Right-wing media equated sensitivity training to "re-education camp" after an NFL player was disciplined for homophobic tweets.
On May 10, University of Missouri football player Michael Sam was drafted by the St. Louis Rams, becoming the first openly gay player drafted into the NFL. ESPN aired footage of Sam sharing a celebratory kiss with his boyfriend. Following the kiss, Miami Dolphins safety Don Jones reacted by tweeting "omg" and "horrible." The Dolphins fined Jones and barred him from team activities until he undergoes sensitivity training.
The conservative media took the opportunity to liken the sensitivity training requirement to being forced into a re-education camp. Fox personalities and guests alike proclaimed that Jones was being sent to a re-education camp, a claim The Washington Times echoed, calling the sensitivity training "modern-day equivalent of a re-education camp." Predictably, Rush Limbaugh joined conservatives decrying Jones "going to re-education camp" as "just creepy."
Real re-education camps are known for their vast human rights violations and still exist in countries like North Korea and China. A report on North Korea's camps in the Wall Street Journal highlighted the inhumane conditions at the camps:
North Koreans can end up in re-education camps for such crimes as listening to foreign radio broadcasts, secretly practicing a religion, or crossing the border to China in search of food. Inmates are subjected to forced labor and are required to memorize political tracts. They receive little food, no medical care and sometimes serve multiyear terms wearing the clothes in which they arrived at camp. I interviewed a woman who had been wearing high heels when she was arrested and had to bind her feet in rags when those wore out. Many prisoners die of abuse or malnutrition.
The New York Times described the conditions in China's "Re-education Through Labor" camps:
Conditions in re-education camps are dire: Physical abuse by guards and the criminal elements they entrust to enforce "order" is common, as are long hours of arduous work with no rest day; institutionalized corruption; deficient health care; and what the Justice Ministry refers to as "abnormal deaths."
Sensitivity training is nothing new in the NFL. In August 2013, Philadelphia Eagles receiver Riley Cooper attended sensitivity training after he used a racial slur. A typical training session lasts between two and four hours.
It should be obvious that comparing sensitivity training for a player's bigoted, anti-gay comments to brutal re-education camps in oppressive regimes are ridiculous, but right-wing media continue to embrace hyperbole in their opposition to gay rights.
Fox News continued its transphobic attacks on Private Chelsea Manning, deriding her fight for hormone therapy as a bid for "special treatment" and suggesting that "he" had "already cost us enough" while ignoring expert opinion that hormone therapy is essential for transgender people.
The Pentagon reportedly is drawing up plans to transfer Manning, currently serving a 35-year sentence for leaking documents to WikiLeaks, from a military to a civilian prison. In a civilian facility, Manning - formerly known as Bradley Manning - would be allowed to receive hormone therapy.
During the May 14 edition of Fox & Friends, co-hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade misgendered Manning and trivialized her effort to gain access to hormone treatment. Teasing the show's report on the latest developments in Manning's case, Doocy asserted that Manning was seeking "special treatment" from the Defense Department, while Kilmeade asked, "he's already cost us enough, hasn't he?":
Right-wing media have criticized the Obama administration's participation in the #BringBackOurGirls Twitter campaign to raise awareness about the recent kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls, claiming that "hashtag diplomacy" is not enough. But these allegations ignore the fact that the administration has offered Nigeria assistance from the start, and has sent a team of specialists to aid the search.
From the May 9 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Following the kidnapping of Nigerian school girls by terrorist group Boko Haram, right-wing media are rushing to smear former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for not designating the group a foreign terrorist organization (FTO), insinuating that the kidnappings might have been prevented had the State Department issued the designation earlier. The baseless attack ignores the facts around FTO designations and foreign affairs.
From the May 7 edition of Fox News Radio's Kilmeade & Friends:
Fox News has pushed reset on many of its favorite Benghazi myths that have already been put to rest in the wake of the recently released Rhodes email and the House GOP's announcement of the formation of a Select Committee to investigate the attacks.
In a new variation of what Politico's Michael Hirsh deemed the "Benghazi-industrial complex," Fox News is suggesting that the Obama administration's strategy to push back against the network's Benghazi misinformation amounts to a cover-up.
Writing in Politico Magazine, Hirsh highlighted what he called the "Benghazi-Industrial Complex," the GOP's tactic to use Benghazi conspiracy theories to make former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "so disgusted by the prospect of running that she'll stay out of the race" for president in 2016. Hirsh explained how Fox News has led the way in this campaign, creating outlandish conspiracy theories such as the claim that "Hillary staged her concussion in 2012" to avoid addressing Benghazi on the Sunday news shows. Hirsh continued:
Fox, in fact, has made Benghazi a permanent part of its programming, mentioning the word on no fewer than 1,101 programs in the past year, according to Nexis. The chyron "Benghazi" is almost as much of a permanent fixture on Fox as "Breaking News" is on CNN.
Fox News has worked from the beginning to spread misinformation about the attacks. In the days after the 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, the network consistently distorted the Obama administration's response, accusing the president of "covering-up for al Qaeda." In one of the most egregious attacks on the president in the weeks following the attack, Fox pretended Obama called the "vicious murder of Americans ... just a bump in the road."
