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Bobby Lewis

Author ››› Bobby Lewis
  • This misleading Fox segment prompted Trump's inaccurate voter fraud tweet

    Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    President Donald Trump tweeted false information about voter fraud after watching a misleading Fox & Friends segment about a Texas Department of State report that allegedly showed non-U.S. citizens registered to vote. However, as The Texas Tribune explained, the report does not actually shed much light on how much illegal voting may or may not have occurred. 

    On January 27, Fox & Friends Weekend ran a segment about the Texas report, which co-host Katie Pavlich misleadingly described as evidence of “95,000 non-U.S. citizens who are registered to vote in Texas.” Pavlich suggested that the report was proof against the arguments that “noncitizens aren’t voting in our elections, [and] people who say that there’s voter fraud are conspiracy theorists.” Her guest, discredited fabulist J. Christian Adams, claimed the Texas report shows “the real foreign influence in our elections” and said that other states, including Pennsylvania, are “hiding the same information” about “aliens getting on the rolls.” 

    The segment prompted President Trump to tweet that the Texas voter numbers are “just the tip of the iceberg,” claiming that we need “strong voter ID” laws because “voter fraud is rampant.”

    Prior to the Fox & Friends segment that prompted the president’s tweet, The Texas Tribune examined the Texas secretary of state’s report and found that it contains 95,000 names “who the state says counties should consider checking to see whether they are … legally eligible to vote,” and that of the 95,000, “about 58,000 individuals cast a ballot in one or more elections from 1996 to 2018.” The office advised counties that the names on the list “should be considered ‘WEAK’ matches, using all capital letters for emphasis.”

    However, as Chris Davis, the head of the Texas Association of Elections Administrators, said, “People get naturalized. It’s entirely too early to say that” this report is proof of voter fraud. As the Tribune noted, “It’s possible that individuals flagged by the state … could have become naturalized citizens since they obtained their driver's license or ID card,” and “It’s unclear exactly how many of those individuals are not actually U.S. citizens and whether that number will be available in the future.” From the January 25 article: 

    The Texas secretary of state's office announced Friday it would send local election officials a list of 95,000 registered voters who the state says counties should consider checking to see whether they are U.S. citizens and, therefore, legally eligible to vote.

    In an advisory released Friday afternoon, the office said it was flagging individuals who had provided the Texas Department of Public Safety with some form of documentation — including a work visa or a green card — that showed they were not a citizen when they were obtaining a driver’s license or an ID card. Among the individuals flagged, about 58,000 individuals cast a ballot in one or more elections from 1996 to 2018, the secretary of state's office said.

    It’s unclear exactly how many of those individuals are not actually U.S. citizens and whether that number will be available in the future. In its notice to counties, the secretary of state's office said the names should be considered "WEAK" matches, using all capital letters for emphasis.

    ...

    It's possible that individuals flagged by the state — who provided DPS with documentation that indicated they were authorized to be in the country — could have become naturalized citizens since they obtained their driver's license or ID card. A spokesman for the secretary of state said officials are "very confident" that the data received from DPS is "current."

    But without additional verification, you can't say these individuals all engaged in illegal voting, said Chris Davis, the head of the Texas Association of Elections Administrators.

    "People get naturalized," Davis said. "It's entirely too early to say that."

    But Beth Stevens, voting rights legal director for the Texas Civil Rights Project, said the announcement echoed efforts around the country to remove eligible voters from the rolls.

    "The secretary’s actions threaten to result in tens of thousands of eligible voters being removed from the rolls, including those with the least resources to comply with the demand to show papers," Stevens said.

    Rampant voter fraud has been a right-wing media meme for many years, and there has never been any evidence. Fox News particularly obsesses over the voter fraud conspiracy theory, yet the network has virtually ignored actual fraud in the electoral process. 

  • Media falsely blame "both sides" for government shutdown Trump said he is "proud" to own

    Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS, STEVE MORRIS & MILES LE

    On December 11, President Donald Trump told congressional Democrats and the media that he would be “proud to shut down the government” over border wall funding, and the federal government subsequently shut down on December 22. With the shutdown now entering its fifth week, some in media seem to have forgotten Trump’s unambiguous claim of responsibility and are instead blaming “both sides.”

    Falsely blaming “both sides” for the aberrant behavior of only one side has been a favorite media trope for years. It poisons policy conversations, endangers vulnerable groups, and dumbs down the entire political discourse.

  • Fox News spent months on end declaring there was "no collusion" between Trump's campaign and Russia

    Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani is now trying to move the goalposts

    Blog ››› ››› COURTNEY HAGLE, BOBBY LEWIS & MILES LE

    In a January 16 appearance on CNN, President Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani appeared to reverse course from his usual rhetoric on the Trump campaign and Russia, claiming that he has “never said there was no collusion between the campaign, or between people in the campaign,” and Russia. Giuliani insisted that he had only stated previously that Trump himself had not colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential election. The following morning, Giuliani appeared on CNN again to attempt to clarify what he meant, but he instead doubled down on his assertion that "neither [Trump] nor I can possibly know what everyone on the campaign was doing."

    Despite numerous indictments and mounting evidence of possible collusion, Giuliani and Trump have long insisted there was “no collusion” between Russia and the campaign. These claims have been amplified by a chorus of Trump’s strongest supporters on Fox News, who have tried making the same argument for the last couple years.  

    • Guy Benson: Regardless of whether or not collusion would be a crime, is it still the position of you and your client that there was no collusion with the Russians whatsoever on behalf of the Trump campaign?

               Rudy Giuliani: Correct. [Fox News, Outnumbered, 7/30/18]

    • Dan Henninger: But if he does issue this report, the two things at the center of it is whether the president's campaign colluded with the Russians at a very high level, and whether President Trump obstructed justice. On both those counts, I think the answer is going to be no. [Fox News, The Journal Editorial Report, 1/6/19]

    • Byron York: For example, one of the big parts of the dossier has Michael Cohen, very close to President Trump, or candidate Trump at the time, going to Prague in Europe and meeting with Russians and agreeing on a payoff in which the Trump campaign would pay the Russians for all the hacking they were doing, helping the Trump campaign. Michael Cohen said this is patently false. Now, Michael Cohen has since been charged with all sorts of things. Has been investigated.

      Laura Ingraham: By not lying about that.

      York: Correct. Not only investigated by the special counsel's office and prosecutors in New York, been charged and pleaded guilty and sentenced, and nobody said a word about Prague.

      Ingraham: Yeah. No collusion. I mean, and Andy, I mean, unless something really wild happens, no collusion. [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 12/18/18]

    • Corey Lewandowski: And whatever other people had done, whether it's Michael Cohen or Paul Manafort, it had nothing to do with the campaign, which is what Bob Mueller was supposed to be looking into, which is the collusion, which never existed between Trump's campaign and the Russians. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 12/9/18]

    • Byron York: But there haven't been any convictions that point to actual collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 campaign. [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 12/3/18]

    • Kayleigh McEnany: There's no evidence of collusion. Millions of pages of documents have been reviewed, there's no collusion. We were told Papadopoulos is going to show us collusion now that he's cooperating with Mueller. Papadopoulos only showed us that the Trump campaign, after dozens of requests, refused to meet with Russia. We were told Cohen would find collusion. Lo and behold, no collusion there. The Lanny Davis story was a fabrication and a lie. There is no collusion. Millions of pages of documents reviewed. The Trump campaign has done nothing wrong, and this is just the latest attempt by Democrats to find collusion where there is none. [Fox News, Fox News at Night, 9/14/18]

    • Sean Hannity: No Mueller, and neither of these men, Michael Cohen or Paul Manafort, would have to deal with this. No Russia, no collusion, no campaign, no Trump involvement. [Fox News, Hannity, 8/20/18]
    • Sean Hannity: Finally tonight, our last topic covers day seven of the trial of the century, the 2005 tax and bank fraud charges against Paul Manafort. Remember, no collusion, has nothing to do with Donald Trump, nothing to do with the campaign, nothing to do with Russia. [Fox News, Hannity, 8/8/18]
    • Corey Lewandowski: Let's prove once and for all that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and anyone in Russia to impact the outcome of the election because that is the fair thing to do. [Fox News, MediaBuzz, 8/5/18]
    • Anthony Scaramucci: I think [the American people] believe the president, take him at his word that there was absolutely no collusion inside the campaign. 

               Jeanine Pirro: Well, yeah. [Fox News, Justice with Jeanine Pirro, 6/16/18]

    • Corey Lewandowski: The American people know there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. [Fox Broadcasting, Fox News Sunday, 6/3/18]
    • David Bossie: First of all, if there were spies in the campaign, they found nothing because there was no collusion, cooperation -- [Fox News, The Story with Martha MacCallum, 5/22/18]
    • Hogan Gidley: Look, The New York Times obviously is a failing publication as we all know, but it's for reasons just like this. I mean, they can't get out of their own way. The coverage on this president has been completely negative. We are entering now into the second year of this investigation. We have given over millions of pieces of paper, countless hours from our own folks in the administration from the campaign for conversations with the investigation. We have no collusion, no corruption, no obstruction. None of those things exist and yet it still leads a lot of newscasts. [Fox News, MediaBuzz, 5/20/18]
    • Katrina Pierson: This is another reason that we know there was no collusion, Martha, because they keep trying to associate Carter Page with the campaign. He was never an employee of the campaign, he volunteered to sit on a board and didn't even show up to the meeting. [Fox News, The Story with Martha MacCallum, 3/5/18]
    • Tucker Carlson: Close to 20 people have been indicted in this investigation so far. Still not a single piece of evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Putin. [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 2/16/18]
    • Sean Spicer: I want the investigation to play out only because I do believe that the president has been very clear from the beginning, and everyone involved in the campaign, that there was no collusion. So at some point you run out the clock. [Fox News, Hannity, 2/9/18]
    • Trish Regan: And I guess one of the things I'm amazed by is if they're so into leaking, how come we haven't heard more about this so-called collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians? [Fox News, Sunday Morning Futures, 12/31/17]
    • Kimberly Guilfoyle: They persisted to try to demonize him, to say there was collusion, that this was an election that was totally influenced by the Russians, that there was direct collusion on part of his campaign, the president, but none of that materialized. [Fox News, The Five, 12/15/17]
    • Gregg Jarrett: And so now that we know there is no collusion in the political campaign, the question is was there collusion in the transition? No. [Fox News, Hannity, 12/13/17]
    • Corey Lewandowski: The reason we don't even talk much about the Russia investigation [in] Let Trump Be Trump is because it didn't occur during the campaign. There was no collusion. [Fox News, MediaBuzz, 12/10/17]
    • Brad Blakeman: There is good news in this plea that was taken by Flynn, and that is what your guest alluded to in your earlier segment. And that is that there doesn't seem to be any there there with collusion, coercion, conspiracy with regard to the Trump campaign and the Russians trying to influence the election. [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 12/1/17]
    • Sean Hannity: We will show you, right here, how there is zero evidence of Trump-Russia collusion. Zero evidence of campaign collusion. [Fox News, Hannity, 10/30/17]
    • Steve Cortes: Was there collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia? The evidence is utterly no, is emphatically no. No collusion. No collusion of any kind between the Trump campaign and any foreign source for that matter. [Fox News, Fox News Tonight, 10/25/17]
    • Brit Hume: The allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign itself and the president -- the man who is now president -- and the Russians, is virtually nonexistent. [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 10/24/17]
    • Tucker Carlson: [Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s] committee has not found evidence of collusion between Putin and the Trump campaign. The whole thing is a dry well, a crock, a fraud, a scam, a politically induced hallucination. It's totally nuts. [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 10/23/17]
    • Lou Dobbs: “I saw no direct evidence of political collusion between the campaign in the Trump campaign and the Russians." Cuomo's follow-on question -- are you ready? He says, ‘Now clarify that point.’ This point has been clarified for seven doggone months. [Fox News, Hannity, 6/6/17]
    • Sean Hannity: Since this Russia conspiracy theory has started, not a single shred of evidence that there was any collusion with the Trump campaign. [Fox News, Hannity, 5/11/17]
    • Sean Hannity: For eight months, we've had this media conspiracy theory being pushed and advanced without any evidence whatsoever of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. [Fox News, Hannity, 4/11/17]
    • Sean Hannity: Hey, Don [Lemon], there's no evidence of collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign, and you guys have been harping on that conspiracy for eight months. [Fox News, Hannity, 4/4/17]
    • Michael Needham: There's absolutely no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians on the election. [Fox Broadcasting, Fox News Sunday, 3/12/17]
    • Jason Riley: I mean there is no evidence of direct collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. [Fox Broadcasting, Fox News Sunday, 3/12/17]
    • Sean Hannity: They found no evidence at all whatsoever of any collusion between the campaign and the Russians. True?

               Sara Carter: Absolutely true. [Fox News, Hannity, 3/8/17]

    • Jonathan Turley: See, the problem is that we don't have any evidence of collusion. [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 3/3/17]
    • Bill O’Reilly: Any fair-minded person has to acknowledge there’s no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, at least at this point. Correct? [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 3/6/17]
    • Bill O’Reilly: [Former National Intelligence Director James] Clapper clearly said -- and I know you heard it, so don’t spin -- that there’s no evidence produced to him of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. He said it clear as day. [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 3/6/17]
    • Rudy Giuliani: You know, I was a big part of that campaign. I'm trying to figure out who was the spy. Now I'm wondering, is it this person or that person or this person? Now, if there's a spy, they got nothing from it. Look, they’d be able to bring their case right now if the spy had any incriminating information. That spy should have been enough to tell them, these people were not talking to the Russians. There was no collusion with the Russians. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/17/18]
  • Fox & Friends ignored Rudy Giuliani's collusion bombshell

    Fox & Friends First read one headline on Giuliani's appearance, saying he was "firing back at CNN"

    Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    On January 17, Fox News’ Fox & Friends failed to report on  President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani refusing to deny that there was “collusion” between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. 

    The night before, Giuliani told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that he didn’t know if members of the Trump campaign up to and including manager Paul Manafort had colluded with the Russian government. Giuliani said that he “never said there was no collusion between the campaign or between people in the campaign," only that “the president of the United States” did not collude.

    Giuliani’s admission that members of the Trump campaign may have colluded with the Russian government to win the 2016 election was treated as a bombshell by CNN and MSNBC, which  led both of their morning shows with the story. At 4:24 a.m. EST, Fox & Friends First did feature a brief headline segment about Giuliani “firing back at CNN” in the interview, however the much more influential Fox & Friends did not mention the story once. Instead, the show:

    Pressed Trump to keep the government shut down:

    Threw free Chick-fil-A sandwiches at the studio audience:

    And sang “God Bless the U.S.A.” with singer/songwriter Lee Greenwood: 

    Fox & Friends is a propaganda mill masquerading as a news show, and the hosts mostly aim to please just one viewer: the president of the United States. 

  • Some Democrats went to Puerto Rico to spotlight the island's recovery, and Fox News is furious

    Democrats went to Puerto Rico to discuss, fundraise for, and spread awareness about hurricane recovery, but Fox News says they were "partying in Puerto Rico" instead of "doing something in Washington"

    Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    On the morning of January 14, Fox News focused heavily on a group of over 30 Democrats, most of them members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, who spent the weekend in Puerto Rico as part of an annual retreat. Fox spun this trip as the Democrats partying "on the beaches" instead of working to end the government shutdown.

    Democrats were actually in Puerto Rico for a retreat organized by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ Bold PAC. According to The Hill, Bold PAC chair Tony Cárdenas said “he chose Puerto Rico for this year's convention to showcase the island's needs as it slowly recovers from 2017's Hurricane Maria.” NBC News reported that members of Congress sought to aid the island’s recovery from Hurricane Maria by bringing medical supplies and discussing the neglected recovery with Puerto Rican political leaders, including Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, and several top legislators. 

    Democrats also attended a performance of Hamilton, part of a special limited-time run in which creator and original star Lin-Manuel Miranda reprised his role to help raise funds for hurricane recovery. According to The Hill, Miranda said, “We brought Hamilton here to bring a spotlight to Puerto Rico” and its recovery. All Democrats who attended bought their tickets with their own money. 

    NBC News also reported that “The Bold PAC conference was scheduled for Puerto Rico months before the shutdown” and that the group would be monitoring the shutdown and its developments. The report also noted that the congressional members would “be able to get a bird's-eye view of how the shutdown is affecting the island that is trying to pull itself out of a financial crisis while recovering with the devastation of Category 4 Hurricane Maria."

    While Fox News did mention that it was “a work-play trip,” most of its 19 mentions or segments about the story between 6 a.m. and noon on January 14 were intended to create an image of Democrats ducking their responsibility to help end the government shutdown (which Fox News helped start) and instead vacationing in paradise while real Americans suffer. 

    Fox & Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt said that “the optics are not good” for the Democrats when “there are 800,000 [federal] workers that aren’t getting paid,” but members of Congress who are “supposed to be doing something in Washington” are instead “on the beaches with their families.” Fellow co-host Brian Kilmeade also falsely claimed that CBS and NBC didn’t cover the story, when both networks covered the story online before Monday.

    Fox & Friends opened its 8 a.m. hour with the line “President Trump says it’s time for Democrats to get off the beach and come back to work while the shutdown enters day 24.” 

    Kilmeade said that the Democrats were “even enjoying a Broadway show" in Puerto Rico. Fox & Friends First co-host Rob Schmitt, who is covering the story in Puerto Rico, reported, “There have been some meetings and there has been some work done. But there’s also been plenty of leisure time.” He also complimented Sen. Bob Menendez’s (D-NJ) “great Instagram photo,” saying he’s “got the nice tan going.” 

    Kilmeade also asked counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway about the White House’s reaction to “the Democrats partying in Puerto Rico rather than staying” in Washington, D.C.

    Fox correspondent Doug McKelway compared the Democrats’ Puerto Rico trip to Trump’s normally frequent golfing excursions, commenting that Trump “has been picking his travels very, very carefully” with the government shutdown, and during these times “playing golf, not such a good thing, visits to Puerto Rico, not such a good thing.” 

    Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer criticized the “30 Democratic members” for going “down on some PAC event where they’re soliciting money from lobbyists in Puerto Rico and hanging out on the beach.”

    Fox re-aired Trump’s highly misleading comment that “the Democrats were in Puerto Rico celebrating” the government shutdown.

    Miranda addressed the controversy at the summit in Puerto Rico as he thanked the Democrats and other officials assembled for being “here to work, despite what anyone might claim.” 

  • Fox & Friends airs images that paint a picture of border chaos to help Trump build wall support 

    Co-host says Trump wants Americans to see such images

    Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    In the third week of President Donald Trump’s government shutdown over his insistence that a border wall be funded, Fox News’ Fox & Friends is filling the airwaves with seemingly chaotic images of migrant caravans to build support for the wall, which, according to co-host Steve Doocy, is just what the president wants. 

    On January 9, Doocy claimed that Trump is “trying to get the people in the middle, the independents, who have not taken a side yet, to look at images like that and think, ‘OK, is that a bad thing for the country?’” 

    Accordingly, the January 10 edition of Fox & Friends aired a lot of b-roll footage of what appear to be migrant caravans. The clips showed migrants: 

    Clashing with law enforcement:

    Climbing or attacking fences and walls:

    Gathering in large groups:

    Walking:

    Fox & Friends has apparently influenced immigration policy with its b-roll choices before: On October 26, Doocy said that “images of the caravan breaking through the gate and the fence in Guatemala into Mexico” -- images that aired heavily on the show and elsewhere on the network -- “so alarmed the White House that they're trying to figure out some way to do something about the caravan in spite of the law.” Three days later, the Defense Department announced that it was sending 5,200 troops to the border to stop the caravan.

  • Trump administration flocks to Fox to recycle discredited statistic about terrorists crossing the southern border

    The Trump administration drew media criticism in February for a misleading claim that 10 terrorists were intercepted crossing the U.S.-Mexico border each day in 2017. The claim has now resurfaced as “almost 4,000 terrorists” throughout 2018. It is still misleading.

    Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders appeared on the January 4 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends to defend President Donald Trump’s stance on the ongoing government shutdown. She told the hosts that a border wall is needed because “last year alone, there were nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists” arrested along the U.S.-Mexico border.

    About an hour later, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley made the same claim on another Fox show, America’s Newsroom. Gidley said that there were “almost 4,000 terrorists, known or suspected, coming across the border” last year. 

    The White House’s claim of 4,000 terrorists invading through the southern border appears to be a rudimentary reframing of Vice President Mike Pence’s October statement that, in the 2017 fiscal year, “we apprehended more than 10 terrorists or suspected terrorists per day” trying to cross the southern border. (Eight months prior, Pence had said it was seven per day.) It seems Sanders and Gidley multiplied 10 terrorists by 365 days, then rounded the figure up to an even 4,000 for 2018. In recent days, congressional Republicans and prime-time host Sean Hannity have made similar claims on Fox. 

    Pence’s assertion was roundly debunked as a false claim last year. PolitiFact rated his initial claim “pants on fire” because the figure he referenced appeared to be for all points of entry to the country, not just the southern border. Similarly, The Washington Post said Pence’s later claim “quickly falls apart upon further inspection.” A Pence spokesperson also “tacitly” acknowledged to the Post that the vice president misstated the statistic. 

    On MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle, national security reporter Julia Ainsley also noted that the White House “is likely rounding from this figure that we’ve heard from the administration before. ... What they’re taking that from is the number of all people who are stopped at all ports, especially airports.” Ainsley said that Sanders “seems to be rounding [the figure] and especially playing it off the border to make it seem as if these are people crossing the border to make the case for the president’s wall. When, in fact, we’re talking about airports where a wall wouldn’t do anything.” 

    Update (1/7/19): On January 6, Sanders appeared on Fox News Sunday to again push the myth that 4,000 suspected terrorists were attempting to cross the southern border. Sanders brought up the statistic after host Chris Wallace quoted the State Department’s statement that there is “no credible evidence of any terrorist coming across the border from Mexico.” When Sanders tried to bring up the statistic, Wallace said, "I know the statistic -- I didn’t know if you were gonna use it, but I studied up on this," and pointed out that “they're not coming across the southern border, Sarah; they’re coming and they are being stopped at airports.” Sanders ignored the factual basis of this claim, saying that terrorists “come by air, by land, and by sea.” In reality, zero immigrants have been arrested on terrorism charges while attempting to cross the southern border in recent years.

  • The year in Fox News non-troversies

    ››› ››› JASON CAMPBELL, BOBBY LEWIS & REBECCA MARTIN

    In 2018, conservatives controlled all levers of the federal government, Fox News once again led in ratings, and conservative websites dominated the national narrative on the internet. But Fox News, hell-bent on portraying conservatives as victims, nevertheless found random events to be outraged about throughout the year. Below are some top Fox News non-troversies as documented by the Media Matters staff.