Beck's promotion of King's anti-health care reform protest latest example of Fox News activism
Research ››› ››› GREG LEWIS
On Glenn Beck's radio program, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) announced a March 20 Capitol Hill rally to protest the health care reform bill, which Beck urged his listeners to attend. In past months, Beck and other Fox News personalities have promoted other rallies for conservative causes and regularly engaged in right-wing advocacy, functioning as the communications arm of the Republican Party.
Beck promotes latest rally to protest health care reform
Beck hosted Rep. King, who announced March 20 rally on Capitol Hill. During the March 18 edition of his radio show, Glenn Beck gave King a platform to announce a "huge" anti-health care reform rally that would take place on March 20 on Capitol Hill. King stated: "We can beat them if we fill this capitol city up full of patriotic Americans. If tens of thousands pour into this city again, like they have done numerous times before -- pack this Capitol, jam this Capitol, surround the place, don't let anybody in or anybody out -- they will have to capitulate." King explained that he had requested a permit for a "huge press conference" at noon on March 20, and that it was "the one thing we could do to kill this at this point."
Beck echoes King's call to "surround the Capitol." Later in the same radio broadcast, Beck echoed Rep. King's call to "surround the Capitol." Beck said it would be "an iconic moment" and said that "having one hundred thousand people there on the Mall in Washington, surrounding the Capitol, that is a bold moment that will be remembered." He added: "The history books will record if there was a hundred-plus-thousand people at the Capitol, because that would change things. It would scare these people to the core." Beck continued:
BECK: And you be peaceful. You sit down and don't be -- don't move -- remove -- do not leave. Now is the time to make the commitment to freedom, to liberty, to the republic. Now, if you're going to go to Washington, for the life of me, I don't know why the Republicans wouldn't get up and leave when this vote starts. Leave. Leave. You go stand with the people. You go stand outside and say, I want everybody to know, they can pass this bill without us even being in the building. We have nothing to do with this. We want nothing to do with this. We stand with the American people. It would be a powerful moment. A powerful, powerful moment. You just vote and get the hell out. Get the hell out.
Fox News has repeatedly engaged in conservative advocacy by promoting protests
Fox News promoted anti-health care "Code Red" rally. Fox News personalities and its website, The Fox Nation, promoted the December 15, 2009, anti-health care reform "Code Red" rally, which featured a speech by Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham. Right-wing radio hosts Rush Limbaugh and Lou Dobbs joined Ingraham in boosting the event, which was coordinated by several conservative political organizations and featured speeches from Republican senators.
Fox News promoted Bachmann's Nov. 5 protest against health care reform bill. Fox News and its personalities repeatedly promoted Rep. Michelle Bachmann's (R-MN) November 5, 2009, anti-health care reform protest. In the days leading up to the protest, Bachmann made appearances on several Fox News programs including Glenn Beck, Hannity, and Fox & Friends, during which she promoted the protest. The protest was also promoted on Fox Nation, as well as both Sean Hannity's and Beck's radio programs.
Fox News promoted Beck's 9-12 protests. In the lead-up to the 9-12 protest, Beck's website worked with others organizing the September 12, 2009, "March on Washington," and he repeatedly encouraged viewers to attend the protest. Fox News also heavily promoted the Tea Party Express tour -- the final stop of which was the 9-12 protest -- on Fox News, Fox Business, the Fox Nation, and FoxNews.com.
Fox News promoted health care disruptions. Fox News promoted disruptions of Democratic town hall events by protesters opposed to health care reform -- protests that have been touted by Republican leaders and supported by conservative groups. Following the August 2, 2009 disruption of a town hall event hosted by Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Fox News personalities repeatedly lauded such protesters and urged viewers to take similar action.
Fox News promoted April 15 tea parties. In the lead-up to the April 15, 2009 tea parties, which the channel repeatedly described as "FNC Tax Day Tea Parties," Fox News frequently aired segments publicizing and encouraging viewers to get involved with the protests. A Media Matters for America study found that from April 6 to 13, 2009, Fox News featured at least 20 segments on the "tea party" protests. A subsequent Media Matters study found that from April 6 to 15, Fox News aired at least 107 commercial promotions for its coverage of the April 15 tea parties. Four Fox News personalities, including Beck, broadcast their April 15 broadcasts live from different protests.
Fox News conservative advocacy not limited to protest promotion
Dick Morris regularly uses Fox News platform to promote conservative activism. During his many guest appearances of Fox News programs, Dick Morris has raised funds for conservative candidates and causes and promoted various instances of activism. Instances include Morris promoting his website, DickMorris.com, in order to fundraise for Scott Brown and other conservative political organizations. In recent weeks, Morris has also promoted his website to direct viewers to call "swing congressmen" regarding their votes on health care reform.
Research and communications arm: Fox News is home to GOP in exile. A revolving door exists between the Republican Party and Fox News Channel, with a number of former Bush administration officials and Republican strategists on Fox's payroll and airwaves. Notably, Fox News employs several potential Republican presidential candidates -- Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum -- as contributors.
Fox News personalities celebrate and shill for conservative candidates. A long line of GOP and conservative candidates -- including Doug Hoffman, Chris Christie, Bob McDonnell, Marco Rubio, Scott Brown, and Mark Kirk -- who have been bolstered by Fox News in its role as the Republican Party's communications arm.
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.
They decide: Fox calls for firing of Obama administration officials. Fox News personalities have suggested that at least 19 Obama administration officials and nominees should resign, be fired, or have their nominations blocked. They have also called for both Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to step down.