Fox & Friends attempted to justify the gender pay disparity in professional soccer, glossing over systemic discrimination faced by female World Cup players to claim the unequal treatment has nothing to do with sexism and everything to do with lack of viewer and sponsor interest.
The U.S. women's soccer team collected $2 million from FIFA for winning the World Cup on June 5, dominating defending champion Japan in a records-breaking 5-2 victory. In contrast, FIFA granted every men's World Cup team a $1.5 million participation prize -- teams who lost in the first round of play received $8 million, and the winning German men's team was awarded $35 million for taking home the championship.
Fox News chalked this disparity up to lack of viewer and sponsorship interest in women's soccer on the July 7 edition of Fox and Friends. Pointing out the pay disparity between men and women's teams, host Brian Kilmeade argued that if women's soccer could only deliver a large number of viewers consistently, "more sponsors [would] write bigger checks to be part of that broadcast." Steve Doocy agreed, saying, "That's exactly right. Because if as many people watch soccer going forward as watched the other night, those people are going to wind up getting rich. But if it's just a, 'we only watch when they're in the World Cup,' you're going to be right back there forever." Kilmeade concluded, "I don't think there's a sexist element to this":
It's not just FIFA -- The National Women's Soccer League Sports "has salary ranges reportedly from $6,000 to $30,000, which in some cases may put players below the poverty line in the cities in which they compete," as Politico explained. "The MLS salary cap, by contrast, was $3.1 million in 2014. 'In aggregate, first division women's soccer players are making 98.6 percent less than professional soccer's male cohort,' according to Fusion, making it one of the starkest gender pay divides in any workplace."
Sports executives attribute a supposed lack of interest in women's sports to a chicken-egg problem, where failure to properly promote women's soccer leads to less sponsorship money. Politico went on:
The thinking among entertainment executives is often that ratings will be lackluster, interest will be low, advertisers won't clamor to buy commercial time between the plays, even though the U.S. women's team is delivering wins consistently. It leads to a fascinating chicken-egg problem: If networks did a better job of promoting women's soccer, would more people watch it? Or, if more people watch women's soccer, will the networks begin to pay more for the rights? Currently, it feels like a chicken-chicken problem, with the women's team doing their job (winning games) and everyone else lagging badly in valuing their work. If the crowd in Chicago Sunday or chatter online was any indicator, people want to watch good athletic competition -- male or female.
It's a vicious cycle, highlighted by The Washington Post's Wonk Blog, created in part by the media landscape that won't give them the time of day because "[w]omen's sports are seen as lesser moneymakers, ignored in media and merchandising deals, given less dramatic coverage, fewer cameras, less airtime -- all of which might help explain why the sport is overlooked in the first place."
Gender discrimination goes beyond pay, as well. Female soccer players face rampant sexism from within FIFA itself. In 2015, an international group of players sued FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association for forcing women's teams to play on turf instead of grass, which creates dangerous game conditions as it reaches temperatures of up to 120 degrees, sends rubber pebbles flying into players' eyes, and often leaves brutal injuries on players. All men's World Cups have been played on grass, which is more expensive to lay than artificial turf.
And FIFA officials have been known to approach ratings in a way that treats female soccer players less like athletes and more like props. Disgraced FIFA president Sepp Blatter said that female athletes should play in skimpier outfits to increase the popularity of the game, saying, "They could, for example, have tighter shorts. Female players are pretty, if you excuse me for saying so, and they already have some different rules to men - such as playing with a lighter ball. That decision was taken to create a more female aesthetic, so why not do it in fashion?"
From the July 7 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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From the June 25 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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From the June 24 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Fox & Friends uncritically parroted debunked allegations made by Republican activist and strategist Peter Schweizer in his book Clinton Cash in order to falsely suggest wrong-doing at Hillary Clinton's State Department regarding the Uranium One deal that gave the Russian government ownership of U.S. uranium mines.
During a June 21 interview on WMUR's CloseUP with Josh McElveen, Hillary Clinton shut down Schweizer's false claims made in Clinton Cash that the former secretary of state had pushed through the Uranium One deal after the Clinton Foundation received donations from stakeholders in the deal, noting that the claims had "no basis" behind them. Peter Schweizer responded in a June 22 op-ed for The New York Post, suggesting that Clinton's interview showed "grave incompetence or brazen dishonesty" and doubling-down on his assertion of a quid pro quo in the Russian uranium deal. Schweizer called Clinton's statement "an admission of extreme executive negligence," and said it "strains credulity."
