about ideologies: In the United States, we tend to associate the terms "left" and "right" with the Democratic and the Republican Parties, respectively. In that context, Carlson’s claim is "nonsense," said William LeoGrande, professor of government at American University, who previously served on staff for the Senate Democratic policy committee and the House Democratic caucus task force on Central America. "Obviously it’s is wrong if you’re defining it in terms of Democratic versus Republican politics," added Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, chief executive officer of Valens Global, a counter-terrorism consulting firm, and a former advisor for the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Community Partnerships under both President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump. "There’s no question that, based on the American political context, he would be considered a man of the right," Gartenstein-Ross said.  

It’s not a matter of opinion, but Fox News treats it as such.
By Aaron Rupar

During a Friday morning interview on Fox & Friends, Donald Trump Jr. was asked if the Trump family is profiting off his office. He responded by lying. The question really isn’t a matter of opinion. The fact of the matter is that following Donald Trump’s precedent-breaking decision not to divest from his business interests, the Trump family is financially benefitting from his office — not necessarily intentionally, but benefitting nevertheless. Trump has claimed he loses “billions of dollars” as president, but there’s no evidence that’s true. Meanwhile, Trump’s most recent financial disclosures reveal the Trump International Hotel alone made him nearly $41 million alone last year. But, on Fox & Friends, Trump Jr. flatly denied reality. “Are you guys benefitting financially from the president holding office?” host Brian Kilmeade asked him. “It’s ridiculous,” Trump Jr. responded.

“We voluntarily stopped doing any international deals. Just think of the opportunity cost.” Trump Jr.’s claim about how the Trump Organization has “stopped doing any international deals” is dubious — recent reports indicate they’ve actually been working on an “aggressive global expansion.” But facing no pushback from hosts, Trump Jr. went on to downplay the significance of people spending money at the president’s hotels, echoing a talking point his father used in response to a similar question earlier this week. “They talk, ‘someone bought a cheeseburger at the Trump hotel!’ It’s asinine,” Trump Jr. said. Fox & Friends’ interview with Trump Jr. came while multiple stories about the president profiting off his office are swirling in the news cycle. During a recent diplomatic trip, Vice President Mike Pence and his entourage went far out of their way to stay at one of the president’s resorts during a diplomatic trip to Ireland.

The Air Force has increasingly been stopping at an airport in Scotland close to another Trump property for refueling stops, with personnel then staying overnight at a nearby Trump property. Attorney General William Barr was recently in the news for spending $30,000 on a holiday party at the Trump International Hotel. And on Thursday night, Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke at an event at the hotel organized by one of the president’s paying customers. During yet another speech at the Trump International on Friday, Pompeo even pretended in a joking way to not know who owns the hotel.

By Oliver Darcy, CNN Business

New York (CNN Business) - A federal appeals court on Friday revived a lawsuit filed against Fox News by the parents of Seth Rich, a Democratic National Committee staffer whose unsolved murder became the basis for conspiracy theories on the far-right. "We would not wish what we have experienced upon any other parent -- anywhere," the Riches said in a statement provided to CNN. "We appreciate the appellate court's ruling and look forward to continuing to pursue justice." The parents, Joel and Mary Rich, filed a lawsuit in March 2018 against Fox News, one of the network's reporters, and a Texas businessman. The lawsuit said that Malia Zimmerman, the Fox News reporter named in the lawsuit, worked with Ed Butowsky, the Texas businessman, to develop a "sham" story about Rich's death that Fox News published online in May 2017 and referenced on-air multiple times. The Rich family sought compensation for "mental anguish and emotional distress, emotional pain and suffering, and any other physical and mental injuries."

The complaint argued that actions taken by the defendants "were so outrageous in character and so extreme in degree as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency and are atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized community." But Judge George B. Daniels of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed the case in its entirety in August 2018. Daniels wrote in his opinion that he had granted the motion to dismiss the lawsuit over the plaintiffs' "failure to state a claim." However, on Friday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overturned Daniels' decision. The appeals court said that upon review, it determined that the lawsuit contained "sufficient facts" to survive a motion to dismiss the lawsuit based on failure to state a claim. To that end, the appeals court ordered proceedings to continue in the lawsuit. Lenny Gail, an attorney representing the Rich family, said in a statement, "This decision now clears the way for a thorough investigation into the facts. We will now obtain documents from Fox News and other parties and take testimony under oath from those involved." Fox News released a statement expressing confidence in its case, despite the legal setback Friday.  

Both the “news” and opinion sides at Fox downplay or ignore stories about Wilbur Ross, the NOAA, and government officials staying at Trump properties
Written by John Whitehouse, Research contributions from Rob Savillo

A number of stories in the past few weeks point to corruption in President Donald Trump’s administration. But you wouldn’t know much about them from watching Fox News. Pence and Doonbeg: During a recent trip to Ireland, Vice President Mike Pence stayed at Trump’s resort in Doonbeg even though his meetings were in Dublin, hours away from the resort. Pence’s chief of staff told the press that Trump suggested Pence could stay at the resort; Trump later claimed he had “nothing to do with” it. Pence has visited Trump properties multiple times in the past. The news of Pence’s stay at Doonbeg broke September 2. A Media Matters review shows that Fox has mentioned the story just four times on since then, for a total of 2 minutes and 33 seconds. Two of those four mentions were on the afternoon of Saturday, September 7. Military spending at Turnberry On September 6, Politico reported about a letter from the House oversight committee regarding an Air National Guard crew rooming at Trump’s Turnberry resort in Scotland during a stop on its way to deliver supplies in Kuwait. Politico stated these incidents “raise the possibility that the military has helped keep Trump’s Turnberry resort afloat — the property lost $4.5 million in 2017, but revenue went up $3 million in 2018.” Politico subsequently reported on September 9 that Air Force crews have stayed at Trump’s resort at least four times since September 2018. This Turnberry story has been covered on Fox News in three segments for a total of just 2 minutes and 3 seconds. One minute and two seconds of that was on Justice with Judge Jeanine, during a segment in which host Jeanine Pirro and guest Dan Bongino complained about a tweet from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) calling for Trump’s impeachment following the story. The details of the report were never mentioned and were only visible thanks to Fox’s screenshot of Ocasio-Cortez’s quote tweet of Politico reporter Natasha Bertrand.

Special Programs Abortion Rights & Reproductive Health
Written by Media Matters Staff

Fox News host Tucker Carlson returned to his program tonight after a seeming cooling off period, and already he’s falling back into old habits: spreading anti-abortion misinformation. One day after sparking outrage for downplaying white nationalist violence on August 6 in the wake of several mass shootings, Carlson took a conveniently timed break from hosting Tucker Carlson Tonight. The move seemed an attempt at damage control, providing the network a chance to reassure advertisers -- which Carlson’s time slot is hemorrhaging -- that it’s safe to associate their brands with Fox.

But Carlson proved the opposite to be true in his first night back, once again relying on sensationalized anti-abortion misinformation to rile up his base. During his August 19 show, Carlson promoted a piece of anti-abortion legislation, saying it’s necessary to protect infants “born alive” after attempted abortions. Experts agree this legislation is unnecessary for numerous reasons, including that the situation rarely (if ever) happens and that appropriate care is already provided. These alleged “born alive” abortions are actually a concept invented by anti-choice groups to spark fear -- a tactic Carlson modeled when he claimed that if there were “dozens or hundreds” of cases of this phenomenon “that would make botched abortions more common than deaths from mass shootings.” Carlson is no stranger to anti-abortion misinformation -- nor is Fox overall. But given the frequency with which the network airs similar talking points on programming across the artificial divide of its “news” and opinion shows, the message to advertisers should be loud and clear.

Written by Eric Kleefeld

Fox News hosts have begun the next round of gaslighting in President Donald Trump’s tariff war with China: There isn’t even any tariff revenue at all, they say — and consumers won’t be paying any price for it. The discussion came up on the Fox News daytime program Outnumbered, involving the latest Washington Post/ABC News Poll and its findings that women heavily disapprove of Trump’s overall job performance — and that a narrow majority of this key demographic also think the current state of the economy is in a negative shape. “They've been told over and over again by the media that this is going to raise the price of goods,” said Fox Business anchor Melissa Francis, sitting in on the main Fox News channel. “And even the administration has said, ‘We've taken in all this extra revenue because of the tariffs,’ and we say that's Americans paying for it. I want to see those numbers, though, because I'm deeply suspicious about that tariff money that’s come in.” In fact, according to a report from Fox Business itself a day ago, U.S. importers already paid a record $6.8 billion in tariffs just this past July, a cost in supplies that is “forcing many business owners to choose between raising prices and laying off workers.” Furthermore, Francis and her fellow Fox Business anchor Dagen McDowell even cast doubt on some of the most basic economic orthodoxy: that the tariffs cause consumer prices on the targeted goods to go up.  

