As tensions escalate between Iran and the United States, calls are also on the rise for the media to remain skeptical of the White House's claims of Iran's aggression and the retaliatory actions the U.S. is planning -- especially given the administration's long history of dishonesty. In one of the latest examples, Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) observed that the “US coverage of the latest Iran episode seems to be falling into some old, bad habits.”
On June 18, CJR noted that while “the Trump era writ large has brought out the skeptical side in many reporters, and it seems that some of them have applied it to the Iran story,” many in the media have also fallen into familiar, harmful patterns. These patterns include framing Iran “as a menacing, unilateral aggressor whose actions necessitate a strong American response” and publishing headlines and tweets that privilege misinformation by quoting members of the administration without challenging their claims. For example:
The Wall Street Journal:
Considering the White House's unprecedented track record of lying and the fact that it has actually covered up intelligence, news reports need to grapple with the sheer dishonesty permeating the Trump administration. The president himself has lied over 10,000 times since taking office, according to The Washington Post. His lies have covered issues both big, like Iran, and small, like his leisure time with Queen Elizabeth II. Despite the president’s torrent of lies, administration members of all ranks routinely line up to defend him. Additionally, multiple Trump Cabinet secretaries have been accused of lying -- even to Congress. Given these facts, it’s insufficient for news reports to mention the administration’s utter lack of credibility merely as an afterthought -- when it’s mentioned at all -- rather than as a core of their reporting, as have CNN and MSNBC.
The need for skepticism in media coverage is even more urgent given that two of Trump’s top national security officials -- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton -- have a combined 17 years minimum of advocating for military action against Iran, including regime change.
In 2018, the Los Angeles Times described Pompeo as “a notable hawk” on Iran, highlighting his record of seeking confrontation up to and including “the ouster of the theocracy” and his calls in 2014, as the Iran nuclear deal was being negotiated, to launch airstrikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities. When the deal was finalized, Pompeo “bluntly mischaracterized” the effects of President Barack Obama’s negotiations as a “surrender” to Tehran.
Bolton, who has fantasized about hypothetical situations that could give the U.S. a casus belli to initiate strikes, may be the most hawkish member of the administration. Bolton’s former career as a Fox News contributor makes it no secret that he wants to invade Iran and overthrow the government. In 2016, he commented that “our objective should be to overthrow the regime in Tehran.” In 2012, Bolton told Fox Business host Lou Dobbs that “the preemptive use of military force” is “the only thing” that will prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons. That same year, he also said on Fox that “I don’t think it’s in our interest to stay out” of a hypothetical war between Israel and Iran because ultimately, the alternative would be “an Iran with nuclear weapons.” As far back as 2010, he insisted to Fox’s Sean Hannity that “the United States ought to help Israel” launch military strikes to “take out” Iranian nuclear facilities. The national security adviser’s thirst for war against Iran is so well-known that it has become a running joke.
It may yet turn out that attacks on oil shipments in the Persian Gulf were connected to the Iranian government, but the fact remains that the Trump administration simply has not proven it. Furthermore, even Iran was behind the attacks, there is simply no reason to believe Pompeo’s claim that the administration doesn’t want a military conflict with Iran. Irrespective of the likelihood of Iranian involvement, the Trump administration has provided over 10,000 reasons for the media not to trust it, including directly lying to reporters’ faces.
The administration, not just Trump, has a credibility crisis, and the media outlets flirt with disaster by not making that lack of credibility clear in reporting on the administration’s actions regarding Iran.
Martha MacCallum echoed the false claim made by Trump 'border czar' pick and Fox contributor Tom Homan
During Fox News’ town hall with 2020 Democratic candidate Julian Castro, co-moderator Martha MacCallum falsely claimed that 90% of immigrants who are detained and then released “do not ever show up for their court date.” MacCallum’s comment echoed a stat also used by Fox opinion contributor Tom Homan, whom President Donald Trump recently named as his border czar.
