From the May 20 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File:
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From the May 20 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File:
Fox News falsely asserted that President Obama was disarming police officers by issuing an executive order limiting the transfer of certain military equipment to local law enforcement agencies. But the order merely limits local law enforcement's access to certain types of military equipment by prohibiting their acquisition from the federal government.
Fox News is outraged that an ABC News anchor waited to disclose charitable donations to the Clinton Foundation, despite the network's marked history of failing to disclosure its pundits' political and financial conflicts of interest.
Fox News defended Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush after he said he would still have authorized the invasion of Iraq "given what we know now," claiming that Bush simply misunderstood the question.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush faced criticism from conservatives for comments he made during a May 11 interview with Fox News host Megyn Kelly, where he said that he would have authorized the invasion of Iraq after Kelly asked him if he would have done so "knowing what we know now." Conservative columnist Byron York called Bush's response a "disastrous defense of the Iraq War" and radio host Laura Ingraham commented that "there has to be something wrong" with Bush for his answer.
But Fox News quickly helped Bush whitewash his comments as a misinterpretation. On May 11, soon after the interview aired, Kelly said that Bush was trying to answer a different question.
On the May 12 edition of his radio show, Fox's Sean Hannity gave Bush a platform to "clarify" his comments because "The media seems to be taking it another way and I wanted to see if I could clarify that today." Bush claimed that he "interpreted the question wrong" but argued "I don't know what that decision would have been" on invading Iraq.
Later on The Kelly File, Kelly discussed Bush's comments with Fox senior political analyst Brit Hume. Hume argued that Bush "clearly misunderstood your question, although the question was quite straightforwardly posed." Hume added that Bush's answer was "clearly and unmistakably an answer to a question about what you would have done had you not known what we know now."
From the May 7 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File:
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Baltimore's WBAL-TV investigative reporter Jayne Miller highlighted serious concerns with a Washington Post report that a prisoner who was in the van with Freddie Gray heard Gray trying to injure himself, pointing to WBAL's reporting from medical experts on Gray's injuries.
On April 29, The Washington Post published a report, based on a police document obtained by the paper, that said a prisoner who was in the police van with Gray heard him "banging against the walls" and thought he "was intentionally trying to injure himself." The paper noted that the prisoner "was separated from Gray by a metal partition and could not see him," and included comment from Gray's family attorney.
But WBAL-TV's Jayne Miller says her reporting undermines this claim. She appeared on the April 30 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, where she explained that "according to our sources familiar with this investigation, at that stop when that prisoner is loaded, Gray is unresponsive -- not able to bang his head against the wall." Miller went on to say that the preliminary autopsy findings indicated no injury to Gray other than to his spine, although the family says his voice box was injured. The Baltimore Sun reported on April 25 that "[p]olice have said that a preliminary report on Gray's autopsy showed he had no injuries except to his spinal cord." Miller also noted that their reporting indicated "the medical evidence does not suggest at all that he was able to injure himself," because "the force of this injury" was "akin to have the force involved in a car accident." This was also reported in the Baltimore Sun.
Miller had previously tweeted on April 23 that the Baltimore police commissioner said the other prisoner reported Gray was "mostly quiet."
The report was also called into question by Dr. Marc Siegel on Fox News' Fox & Friends, who said there was "no way that you could sever your spine by bashing your head against a wall or side of a car," and added there was "no chance" that Gray could have injured himself "to the extent where he would sever his spine."
The Daily Beast's Michael Daly suggested that the "banging" the prisoner says he heard might have been Gray "signaling his need for help." Daly said the "purpose of that banging seems to have been made clear when Gray asked for medical assistance."
The story has been widely reported by other outlets, including CNN, Business Insider, CBS and The Hill. The report was also covered on Fox News. On The Kelly File, host Megyn Kelly described the report as "explosive," and on Hannity, Sean Hannity suggested this report indicated there was a "rush to judgment without any facts by the president and others."
The Post story said that it's "not clear whether any additional evidence backs up the prisoner's version." What is clear is that there is available, credible information that contradicts the other prisoner's account, which the Post could have included before the story was uncritically repeated in other mainstream outlets. And as Salon's Joan Walsh pointed out, this sort of caution is even more necessary in the absence of an official police report on the incident.
Since President Obama's second inauguration, Sen. Rand Paul has appeared 119 times on Fox News' evening and primetime programming and Fox News Sunday, far outpacing the other declared and likely Republican presidential candidates not employed by the network. On the other end of the spectrum, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush has appeared on the programs studied only three times.
Among the potential candidates that were on Fox News' payroll for all or part of the duration of this study, Fox News contributor John Bolton has made 171 appearances, more often than Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson -- who were both dropped by the network over their presidential aspirations -- combined.
When Texas Senator Ted Cruz announced last month that he is seeking the Republican 2016 presidential nomination, his first TV interview, unsurprisingly, was a full hour on Sean Hannity's show. The same night, Rand Paul (and perennial fake presidential candidate Donald Trump) appeared on Megyn Kelly's show to react to Cruz's announcement and discuss their own presidential aspirations.
Paul followed Cruz's lead by appearing in an "exclusive" interview on Hannity's Fox program Tuesday, hours after announcing the start of his own campaign.
While the first presidential primary is about nine months away, Cruz's and Paul's competing appearances provide a glimpse into what is becoming an election tradition. For the past two years, a slew of Republican would-be presidential candidates have been involved in The Fox Primary, making regular appearances to curry favor with the network's influential hosts and reach out directly to the channel's decidedly conservative audience.
In a February piece for The Hill, Fox News contributor and former congressman John LeBoutillier argued that "the key to winning the 2016 GOP presidential nomination is winning the 'Fox Primary.'" Touting the importance of coverage from Fox News for Republican contenders trying to court primary voters, LeBoutillier claimed, "The Fox primary is crucial to any GOP candidate." According to LeBoutillier, "The competition just to get on these shows will be intense."
The Fox Primary is nothing new. In the run-up to the 2012 election, Republican contenders also jockeyed for Fox News airtime. New York Times reporter Alessandra Stanley pointed out at the time that "Fox News practically owns and operates" the Iowa primary: "its viewers are seeing the world through the eyes of a Tea Party activist in Davenport, or a small business leader in Ames -- my own private Iowa."
Though the presidential campaign is just kicking into gear, eighteen declared and potential Republican candidates have already made a combined 804 appearances on Your World with Neil Cavuto, The Five, Special Report with Bret Baier, On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, The Kelly File, Hannity, and Fox News Sunday.
Many of the would-be candidates have regularly been introduced to viewers as potential 2016 contenders and have been given a prominent platform to sell themselves and criticize likely Republican primary opponents and potential Democratic nomination frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
Greta Van Susteren's show featured by far the most appearances from the stable of potential and declared candidates (313), though the number is inflated due to Fox News contributor John Bolton's 143 appearances on the show. The potential 2016 contenders have made a combined 152 appearances on Hannity's show.
During a February appearance at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Hannity vowed, "On both my radio and television program on the Fox News Channel I promise you this: As somebody who has not made up his mind, I am going to give access to every single solitary candidate as often as I can, as often as they'll come. By the end of the process, I will ask them every question I can possibly think of."
In the past twenty-six months, Paul has appeared twice as often as any other candidate on Hannity's show. Most of the would-be candidates have appeared at least several times with Hannity, with the notable exceptions of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Fox News contributor Mike Huckabee, neither of whom have been on his program in the past twenty-six months:
Individual data and analysis for each of the candidates are below.
From the April 8 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File:
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From the April 7 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File:
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Megyn Kelly has become one of the most vocal defenders of Indiana's controversial "religious freedom" law on Fox News, dismissing concerns that the law might be used to discriminate against LGBT people. But in 2014, she decried an almost identical "religious freedom" law in Arizona, calling it "potentially dangerous."
In February of 2014, one state was embroiled in a debate over a "religious freedom" law that had earned national attention. LGBT groups, the business community, and even sports organizations had spoken out against the law, warning that it could be used to discriminate against LGBT customers.
That state was Arizona, which had passed SB 1062, a measure that gave individuals and business owners a legal defense for refusing to serve LGBT customers if doing so violated their religious beliefs.
At the time, even Fox's Megyn Kelly seemed uncomfortable with the measure, which was passed with the explicit purpose of allowing business to refuse to serve same-sex weddings. During the February 25 edition of The Kelly File, Kelly invited Fox senior political analyst Brit Hume on to her show to discuss the "controversial" law, which she called "an overreaction" and "potentially dangerous," warning that it could be used to deny medical service to LGBT people:
HUME: This bill, according to its critics, would go much farther than that. It would basically allow businesses generally to refuse to sell or to provide services to a gay couple, anyone who is gay, if they could -
KELLY: Even medical services.
HUME: Even medical services, perhaps, to someone on the basis of the fact that they are homosexual and their religion forbids homosexuality and therefore they're sincere about it... It seems to me that's an order of magnitude greater than the legal right to deny services to a gay wedding.
KELLY: I look at this bill and I wonder whether this is a reaction, an overreaction, to people who feel under attack on this score. And in the end, they may have struck back in a way that's deeply offensive to many and potentially dangerous to folks who are gay and lesbians and need medical services and other services being denied potentially.
Fox News has been at the forefront of defending Indiana's controversial "religious freedom" law, falsely portraying the measure as harmless and whitewashing the anti-LGBT extremism that motivated the legislation.
On March 26, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) signed his state's "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" (RFRA) into law. The law -- which has been criticized by religious leaders, the business community, legal scholars, and even the Republican mayor of Indianapolis -- provides a legal defense for individuals and business owners who cite their religious beliefs while discriminating against LGBT people.
The law triggered a furious national backlash, with major companies, celebrities, and government leaders condemning the measure for potentially encouraging discrimination against LGBT Hoosiers. Pence and top Indiana Republicans eventually pledged to "clarify" the law by adding language that explicitly prohibits RFRA from being used as a defense for discrimination in court.
Throughout the controversy, a number of Fox News personalities whitewashed the law's discriminatory purpose and misleadingly compared Indiana's RFRA to other "religious freedom" laws -- a comparison that even a Fox News anchor acknowledged was inaccurate.
Megyn Kelly continued her misinformation campaign in defense of Indiana's "religious freedom" law, claiming that the measure won't further discrimination against LGBT people because discrimination is already allowed in Indiana, due to a lack of statewide protections against anti-gay discrimination. In fact, the "religious freedom" law threatens to trump municipal non-discrimination policies that cover sexual orientation, such as the one in Indianapolis.
On the March 31 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File, Kelly hosted yet another misleading segment on Indiana's widely-criticized "Religious Freedom Restoration Act," a law that provides a legal defense for individuals and businesses who cite their religious beliefs against private plaintiffs or the government when refusing to serve LGBT people.
Kelly invited Tony Perkins, president of the anti-gay hate group the Family Research Council (FRC), to defend the law for the second night in a row. During the segment, Kelly argued that RFRA couldn't lead to discrimination because LGBT persons in Indiana are not guaranteed equal treatment under the law:
KELLY: Even though Governor Pence, for some reason, will not get specific about whether this law would specifically, in any case, allow a florist, for example, objecting to a gay wedding to decline to participate in the gay wedding - let's just assume for the purposes of this hypothetical that discrimination against gays was illegal in Indiana - which it's not, by the way -
KELLY: But if it were, do you believe that this law would then protect the religious objector?
KELLY: I want the viewers to understand this, that this law does not allow discrimination against gays.
KELLY: That is already legal in the state of Indiana!
KELLY: Until the state of Indiana - it is, Tony!
PERKINS: But how often does it happen?
KELLY: Until the state recognizes gays and lesbians as a protected class and passes an anti-discrimination law against them, they can be fired for any reason, they can not be served for any reason.
From the March 31 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File:
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