Fox News has repeatedly promoted a video shot by Republican Congressional candidate Ari David's campaign of what they claim is Representative Xavier Becerra (D-CA) laughing at the recommendation that a meeting he was attending begin with the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Fox News has frequently promoted other campaign videos by Republican candidates, and in some cases, let them raise funds on-air.
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Fox repeatedly promotes David's campaign video and website
Fox Nation: "Congressman Laughs at Pledge?" Fox Nation posted David's video under the headline "Congressman Laughs at Pledge?" The article linked to a February 22 Gateway Pundit post on the video.
FoxNews.com: "Congressman Derided for Laughing at Suggestion to Recite the Pledge of Allegiance." A February 23 FoxNews.com article accused Becerra of being "caught on a YouTube video laughing at a suggestion that the Pledge of Allegiance be recited prior to a union meeting in Los Angeles." According to the article, "[i]f the Pledge of Allegiance is a laughing matter, then the joke may be on" Becerra. The article linked to the YouTube video and included comments by David, who is running against Rep. Henry Waxman in 2012. David "was stunned as an American that one of our members of Congress would act that way." The article also included the Becerra's response, which stated, in part, "[t]he meeting was already under way and the question was unexpected. It took us all by surprise. When the speaker explained that he was serious and asked me specifically if we could say the pledge, I said yes and gestured to the moderator, who then led the entire gathering in reciting the pledge."
Fox Nation and FoxNews.com link to a video with Ari David fundraising pitch. Both the Fox Nation and FoxNews.com articles linked to a YouTube video of the meeting. In the video's description was fundraising information for David's campaign. From YouTube:
Carlson: "Let's talk a little bit about whether or not the Pledge of Allegiance should be a laughing matter." On the February 24 edition of Fox News' Fox and Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson introduced the video by saying, "[L]et's talk a little bit about whether or not the Pledge of Allegiance should be a laughing matter...well it was suggested at a meeting out in California, I believe, recently, and one of the Democratic Representatives Xavier Bacerra, apparently laughed at the suggestion that they should recite the Pledge of Allegiance before they started a union meeting." Steve Doocy called the reaction "pretty extraordinary, from mainly the union members." Doocy later reported that "Congressman Becerra says, 'as soon as I realized that they were asking for the Pledge, I said to the woman who was at the podium, let's go ahead and do it,' and they did it." Despite the fact that the video showed that the Pledge was recited, Carlson wondered if "maybe they needed a teleprompter for it because since we don't allow the Pledge to be said in very many places anymore, maybe people don't know the words anymore."
America's Newsroom host Bill Hemmer tweets link to David video, which included David's fundraising information. On February 24, Hemmer wrote on his Twitter account: "Have u seen this video? Did a Congressman laughed at pledge request? He defends @ 9:45am ET." Hemmer also included a link to the YouTube video, which included David's fundraising information. From Twitter:
Hemmer allows David "last word" which he uses to promote his website. On the February 24 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, host Bill Hemmer hosted Becerra and David to debate the incident. Hemmer allowed David the "last word," which David used as an opportunity to plug his website, saying "if people want to see more footage of [the video] please go to my website, Ari David for Congress.com."
Fox has previously campaigned for GOP and conservative candidates
On Fox, Brown encouraged viewers to visit his campaign website to find out "how to help with donating and volunteering." As Media Matters has documented, in several Fox News appearances during his campaign in the special election for the Massachusetts U.S. Senate seat, Scott Brown pointed viewers to his campaign website, solicited funds for his campaign, and also cited RedInvadesBlue.com, where, he said, "we have a money bomb right now that's hitting ... and you can help me fight back against the machine."
"Political analyst" Morris: "Please, please help" Brown. During the January 11 edition of Hannity, Fox News contributor Dick Morris urged viewers to "go to DickMorris.com ... to help elect Brown," because if "we win this fight, then there will never be another victory for Obama." DickMorris.com included a fundraising plea "to help us raise $300,000 for a last minute media buy to push Brown and the Republicans to victory"; Fox News executives allowed Morris to solicit funds for Republican efforts despite reportedly telling colleague Mike Huckabee to cease conflict-of-interest promotions that help his political action committee.
Fox plays GOP ad attacking Kirk's opponent, compares Kirk favorably to Brown. During its February 3 coverage of the Senate primary in Illinois, Fox News repeatedly aired a National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) "attack ad" targeting Republican candidate Mark Kirk's Democratic opponent, Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias. Fox News also provided Kirk a platform to attack Giannoulias, and repeatedly offered favorable comparisons between Kirk and Brown.
Conservative candidates stump on Fox during lead-up to elections. In the two weeks leading up to the November 3, 2009, elections, Conservative Party congressional candidate Doug Hoffman, New Jersey Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie, and Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell appeared on Fox News and its personalities' radio shows at least 16 times for live interviews lasting a total of 114 minutes and 36 seconds. Christie made at least five appearances totaling almost 37 minutes on Fox News and its personalities' radio shows; McDonnell made at least three appearances totaling 18 minutes; and Hoffman made at least seven appearances totaling almost 60 minutes.
Fox News hosts, political analysts spend Election Day celebrating and shilling for conservatives and GOPers. On November 4, 2009, numerous Fox News hosts and political analysts encouraged voters to donate to, as well as volunteer and vote for GOP and conservative candidates, including Christie, McDonnell, and Hoffman. The Fox News personalities included Mike Huckabee, Sean Hannity, Karl Rove, Newt Gingrich, Tammy Bruce, and Eric Bolling.
Leading up to elections, Fox personalities promoted conservative and GOP candidates and helped fundraise for them. Fox News hosts and analysts offered support for McDonnell, Christie, and Hoffman and their fundraising efforts leading up to the elections. For example, on his November 2, 2009, Fox News show, Hannity told Hoffman, "I hope I'm on the air this time tomorrow night and I'll be able to declare you the winner." On November 3, 2009, on Twitter, Fox News contributor Karl Rove encouraged his followers to donate to the Republican Governors Association in order to help Christie's campaign. On two Fox News shows in October 2009, Huckabee directed viewers to "go to balancecutsave.com," urging them to sign a petition telling Congress to "balance the budget," "cut their spending," and "save American families"; however, balancecutsave.com redirected visitors to Huckabee's political action committee, which financially supports Republican candidates. Subsequently, Huck PAC apparently emailed petition signers -- who were required to provide an email address in order to sign the "balancecutsave" petition -- a "newsletter" urging political action on behalf of Republican-backed candidates Bob McDonnell, David Harmer, and Doug Hoffman.