On the May 10 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, Homan referenced congressional testimony that acting Executive Associate ICE Director Nathalie Asher gave two days earlier to comment that “almost nine out of 10” undocumented or asylum-seeking families “aren’t making it to court” for their hearings. However, the figure was only related to a Trump administration pilot program launched in late 2018 to expedite asylum cases; in contrast, per Asher’s testimony, the traditional program for these families “is effective in ensuring that its vetted participants show up to specified hearings” -- with just 27.4% of families failing to appear for their court dates. Multiple studies have also shown that over 90% of asylum-seekers in several categories actually do appear for their court hearings.
Until Homan rejoins the Trump administration -- as the president announced during a June 14 Fox & Friends interview -- he is a Fox News contributor, a part of the “opinion” division that executives claim is separate from the “news” division. However, MacCallum, a Fox “news”-side anchor, repeated the same false claim during the town hall, noting that 90% of the people detained at the border “do not ever show up for their court date once they’ve been apprehended and released.” Castro said he wanted to “dispute” the figure and mentioned the Obama-era Family Case Management Program, which he said saw a “more than a 98% return rate” for immigrants going to court. MacCallum’s responded, “It doesn’t sound like there’s anyone that you wouldn’t let in. I mean, is there anyone you wouldn’t let in?”
As with earlier Fox News Democratic town halls, Fox & Friends quickly used Castro’s appearance to attack him as a radical leftist, this time on immigration. Co-host Brian Kilmeade denounced Castro’s plan for what he called “wide-open borders” and mocked him for “going back in time to 1929” for mentioning that the U.S. traditionally didn’t criminalize people for crossing the border illegally but treated such acts as civil violations. And the clip reel the show assembled consistently cut Castro off mid-sentence, denying the audience his policy explanations and allowing the hosts to tear down a leftist caricature.
Fox has been using its Democratic town halls to both attack liberals and keep the network financially sound amid controversy about its prime-time lineup pushing dangerous conspiracy theories and unabashed white supremacy. A Democratic town hall featuring a false anti-immigrant talking point from Fox News’ go-to immigration misinformer -- who is also a former and possibly returning Trump border official -- should be a red flag for any non-conservative considering appearing on the network.
Conservative media claimed that Trump was just “playing,” drew a false equivalence with the Steele dossier, and attacked Hillary Clinton
After President Donald Trump sparked outrage when he admitted in an interview that he would “listen” to any damaging information on his opponent even if it came from a foreign government, pro-Trump media quickly came to his defense.
On June 13, ABC News host George Stephanopoulos asked Trump whether his campaign would accept, or hand over to the FBI, damaging information on his opponent if it came from a foreign source. Trump responded that “maybe” he would do both, saying, “You might want to listen. There isn’t anything wrong with listening.” Trump also pushed back on the idea that a foreign government providing information on a political opponent is election interference. He conceded that “if I thought there was something wrong, I'd go maybe to the FBI” but also asserted that “the FBI doesn’t have enough agents to take care of” what he characterized as “oppo research.” Trump also lied that he had never in his "whole life" called the FBI (he approached the FBI in the 1980s in a matter related to Atlantic City casinos).
The president’s comments came on the same day U.S. senators questioned his son Donald Trump Jr. about his connections with Russia. At the center of the scrutiny surrounding Trump Jr. is a meeting he took in 2016 -- along with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and then-campaign head Paul Manafort -- with a Kremlin-linked lawyer to discuss “dirt” on former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. The details surrounding the meeting are still in question.
As criticism of Trump’s comments poured in, pro-Trump media rushed to defend the president. Many immediately pointed to Hillary Clinton, a common scapegoat for right-wing media; others drew a false equivalency with the dossier compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele on alleged connections between Trump and the Russian government to accuse Democrats and the media of a double standard when it comes to accepting foreign assistance during the election. But in fact, while it is illegal to accept contributions from foreign nationals for political campaigns (as Trump suggested he would do), “paying a foreign national fair market value for opposition research is generally not illegal,” as former chief counsel for the Federal Election Commission Lawrence Noble told The Washington Post. “It is considered a commercial transaction, which is not a contribution.”
Nevertheless, pro-Trump media figures still defended Trump’s recent comments, deflecting to Hillary Clinton and the Steele dossier and lambasting the media for their supposed double standards:
On her prime-time show, Fox host Laura Ingraham said that it “seems like he’s playing.” She then referenced Trump’s 2016 comments during a campaign rally when he asked Russia to find dirt on Clinton, framing the comments as “obviously a Trump joke.” Ingraham and Her guest Victor Davis Hanson, senior fellow at the Hoover Institute, said that the interview showed “you shouldn’t ever talk to George Stephanopoulos.”
On Fox & Friends, Fox host Sean Hannity cheered Trump’s comments as “the greatest set-up that Donald Trump has ever made” because he angered the “media mob.” He then drew a false equivalency, saying that “if you’re outraged in the media” about Trump’s comments, “how could you not be outraged Hillary Clinton literally empowered a foreign agent who produced a dossier for the Russian lies,” referring to the Steele dossier.
On his prime-time show the night before, Hannity had defended Trump’s comments, asserting that if offered campaign dirt, “you might want to listen.” He then claimed that “listening is much different than … lying, spying, and paying for Russian lies,” criticizing Clinton and chastising the media for not being more outraged at her.
On Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy claimed “there is so much oppo research floating around Washington, D.C. Perhaps that’s what the president’s talking about.”
Fellow Fox & Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt dismissed the notion that Trump should report foreign assistance to the FBI, asking “What’s the FBI going to do?” Earhardt concluded that the FBI’s response would be along the lines of “you’re crazy.”
On America’s Newsroom, Fox News contributor Jason Chaffetz claimed that “fake outrage from the left and the media is part of a pattern.” He pivoted to criticizing the media for not showing any outrage about former President Bill Clinton’s paid speeches when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state.
On Special Report with Bret Baier, The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway responded to Trump’s comments by pointing to Clinton, asserting that she “took information from a foreign government.” She claimed that “if this is a huge problem,” then Stephanopoulos “should be asking” Clinton and the DNC about the Steele dossier. She also said the media should be asking, “Why they created this hoax conspiracy theory.”
On Fox Business, The Washington Times’ Charles Hurt conceded that Trump’s comments were not good, but he urged people to first “think about what he has been through for the past three years.” Hurt also attacked Clinton over the Steele dossier and concluded that Trump is “in fighting mode” so “of course he’s going to say that.”
Fox host Mark Levin tweeted: “Uh, remember the dossier?” Levin then criticized the media -- calling them “these clowns” -- for being “appalled by Trump’s answer.”
Far-right conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec wrote that his “favorite part of the exchange was when ABC asked Trump about receiving intel from foreigners and he responded: Everyone in Congress does it #BloodMoney”
Media Research Center’s NewsBusters: “It's absolutely amazing how many liberals can't recall that Hillary Clinton paid a foreign operative to get foreign dirt on Donald Trump. They think they're the most intelligent ones.”
Right-wing blog RedState sarcastically compared Trump’s comments to the Steele dossier: “Democrats are Apoplectic That Trump Would Listen To A Foreigner With Dirt On An Opponent.” The blog post calling media reaction “extraordinary,” “considering that the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC paid $12 million to a foreigner to not only dig up dirt on candidate Donald Trump, but to disseminate it among the Washington political community, the Intelligence agencies and then to the media.”
Right-wing troll Kurt Schlichter claimed, “I don’t accept that something is a crime only if it applies to my side.” He also wrote that the left decided that foreign election interference “is not a crime, so it is not a crime,” apparently referring to the Steele dossier, and said, “You might call this whataboutism. But my whataboutism is a moral necessity.”
Wash. Examiner correspondent Byron York attacked Politico for being “duly shocked, appalled by Trump foreign oppo research comment.” York misleadingly claimed that the same thing is “done by pros! On Nexis! Steele dossier seems to have slipped the mind.”
Daily Caller reporter Scott Morefield compared Trump’s affirmative openness to taking “foreign-obtained dirt” to Schiff being pranked by Russian radio hosts.
Conservative commentator Harlan Hill accused Democrats of “LYING THROUGH THEIR DAMN TEETH.” Hill’s comment was addressed at “any democrat saying they'd refuse to use oppo dropped on their doorstep regarding an opponent -- simply [because] they didn't like who dropped the oppo on their doorstep.” Hill also tweeted, “Democrats loved foreign interference in American elections when we were talking about the Anti-Trump Steele Dossier, a FAKE produced by a Brit and sourced by the Russians.”
Special counsel Robert Mueller read a statement at a May 29 press conference in which he explained that his investigation did not attempt to determine whether President Donald Trump had committed any crimes because it would be against Department of Justice policy to charge a president who is in office. Mueller also announced that he was formally closing the special counsel's office and resigning from the DOJ to return to private life. Conservative media figures responded by criticizing Mueller for not exonerating Trump, claiming his statement is a “huge win” for the president, complaining that Mueller helped make Democrats’ case for impeaching Trump, misrepresenting what he said about his findings, and suggesting he might be lying in his statement.
Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro: “‘If we had confidence that the president did not commit a crime, we would have said so.’ That is not the standard of a prosecutor. Prosecutors exist to determine whether someone committed a chargeable offense, not whether they are exonerated of charges.”
National Review Online Editor Charles C. W. Cooke: “Is this how it works? Isn't it the other way around? You look for evidence that a crime was committed, and if you don't find it you say ‘we didn't find any.’ You don't look for evidence that it wasn't and then say, ‘we couldn't find evidence of innocence.’”
The Federalist co-founder Sean Davis: “Also, Mueller's view of a prosecutor's role -- to prove and declare a target's innocence, rather than to charge criminality -- is a despicable affront to the rule of law and the Constitution. Cops and lawyers don't grant innocence. It is our default legal state absent conviction.”
Fox News Radio host Guy Benson: “If he had the evidence, Mueller could have identified criminal conduct & *recommended* charges, then let DOJ decide whether OLC guidance would or would not permit those charges being filed against a sitting POTUS. Instead, he decided not to recommend anything.”
Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich: “Muller tried today to have [it both] ways. If he thought President [Trump] was guilty of something he should have said he was guilty of something. Ken Starr used the word guilty 11 times on 11 different counts in his report on President Clinton. If not guilty Trump is innocent.”
Breitbart.com White House correspondent Charlie Spiering: “Huge win for Trump: Mueller steps down, refuses to testify, states that president cannot be charged with a crime, urges Americans to secure future elections.”
Far-right blog The Gateway Pundit: “Mueller Dunks on Pelosi and Dems – Praises Attorney General Bill Barr For Releasing Entire Report in Good Faith.”
Gingrich: “In the absence of proof in America, you are innocent. Therefore, by definition, President Trump is innocent.”
Commentary Associate Editor Noah Rothman: “The impeachment case just got a lot easier to make.”
Fox Nation and Fox News Radio host Todd Starnes: “Mueller just poured gasoline on the Democrats' Impeachment fire.”
Radio host Rush Limbaugh: “He begged [Congress] to impeach. He gave them the green light. He said that’s what you people have to do.”
Fox News contributor and Townhall Editor Katie Pavlich: “Impeachment is coming.”
Former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly: “After Robert Mueller’s deflection to Congress on the obstruction issue, we can expect democrats to begin impeachment proceedings. That will harm the country economically and lead no where as the Senate will not convict.”
Fox’s Martha MacCallum and Brian Kilmeade agreed Mueller “threw some kerosene on the fire.” Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade said on his radio show Mueller “closed his office, he called it quits, but before he did it, he actually threw some kerosene on the fire and then threw the match.” Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum agreed, saying: “Absolutely, no doubt.” Kilmeade then added: “So my sense was he saw the chaos that happened after he released the report that was supposed to put a fine point on a 22-month investigation, and he made it worse.”
Fox's Lisa Boothe: “Robert Mueller is a hack. And we know that he’s a hack because he gave Democrats exactly what they wanted ... more fuel to the fire of impeachment.”
Fox host Pete Hegseth falsely claimed that Trump will “rightfully” say there was “no obstruction” and that he's “exonerated.” Mueller actually explained that he was prevented from considering charging Trump with a crime because of Department of Justice policy.
Wash. Examiner’s Philip Klein: “Impeachment or bust: Robert Mueller just made clear he won't give Democrats a second crack at his report through testimony.” The text of Klein’s article was more accurate than its headline, correctly noting that Mueller said the report covers everything he has to say about the investigation.
The Federalist Senior Editor Mollie Hemingway: “Multiple people at DOJ say Mueller stated that [Office of Legal Counsel] opinion had nothing to do with his decision not to charge obstruction, and report itself doesn’t make determination on obstruction, as it did on collusion. Remarks today curiously at odds with both.” While responding to a reply pointing that Mueller had set the record straight with his statement, Hemingway added that Mueller “wasn’t speaking under oath while someone who said otherwise was, so…..”
Fox contributor Jason Chaffetz: “It’s purely a guess, but from where I sit I think it was to cover his butt within his own political, social circles. … Barr was actually out there telling the truth, and it scared Mueller and his reputation. He was supposed to be the guy to get Trump, and he didn't, and he feels bad about that.”
Gingrich: “My guess is that in his social circles, people felt that he had failed to serve the worthy cause of destroying Donald Trump, and he was trying to sort of cleverly toss it to the Congress."
Boothe: “Robert Mueller gave more deference to the Russians yesterday than he did to President Trump.”
Hegseth: Mueller “went out of his way when talking about the Russians that had been indicted to say that they are innocent until proven guilty. The Russians. Which he never went out of his way to say about a sitting president.”
Gingrich: Mueller “says of the Russians they’re innocent until proven guilty, and in the next paragraph he says he can’t prove the president’s innocence. So, his standard for the American president is dramatically lower than his standard for Russians. You couldn’t have made that up.”
Fox Business devoted an entire week to debating the merits of capitalism and socialism, dominated by billionaires lecturing about the supposed evil of combating income inequality.
“What do people not understand about he's a little bit different than most people?”
On April 24, President Donald Trump tweeted that former CIA analyst Larry Johnson has accused the United Kingdom's intelligence agencies of “helping Obama Administration Spy on the 2016 Trump Presidential Campaign.” Trump was apparently tweeting in response to a segment he watched on One America News Network, a conservative cable news channel. In doing so, the president has resurfaced a conspiracy theory from a discredited fraud that -- when Fox News promoted it in 2017 -- helped cause an international incident between the United States and the United Kingdom.
“Former CIA analyst Larry Johnson accuses United Kingdom Intelligence of helping Obama Administration Spy on the 2016 Trump Presidential Campaign.” @OANN WOW! It is now just a question of time before the truth comes out, and when it does, it will be a beauty!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 24, 2019
Larry Johnson is a conservative conspiracy theorist notorious for pushing the racist smear that there was a tape of former first lady Michelle Obama calling people “whitey.” Johnson appeared on Russian television network RT in March 2017 to argue that “there was some collusion overseas” between U.S. intelligence and the U.K. security agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and that British intelligence gathered information about Trump that it passed to Obama-era CIA Director John Brennan. None of Johnson’s allegations are true.
Several days later, Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano shared the theory (with anonymous attribution) on two Fox shows. It then spread over right-wing media and ultimately reached then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer. On March 16, 2017, Spicer cited Napolitano’s RT-sourced conspiracy theory in a press briefing to suggest that one of the United States’ strongest allies was illegally spying on Trump on behalf of then-President Barack Obama. The British government was displeased, and GCHQ issued a rare statement denouncing Napolitano’s “utterly ridiculous” claim.
After The New York Times confirmed Media Matters’ discovery that Johnson was one of Napolitano’s sources for the conspiracy theory, Fox News suspended Napolitano “indefinitely,” which turned out to be approximately two weeks. (Upon his return to Fox, Napolitano doubled down on the claim that got him suspended.) When the controversy blew back on Trump himself during a press conference, the president ducked all responsibility and blamed Fox News.
A few weeks after this incident, CNN reported that European intelligence agencies, including GCHQ, captured Trump campaign communications “during routine surveillance of Russian officials” and passed them on to U.S. intelligence. However, no agencies involved in this incidental collection were “proactively targeting members of the Trump team,” as Johnson, Napolitano, and Spicer had falsely alleged.
Now, two years later, the president is pushing the same conspiracy theory that previously damaged the U.S.-U.K. alliance and which the British government has denounced as “utterly ridiculous” for the second time -- all because he was watching TV.
Right-wing media, predominantly Fox News figures, use the end of the Mueller investigation to call yet again for investigations into Hillary Clinton, President Obama, the FBI, and more
On Thursday, April 18, the Department of Justice released a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian election interference. Since then, several right-wing media figures, including hosts, anchors, and guests of President Donald Trump’s favorite TV channels Fox News and Fox Business, have declared that now is the time to investigate the investigators. (Republican National Committee spokesperson Elizabeth Harrington has also joined the chorus.)
New York Post’s Michael Goodwin: “The whole thing about the Russian dossier, the use of it by the FBI, [former FBI Director] James Comey, [former Director of National Intelligence James] Clapper, [former CIA Director John] Brennan, [former national security adviser] Susan Rice, on and on. All of their actions are subject, we hope, to a true investigation.”
The Wall Street Journal’s James Freeman: “How did this begin? How did this use of surveillance tools against the party out of power get started? And that's really what we haven't learned. ... Now I think we'll learn more about how the government came to spy on a political opposition.”
Fox Business host Stuart Varney: “I would simply like to know what did President Obama know about an ongoing spying operation into a competitor's political presidential campaign? … Will we find out what Hillary was doing?”
Fox contributor John Sununu: “When Lindsey Graham starts his investigation on the Clinton side of the issue, [Democrats] will have a difficult time with dealing that. And the more and more they get into the weeds, the more and more the American public is going to understand how political they are rather than trying to get legislation passed.”
Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk on The Story: “I actually believe you cannot allow the people from the internal, high levels of the FBI to get away with what they did here. ... There’s a lot of information, a lot of questions that still needs to be answered because this should never be allowed to happen to any other president again.”
Fox News chief political anchor Bret Baier: Baier falsely gave credence to the idea that investigators need to be investigated, saying, “We don't yet know about the origins of the investigation, the [inspector general] may shed some light on this, as other investigations in the early stages.”
Fox contributor Katherine Timpf on Outnumbered: “We already have evidence that there were some people who were involved in this investigation who were politically motivated. They wanted to get the president. That's not something we wondering about, it's something we know. So knowing that, why wouldn’t you want to know more?”
Outnumbered co-host Lisa Boothe: “I would love to know at what point Mueller knew there was no collusion and why the investigation went past that point. I question the origins of the investigation to begin with. ... I question all of it, and I sincerely think we need to get to the bottom of it.”
Fox Business’ David Asman on Fox's Outnumbered: “It’s probably one reason why they are attacking [Attorney General William] Barr now is because they are afraid of what he might dig up as a result of investigating all this.”
Fox Business host Lisa Kennedy Montgomery: “If there is a possibility that the deep state exists and it is so politicized, and at the president's disposal, shouldn't all of the people running for president as Democrats want an investigation to make sure what happened in 2016 doesn't happen in 2020?”
Breitbart’s Alana Mastrangelo responded to a Trump tweet about the Mueller report with “Now let’s investigate the investigators.”
Fox News contributor Tammy Bruce on Varney & Co.: “We aren't fatigued with justice. We want it, and I think that especially in this case we know this investigation was based on something that didn't occur.”
Fox News host Laura Ingraham: “Will we ever see these underlying documents? We've got transparency from the Trump team, … and we still don't really know, do we, what happened with Comey and the edits and why he came out into a press conference?”
Ingraham: “Every effort should be made to investigate the origins and motivations of this Mueller investigation.”
Fox News contributor Trey Gowdy on Fox's The Story: “I would think everybody would want to know was there sufficient factual predicate for the launching -- the initiating of this investigation? … What you will see is Republicans going to investigate the origins.”
Fox Business host Lou Dobbs: “Everyone involved, the Dems who funded it, the Christopher Steeles and the law firms, that aided and abetted in this farcical attempt to overthrow a president … should be in orange jumpsuits.”
Dobbs: Barr is “the first attorney general I've seen in decades who, I believe, has the capacity and the talent and the integrity to … clean up this mess that is the leadership of the FBI and the Department of Justice.”
Lou Dobbs Tonight guest Harmeet Dhillon: “We are going to see more leadership changes [at DOJ] I hope, and that Bill Barr is able to be given all the rope and the ammunition that he needs to go forward.”
Fox regular Joe diGenova: “It is now abundantly clear that in order to restore the integrity of DOJ and FBI, there has to be a full-scale federal grand jury of the Obama DOJ and FBI, CIA, and director of national intelligence."
The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway on Fox's Special Report: “The country was basically held hostage by a collusion theory -- a theory that the president of the United States was a foreign agent. … It was a very negative thing. There needs to be accountability; we are being given indications that there will be accountability for this.”
Hemingway on Fox & Friends: “We should continue to investigate, but what we should investigate is how [the media and Democrats] were able to get away with saying [that there was collusion] for so many years without evidence, and how it was that our own law enforcement and intelligence agencies were taken over by this.”
Fox host Jesse Watters: “They used false information to spy on the Trump campaign, so that needs to be investigated. … Why aren't reporters at Chappaqua [NY] right now, waiting for Hillary?”
Fox Nation personalities Diamond & Silk: “The government officials that participated, that masterminded, that orchestrated all of this here collusion mess -- they need to be brought to justice. It’s time to investigate the investigators.”
Fox guest Francey Hakes: “How did this entire investigation get started, and did the US government actually run an asset at George Papadopoulos to plant information that was then later used as the basis of the entire investigation? … Public corruption must be examined.”
A Hannity panel comprising Fox’s Gregg Jarrett, right-wing journalist Sara Carter, and former independent counsel Ken Starr agreed that the investigators need to be investigated. Jarrett: “If I were James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Brennan Clapper, I wouldn't be sleeping very well tonight or many nights to come.”
Fox host Sean Hannity: “If any of this started before July 31, the alleged beginning of the FBI's collusion investigation, we need to know when it started. And finally, we need to know this big question: What did he know? What did President Obama know? And when did he know it?”
Hannity on his radio show: “Is Robert Mueller going to be reappointed and maybe he’ll hire only Republican donors? … Maybe they'll hire Sean Hannity. ... This is now the beginning of the real investigation into the investigators.”
Trump attorney Jay Sekulow on Hannity: “For the country’s sake, we don’t let this happen again -- ever again. When a situation like this -- that’s why you got to find out how you started. I think the attorney general is going to do the right thing.”
On April 15, Fox News hosted a town hall for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). After the town hall, Fox hosts and guests began to misrepresent and smear his policy proposals.