Todd Starnes

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  • Fox News Attacks Black Lives Matter As “Lawless” After Cheering Cliven Bundy’s Lawless Militia

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Fox News has rediscovered its love of law and order.

    In the wake of protests across the country by Black Lives Matter activists following the deaths of two African-American men at the hands of police, Fox has spent days loudly denouncing the group for its allegedly violent ways. Under the headline, “Time to end Black Lives Matter lawlessness,” Fox’s Todd Starnes recently insisted “the rules of law matters, folks. Without it, we’ve got anarchy.”

    Starnes was angry that Black Lives Matter activists weren’t arrested when they marched on a bridge in Memphis and shut down traffic there over the weekend.

    Fox hosts and guests have all been piling on Black Lives Matter, continuing the network’s long-running campaign to demonize the group. Bill O’Reilly announced that an NAACP director and African-Americans in general need to “distance themselves from Black Lives Matter” in order to create “good racial relations,” while a panel of Fox News talkers last week insisted Black Lives Matter has its “roots in violence.” And Sean Hannity recently claimed that Black Lives Matter’s “advancing narrative is killing cops.”

    In other words, just rancid stuff, as Fox whips up racial tension under the guise of defending law and order. (Rudy Giuliani on Fox: Black Lives Matter “puts a target on the back of police.”)

    Fox News’ hate rhetoric isn’t just dangerous, it also reeks of hypocrisy when you recall that back in 2014, the same Fox News flaunted its disdain for law enforcement in order to champion Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy. For two decades, Bundy refused to pay federal grazing fees on the public land his cattle used. According to Fox and the conservative media then, there was no more important battle than Bundy’s symbolic showdown with the federal government.

    The rancher’s battle was supported by heavily armed militiamen and women. Insurrectionism was the ugly theme of the day. Law enforcement was the enemy. And for Bundy, Fox News acted as his publicist/public defender, rallying conservatives across the country to support a rancher who didn’t want to pay his taxes.

    • Bill O’Reilly suggested Bundy “probably is a hero in many people's eyes because he's standing up against this colossus."
    • Sean Hannity relentlessly promoted Bundy, who called the Fox News talker his “hero.”
    • Andrew Napolitano called the law-breaking rancher a "patriotic, heroic American."

    And yes, the same Todd Starnes who today is so worried about “anarchy” if Black Lives Matter activists aren’t arrested was out front defending Bundy’s lawlessness. Referencing federal employees' attempt to legally confiscate Bundy's cattle after his fees and fines, Starnes noted, "Don't they still have laws on the books about cattle rustling out in Nevada? ... Back in the day, they used to string folks up for stealing cattle."

    At the height of Fox News’ Bundy frenzy and irresponsibility (like when Hannity wondered on-air if the federal government would kill the rancher), conservative media couldn’t stop fanning fears about "government overreach" in the Age of Obama.

    The Drudge Report recklessly hyped the possibility of a violent confrontation with the anti-government militia members, and Bundy himself threatened a “Range War” against the government, claiming his son was a “political prisoner.”

    The Southern Poverty Law Center later reported,The standoff between federal agents and armed supporters of a Nevada rancher earlier this year was a highly coordinated effort by far-right militiamen.” The group noted the Bundy confrontation “was seen as a victory within the antigovernment ‘Patriot’ movement after federal agents pulled out despite Bundy owing more than $1 million in grazing fees and fines to the federal government.”

    Make no mistake, the Bundy stand-off was aggressively anti-law enforcement. “Militia snipers lined the hilltops and overpasses with scopes trained on federal agents,” SPLC noted. During one confrontation, protesters taunted federal agents with insults, denouncing various officers as a "terrorist," "loser," "chickenshit," and a "fucking pussy.

    Reminder: In April 2014, Bundy uncorked a racist rant ("I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro") and thoroughly embarrassed his media supporters who foolishly portrayed him as an American hero.

    But before his sudden fall, Fox News touted Bundy and his anarchic militia supporters as symbols of American resistance. Keep that in mind next time a Fox talker denounces Black Lives Matter as lawless.

  • Right-Wing Media Echo Trump’s Criticism Of Obama For Not Calling Orlando Shooting “Radical Islamic Terrorism”

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ & CYDNEY HARGIS

    As President Obama delivered an address reacting to the shooting that resulted in 50 casualties at an Orlando nightclub, right-wing media figures attacked him for including “no mention of Islam or radical Islam or, for that matter, terrorists” in his remarks. This came after presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump urged the president to “finally mention the words radical Islamic terrorism,” even though experts and former President George W. Bush noted that using “radical Islam” to define terrorism is counterproductive.

  • “Sheer Bullying”: Right-Wing Media Lash Out At Justice Department For Suing North Carolina Over “Discriminatory” Anti-LGBT Law

    ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN, ERIN FITZGERALD & BOBBY LEWIS

    Conservative media lashed out at the Department of Justice for filing a lawsuit stating that North Carolina’s anti-LGBT “bathroom bill,” which bans people from using public restrooms that do not correspond with the gender listed on their birth certificates, is “discriminatory.” Right-wing media claim the department is “playing dangerous games with our constitutional republic” and that the lawsuit is "designed to make the gay mafia seem as the victims of discriminatory injustice that just doesn’t exist."

  • The Right-Wing Media Figures Who Did Not Like Donald Trump’s Foreign Policy Speech At All

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ & CYDNEY HARGIS

    As Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump delivered what was billed as a “major foreign policy speech,” conservative media personalities attacked him on Twitter, calling the speech a “sickening display of revisionism,” asking if the candidate was “medicated” while giving the address, and declaring that “this is why we’ll need a third” party candidate.

  • Mississippi’s Anti-LGBT Law Is Based On Fox News' “Religious Freedom” Horror Stories

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL PERCELAY

    Mississippi’s unprecedented anti-LGBT “religious freedom” law is based on bogus “religious liberty” horror stories peddled by Fox News and anti-LGBT activists.

    On April 5, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant (R) signed  into law a “religious freedom” bill that creates a broad legal defense for individuals, businesses, and religiously affiliated organizations -- like hospitals, schools, and shelters -- to discriminate against LGBT people. Gov. Bryant claimed the law was meant to “protect sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions … from discriminatory action by state government.”  

    Conservative media have spent years peddling the myth that Christians are being persecuted by LGBT nondiscrimination laws. Fox News has long touted the stories of a handful of anti-gay photographers, bakers, and florists who refused to provide services to same-sex couples and were then sued for violating nondiscrimination ordinances. In regular segments that Fox dubs the “Fight for Faith,” the network often sides with for-profit businesses -- like an Idaho wedding chapel -- to claim that the Christian business owners are being persecuted by the government or LGBT activists:

    Fox News employees have even written books devoted to the anti-LGBT Christian persecution myth. In 2014,Fox News’ anti-gay mouthpiece and serial misinformer Todd Starnes went on a publicity tour for his book God Less America, which details “real stories from the frontlines of the attack on traditional values.” This February, Fox News contributor and prominent conservative media figure Erick Erickson released a book You Will Be Made To Care, The War on Faith, Family And Your Freedom To Believe, which explores how the "leftist-homosexual mafia" is waging a "war on Christians.”

    Conservative media’s misinformation campaign framing Christians as “victims” of discrimination is part of a larger effort by anti-LGBT activists seeking to pass “religious freedom” laws. With Fox News providing the “Fight for Faith” stories to lay the groundwork for laws like Mississippi’s, anti-LGBT organizations can continue their national push for laws that protect anti-LGBT discrimination. 

  • Cruz, Carson To Attend Right-Wing Media Convention Featuring Anti-LGBT, Anti-Muslim Extremists

    ››› ››› RACHEL PERCELAY

    Republican presidential candidates Sen. Ted Cruz and Dr. Ben Carson are scheduled to attend the National Religious Broadcasters' "Proclaim 16" Convention, which will run from February 23 to 26 in Nashville, TN. The annual convention has a history of anti-LGBT and anti-Muslim content, and this year convention will feature three anti-LGBT hate groups, a panel sponsored by the Islamophobic extremist organization behind Trump's proposed Muslim ban, and multiple notoriously anti-gay extremist speakers.

  • Right-Wing Media Lash Out At Pope Francis For Suggesting Donald Trump's Immigration Plans Do Not Reflect Christian Values

    ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN

    Right-wing media criticized Pope Francis for suggesting Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump's proposals for mass deportation and his promise to build a border wall are not in line with Christian values. Right-wing media personalities demanded the Pope "ask [for] Donald Trump's forgiveness," called him a socialist, and claimed he is a hypocrite due to the Vatican having a wall.