Fox Changes Stance On Town Hall Protesters When Republicans Are Targeted
Research ››› ››› JUSTIN BERRIER
Fox & Friends responded to a video of Wisconsin union supporters protesting at a town hall hosted by GOP lawmakers by calling the protesters a "mob" and complaining that they weren't "civil." But Fox & Friends promoted and encouraged similar protests by opponents of health care reform at Democrats' town hall meetings in August 2009.
Fox & Friends Calls Town Hall Labor Protesters A "Mob," Complains They Aren't "Civil"
Doocy: "These Lefty Interrupters Shut Down The Debate." On the March 9 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, the co-hosts responded to video of a town hall meeting held by GOP lawmakers in Wisconsin that was disrupted by labor protesters. Co-host Steve Doocy complained that "they're there to talk about things and talk about what's going on and, ultimately, these lefty interrupters shut down the debate. Actually there was no debate, they shut down all conversation." Co-host Gretchen Carlson stated: "The problem was they had been given ground rules before," but that "some people didn't follow the rules." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/9/11]
Doocy: "A Mob Shuts Down A Town Hall Meeting In Wisconsin." Later on Fox & Friends, Doocy stated: "A mob shuts down a town hall meeting in Wisconsin, but the only place you're likely to see this story? On ABC? NBC? Nope. Right here on Fox & Friends." [Fox & Friends, 3/9/11]
Doocy: "Protesters Shutting Down A Town Hall Meeting In Wisconsin. Where Is The Civility?" Later on Fox & Friends, Doocy said: "Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker ready to compromise, apparently. But it seems any attempt at peace in Wisconsin goes something like this these days." After playing the video clip, Doocy asked: "Protesters shutting down a town hall meeting in Wisconsin. Where's the civility?" During the segment, an on-screen graphic claimed that protesters "don't want to talk." From Fox & Friends:
[Fox & Friends, 3/9/11]
Doocy: "Weren't We Supposed To Be More Civil? ... How Is That Working Out?" Later on Fox & Friends, after Carlson aired the video clip again, Doocy responded by asking: "Weren't we supposed to be more civil? ... How is that working out?" Doocy also claimed that "if something like that happened and those were tea party people screaming ... it would be a really big story, right?" [Fox & Friends, 3/9/11]
Fox & Friends Relentlessly Promoted And Encouraged Health Care Town Hall Protests Aimed At Democrats
Fox & Friends Host Johnson To Protesters: "[W]e Thank You For Representing Americans, And We Hope That Other Americans Get Out There." On August 4, 2009, Fox & Friends hosted two people who said they questioned former Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at an August 2, 2009, Philadelphia town hall event that was disrupted by protesters opposed to Democrats' health care reform plans. From Fox & Friends:
CAROL O'BRIEN: I think they were -- well, personally, I think they were very unprepared for that meeting. I think they were asked questions, and they did not have valid responses. They stayed on message. Even though part of my question -- I asked them please not to insult my intelligence by staying on message, but to give us an honest answer. They did not do that. And I think if you look at their facial expressions during the town hall meeting, you could tell that they were not happy with the response of the crowd.
PETER JOHNSON JR. (guest host): Well, O'Briens, we're all looking for honest answers, and we thank you for representing Americans, and we hope that other Americans get out there and voice their opinions. Let's check in with you as time goes on and see what kind of progress we are making. John and Carol O'Brien, thank you so much. [Fox & Friends, 8/4/09]
Carlson: "Are You Gonna Call" Your Member Of Congress "Or Are You Gonna Go To One Of These Receptions Where They're Actually There?" Introducing the August 4, 2009, segment on the Philadelphia town hall, Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson said:
CARLSON: [Y]ou probably have a lot on your mind for your respective members of Congress when they come home from recess. Are you gonna call them up and tell them how you really feel, or are you going to go to one of these receptions where they're actually there in person? That's happening now all across the country. [Fox & Friends, 8/4/09]
Johnson: "We Need To Have This Every Day Throughout August." From Peter Johnson Jr.'s discussion of the Specter-Sebelius town hall meeting the previous day on Fox & Friends:
JOHNSON: Well, they sound kind of useless, and they sound kind of, really, uninformed and not -- no. We need to have this every day throughout August. People have to be contacting their congress people, their senators. They need to bring their congress people and senator every day to account in their neighborhoods, in their congressional districts and talk about this issue and ask questions and say, "If I need to get a hip replacement, am I gonna get it? If I've got private insurance now, and I'm happy with it, am I gonna lose it? Is the government gonna decide whether I live or die at some point in the future? What is the future of my health care, one-sixth of our American budget?" [Fox & Friends, 8/3/09]
Doocy: "If You Want To Contact Your Congress Members And Sound Off, Go To FoxNation.Com." Also on August 3, 2009, during the same segment on the Philadelphia town hall, co-host Steve Doocy suggested people go to the Fox Nation for information on how to contact members of Congress:
DOOCY: That's right. So anyway, if you want to contact your congress members and sound off, go to FoxNation.com. It is a great interactive website where you can sound off, and you'll also find your lawmakers' phone numbers and email there. Hmm, very handy. [Fox & Friends, 8/3/09]
Fox On-Screen Text: "Hold Congress Accountable! Now Is The Time To Speak Your Mind." On the August 3, 2009, edition of Fox & Friends, the following on-screen graphic aired: