Fox News Radio host Todd Starnes is standing by his anti-gay attacks and his claim that acceptance of marriage equality could lead to legalized bestiality. When challenged by colleague Alan Colmes, Starnes also confirmed he "absolutely" believes that liberals want to "destroy the fabric of the American family," and linked marriage equality to the spread of venereal disease.
During a March 27 appearance on Fox News Radio's The Alan Colmes Show, Starnes doubled down on his anti-gay attacks. Colmes asked Starnes if he -- "a nice, mild mannered guy" -- really believes that "the left's ultimate agenda is to destroy the family." Starnes replied: "I really do believe that the agenda of the left is trying to destroy the fabric of the American family. I really do. ... I absolutely believe that."
From the March 13 edition of Fox News Radio's Kilmeade & Friends:
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Fox News aired a video of conservative attorney Jordan Sekulow claiming an imprisoned pastor's conversion to Christianity is the reason President Obama has "been silent" on the case, even after Sekulow praised statements from the White House and State Department in support of the pastor.
On Fox & Friends, Fox News Radio host Todd Starnes aired a video of Jordan Sekulow, a frequent Fox guest and Executive Director of the conservative American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), discussing the case of pastor Saeed Abedini, who has been imprisoned in Iran, reportedly due to his Christian faith. In the video, Sekulow interviews Abedini's wife who had not been contacted directly by President Obama or Secretary of State John Kerry.
After the interview, Sekulow declared: "I believe the government's been silent on this case with Pastor Saeed Abedini, the reason why the actual executive branch leaders have not spoken out [...] [is] because he converted from Islam to Christianity." The following voice-over claims that "the only public acknowledgement came in December, when the administration said they were aware of the case and called for his release." Starnes also highlighted the claims in a post on his blog titled "Obama Ignores American Christian Held By Iranians."
But Fox failed to note that both the White House and State Department have issued statements in support of Abedini's release, statements that Sekulow himself praised in a January 25 article on the ACLJ website: "we applaud both the State Department and the White House for these very strong statements. [...] Thanks to the State Department and White House for their statements today and involvement to secure Pastor Saeed's freedom."
From the March 6 edition of Fox News Radio's Kilmeade & Friends:
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After glossing over state Republicans' role in exacerbating long lines at the ballot box, three Fox hosts mocked the hours-long wait and multiple trips a 102-year-old woman endured in order to cast her vote in 2012.
On Fox News Radio's Kilmeade & Friends, host Brian Kilmeade and Fox's Martha MacCallum and Bill Hemmer laughed off the difficulties 102-year-old Desiline Victor endured in order to vote in the 2012 election. Victor, who was invited to the State of the Union address and whom President Obama applauded for enduring a long wait to vote, had to make two trips to the polls and wait in line for over three hours before she was able to cast her ballot. Discussing Victor, MacCallum wondered, "What's the big deal?" and said, "This is such a non-issue. Ridiculous." Hemmer added that at the State of the Union, "They held her up as a victim. What was she a victim of?"
But long lines at polling places are widely acknowledged as a major issue nationwide. In Victor's home state of Florida alone, at least 201,000 eligible voters reportedly did not cast ballots because they were discouraged by lengthy wait times.
Earlier, on MacCallum and Hemmer's show America's Newsroom, Fox correspondent Eric Shawn reported on proposals to extend early voting to ease the problem of long lines at the polls. Shawn noted that Florida had the longest polling place lines in 2012, and then played a clip of Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner addressing Florida's issues, stating that Detzner is "working on ways to fix the problems," including an extension of the state's early voting period in order to shorten voters' wait.
Shawn failed to reveal, however, that Detzner played a role in exacerbating this problem in Florida.
From the January 17 edition of Fox News Radio's Kilmeade & Friends:
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From the January 14 edition of American Family Radio's AFA Today:
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Following the announcement that Pastor Louie Giglio would no longer be performing the benediction at President Obama's second inauguration, Fox News reporter Todd Starnes rushed to blame "heterophobic bigots" for allegedly forcing the pastor to withdraw from the event.
On January 10, Georgia Pastor Louie Giglio announced that he had decided to withdraw from performing the benediction at President Obama's second inauguration. His decision came in the wake of criticism over a January 9 Think Progress report detailing a "vehemently anti-gay" sermon Giglio gave in the mid-1990s, during which he railed against the "homosexual lifestyle" and claimed that gay people could become straight through the power of Christianity.
The announcement sparked outrage from Fox News reporter Todd Starnes, who took to Twitter to condemn "anti-Christian bigots" for objecting to Giglio's anti-gay comments:
Starnes then published a Fox News Radio article suggesting that Giglio had been "forced out" of the inauguration by the Obama administration:
To support his baseless accusation - which plainly contradicts Giglio's own statement about his withdrawal - Starnes relied on comments from two of the country's most notorious anti-gay hate group leaders: Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins and American Family Association (AFA) spokesman Bryan Fischer:
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, told Fox News that he was shocked at the attacks from homosexual activists.
"What's becoming ever so clear to those who thought homosexual activists could be appeased is that their ultimate goal is to sanitize the public space of anyone who holds to a biblical view of morality," Perkins said. "It pulls back the curtain and shows us the true agenda here. It's not about tolerance. It's about forced acceptance."
Bryan Fischer, who hosts a popular national show on American Family Radio, said Giglio was banished in a "naked display of bigotry."
"It's clear from the statement from the inaugural committee that Giglio was bounced from the program. It clearly wasn't his idea," Fischer told Fox News. "The banishment of Giglio is a naked display of bigotry and hatred directed at the last safe target in America for angry intolerance: Americans who believe what the Scriptures teach about human sexuality. Truth about homosexuality has now become hate speech, and speaking the truth about homosexuality has now become a hate crime."
Fischer said the bottom line is that "bullies and bigots have won a major victory."
Neither Perkins - who has made a career of trying to link homosexuality to pedophilia - or Fischer - who has repeatedly blamed gays for the Holocaust - is a credible source when it comes to lecturing the administration about "bigotry."
But this is apparently what qualifies as journalism at Fox News: float a baseless accusation of anti-Christian bigotry, quote a few anti-gay hate group leaders who agree with your theory, and hit "publish."
As right-wing media figures compared President Obama to Hitler and Stalin over his attempt to strengthen gun laws, Fox News figures stoked fears that his policies would lead to civil war and violence.
After reports that Vice President Joe Biden included possible executive action as part of an effort to stop gun violence like the tragic killings at Sandy Hook elementary,conservatives compared the president to Hitler and Stalin and invoked Nazi Germany to oppose his policies.At the same time, Fox News figures attacked Obama using violent rhetoric that warned of civil war, revolution, and insurrection if his policies on guns, spending and entitlement reform are implemented.
On his Fox News show, Bill O'Reilly claimed that Obama could choose "to be a good president or whether he just wants to have blood in the streets," arguing that the president should cut spending on programs such as Medicare and Social Security.
One of President Barack Obama's biggest Fox News critics endorsed Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense several weeks after the 2012 election. President Obama nominated the former Republican senator on January 7.
While appearing on Fox News Radio's Kilmeade & Friends, Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy noted that Hagel was being vetted by the White House "for some sort of job" and offered that "he'd be a good secretary of defense." His Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade responded, "I hope so." Kilmeade added that "it would be good to have that -- for the president to have ... Chuck Hagel's name come out there because it will appear as though he is acting in a bipartisan way."
Listen to the remarks from the November 29 edition of Fox News Radio's Kilmeade & Friends:
DOOCY: You know, just one other thing to throw in the mix, Brian, and that is apparently according to Capitol Hill, Chuck Hagel, former senator from Nebraska, a Republican, is being vetted for some sort of job in the White House.
KILMEADE: It would make sense. They traveled internationally together and to a few war zones and he is a decorated war hero from Vietnam.
DOOCY: He'd be a good secretary of defense.
KILMEADE: I hope so.
Sam in Missouri, hey Sam.
CALLER: I had my prediction, I think you just brought it up, was the prediction that some sort of job offer -- not really in the administration, but some kind of -- more of a project is going to be floated toward Mitt Romney today that kind of helps bridge the gap.
KILMEADE: Well, I think it would be good to have that -- for the president to have that offer out there, and then also have Chuck Hagel's name come out there because it will appear as though he is acting in a bipartisan way. But the real question -- go ahead, Sam.
CALLER: Well, I'd like to see some sort of bipartisanship. They talk about it, but I'd like to see it happen. I kind of think my prediction won't really come about. But it'd be nice to see something like that from these boneheads, you know?
KILMEADE: It's a little discouraging to see some of the public comments.
Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum is recommending that lawmakers respond to the debate over how to avoid a series of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts by adopting a tax policy long advocated by Republicans.
In a November 28 Fox News Radio appearance, Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum criticized President Obama for claiming that the rich haven't been paying their fair share of taxes, and advocated that lawmakers "flatten out the tax code and make it more equal across the board." Despite co-anchoring America's Newsroom, one of the programs Fox defends as featuring objective, "A-section of the newspaper" coverage, MacCallum has frequently adopted Republican positions and falsehoods.
MacCallum's remarks came during a discussion of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who recently said that increasing taxes on the rich as part of a deal to resolve the so-called "fiscal cliff" wouldn't hurt economic growth and would "raise the morale of the middle class." MacCallum said that the idea that the rich aren't paying their fair share "is so poisonous" and "engenders animosity, and there really isn't any need for it. But the president has definitely perpetuated that line of thinking."
MacCallum added that wealthy earners are "already paying about sixty percent of the tax base in the country. So, and I don't really think it matters over, you know, the difference between the Clinton tax rate and now three percent or two percent, but it's a philosophy in terms of where that tax base needs to be spread out." Economist Paul Krugman has noted that "the rich are paying more taxes because they're much richer than they used to be. When middle-class incomes barely grow while the incomes of the wealthiest rise by a factor of six, how could the tax share of the rich not go up, even if their tax rate is falling?"
The Fox anchor concluded by pushing the idea that "tax reform should be very seriously considered to flatten out the tax code and make it more equal across the board." Republicans have proposed various forms of a flat tax for decades. Steve Forbes made the flat tax a central part of his 1996 presidential campaign, while House Republicans and presidential candidates Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Perry offered flat tax proposals last year.
From the November 28 edition of Fox News Radio's Kilmeade & Friends:
MACCALLUM: This idea, I think, is so poisonous, this sort of, like, "They're not paying their fair share" idea. It just -- it engenders animosity, and there really isn't any need for it. But the president has definitely perpetuated that line of thinking. You know, "They're not paying their fair share. That's all I want," he says, "is for everybody to pay their fair share." They're already paying about sixty percent of the tax base in the country. So, and I don't really think it matters over, you know, the difference between the Clinton tax rate and now three percent, two percent, but it's a philosophy in terms of where that tax base needs to be spread out.
Should it be -- you know, I think tax reform should be very seriously considered to flatten out the tax code and make it more equal across the board.
During his Fox News Radio program today, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade remarked that Fox hires female hosts by looking at "the Victoria's Secret catalogue" and asking, "Can any of these people talk?" Kilmeade's comment came in response to a caller who complimented his guest, Fox & Friends Weekend co-host Alisyn Camerota, and the person who hired "all the women of Fox."
Listen to Kilmeade's remark from today's Kilmeade & Friends:
As Media Matters has documented, Fox News has a history of sexism on-air and behind the scenes. Kilmeade himself has frequently offered sexist commentary during his other hosting duties on Fox News' Fox & Friends. When Kilmeade was criticized for one such remark in June, he defended himself by claiming that people don't understand he was just having fun.
Fox News chief Roger Ailes has previously said that he's considered whether a woman is "attractive" enough for on-air work.
From the November 16 edition of Fox News Radio's Kilmeade & Friends:
CALLER: Well, you and all the women of Fox, I don't know who was the scout that got you guys, but they -- they rock.
ALISYN CAMEROTA: It was Brian. But thank you very much, that's very sweet.
KILMEADE: It was -- it was, it was actually, we go into the Victoria's Secret catalogue and we said, "Can any of these people talk?"
CAMEROTA: You're so --
KILMEADE: And they all could, and they all went to college.
CAMEROTA: You're so crazy, Brian.
KILMEADE: I am not crazy.
Conservative commentator and frequent Fox News guest Ann Coulter defended her repeated use of the derogatory term "retard" on Thursday, saying the word is simply a synonym for words like idiot and moron. In fact, the word is widely considered a slur and disability advocates argue it is hate speech.
Appearing as a guest on Alan Colmes' Fox News Radio show, Coulter stated she did not regret her use of the word, saying that "no one would refer to a down syndrome child, someone with an actual medical handicap, by saying retard." She added: "Where do you think the words idiot, imbecile, cretin, moron, come from? These were all technical terms at one time. Retard has been used colloquially to just mean 'loser' for 30 years."
In an October 22 post on her Twitter feed following the presidential debate, Coulter wrote: "I highly approve of Romney's decision to be kind and gentle to the retard," presumably a reference to President Obama. The next day she again tweeted that if Obama is "'the smartest guy in the room' it must be one retarded room." In an email to Politiker defending her remarks, she wrote: "The only people who will be offended are too retarded to understand it."
But many agree that the word is meant only to demean and should be considered hateful speech.
Huffington Post blogger Ellen Seidman, who has a son with special needs, says that while it's not true that "anyone who uses the word flippantly has something against people with special needs," the word is demeaning "even if it's meant as a joke, because it spreads the idea that people who are cognitively impaired are either stupid or losers."
Analyzing the fact that the word is now being increasingly avoided, NPR reported that disability advocates have continually campaigned against the word, arguing that "it's not a hilarious put-down; it's hate speech."
Organizations like the American Psychiatric Association still use the medical phrase "mental retardation," so the term "retard" is culturally understood to be associated with mental disability, regardless of context. What distinguishes the term from the other words Coulter cited, such as idiot and cretin, is that unlike "retard," they do not necessarily denote mental disability.
However, CNN reports that even the APA "plans to replace the term 'mental retardation' with 'intellectual development disorder'" in the 2013 edition of their manual.
As millions of Americans wear purple in support of LGBT youth for Spirit Day today, it's probably safe to assume that few people at Fox News will be participating in the event, as the network remains a constant critic of anti-bullying efforts while promoting hostility towards LGBT people across the country.
Here's how Fox works to undermine the fight against anti-LGBT bullying:
In April, Fox & Friends hosted a segment on whether school bullying had become "an exaggerated epidemic." The network invited Reason.com editor Nick Gillespie to argue that the national effort to crack down on bullying is "causing as many problems as it solves."
When Fox has actually acknowledged the problem of school bullying, it's failed to mention the fact that the victims of bullying are often targeted for their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. As one Fox guest stated while discussing a school's gender diversity lessons:
Bullying is such an excuse because kids do not bully each other based on gender. They bully each other based on, you know, all sorts of things, not just gender. So using that seems to me like an excuse really.
When bullied gay teen Jamie Rodemeyer took his own life last September, both MSNBC and CNN covered his death extensively. CNN launched its own efforts to combat anti-LGBT bullying, including a "Stop Bullying: Speak Up" website and a CNN-commissioned study on schoolyard bullying. Fox, on the other hand, mentioned Rodemeyer's death only once in the weeks following his death, as part of a segment on proposed anti-bullying legislation in New York.
The suicide of another gay teenager, Asher Brown, has received widespread publicity as a rallying cry for the It Gets Better Project, a campaign aimed inspiring hope for harassed LGBT youth. While discussing his death, however, Fox failed to mention his sexual orientation, ignoring evidence that much of the bullying he experienced was motivated by homophobia.
Fox News has been vocal in opposing even the tamest efforts to teach students to be more tolerant and accepting of their LGBT peers.
