Fox News on a witch hunt for Obama "czars"

››› ››› ADAM SHAH & GREG LEWIS

On September 8, Fox News host Megyn Kelly stated that "more of President Obama's special advisers are now under scrutiny after the resignation of his green jobs czar," Van Jones and described "criticisms" being lodged against Obama science and technology adviser John Holdren and Obama nominee Cass Sunstein. In fact, Fox News personalities have been leading the charge against Jones, Holdren, Sunstein, and other Obama administration officials and nominees they have described as "czars" -- often by unearthing and criticizing statements the officials had made in the past rather than critiquing their job performance or credentials for those positions -- with Sean Hannity, for example, declaring that "my job starting tomorrow night is to get rid of every other ['czar']."

Kelly: Obama "advisers are now under scrutiny" following Van Jones resignation

From the September 8 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:

KELLY: Well, more of Obama's special advisers are now under scrutiny following the resignation of his green jobs czar.

[...]

KELLY: And now ,questions are being asked about his so-called science czar, John Holdren. Now, he is under fire for a textbook discussing population control policies like forced sterilization and mandatory abortion.

Beck led the charge against Van Jones

Beck falsely accused Van Jones of being a "convicted felon ... who spent, I think, six months in prison after the Rodney King beating." As Eva Paterson, president and founder of the Equal Justice Society, has explained, "Van [Jones] has never served time in any prison. He has never been convicted of any crime." On August 11, Beck said (transcript from the Nexis database):

BECK: We've spent some time over here. There is so much more to cover, but I want to talk to you about the green movement root. I couldn't figure out why the green movement -- here is Van Jones. This is a convicted felon, a guy who spent, I think, six months in prison after the Rodney King beating.

He was a black nationalist. He came out an anarchist and a communist. He then found the green movement was the new red. And now, he's our green jobs czar. Why is there so much money from the green movement, fund for public interest?

Beck: "Do we want communists in the United States government as special advisers to the president?" On the September 1 edition of his Fox News program, Beck aired a clip of Jones stating, "This movement is deeper than a solar panel, deeper than a solar panel. Don't stop there. Don't stop there. No, we're going to change the whole system. We're going to change the whole thing." Beck then commented in part: "When will you wake up? I know there are good, decent people -- left and right, Democrats and Republicans -- that watch this program. How much more evidence do you need that we have radicals in the White House? Oh, we haven't even begun. If you think you need more, we need to -- at least in this country -- start having the necessary discussion of: Do we want communists in the United States government as special advisers to the president?"

Beck warns companies away from Jones: "[Y]ou better wake the hell up soon, because you're in bed with communists." On the September 2 edition of his radio show, discussing Jones' interactions with business leaders, Beck stated: "I know greed plays a big role in today's companies, but companies, you better wake the hell up soon, because you're in bed with communists, and that never really works out well for the whole 'I'm a capitalist company' kind of thing."

Beck said that Jones' place in the Obama administration "says that the president has an agenda that is radical, revolutionary, and in some cases, Marxist." From the September 3 edition of Glenn Beck (transcript from the Nexis database):

BECK: During the campaign, the president said, "If you want to know what my policies are, you have to look to the people I surround myself with." So, I did.

Van Jones. Van Jones -- he is our green jobs czar. He said the same thing, except he said, quote, "Personnel is policy." Well, what does that tell you? Well, in the case of Van Jones, and several others in this administration, it says that the president has an agenda that is radical, revolutionary, and in some cases, Marxist.

We have laid this case out before you and for several weeks, and we didn't just tell you these things, we showed you the video in their own words. But, for the last 24 hours, everybody in the media has been talking about Van Jones and what he said about the Republicans. Apparently, what has captured the attention of so many people since we played this video yesterday is the fact that Van Jones called the Republicans a naughty name in February of this year. Well, Van Jones has apologized. He's sorry. He said the "A" word about Republicans.

He's not sorry, however -- let me show you. He's sorry about calling the Republicans this, but he's not sorry at all about these things -- that he's a self-avowed communist. Not sorry about that. That he says that we need a whole new system -- no apology. No apology for his freeing -- what was that guy's name, Mumia Abu-Jamal, the communist cop killer in Philadelphia.

Beck attacks on Jones follow ad boycott of Beck's show led by group Jones founded. Many of Beck's attacks on Jones occurred after ColorofChange.org -- a group co-founded by Jones -- initiated a campaign calling on Beck's Fox News advertisers to stop sponsoring his show. The campaign came in response to Beck's claim that Obama is a "racist" who "has a deep-seeded hatred for white people." According to the group, 62 companies have stated that they will no longer advertise on Beck's show.

After Jones resignation, Fox personalities list other targets

Glenn Beck urged followers to "Find everything you can on Cass Sunstein, Mark Lloyd, and Carol Browner." From Beck's Twitter feed:

beck

Fox Business' Eric Bolling: "Van Jones resigns ... How about J Holdren Science Czar (mass sterilization) and Cass Susstein [sic]." From Bolling's Twitter feed:

bolling

Sean Hannity: "We got rid of one [czar], and my job, starting tomorrow night is to get rid of every other one. I promise you that." As the Think Progress blog noted, at a September 7 rally in West Virginia, Hannity said:

HANNITY: Do you want another czar?

CROWD: No!

HANNITY: I don't think so. By the way, we got one -- we got rid of one, and my job starting tomorrow night is to get rid of every other one. I promise you that.

Fox personalities repeatedly attacked "czars," Obama administration officials

Hannity falsely claims Holdren "advocated compulsory abortion" On the September 8 edition of his Fox News show, Sean Hannity forwarded the false conservative talking point -- which PolitiFact.com gave "Pants on Fire" status -- that White House science and technology adviser John Holdren "advocated compulsory abortion" and "spoke out in defense of compulsory abortion and sterilization." In fact, Holdren never "advocated" for any kind of involuntary birth control; he co-authored an environmental sciences book more than 30 years ago that discusses "compulsory control of family size" including abortion and sterilization as a possible consequence for countries whose expanding birth rates are not curbed by "milder methods."

Beck: "Cass Sunstein and John Holdren and Mark Lloyd and the list goes on and on" are "radical[s]."

BECK: This guy is still a radical -- just like Cass Sunstein and John Holdren and Carol Browner and Mark Lloyd and the list goes on and on and on.

Now, some in the White House may be uncomfortable calling these individuals radicals or revolutionaries or communists, but I'm not. I'm not. The best thing I can do is ask you, America, are you comfortable with their viewpoints? [Fox News' Glenn Beck, 8/31/09]

After mentioning Wright and Ayers, Beck suggests Holdren supports "forced abortions," attacks Sunstein for "want[ing] animals to be able to sue you in court."

BECK: In 20 years at Jeremiah Wright's church, Obama only ever heard the pastor talk about rain-colored -- you know, rainbow-colored unicorns. William Ayers, co-founder of the domestic terror group the Weather Underground -- Obama says, "I was really young when all that happened. I didn't know that he was blowing stuff up."

For the love of Pete! He said a friend introduced them. You're going over to a guy who was a terrorist, who blew up the Pentagon. Do you not tell your friend that you're going to introduce him to -- do you not say, "By the way, don't say anything about blowing up buildings. He kind of did some stuff."

You didn't know that? You didn't know about Rashid Khalidi's compassionate feelings for terrorists. Now, communist Van Jones - didn't know? I don't know. Science czar John Holdren. Is the president for the forced abortions and putting sterilants in the drinking water? How about regulatory czar Cass Sunstein? He wants animals to be able to sue you in court. [Fox News' Glenn Beck, 9/3/09]

Hannity and Malkin attack Ron Bloom, can't decide if he's "manufacturing czar" or "green jobs czar." Beck stated to Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin on September 8, "Michelle, I want to talk to you a little about, first of all, the new guy that was appointed yesterday. What is his name? He's the new green jobs czar." Malkin responded "Ron Bloom." Malkin later called Bloom "a union hatchet man" who decided to "insinuate himself in the business world, understand how their antagonists and enemies work, and then go back into the labor union and use what he knew to shake down and to make them bend to their will." Later that same evening, in a "Land of the Czars" segment, Hannity asserted "Meet Ron Bloom. He is the man President Obama has tapped to be his manufacturing czar." Moments later, Hannity stated: "Now we're going to continue to highlight the revolving door of radicals and lobbyists joining this administration in the days ahead."

On Fox Business Channel, Willard asks if Ron Bloom is "another extreme socialist in our midst." Teasing an upcoming segment on the September 8 edition of Fox Business' Happy Hour, Cody Willard stated: "As one czar leaves another comes in. But will a secret from Ron Bloom's past mean there's yet another extreme socialist in our midst?" During the following segment, Bolling quoted a report that "much of Bloom's early life revolved around Habonim, now known as Habonim Dror, a progressive Labor Zionist youth movement that emphasizes cultural Judaism, socialism and social justice."

Beck calls Carol Browner a "socialist"; Malkin asserts "I have been warning about energy czar Carol Browner since December." During her appearance on Beck on September 8, Malkin also attacked Obama administration official Carol Browner, stating "I have been warning about energy czar Carol Browner since December. I followed her career, her subversion of transparency." On the August 25 edition of his show, Beck called Browner a "socialist" who "ha[s] the ear of the president of the United States" based on Browner's involvement with Socialists International, an international federation of progressive parties that includes the British and Israeli Labor parties as constituent members.

Hannity: "Health reform czar" Nancy-Ann DeParle is a member of "Obama's shadow government" who worked for companies that "were targeted in serious federal investigations." From the July 16 edition of Hannity:

HANNITY: Now it's time once again to take a closer look at one of the many figures in President Obama's shadow government. Let's go now to the "Land of Czars."

All right. Meet Nancy-Ann DeParle, the unconfirmed health reform czar of the Obama administration. Now, this former Clinton aide has been widely criticized for her close ties to corporations in the health care industry. And according to American University, many of the companies that she at one time worked for were targeted in serious federal investigations and accused of kickback schemes and other ethical violations.

Doocy: Obama administration aide Mark Lloyd "has stated that the United States should model its media after Venezuela." On September 8, Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy stated: "[H]ere in this country, Mark Lloyd, who is a controversial chief of diversity -- the officer at the FCC. He has stated that the United States should model its media after Venezuela."

Kelly: Betsy McCaughey has outlined how Ezekiel Emanuel "has got some rather -- some might call them radical proposals for revision to our health care system." On the August 10 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, Kelly asserted of McCaughey: "[S]he outlines how Rahm Emanuel's brother Ezekiel Emanuel has got some rather -- some might call them radical proposals for revision to our health care system." As Media Matters documented, McCaughey actually distorted various passages of Emanuel's writings and interviews by cropping and misrepresenting his remarks -- some of which The New York Times had described in context only days earlier -- to smear him as "Obama's Health Rationer-in-Chief."

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