Five suspects arrested since Carlson's declaration
Written by Eric Kleefeld

Fox News host Tucker Carlson has insisted that white supremacist violence is not a pressing issue in America. But such a declaration doesn’t seem to have stopped actual white supremacists in several instances of apparent domestic terror plots that have been thwarted by authorities in just the past two weeks. On the August 6 edition of Tucker Carlson Tonight — broadcast just days after a suspected gunman killed 22 people at a Walmart in El Paso, TX, and after the gunman allegedly posted a white nationalist manifesto online — Carlson declared that it was a “lie” that white supremacy is even an urgent problem in America. “If you were to assemble a list, a hierarchy of concerns of problems this country faces, where would white supremacy be on the list?” Carlson asked rhetorically. “Right up there with Russia, probably. … Just like the Russia hoax, it's a conspiracy theory used to divide the country and keep a hold on power. That's exactly what's going on.” Since that statement, however, multiple suspects have been arrested on charges related to plotting attacks motivated by white nationalism:

NowThis News

Does Fox News have a double standard when it comes to the First Lady of the United States? Here's how Fox News' coverage of former First Lady Michelle Obama compares to their coverage of current FLOTUS Melania Trump.

Fox News

Mueller report set to be released to Congress with legally-mandated redactions. #Hannity #FoxNews

CBS Sunday Morning

On "CBS Sunday Morning," senior contributor Ted Koppel tells Fox News' Sean Hannity that he is bad for America because he has "attracted people who are determined that ideology is more important than facts."

A media scholar on the dangerous evolution of Fox News.
By Sean Illing

Fox News has always been a partisan news network. But people are increasingly questioning whether it has crossed a line in the Trump era and become an outright propaganda operation. A recent piece by the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer is the latest to pose this question. Back in 2017, the New Republic’s Alex Shephard floated a similar argument, writing that “Donald Trump is treating Fox News like state TV.” Even Bret Baier, a lead anchor at Fox News, addressed the claims in a 2018 interview with the New Yorker, saying it “pains” him to hear that the cable news channel has become “state TV” for the Trump administration. There’s plenty of evidence to support the argument. Trump constantly watches Fox News, tweets out claims he hears on the network, reportedly speaks regularly with Sean Hannity, and gives the majority of his interviews to Fox News. World leaders as well as members of Congress quickly learned that one of the best ways to communicate a message to Trump is to say it on Fox News. To top it off, Trump’s previous director of communications and deputy chief of staff, Bill Shine, is the former co-president of Fox News. Shine’s presence at the White House [Shine has recently departed the White House], along with Trump’s ties to on-air personalities like Hannity, Lou Dobbs, and Jeanine Pirro, all but cemented the unofficial relationship between Trump and the right-wing news network.

The cable news channel has poisoned political discourse from the moment it went on the air.
By Eric Alterman

Thanks to an article by The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, Fox News will not host any primary debates for the Democratic presidential candidates in the coming election season. As Tom Perez, chair of the Democratic National Committee, explained in a statement to The Washington Post: “Recent reporting in The New Yorker on the inappropriate relationship between President Trump, his administration, and Fox News has led me to conclude that the network is not in a position to host a fair and neutral debate for our candidates.” The decision is the correct one, even if the reasoning is off-kilter—as is typical for leaders of the Democratic Party. The problem is not with Mayer’s characteristically compelling reporting. It’s with the framing of both her article and Perez’s decision. Mayer’s piece ran with the subhead “Fox News has always been partisan. But has it become propaganda?” The problem with this question is that Fox News has always been propaganda, ever since it first went on the air in October 1996.

Retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters, who recently left Fox News and Fox Business News after 10 years as a strategic and military analyst, tells CNN's Anderson Cooper he is convinced Russian President Vladimir Putin "has a grip" on President Donald Trump

Anti-Muslim bigotry on Fox News is no accident -- it’s policy.
Written by Madeline Peltz

Fox’s Jeanine Pirro, host of Justice with Judge Jeanine, recently admitted on a hot mic that the network had recently suspended her. Pirro was referring to when her show was off the air for two weeks after she made bigoted comments about Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), questioning her ability to be faithful to the Constitution because she wears a hijab. Fox News had put out a statement condemning the remarks but never acknowledged that Pirro was officially disciplined. It’s not just Pirro, however, who has a history of making anti-Muslim attacks. (She once called for mass murder of radical Islamists.) For nearly two decades, Fox personalities have spewed naked anti-Muslim hatred -- and Omar is just their latest target.