Fox News parroted Schweizer's attacks on Clinton during the June 23 edition of Fox & Friends. Asking whether Clinton's involvement in the Uranium One deal was evidence of "incompetence" or "deceit," host Elisabeth Hasselbeck speculated that donations to the Clinton Foundation may have influenced the outcome of the deal. Reciting Schweizer's talking points, Hasselbeck called into question Clinton's statement that nine government agencies were involved in approving the deal:
ED HENRY: As you can imagine, Peter Schweizer, the author of Clinton Cash, believes that was pointed at him when she said that there was a partisan axe that was dealt here. So he's got an op-ed in the New York Post today.
HASSELBECK: Yeah, and it said this, quote 'The transfer of 20% of U.S. uranium -- the stuff used to build nuclear weapons -- to Vladimir Putin did not rise to the level of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's time and attention? Beyond being an admission of extreme executive negligence on an issue of utmost national security, Hillary's statement strains credulity to the breaking point for at least three other reasons.' And those three are this: at least nine of the investors who profited from that uranium deal collectively donated $145 million to the Clinton Foundation. Okay, one of them happened to go globe trotting with her husband and donated $100 million in pledges there. The second point that would bring up, and his third, is that Clinton said that there were nine government agencies. Okay, so she's correct in saying that who signed off on the deal. She forgets to mention that her State Department was one of the nine and happened to be the only agency whose chief, he states, received $145 million in donations from shareholders in that deal. Who, by the way, brings you back to point one -- who ended up donating to the Clinton Foundation. And by the way, Bill Clinton received $500,000 for a single speech he delivered in Moscow, and she couldn't answer to that either.
Fox & Friends co-hosts Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Steve Doocy baselessly speculated that 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton would remain silent on South Carolina's Confederate flag out of deference to her husband's actions as governor of Arkansas. However, Clinton said in a 2007 interview with the Associated Press that South Carolina should remove the flag from its statehouse grounds.
On the June 22 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Hasselbeck pointed out that while most of the GOP presidential field has weighed in on South Carolina's decision to continue flying the Confederate flag on its state house grounds in the wake of last week's mass shooting in a black, historically activist church in Charleston, Hillary Clinton has not yet made a statement. She speculated that Clinton's silence may be "because Bill Clinton, her husband, signed a law honoring the Confederacy in Arkansas and about the flag's design in 1987," while he was governor of Arkansas, going on to say, "She's just in a tough spot, to have to defend her husband's position back then, right now in light of what happened in South Carolina."
However, as the Clinton campaign pointed out to BuzzFeed, Clinton unequivocally told the Associated Press in 2007 that she would "like to see it removed from the Statehouse grounds," saying,"I think about how many South Carolinians have served in our military and who are serving today under our flag and I believe that we should have one flag that we all pay honor to, as I know that most people in South Carolina do every single day." Clinton was running for the Democratic presidential nomination at the time.
The Fox hosts also failed to note that while several of the 2016 GOP presidential candidates have made statements on the Confederate flag, none openly condemned it -- Scott Walker said the decision to fly the flag is a "state issue" and Marco Rubio said that "outsiders" should not tell South Carolina what to do.
Clinton has spoken about racism in the wake of the Charleston shooting, which claimed nine lives. Speaking on Saturday, she said, "Race remains a deep fault line in America ... Millions of people of color still experience racism in their everyday lives."
Meanwhile, most of Fox News' coverage of the shooting failed to take the shooter's allegedly racist motivations seriously. On June 18, Doocy said it was extraordinary that the shooting would be called a hate crime. And on his radio program, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade wondered, "Is it about Christians? Is it about white-black? Is it about 'I hate South Carolina'?"
From the June 19 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Fox & Friends used a mass shooting at a South Carolina church to baselessly promote the carrying of guns as a solution to prevent such attacks -- even though research indicates that civilians are more likely to harm themselves or someone else than stop a criminal when they have a gun, and there is "no evidence" that arming civilians stops mass shootings.