The network's lies about Benghazi could -- and did -- fill novels, and its Benghazi hoax eventually led House Republicans to call a special select committee based the false information reported on Fox.
Fox News excitedly reported on new smart gun technology that increases firearm lethality through improved target accuracy, enthusiasm that stands in stark contrast to the network's earlier criticism of smart gun technology aimed at increasing gun safety.
The TrackingPoint rifle, a new smart gun that debuted last summer from a startup gun company in Texas, uses lasers and computers to increase shot accuracy, enabling even novice shooters to hit a target over 1,000 yards away. The technology has been criticized for decreasing gun safety by making it easier for a criminal, murderer, or terrorist to kill from a distance without detection. Now novice shooters have the ability to hit a target from 1,000 yards away, a distance experts say only a handful of highly trained shooters can normally hit.
Such safety concerns didn't stop Fox News from championing the smart aim technology and even sending one of their own hosts to try it out.
On the May 6 edition of Fox & Friends, anchor Ainsley Earhardt reported on the new smart gun, emphasizing how easy the technology makes target accuracy for someone "who doesn't shoot regularly," when "normally it takes years of practice, patience, and devoted diligence." Earhardt admitted that some people are concerned "that it could turn someone into a killing machine," but downplayed these safety issues by citing the manufacturer's promise that buyers must be approved through a background check. Hosts Steve Doocy, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and Brian Kilmeade called the smart gun technology "amazing" and "incredible," noting that despite the gun's high cost, the $27,000 price tag is worthwhile because "you never miss":
From the May 6 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Fox News' Outnumbered, which features four female anchors and one male guest in an hour-long show, is billed as "a news show first and foremost," but in its first week the jaw-dropping program has proven to be anything but.
Even before its debut, it was evident that Roger Ailes' brainchild would be incredibly sexist. The name Outnumbered alone announces that the show operates from the perspective of its sole male guest, who must inevitably feel outnumbered in the presence of four female hosts (never mind the fact that many of Fox's current programs, like Fox & Friends or The Five, feature more male hosts than female yet carry no such designation).
Outnumbered likewise doesn't depart from Ailes' trademark exploitation of Fox women -- immediately evident in the no-pants dress code thus far for female anchors, whose legs are on prominent display and nearly always crossed toward the male guest du jour, known to the Twittersphere as #OneLuckyGuy.
Before the program first aired, Jay Wallace, Fox's senior vice president for news, described the show as "a news show first and foremost," with "journalism at the heart."
Nearly all of Fox's purported news programs churn with an undercurrent of sexism. But with Outnumbered, the network drops the veil. It's more a parody of a news program, devoting the vast majority of the first week to decidedly non-news, fluff stories that highlight stereotypical altercations or disparities between the sexes. Rather than mention actual news stories that pertain to women's issues -- such as a new White House report on college sexual assault -- Outnumbered relayed George Clooney's groundbreaking recent engagement and a new plastic surgery that will enable women to better wear sky-high heels, stories built around gender stereotypes.
Fox News is using a newly released White House memo disclosing media talking points for Obama administration officials as vindication of its campaign of lies and misinformation about the Benghazi terror attacks.
From the May 1 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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From the April 30 edition of Fox News' Outnumbered:
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A Scientific American editor revealed that a Fox News producer asked him to not talk about climate change during a segment on future trends in science and technology.
Talking Points Memo reported that Michael Moyer, an editor at Scientific American, had stated on Twitter that Fox News told him to not discuss climate change during an April 30 appearance on Fox & Friends:
Fox & Friends producer wanted to talk about future trends. I said #1 will be impacts of climate change. I was told to pick something else.-- Michael Moyer (@mmoyr) April 30, 2014
Here is video of that segment, which includes Fox & Friends' notoriously dim-witted co-host Brian Kilmeade asking -- to Moyer's apparent dismay -- whether newly found Earth-like planets "have football":
Moyer later wrote up the interaction, stating that he thought climate change was a relevant topic because "[a]bout the only interesting thing that the scientific community is sure will happen in the next 50 years is that climate change is going to get worse, and that we're going to have to deal with the impacts."
Went on Fox & Friends this morning. Kinda feel like I should take a shower. http://t.co/SjlFBPE0QE-- Michael Moyer (@mmoyr) April 30, 2014
This is not the first time we have gotten a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes mechanisms that lead Fox News to cover climate change inaccurately 72 percent of the time. In 2010, Media Matters obtained a memo sent by a Fox News executive during the height of the fabricated "Climategate" scandal ordering the network's journalists to "refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question." More recently, in February 2014, an O'Reilly Factor producer accidentally emailed a climate activist website asking for "the best arguments against global warming being caused by humans."
UPDATE: Fox News is claiming that "there was never an issue on the topic of climate change" in a statement to Business Insider, which Moyer denies, saying he was told to replace climate change with a different talking point:
"We invited Michael on for a segment on technological and scientific trends we can expect in the future. We worked closely with him and his team and there was never an issue on the topic of climate change," Suzanne Scott, SVP of programming at Fox News, said in a statement. "To say he was told specifically not to discuss it, would be false."
In an email, Moyer told Business Insider that "the specific language used (in an email, by the Fox producer) was 'Also, can we replace the climate change with something else?'"