Fox’s unsuccessful effort to keep Pirro’s suspension quiet underscores the reality that not only are the executives aware that anti-Muslim and other bigotry on Fox goes beyond just one personality or an occasional opening monologue, but also that they’re using this rhetoric as a strategy to generate ratings. Fox executives likely did not disclose that they disciplined Pirro because then they would have faced pressure to address equally offensive comments attacking Omar and other Muslims made by hosts like Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson. In the context of Fox’s programming, Pirro’s racism hardly stands out. In May, Carlson labeled Omar “a symbol of America’s failed immigration system” and “someone who hates this country.” Months later, he escalated his rhetoric and called her a “living fire alarm” and “living proof that the way we practice immigration has become dangerous to this country.” Arguably, these comments were equally if not more offensive than Pirro’s, and they were widely condemned at the time. But the network stood behind Carlson, who responded to the outcry by doubling down.   

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
Side by side, Fox News’s and North Korean State TV’s reverence for their countries’ respective leaders is pretty telling.

Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, a former Fox News military analyst who left after accusing the network of "assaulting our constitutional order and the rule of law," talks to CNN's Brian Stelter about his views on President Trump's impact on the country.

Financial Times

CBC News

Fox News media critic, Howard Kurtz speaks to CBC The Weekly’s Wendy Mesley about the network’s cozy relationship to Donald Trump. Kurtz’s new book Media Madness criticizes the media for what Kurtz believes is a bias against Trump.

Joy Reid’s guests observe that certain news outlets are increasingly telegraphing what many would call right-wing propaganda over objective reports.

This is why Trump loves 'Fox & Friends'
CNN Business
CNN's Tom Kludt explains the symbiotic relationship between President Trump and "Fox & Friends."

In social media posts, the suspected synagogue shooter railed against immigrants as "invaders," a term that has been used by President Trump and Fox News repeatedly.

Sean Hannity appeared on stage at a Trump rally before the midterm elections. It's the latest example of Fox News’ transformation from right-wing news network into full-on Republican campaign operation.

Fox News (officially, Fox News Channel, FNC and informally known as Fox) is an American basic cable and satellite television channel. During its time on the air, it has been the subject of several controversies, allegations and firings.

‘Russian TV is trying to scare us,’ the in-house network physician said, cutting off a disinformation campaign the Kremlin is pushing to carve out space for its own tech.
By Kevin Poulsen

Fox News host Tucker Carlson devoted part of his show Tuesday to scaring Americans about possible health risks in 5G mobile technology, picking up a Russian disinformation thread pushed heavily on the RT network. “Are 5G networks safe?” Carlson asked. “Physically, medically safe? There’s some debate about that.” There’s really not. But, as The New York Times reported at length less than two weeks ago, the Kremlin-controlled RT America network has been working feverishly to convince U.S. consumers that a “5G Apocalypse” is coming, claiming falsely that the higher frequency radio signals used in 5G cause everything from cancer to nosebleeds to autism.

   Tucker Carlson and guest expert explain that adverse health effects of 5G technology have not been fully studied and are still unknown. Personally, Li-Fi seems much safer and has an even higher bandwidth than does 5G. pic.twitter.com/i1gAE6LB0K
   — Jordan Older (@JordanOlder_) May 22, 2019

If Vladimir Putin can convince enough Americans that 5G technology will kill them, it might put a drag on U.S. adoption, research, and investment, and make a little space for Russia in a high-stakes geoeconomic technology race where China and the U.S. have the greatest advantage. Some RT video titles—including “5G Wireless: A Dangerous ‘Experiment on Humanity’”;  “How to Survive Dangers of 5G”; “Totally Insane’: Telecom Industry Ignores 5G Dangers” —have parroted that overheated scaremongering.

Is FOX News a news organization or the propaganda wing of the Republican Party? YES Fox News (Fake News) is the propaganda wing of the Republican party, Fox News uses lies, distraction, fake news, alterative facts and propaganda to protect and promote the Republican party.

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