On June 17, a gunman killed nine after opening fire at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. Commenting on the massacre, "[t]he chief of police of Charleston, Greg Mullen, called the shooting a hate crime," according to The New York Times.
Discussing the tragedy on the June 18 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, the co-hosts repeatedly suggested that the massacre may have been prevented had the congregation been armed. After guest E. W. Jackson urged "pastors and men in these churches to prepare to defend themselves," host Brian Kilmeade asked if giving pastors a gun could help with "security." Later in the show, Steve Doocy similarly suggested, "If somebody was there, they would have had the opportunity to pull out their weapon and take [the shooter] out ... If somebody in there had a gun." Elisabeth Hasselbeck agreed, calling it a "great point."
But an analysis of 62 mass public shootings over a 30 year period by Mother Jones found no cases where an ordinary civilian with a gun stopped an attack, and instances where someone did try to intervene with a gun resulted in the death or injury of that person:
In the wake of the massacres this year at a Colorado movie theater, a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, we set out to track mass shootings in the United States over the last 30 years.We identified and analyzed 62 of them, and one striking pattern in the data is this: In not a single case was the killing stopped by a civilian using a gun. And in other recent (but less lethal) rampages in which armed civilians attempted to intervene, those civilians not only failed to stop the shooter but also were gravely wounded or killed.
While individuals with concealed carry permits have not stopped mass shootings, the Violence Policy Center (VPC) has identified 29 incidents since 2007 where someone with a permit shot and killed three or more people during a single shooting incident.
Newly released VPC research on the use of guns for self-defense also indicates why arming the congregation is unlikely to stop an attack. The group found that American gun owners are more likely to injure themselves or someone else with a gun than to use it to stop a criminal. The report, which relied on data from the FBI and the Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics, found just 258 justifiable homicides involving civilian firearms in 2012 compared to 8,342 murders by gun -- a ratio of 32 criminal homicides for each justifiable homicide. The study noted that suicides by gun outpace justifiable homicides by an even greater extent.
Examining government data from 2007 to 2011, VPC found that just .8 percent of violent crimes were met with resistance from a gun. These findings are in line with a large body of research that indicates guns are used far more often to commit crimes than defend against crimes.
Conservative media have frequently promoted the myth that guns are primarily used for self-defense, despite guns rarely being used for that purpose, and have a long history of exploiting tragedies to push their own pro-gun agendas. Right-wing media frequently call for more guns in the immediate aftermath of high profile shooting events, including a May thwarted terrorist attack in Garland, Texas, the January massacre at the offices of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, the 2014 mass shooting at Fort Hood, the 2014 shooting at a high school near Portland, Oregon, and the 2013 attack at Washington D.C.'s Navy Yard.
From the June 18 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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From the June 17 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Fox & Friends mocked students pushing for gender-neutral, uniform graduation robes in Maryland schools as the "P.C. police."
Students in Montgomery County, Maryland, are pushing for district schools to switch from a gendered dual-color scheme to single-color robes for all graduates. According to The Washington Post, the effort started at James Hubert Blake High School after the school's gay-straight alliance became aware that four students at another county high school were barred from wearing the color robe that conformed with their gender identity:
The student group believed single-color robes were the best way to go for many of their peers, including those who are transgender or questioning their gender identity.
So they wrote to the principals last June, noting that colleges use robes in one color as well as practical benefits of a change: Same-color robes make it easier for staff to organize students and for families watching the ceremony to follow along. Girls would no longer have to buy white outfits to wear beneath white robes, and more families would be able to pass down robes from child to child.
On the June 10 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade teased a segment on the school's decision to adopt uniform graduation robes for all students by saying "I believe there's way too many gender-bending stories in the news right now":
Later in the show, co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck introduced a segment on the graduation robes by claiming "the P.C. police are on patrol in Maryland schools, and this time mandating that graduation robes be gender-neutral." Hasselbeck spoke to Julie Gunlock, the Culture of Alarmism Director of the conservative Independent Women's Forum, who asserted that students should worry about "real hardship in the world" like ISIS:
GUNLOCK: I do think it's also important that educators and parents teach kids about real hardship in the world, I mean, in ISIS-controlled Iraq, you have women that are being raped and mutilated and murdered. Homosexuals are being thrown off rooftops; Christians are being hunted down and executed. This seems to me the real issues we should be concerned about -- not having to wear a color that conflicts with your own identity for one hour.