Last year, as California neared the passage of its FAIR Education Act, which would require public schools to teach students about historical contributions of LGBT people, the network rushed to depict the bill as a "shocking" effort to expose students to pro-LGBT "propaganda." Fox ran segment after segment misinforming viewers about the bill, including a blitz of misleading segments the day after it was signed into law. One Fox Business guest even joked about how students would determine if a historical figure was gay or not, commenting "Do you have to turn him over?"
When a California school tried to institute gender diversity lessons to teach students about gender variance, Fox ran three segments in two days criticizing the program. The network invited anti-gay hate group leader Tony Perkins to argue that the lessons would indoctrinate children into homosexuality. Fox host Martha MacCallum piled on the unfounded criticism, warning that trying to teach students about gender diversity could cause them to fall behind in math and science.
The network also lashed out at new curriculum proposed for Michigan's Muskegon Public Schools that would teach students about sexual orientation and gender identity, calling the lessons "topsy-turvy."
When it wasn't busy criticizing programs meant to prevent students from bullying, Fox also attacked efforts meant to punish those who engage in anti-gay discrimination.
Last September, Fox devoted five segments to criticizing New Jersey's newly enacted anti-bullying law, accusing the measure of being too strict and overly expansive. Fox also attacked Vanderbilt University for prohibiting student groups from denying leadership positions to students on the basis of sexual orientation, with one Fox Business guest stating that gay people "will not stop until you're forced to accept their lifestyle."
When a Wisconsin school apologized for running an anti-gay student column in the school paper, Fox suggested that the school may have violated the student's freedom of speech as a result of its "broadly worded anti-discrimination, anti-bullying policy." Fox's coverage failed to mention that the student's column included anti-gay junk science and cited Bible passages calling for the execution of gay people.
Fox's implicit support for LGBT bullies is also evidenced by who is on the network's payroll. A number of Fox employees routinely use their national platform to mock, demonize, and bully LGBT people.
Fox News contributor Todd Starnes, for example, has made a number of disparaging comments about the LGBT community. He has called a transgender college student a "mary," mocked the attendees of a gay pride parade, and joked that transgender people would have to explain "why they've got extra parts" when they arrive at "the pearly gates."
Keith Ablow, one of the members of Fox's "Medical A-Team," is notorious for his transphobic attacks on Chaz Bono, who is transgender. The Fox employee accused Bono of suffering from a "psychotic delusion" and compared transgender people to anorexics, heroin addicts, and people who believe they are zebras.
The list goes on and on. Whether it's Bill O'Reilly laughing at his own homophobic jokes, Andrea Tantaros referring to President Obama's "tranny nanny," the Fox & Friends crew joking about "the one part of Chaz [Bono] that hasn't been operated on," or Fox Nation's reliably transphobic headlines, demonizing LGBT people is a habit that's deeply ingrained into Fox's network culture.
Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace said today that his show "kind of discovered" Paul Ryan before he was well-known. Wallace added that when Fox News Sunday gave Ryan a birthday cake earlier this year as a "photo-op," it backfired because Ryan "looked absolutely terrified" since he's "very physically fit" and "doesn't eat sweets."
Paul Ryan has long been the darling of the conservative media and especially Fox News, which has praised Ryan as a "star," a "genius," and a man of "courage." Fox News has also helped whitewash Ryan's record on issues like Medicare and his budget plan.
During his appearance on Kilmeade & Friends, Wallace confirmed the show's adoration of Ryan, with whom "we were always very impressed."
"I feel like we kind of discovered him on Fox News Sunday," Wallace told host Brian Kilmeade. "We had him on when he was, you know, not a terribly well-known member of Congress because we just kept hearing from people on Capitol Hill he's the smartest guy around and we were always very impressed and kept having him on."
Wallace then explained how the show presented a dollar sign birthday cake to Ryan because they wanted a "photo-op" of him cutting "into the dollars because he's the big budget cutter." The stunt didn't quite work out because "we found out that, you know, he's very physically fit and stuff that he doesn't eat sweets."
From the September 27 edition of Fox News Radio's Kilmeade & Friends: