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Courtney Hagle

Author ››› Courtney Hagle
  • Fox & Friends downplays bombshell report that Donald Trump instructed his lawyer to lie to Congress about business dealings in Moscow

    Blog ››› ››› COURTNEY HAGLE


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    A January 17 BuzzFeed News report revealed bombshell allegations that “President Donald Trump directed his former longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.” Trump’s favorite morning show, Fox & Friends, downplayed the report despite the serious and potentially impeachable nature of these allegations.

    Two federal law enforcement officials familiar with the matter told BuzzFeed News that Trump supported a plan for him to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin to negotiate the Moscow tower deal during the 2016 presidential campaign. The sources also said that Cohen has told special counsel Robert Mueller that Trump personally instructed him after the elections to lie about the timeline of the negotiations “in order to obscure Trump’s involvement.” Since 2016, Trump has repeatedly asserted to the public that he had no knowledge of any business dealings with Russia. But, according to BuzzFeed News, “Trump and his children Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. received regular, detailed updates about the real estate development from Cohen, whom they put in charge of the project.” In November, Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the details of the Moscow deal.

    Despite these serious allegations, Fox & Friends barely covered the report, dedicating just three headlines, which together totaled 73 seconds, and one interview segment to the report. The brief headline reports were centered on Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s current lawyer, denying the allegations. During the interview segment, Fox contributor Newt Gingrich vehemently pushed back on the allegations, calling the report “an absurdity” and “a hypothetical.” Gingrich also tried to discredit BuzzFeed News, saying that BuzzFeed is “the equivalent of those tabloids you buy at the grocery stores … that introduce you to Martians” and that “to take BuzzFeed seriously is a sign of how desperate we are for news.” Gingrich also said Cohen was “wildly delusional” and that he was “trying to please the investigators [because] he was desperately trying to avoid jail.”

    This is not the first time Fox & Friends has ignored or downplayed reports that are negative for Trump. In addition to downplaying the BuzzFeed News report, the show has also almost entirely ignored Giuliani’s bombshell CNN interview on January 16 in which he refused to say whether or not there had been collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

  • 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]
  • These conservative media figures are pushing Trump to declare a national emergency over a border wall

    ››› ››› COURTNEY HAGLE

    As President Donald Trump’s government shutdown continues with no clear end in sight, some in right-wing media have been clamoring for the president to use the powers under the National Emergencies Act of 1976 “to move funds around to build this border wall” and “release the shutdown.”  Conservative media figures have argued that if Trump were to do so, “nobody can second-guess him” and that he has “unfettered authority” to declare a national emergency.

  • Fox News figures downplay the effects of the government shutdown

    ››› ››› COURTNEY HAGLE

    Fox News figures spent much of last month urging President Donald Trump to shut down the government unless Congress agreed to fund his $5 billion demand for a border wall. But now that the shutdown drags into the new year, Fox personalities are insisting that it is “not really a shutdown” and claiming that “a lot of people across the country don’t even notice” it is happening. But in reality, millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of federal employees are feeling the impacts.

  • Right-wing media figures goad Trump into vetoing any spending bill that doesn’t include border wall funding

    Blog ››› ››› COURTNEY HAGLE


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    After criticism from right-wing figures who usually push pro-Trump propaganda, President Donald Trump has backed away from previous plans and instead set up a potential government shutdown by demanding money for a border wall be included in any stopgap government funding bill.

    Fox News spent last week pushing for a government shutdown, cheering on Trump when he firmly declared that he would be “proud to shut down the government.” But after the White House signaled earlier this week that it would back off its $5 billion demand to fund a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border in a resolution to keep the federal government funded until next year, right-wing media figures began criticizing Trump and goading him into shutting down the government.  Many of his most ardent supporters began to perceive his decision to sign the bill as weak, calling on the president to change his mind and refuse to sign any proposed spending bill that does not include funding for the wall.

    Responding to these criticisms, Trump sent a flurry of tweets adamantly defending his position just one day after CNN reported that the president “has become increasingly sensitive to criticism” from his base over the border wall. Trump then renewed his call for funding, telling lawmakers that he will not sign any bill that does not include funding for the border wall in an apparent nod to his supporters.

    Here is a timeline of some of that recent criticism:

    December 19

    Fox Nation host Tomi Lahren, who has previously made it clear where she stands on the border wall, said on Fox & Friends that “if we need a government shutdown” to build a wall, “then a shutdown is exactly what we need.”

    Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy declare that “effectively, the Democrats win because they didn’t want any money for wall. And the swamp wins because runaway spending, which is in the current budget, continues.”

    Doocy later in the show said that Trump will “look like a loser” to his supporters who “drew that line in the sand and said, ‘This is worth shutting down.’”

    Fox & Friends guest Michelle Malkin said that she’s “not going to sugarcoat it” and “not going to spin it” if Trump backs down, describing his decision as “a cave” and “a blink.”

    On Fox’s Outnumbered, Fox Business host David Asman emphasized the importance of the wall to Trump’s supporters, saying that “if [Trump] is viewed by his base as caving on the issue, no matter how they try to spin at the White House, already some of the base is beginning to fray a little bit.” Referring to the White House’s pledge to find funding for the wall elsewhere, Fox host Lisa Kennedy Montgomery claimed that “if this were the Obama administration … we would all be up in arms.”

    Rush Limbaugh attacked the Senate-passed resolution, saying, “Trump’s gonna get less than nothing because this compromise strips out the $1.6 billion for the wall that the Senate Appropriations Committee had already approved weeks ago.” He added, “You can’t say for four years, 'Well, I gotta do this and this and this and this and this before I can accomplish this ... He doesn’t have limitless time to do this."

    Ann Coulter unloaded on Trump in a podcast with The Daily Caller, accusing him of being “a joke presidency who scammed the American people.” Coulter said that she will not vote for Trump in 2020 without a border wall, adding, “nor will, I think, most of his supporters.” (Coulter had also vowed earlier in the week to not support Trump in 2020 if the wall was not built.) Within hours of these comments, the president unfollowed Coulter on Twitter.

    Fox regular and former NRATV host Dan Bongino filled in as guest host for Sean Hannity’s prime-time Fox News show on Wednesday, discussing the spending bill and the border wall, which he described as “essentially the Trump-MAGA agenda.” Matt Schlapp, chair of the American Conservative Union, claimed that “the fact is is this: The president should veto this bill. This breaks the promise with his supporters.” Though Schlapp admitted that a shutdown “doesn’t mean you get all you want, but you send a message to the liberals” and “that’s why it’s critical for the president to not sign a bill which is a white flag.”

    Erick Erickson criticized the negotiating skills of Trump and Republicans:

    On her Fox News show, Laura Ingraham chastised Trump for not getting the funding, declaring that “not funding the wall is going to go down as one of the worst, worst things to have happened to this administration. … It’s a scandal that it hasn’t been built.” Fox regular and Trump legal adviser Joe diGenova agreed with Ingraham, saying: “I hope that when this thing runs out in February, the president says, ‘That’s it, no more. A wall or I’m shutting it down.’”

    Breitbart's Joel Pollak said that he would prefer a shutdown:

    December 20

    Fox News contributor Mike Huckabee said on Fox & Friends that Trump “has got to look in the mirror and remind himself he ran … on the idea of we’re going to secure the border.” Huckabee also downplayed the impact of a shutdown, saying that “the things that really matter to most Americans day-by-day will be funded.” Guest co-host Jedediah Bila responded by saying that “this is his signature issue, this is what arguably he won on,” claiming that she doesn’t “understand how he survives this personally, for his own legacy.”

    Fox host Pete Hegseth, who is known to speak directly to Trump, called for Trump to shut down the government.

    On Fox & Friends, NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch called on Trump to shut down both the government and the border until he receives funding, saying that she “would love to see the president … just go ahead and shut down the border, and then shut down the government.”

    On Fox’s America’s Newsroom, James Freeman of The Wall Street Journal downplayed the significance of a government shutdown, claiming that “if you look at recent history, shutdowns don’t actually do that much political damage.”

    On Fox’s America’s Newsroom, Fox contributor and former acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Thomas Homan said that Trump “needs to veto any sort of continuing resolution” so that “he can stand up and say, ‘I have done everything I can to protect our border.’”

    Ben Shapiro said Trump should veto "any funding that doesn't include the wall."

    Shortly after it was announced that Trump would refuse to sign the bill to keep the government open, Limbaugh said that "the president has gotten word to me that he is either getting funding to the border or he’s shutting the whole thing down." Earlier in the show, Limbaugh had told him to do exactly that in order to be "a hero" to the far right.

  • Fox & Friends host claims that Democrats have no health care plan. They have 8.

    Blog ››› ››› COURTNEY HAGLE

    On the December 17 edition of Fox & Friends, host Steve Doocy claimed that Democrats “won the House on [health care], and they didn’t even have a plan.”  

    In fact, there are eight possible health care plans focused on expanding coverage for Americans, six proposed by members of Congress and two by major think tanks. According to a Vox analysis of all eight plans, they fall into two categories: three plans that “would eliminate private insurance and cover all Americans through the government,” and five plans that would allow people to choose whether “to buy into government insurance (like Medicare or Medicaid) if they wanted to, or continue to buy private insurance.” The plans primarily differ in how they handle decisions like “which public health program to expand and how aggressively to extend the reach of government.”

    The segment occurred in response to a ruling by a federal judge over the weekend declaring the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. Despite this ruling, the Affordable Care Act remains in place and unchanged for now. The ruling is expected to be appealed and tied up in courts, possibly reaching the Supreme Court.

  • Fox & Friends ignores new report on scale of Russian disinformation 

    Fox’s morning show attacked the Russia investigation instead of reporting on a new study about Russian efforts to back Trump

    Blog ››› ››› COURTNEY HAGLE


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Fox & Friends ignored news of a new Senate report detailing Russia’s extensive social media operations to sway voter opinion in favor of President Donald Trump.

    The research, conducted for the Senate by Oxford University, is “the first to study the millions of posts provided by major technology firms to the Senate Intelligence Committee” related to Russia’s disinformation campaign. The Washington Post reported on a draft of the study over the weekend, writing that “the operation used every major social media platform to deliver words, images and videos tailored to voters’ interests to help elect President Trump — and worked even harder to support him while in office.” The report obtained by The Washington Post has been provided to the Senate Intelligence Committee, which plans to release it publicly later this week.

    Fox & Friends, the president’s favorite morning news show, failed to mention the report even once on its December 17 show. Instead, the show’s coverage continued to criticize the Russia investigation, offering claims that there is still “no proof of collusion,” complaints about the cost of the investigation, objections to the treatment of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and criticism of former FBI Director James Comey. This lack of coverage falls in line with Fox & Friendshabit of ignoring news stories related to the Russia investigation that paint the president in a negative light.

    In contrast, CNN’s New Day and MSNBC’s Morning Joe mentioned the report multiple times throughout the morning, with at least one in-depth segment on each show.

  • Fox figures push a government shutdown over funding a border wall

    Blog ››› ››› COURTNEY HAGLE


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    The threat of a partial government shutdown looms over Capitol Hill as the deadline to pass a spending bill by December 21 approaches. President Donald Trump has demanded that $5 billion be included in the final spending package for the southern border wall, which Democrats refuse to accept. Feeling the pressure of a Democratic-controlled House in January, Trump is threatening to shut down the government if he does not receive the funding -- and some at Fox are encouraging him.

    Tomi Lahren, host of Fox Nation’s First Thoughts, expressed strong support for a government shutdown, telling Trump to “shut it down” because “the promise of a big, beautiful border wall” was at the “top of [her] list” when voting for Trump. She doubled down on her support by saying, “A good old-fashioned government shutdown spanking might be exactly what our politicians need.”

    Lisa Boothe, a panelist on Fox News’ Outnumbered, claimed that she is “perfectly fine with shutting the government down” because “it’s a partial shutdown” and “people will forget about this by 2020,” so it will not “impact Republicans politically.” Some of her fellow panelists also suggested that a government shutdown would be a good idea.

    Fox host Laura Ingraham expressed support for Trump's proposed government shutdown on her radio show, saying that if he doesn’t “get this wall built," then "we’ve lost the country anyway.”

    On Fox Business' Lou Dobbs Tonight, Republican strategist Ed Rollins justified a government shutdown on Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs Tonight, saying, “The bottom line is you’re not shutting the whole government down. You’re only shutting a part of it down.” He also said that Trump needs to show that he means “serious business” and that he “needs this to hold his base.”

    Fox News contributor Mike Huckabee said on Fox & Friends that Trump should shut the government down, justifying it by saying, “The terrible thing is to let the Democrats bully this president who was elected by the people of this nation.”

    Fox News contributor Jason Chaffetz argued that in a shutdown fight, “the president is on the winning side.”

    On America's Newsroom, Republican political consultant and Fox News regular Brad Blakeman said that he supported Trump’s rhetoric on shutting down the government, arguing, “The president’s got to use leverage.”

    Ned Ryun, founder and CEO of American Majority, argued on Fox & Friends that Trump “should shut down government because then we can have a conversation about what size government do we really want.”

    On his daily radio show, Fox host Sean Hannity downplayed the impact of a government shutdown, saying that “essential services all continue” and characterizing a shutdown as a “free vacation” for bureaucrats.

    Fox host Lou Dobbs asked his guest “who’s going to notice” a government shutdown, before falsely claiming that “the principal beneficiaries [of government programs] seem to be the estimated 22 to 30 million illegal immigrants in this country.”

    On her Fox show, The Ingraham Angle, Ingraham also championed Trump’s decision to potentially shut down the government, claiming that a shutdown would “absolutely” yield positive results for Trump. Ingraham also claimed that the 2013 government shutdown “didn’t hurt the Republicans at all” and that Trump has “got to get that wall built.”

    Update (12/12/18): This piece has been updated with additional examples.

  • Three ways Fox News reacted -- or didn’t -- to news of election fraud in North Carolina

    Blog ››› ››› COURTNEY HAGLE


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Over a month after the 2018 midterm election, the North Carolina Board of Elections has still refused to certify Republican Mark Harris' initial apparent victory in the 9th Congressional District after questions were raised over alleged election fraud by members of his campaign. The allegations “suggest some kind of scheme” by “people supporting the GOP campaign” to influence the results of a close race. Sworn statements from voters in Bladen and Robeson counties “described people coming to their doors and urging them to hand over their absentee ballots, sometimes without filling them out.” Two women have come forward reporting that they were paid by Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr., a contractor who worked for Harris’ campaign specifically on absentee work, to collect ballots in their district. Both women claim that they didn’t know that what they were doing was illegal, but election law in North Carolina “allows only a family member or legal guardian to drop off absentee ballots for a voter.” Investigators are also looking into “unusually high numbers of absentee ballots cast in Bladen County” and other voters’ statements claim that they received absentee ballots without requesting them.

    As these allegations surfaced, the election board announced that it will “hold a public evidentiary hearing into claims of irregularities and fraudulent activities” in the 9th Congressional District race. Media figures at Fox News, who have spent years fearmongering about the nonexistent threat of “voter fraud,” have largely remained silent or deflected when faced with these actual allegations of election fraud backed-up by substantial evidence. Here are three ways that Fox has chosen to cover election fraud in North Carolina:

    Drawing false parallels  

    Fox News’ Shannon Bream covered the apparent plot to steal a North Carolina congressional seat by comparing it to legitimate collection of ballots in California elections.  Bream claimed that the North Carolina news is “sparking questions about how Democrats swept areas like Orange County, CA,” even though California elections results have not been called into question by any credible source. (While it is legal for California voters who are unable to return their mail-in ballot to designate another person to deliver it for them, it is obviously illegal to collect and then fill out or destroy another person’s ballot.)  

    Ignoring that the alleged election fraud possibly benefited the Republican candidate 

    Fox has also failed to tell its viewers that the benefactor of the alleged election fraud is a Republican candidate, even though at least six sworn affidavits make clear that “the Republican nominee was the one who stood to gain from it.” Fox & Friends First reported on the story for less than 30 seconds, claiming that “ballots may have been illegally collected” without making it clear which party’s candidate is facing allegations. The hosts then pivoted to yet another story on incoming freshman congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

    In another late night segment lasting less than 30 seconds, Shannon Bream focused on the “Democratic candidate trailing in the race … withdrawing his concession,” before quickly moving on to a segment about scandals surrounding potential Democratic candidates for 2020 presidential election.

    Dana Perino, host of The Daily Briefing, hosted a segment which explained the allegations, but again did not say which party likely benefited from the alleged election fraud. Additionally, the segment pointed out that Harris was still technically in the lead by 905 votes, but did not specifically mention that the alleged election fraud very well could have impacted this outcome.

    Ignoring the story altogether

    But for the most part, many shows on Fox News did not report on the story at all, which is unsurprising given the network’s close relationship with the GOP. None of Fox’s prime-time or morning shows this week covered the serious allegations, but they found time to cover stories that could hardly be called newsworthy. Any shows that did cover the story had segments that lasted around 30 seconds or less with little discussion or analysis. It appears Fox sees fraud as an issue only when there are made-up allegations of voter fraud against Democrats with no evidence to back them up.

  • Fox continues to praise Trump’s tax cuts and trade policies despite General Motors layoffs

    Blog ››› ››› COURTNEY HAGLE

    General Motors announced plans earlier this week to close five plants in North America, including ones in Maryland, Michigan, and Ohio, and to lay off an estimated 14,000 workers. Fox News personalities reacted to the announcement with surprise and anger, but doubled down on their defenses of President Donald Trump’s tariffs and tax policies despite economists warning that these policies would hurt the workers and the economy.

    Fox hosts were briefly baffled at the news that GM will be closing five of its plants, but hurried to spin the news to absolve Trump of any blame. Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade complained that GM “got a huge corporate tax cut” because “the thought was that the American industry would start bringing industry home.” Fox Business host Charles Payne quickly glossed over the impact of Trump’s tariffs before arguing that the layoffs are “not a bad thing” because “this is about demand.” Fox News host Neil Cavuto offered no pushback to Rep. Steve Scalise’s (R-LA) claim that “dramatic tax cuts … are now bringing jobs back to this country.” And Fox Business panelist Lindsey Bell offered the weirdly optimistic justification that GM employees are “being laid off into this robust job market” with “7 million job openings,” making it “a better environment to be laid off in.”

    GM’s plant closures can be attributed to many factors, but it is clear that GOP tax cuts and Trump’s reckless trade wars have played a significant role. Though Trump relentlessly campaigned on saving American jobs, economists warned that the GOP tax plan “encourages even more shifting of operations and jobs overseas”; other experts predicted that Trump's trade policies would also cost American jobs. In June, GM said that Trump’s trade war with China could lead to “less investment, fewer jobs, and lower wages for our employees.” Now, according to NBC News, “GM has estimated those tariffs have cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars,” while “Ford - which announced last month it would be making an unspecified number of cuts as part of a ‘redesign’ of the company — says the tariffs have cost the company $1 billion so far.”

    But Fox hosts and guests still used GM’s announcement as an opportunity to double down on their support of Trump’s economic policies. A Fox Business panel pushed for even more tax cuts to passed in the lame duck session before Democrats take control of the House in January. Fox guest Peter Morici claimed that the Trump tariffs “had very little effect on General Motors” and argued that “Mr. Trump has to get a lot tougher on China.” Fox’s Laura Ingraham argued that “until China starts behaving like a global trading partner in a truly free and open market, we shouldn’t be doing any business with China” and asserted, “We should treat them as we treated the Soviet Union.” Ingraham went on to praise Trump’s policies, saying that he is doing “exactly what he should be doing.” On her prime-time show, Fox Business host Trish Regan claimed that Trump “is making the right move” because “he has taken on the Chinese and their tariff system in a way that previous presidents never did.”

    When Trump’s tax cut and tariffs were first announced, Fox personalities praised the tax cuts and downplayed the president’s decision to start a trade war with China, despite numerous expert warnings of the detrimental impact of these policies.

    As the tax cuts debate continued in 2017, Kilmeade speculated in August that Democrats were opposed to the cuts because they were afraid that “the economy will grow at such a rate it will be impossible for them to win an election.” In September 2017, Fox host Sean Hannity cheered the tax cut on his radio show, saying that it would lead to wealthy people “spending money and buying boats” which “keeps people working” and “stimulate the economy and build the factories in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.” (Two of the GM factories being closed are in Michigan and Ohio.) In October 2017, Fox & Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt denied that the GOP tax cuts would mostly benefit the wealthy, arguing that “if you read the tax plan, that’s not at all what it says.” (According to experts, the tax cut “would deliver 80 percent of its benefits to the top 1 percent” by 2027.)

    Similarly, on the issue of Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on various imports, many Fox hosts and contributors speculated if they would ever be implemented and downplayed their negative effects. In April, Fox Business host Stuart Varney brushed off concerns over tariffs as “an emotional response to the words ‘trade war.’” Fox & Friends’ Steve Doocy also minimized the effects of Trump’s trade war, claiming “there are no tariffs” and that “it’s all a suggestion, it’s all a negotiation.” Fox contributor Tammy Bruce asserted that Trump’s trade war with China “will, in the end because of his ability to negotiate, work out well.” Hannity confidently claimed that he didn’t “think there’s ever going to be a trade war,” while Outnumbered host Dagen McDowell said that we don’t know if these “tariffs will ever be put in place.” Fox’s Geraldo Rivera likened China’s retaliatory tariffs to “chump change” and expressed confusion about why the market responded “so emotionally.”

    These callous remarks about Trump’s trade war came despite experts’ conclusion that the U.S. “consumers would bear the brunt of the immediate damage,” while “the impact on Chinese consumers, by contrast, would be modest.” A more recent study concluded that due to Trump’s trade policies, “in 2019, each US household would lose the equivalent of $2,357.” But it is clear that Fox cares more about cheering on Trump's irresponsible economic policies than covering their disastrous effects on American workers.