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John Kerr

Author ››› John Kerr
  • Fox News' "trust fund baby" prime-time host is on a mission to demonize the homeless

    Blog ››› ››› MADELINE PELTZ & JOHN KERR

    On his prime-time Fox News show, Tucker Carlson, an admitted “trust fund baby” and “out-of-the-closet elitist,” has taken a surprising interest in the subject of homelessness in America. But his programming mostly consists of attacking people experiencing homelessness, complaining they make cities “dirty,” describing them as criminals and drug addicts, and claiming they’re victims of “family dissolution.”

    Carlson’s attacks culminated in a May 13-17 nightly series titled “Homeless in America” in which he showed b-roll of unsuspecting people on the streets of West Coast cities and labeled them drug addicts and menaces to society. Carlson also repeatedly suggested that “normal people” are the real victims of the homelessness crisis, even claiming that the issue is preventing families from visiting public parks. Overall, his coverage has largely framed the issue as a moral and personal failure of struggling individuals, drawing on the longstanding Fox News tactic of shaming poor people.

    Previously:

    Tucker Carlson blames homelessness in Los Angeles on immigration and sanctuary cities

  • Trump’s new pick to lead ICE, Mark Morgan, is a regular on Fox News

    Blog ››› ››› JOHN KERR

    President Donald Trump recently announced Mark Morgan as his new pick for ICE director. Media coverage of Morgan has often focused on his role as head of Border Patrol under former President Barack Obama, but he has recently become a fixture in right-wing media, particularly on Fox News.

    Morgan appeared at least 49 times on Fox News in 2019 prior to Trump’s announcement. Fourteen of those appearances were on Tucker Carlson’s show, where Morgan, for instance, defended migrant children being kept in cages.

    Morgan has also frequently appeared on Fox Business, including on Trump adviser Lou Dobbs' show. Dobbs and Morgan recently called for loosening the rules of engagement along the Mexican border to allow the use of more deadly force. In an interview with Fox Business host Stuart Varney, Morgan downplayed the severity of a situation in which vigilantes along the Mexican border detained migrants at gunpoint; subsequently, one of the vigilantes was reported to have said, “We have to go back to Hitler days and put them all in a gas chamber.”

    And Morgan hasn’t just given commentary on border issues -- he’s also weighed in on things like the staged Jussie Smollett attack and special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

    Watch:

    Trump has hired a number of former Fox pundits into his administration.

  • How Fox News tries to mainstream a white supremacist conspiracy theory

    Blog ››› ››› JASON CAMPBELL & JOHN KERR

    Adding to its pattern of mainstreaming toxic extremism, Fox News regularly echoes and sanitizes the dangerous white supremacist conspiracy theory that non-white immigrants represent the threat of “replacement” to white populations. This racist talking point has already inspired massacres and hate crimes around the world.

    On March 15, an avowed white supremacist shot and killed at least 50 Muslims and injured many others at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Prior to the massacre, the shooter allegedly wrote and promoted online a manifesto titled “The Great Replacement,” seemingly a reference to a popular white supremacist conspiracy theory fearmongering about white populations being replaced in majority-white countries due to demographic changes. The same sentiment was echoed during a 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA, in which white supremacists holding torches chanted, “You will not replace us.”

    Proponents of the conspiracy theory often scapegoat immigration as the central cause by which white people are being “replaced,” and they blame politicians and elites, saying they are intent on changing the demographics of predominantly white nations to dilute the political power of white populations. A mass shooting believed to be deadliest anti-Semitic attack in American history -- in which a gunman opened fire in October 2018 inside of a Pittsburgh, PA, synagogue, murdering 11 people -- was also motivated by the replacement conspiracy theory, with the alleged shooter accusing Jewish people of bringing in “invaders" to “kill our people."

    While the replacement conspiracy theory has long been a mainstay in white supremacist circles, Fox News has been mainstreaming the concept by consistently fearmongering about the threat of replacement via changing demographics in the United States.

  • The Mueller report didn’t address collusion, but that’s not stopping Fox News from screaming “no collusion”

    Fox figures and guests have wrongly claimed the report shows “no collusion” over 60 times since its release

    Blog ››› ››› LIS POWER & JOHN KERR

    The introduction of the report released by special counsel Robert Mueller clearly lays out the parameters of what the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election looked at: “We applied the framework of conspiracy law, not the concept of ‘collusion,’” it states, adding that “collusion is not a specific offense or theory of liability found in the United States Code, nor is it a term of art in federal criminal law. For those reasons, the Office’s focus in analyzing questions of joint criminal liability was on conspiracy as defined in federal law.”

    As Vox’s Zack Beauchamp writes, “while the report did not establish conspiracy or coordination, it does not make a determination on ‘collusion’ — and in fact, it strongly suggests that there was at least an attempt to collude by Trump’s campaign and agents of the Russian government.”

    Nonetheless, Fox News figures and guests have claimed the report found “no collusion” over 60 times since it was released. Fox’s so-called “news"-side correspondents have wrongly claimed that “volume one clearly states for the American people that there was no collusion by the president and his team.” Fox’s so-called “news"-side anchors wrongly asserted that the report shows “no collusion” and asked whether Democrats will “move on,” while one of Fox’s sycophantic opinion hosts, Mark Levin, literally yelled, “No collusion, no collusion, no collusion. No collusion!”

  • White supremacist YouTube channel Red Ice TV loves Tucker Carlson

    Red Ice TV’s Henrik Palmgren: “Tucker Carlson does good work over at Fox News”

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G. & JOHN KERR

    Perhaps because of his noticeable descent into white supremacy, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson gets a lot of love from white supremacists, including the founders of Red Ice TV, a YouTube channel that boasts over 300,000 subscribers despite containing explicitly racist content like discussions of the “JQ” (Jewish Question) and criticism of interracial relationships.

    Red Ice TV founders Lana Lokteff and her husband, Henrik Palmgren, have often mentioned Carlson during their shows, specifically to praise his staunch opposition to diversity. They also celebrated when Carlson tweeted out (and later deleted) a link to their site in an attempt to criticize people who call out racism.

    The Red Ice TV founders aren’t the only white supremacists who adore Carlson; others have labeled him their “favorite commentator,” credited him for being their “only voice to a large extent,” actively fantasized about a Carlson presidential run, and rallied behind him in the face of backlash. Clearly, the white nationalist dog whistles in Carlson’s rhetoric have not gone unnoticed by extremists.

  • Fox News has spent years promoting claims of a “coup” against Donald Trump

    Blog ››› ››› JOHN KERR

    Since Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, Fox News has been airing dire warnings that the “deep state” is plotting a “coup” to “ruin” Trump’s administration. Fox personalities have warned that the FBI, the Department of Justice, the Democratic Party, and others “hate” Trump and are attempting to “overthrow the government” with a “bloodless coup,” “a political coup,” a “soft coup,” a “silent coup,” a “slow-motion coup,” and “the first attempted coup d'etat in American history.” Trump is now channeling Fox’s “coup” nonsense, and that could end badly.

    Here's a compilation of examples from December 2016 through this week:

  • “Did you hear that, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?”: Fox has another socialism freakout after Trump’s State of the Union address

    Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS & JOHN KERR

    During his 2019 State of the Union address, President Donald Trump declared, “America will never be a socialist country.” Fox News and Fox Business guests and hosts picked up the narrative, stressing that while we are watching socialism “falling apart” in Venezuela, “the Democrats continue to crawl closer” to the ideology” even though “it leads to ruin, it is immoral, and it is fundamentally wrong.”

    Here are some examples of Fox News and Fox Business figures losing their minds, once again, about socialism.

    Fox’s Sean Hannity: “The president also made it perfectly clear, America will never become -- now think about this, even Nancy [Pelosi] and Chuck [Schumer] had to stand up. Not sure that Congresswoman [Alexandria] Ocasio-Cortez liked it -- we will never become a socialist country.”

    Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy: “One of the most delicious cutaways was of Bernie Sanders” while Trump was talking about Venezuela and saying that “the United States will never be a socialist country. Now that’s something everybody’s got to applaud for, right? No, not really.”

    Doocy: “The Democrats, who would not stand, when we were talking about socialism, the unborn, unemployment, and things like that. You would think these are things we all get together on.”

    Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade claimed that socialism is “falling apart” in Venezuela, adding, “When you talk about the Green Deal, free pre-K, free college, free ‘Medicare-for-all,’ you talk about an unsustainable, untenable series of invoices that America can’t possibly pay.”

    Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer: “The policies that are being advocated by Democrats continue to crawl closer to socialism and embrace an economic scheme that I think has failed throughout the world, and that concerns me.”

    Spicer: “We see the folks in Venezuela really fighting for freedom and independence, ... and yet you have these folks in the Democratic Party that are embracing socialism and proudly -- they are embracing it.”

    Fox Business host Stuart Varney: “Socialists don’t care about growth and prosperity. They don’t care about America’s booming economy. They don’t care about it.”

    Varney: “The Democrat Party, again, my opinion, has been taken over by the socialist left. … Look what you have got here on the left of the Democrat Party. It is socialism! I’m not surprised that the Democrats in the House did not stand up and cheer when the president called out socialism. That’s who they are. That’s who they have become. OK, I’ve got a bee in my bonnet, because I am a refugee from socialism. … It leads to ruin, it is immoral, and it is fundamentally wrong. It is based actually on legalized theft.”

    Varney: “If you watch this program, you’ll know we are dead set against socialism. Personally, I walked away from British socialism in the 1970s. I have often said I am a refugee. Socialism leads to decline and ruin. It stifles individual success. So-called democratic socialism is simply legalized theft.” 

    Varney: “Democrats running for the presidency have embraced … the Green New Deal to kill oil companies and ‘Medicare-for-all’ that kills private health insurance. That is socialism. That is the new face of the Democrat Party. No wonder they sat on their hands when the president said, ‘We were born free, and we will stay free.’ Forgive me, please, for spending so much time on this, but I have seen it in practice. I have lived it. And I'm here to tell you socialism is just plain awful. This is Varney & Co.; we celebrate capitalism.”

    Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo: “How is it possible that they did not stand up when he said we will not become a socialist country?”

    Bartiromo: “That was President Trump last night disavowing socialism in his State of the Union address. … Nobody got up! … Half the room didn’t get up.”

    Fox News contributor Dagen McDowell: “These Democrats are actually anti-capitalism. … They are on the record for being in favor of socialism. We already know that socialism is going mainstream in the Democratic Party.”

    Fox Business host Cheryl Casone: “The president called out socialism last night in his State of the Union, and Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez [is] not happy about it. … The left is reeling this morning.”

    Fox Business’ Trish Regan: “Did you hear that, Bernie Sanders? Did you hear that, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? Socialism has no place in the United States of America. So it is time, right now, for you to abandon your far-left policies. We’ve seen what they have done to Venezuela.”

    Regan: “The president tonight rejecting Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro's brutal socialist policies and vowing that the United States of America will never head in that direction. Let’s hope not.”

    Regan: “To me, [denouncing socialism] should be something you should stand for. Yes, America’s never going to be a socialist country. … Nancy Pelosi -- you’re right; she did clap, a little bit -- but she wouldn’t stand for that. And to me, you know, our identity is not as socialists. I mean, we really -- we are capitalists that believe in safety nets.”

    Regan: Ocasio-Cortez “tells us we just need to be socialists, and it won't be like Venezuela. It'll be much, much better. This is her theory; this is what she was explaining to her comrades over there watching on MSNBC tonight -- that somehow Americans want this, that Americans want their money to be stolen from them, to be redistributed, and given to the likes of her.”

    Regan: “When they’re talking about things like freedom and Bernie Sanders can’t even applaud for that, we’ve got a problem!”

    Regan: “There used to be a time when that was not a cool thing, to be called a socialist. That was actually, you know, a term that could be used against you. … That’s suddenly en vogue. And do you think that that should be a warning for Americans right now, when you look at a country like Venezuela only three hours from Miami; that’s 20 years of socialism.”

    The Wall Street Journal’s James Freeman: “Some people are talking on Twitter about how isn’t it amazing an American president has to say this, that we’re not going to be socialist. But that is sadly the time we’re living in.”

    Freeman: “It is amazing, given that we’ve been getting this real-time education [from Venezuela] in socialism and its destructive power, that meanwhile it seems to be picking up in the United States.”

    Donald Trump Jr.: Democrats “use Venezuela as their model for socialism, so I love that my father said that ‘America will never be a socialist country,’ because that’s the other side’s platform right now. … Watch their body language last night on things that all Americans should agree on. They don’t even stand or applaud. It’s pretty scary.”

    Trump Jr: Systems like socialism would “shut down” everything that makes America great. “Just look at anywhere else they’ve been implemented.”

    Presidential historian Doug Wead on Trish Regan Primetime: “My socialist friends here in the United States say American socialism will be very different from the Soviet Union, very different from Venezuela, and we'll have freedom of speech, for example. But we already have American socialism. It's practiced at the University of California at Berkeley. On many of our campuses, we're experiencing socialism right now. They don’t allow freedom of speech.”

    Wead on Varney & Co.: “Bernie Sanders got trapped in that socialism comment. I think that will come back to haunt him.”

    Republican National Committee spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany: The speech was great at “exposing the radical left agenda, the infanticide, the ideas of socialism and single-payer and these really radical proposals.”

  • Fox News figures salivate over Trump’s 2019 State of the Union address

    Blog ››› ››› JOHN KERR

    On February 5, President Donald Trump gave his 2019 State of the Union address. It was filled with misinformation and anti-immigrant bigotry, often sounding similar to Sean Hannity’s Fox News show. While mainstream news outlets fact-checked the many lies and misleading claims in the speech, Fox News figures heaped enthusiastic praise on Trump’s address, calling it “one of the best speeches I've ever heard in terms of reaching across the aisle,” gushing that "the president delivered, I think, a message of unity,” claiming "Trump is going to be recognized as one of the greatest presidents of our generation, if not the greatest,” and more:

  • Lou Dobbs and Sean Hannity advised Trump on shutdown strategy. His Oval Office speech reflected it.

    Trump’s address ripped language from their Fox shows

    Blog ››› ››› JOHN KERR


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Shortly after Donald Trump addressed the nation from the Oval Office, The Daily Beast reported that the president has sought advice on the government shutdown from Fox hosts Sean Hannity and Lou Dobbs. The pair reportedly told Trump to “push forward for the wall funding and break the Democrats’ will.”

    Trump’s address, just short of 10 minutes, ripped language from both of their shows.

    During his speech, Trump also said, “They don’t build walls because they hate the people on the outside, but because they love the people on the inside.” The line has been floating around conservative media since at least April and a variation of it was used by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) during the 2016 election. After Trump's speech, right-wing pundits Tomi Lahren and Jack Posobiec scrambled to take credit for it.

    Hannity and Dobbs have long served as close advisers to Trump, and their shows have been rank propaganda for his administration. Bill Shine, the former Fox News co-president and current top Trump adviser, used to be Hannity’s producer and is his close friend.

    Welcome to the Fox News shutdown.