Blake High School's Allies 4 Equality explained the significance of gender-neutral robes in a letter to county principals: "Graduation is a day of celebration. People don't feel like they can celebrate if they feel pressured to accept gender roles that make them uncomfortable. Some in the community may protest that two colors of robes is a tradition. Our concern is that this tradition is hurtful to some students, who may not have the courage to speak out about it."
Fox News is outraged that the U.S. Embassy in Indonesia -- where over 87% of residents are Muslim -- moved their annual Fourth of July celebration "out of respect" for those observing Ramadan in the country, claiming that they're just being "overly sensitive" to Islam and using the event to claim the United States is "leading from behind" on foreign policy.
On June 4, the United States Embassy in Indonesia celebrated the Fourth of July after Ambassador Robert Blake moved up the celebration one month "in order to respect the upcoming Ramadan month," according to The Jakarta Post.
During the June 10 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends host Elisabeth Hasselbeck and guest Jim Hanson criticized the embassy's decision to move up the Independence Day celebration, blasting them for being "overly sensitive to Islamic sensibilities." Citing the decision as evidence that the Obama administration has "lost its way," Hanson asserted that the U.S. is "the exceptional nation" and "should act like it. That's not being rude or insensitive to other people, that's just what you should do." Hasselbeck agreed, suggesting that this is another example of the administration "leading from behind":
Hanson argued that "Indonesians are hardly the most extreme Muslims," but Fox's outrage ignores that Indonesia has the highest population of Muslim residents in the world. According to the Pew Research Center, 87.2% of the population in the country identifies as Muslim -- meaning the large majority of the country would be fasting in observance of Ramadan during the celebration had it not been moved.
From the June 9 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Fox hosts and guests rushed to the defense of a police officer suspended after video surfaced of his brutal treatment of teenagers outside a pool party in McKinney, Texas. The video showed the officer pulling his gun on two teenage boys, then slamming a girl down onto her face.
Fox & Friends cried reverse racism when St. Louis University relocated what students and faculty considered a racially and culturally insensitive statue of Native Americans kneeling in front of a white missionary.
Following student and faculty complaints, St. Louis University relocated a statue depicting Native Americans being converted by Belgian missionary Fr. Pierre DeSmet, S.J. According to St. Louis Magazine, university officials pointed to concerns of cultural insensitivity and "white supremacy" in explaining the decision to move the statue inside the university's art museum:
Clayton Berry, SLU's assistant vice president for communications, tells SLM that the statue was moved to the university's art museum after staff voiced concerns.
"In more recent years, there have been some faculty and staff who have raised questions about whether the sculpture is culturally sensitive," Berry says. "Hearing that feedback, the decision was made to place the piece within the historical context of a collection that's on permanent display in our SLU Museum of Art."
University staff weren't alone in finding the statue of two Indian men submitting to a white man troubling. Two years before its removal, the student newspaper called it "the most controversial and misunderstood of all the artwork on the Saint Louis University campus." During Occupy SLU, the six-day student protest against racial inequality sparked by the Ferguson protests, Twitter user @EmmaculateJones shared photos of the statue, calling it a visual representation of "white supremacy on SLU campus."
However, Fox contributor Tucker Carlson called the relocation an "act of racism" on the May 29 edition of Fox & Friends, insisting to co-hosts that the statue's detractors were likely "wholly ignorant" of DeSmet's good works:
KILMEADE: It's a statue of Father Pierre Jean DeSmet ... And right there he is blessing American Indians back in his day. You know why? He was a Belgian Catholic priest who was able to convert countless members of American [[-]] Indians back in that day, and the American Indian community embraced him and his legacy. And among his good friends was actually Sitting Bull.
CARLSON: Despite those facts, of which I think the student body is likely wholly ignorant, the statue has beenremoved and shuttled off to a museum where it will be shown with the appropriate cultural context. Why? Because he was a white supremacist? No. Because he was white. His skin color is itself considered so offensive by the school that this statue can no longer be on display.
KILMEADE: Did anyone even Google this?
HASSELBECK: I mean, just do your homework! He was a friend to that community, reached out, and because of him a major treaty was signed. And after he died, only then did things get even more violent. He was the peacekeeper between the two groups.