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Nick Fernandez

Author ››› Nick Fernandez
  • After years of opposition, Fox & Friends admits the Iran nuclear deal is working

    Steve Doocy: “If the deal went away, not only would the United States have to worry about the aggression from Iran in the region over there, but then they’d have to worry about the nuke problem as well”

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Fox & Friends hosts Brian Kilmeade and Steve Doocy admitted that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal, has been effective in curbing Iran’s nuclear weapons program. For years, Fox & Friends has railed against the nuclear deal, provided a platform for hardliners to attack the accord, and misinformed viewers about the deal’s terms.

    But, in the lead up to President Trump’s possible withdrawal from the deal, Doocy, co-host of the president’s favorite television program Fox & Friends, said, “If the deal went away, not only would the United States have to worry about the aggression from Iran in the region over there, but then they’d have to worry about the nuke problem as well.” And Kilmeade noted that “at least they’re not spinning centrifuges. There is no proof that they’re building up a nuclear arsenal.” The admissions effectively acknowledge that the inspections regime that is a core part of the deal is in fact working, a position that has been held by proponents of the deal since its inception.

    From the May 8 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

    BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): You have the European allies saying just exactly what Mollie Hemingway is saying, we don’t love the deal either, but my goodness, at least they’re not spinning centrifuges. There is no proof that they’re building up a nuclear arsenal. You want to leave it and try to make it better.

    There is another way forward, and I don't think that it would really anger any of the president's base, and that is, look, the European allies came here, the president wants to show he’s listening. “You guys want 60 days. You know my problems with it, I made it clear to you, go improve this deal in 60 days. If it's not done, if you can't get the Iranians to buy, then, in turn” -- by the way the Iranian's complaint about us is we have not opened up our markets and pushed our banks to invest there and we have also told others not to do that, fine. So, let's say we pull back and allow the investment if, of course, they get rid of the ballistic missiles and they do some type of reduction in terror activities. Give them 60 days. Let’s call their bluff.

    [...]

    STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): If the deal went away, not only would the United States have to worry about the aggression from Iran in the region over there, but then they’d have to worry about the nuke problem as well. Don't be surprised if the president pulls out at two o’clock this afternoon. But, then again, don't be surprised if he does exactly what he did with DACA.

    [...]

    KILMEADE: So you like that idea? Give them 60 days?

    DOOCY: Listen, I think that Donald Trump doesn't want to appear as just a guy who goes out and blows things up.

    KILMEADE: Like the Paris deal.

    DOOCY: He wants to go ahead and he wants to appear to be a negotiator. He will negotiate with Europe. He will negotiate with our Congress, and then he says, “look, I gave them six months, three months, whatever. They didn't do it. We're gone.” That way he could still appeal to his base. I tried to fix it, I gave them a chance. It didn't work out.

  • The right-wing media figures defending Sean Hannity’s relationship with Michael Cohen

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ & BOBBY LEWIS

    Right-wing media figures are jumping to defend Fox News host Sean Hannity after it was revealed that Hannity has been a client of longtime lawyer to President Donald Trump, Michael Cohen. Hannity’s defenders are suggesting that he has “been victimized” by the revelation of his name, claiming that he “wasn’t engaging” Cohen “as a lawyer,” and even arguing that Hannity possibly “did not know he was a client of Michael Cohen."

  • Fox’s Steve Doocy uncritically pushes Russian smear about Syrian first responders

    Other pro-Trump and right-wing media figures have suggested the alleged chemical attack was a “false flag”

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    During the coverage of possible American strikes against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy uncritically pushed a Russian-backed smear against an organization of first responders on the ground in Syria called the Syria Civil Defence, also known as the White Helmets. While discussing the potential American response to the April 7 apparent chemical attack outside Damascus, Doocy said, “Some of it could be Russian propaganda, but I was reading this morning in Newsweek … that apparently this group called the White Helmets, … there are stories that they staged bodies to make it look like there was a gas attack.” From the April 12 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

    STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): There are these stories out there, and you've got to figure some of it could be Russian propaganda, but I was reading this morning in Newsweek, online because there is no print edition anymore, that apparently this group called the White Helmets, which used to be the Syrian defense organization, there are stories that they staged bodies to make it look like there was a gas attack. Meanwhile, you've got Russian media saying, "We sent investigators in, our military did, and they could not find any traces of any toxins or gas on any of the bodies."

    Doocy's co-hosts Brian Kilmeade and Ainsley Earhardt pushed back on Doocy’s comment, with Kilmeade saying, “Unbelievable, they really expect us to buy that?” What Doocy inadequately stipulated “could be Russian propaganda,” is, in fact, Russian propaganda. As it has been well-documented, the White Helmets have been “the target of an extraordinary disinformation campaign” that is “propagated online by a network of anti-imperialist activists, conspiracy theorists and trolls with the support of the Russian government (which provides military support to the Syrian regime).” According to Wired, the “smear campaign” against the first responders is “designed to bolster the regime of Syrian president Bashar Assad and undermine its opponents, including the United States.”

    Doocy’s uncritical parroting of a smear against the Syrian first responders comes as numerous pro-Trump and right-wing media figures, such as Tucker Carlson, Alex Jones, Michael Savage, and other conspiracy theorists have suggested the April 7 chemical attack was a “false flag.”

  • Fox & Friends is banging the drum for another special counsel

    Fox’s Jason Chaffetz: “The real investigation should be into the investigators”

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    In three separate segments today, Fox & Friends suggested the appointment of a “second special counsel to look into” the Department of Justice’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation and “into the investigators” on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team. Former congressman and current Fox News contributor Jason Chaffetz appeared on Fox & Friends, the president’s favorite cable news program, alongside Fox’s Pete Hegseth to push for an investigation of the Department of Justice employing “a special prosecutor and the IG at the same,” something the president’s legal team has endorsed.

    Chaffetz’s call for a second special counsel followed two other segments in which the hosts hyped the possibility of an appointment of a second special counsel as “a debate being had right now.” Trump’s attorney general has so far resisted similar calls from Republican lawmakers. From the March 29 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

    PETE HEGSETH (CO-HOST): I know you have called and some others have called for the need, potentially, for a second special counsel to look into this FISA abuse. The attorney general is now saying the [Department of Justice] inspector general will be looking into it. Is this a good development, and is it sufficient?

    JASON CHAFFETZ (FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR): Well, it means that they’re following the facts and that -- the inspectors general, they don't just go on fishing trips. He’s completing an investigation, nearly a year long. And what this indicates to me is he’s actually got some real evidence out there and he’s warning a second investigation.

    That should be coupled with a special prosecutor, because there are a number of people that have left the employment of the government and [Department of Justice Inspector General] Michael Horowitz, as good and as talented as he and his staff are, they don't have the jurisdiction to go talk to people who, like Mr. [former Deputy FBI Director Andrew] McCabe, for instance, who’s now left. If you couple a special prosecutor, then they have the investigative tools in place to go interview those people and to prosecute those people if they find anything where people have broken the law.

    HEGSETH: So this inspector general was looking into the email server abuse potentially and the investigation into the Hillary Clinton. It seems the facts have broadened into the reality, the real investigation should be into the investigators themselves and the abuse of the FISA process. But you say they should be coupled together, need a special prosecutor and the IG at the same time?

    CHAFFETZ: This is also critical because [Former FBI Director and Special Counsel Robert] Mueller is evidently not doing his job based on the one-page directive that he was given. Not only was he supposed to look at directly at the Donald Trump and any collusion, even though we don't see any evidence of it, that was the directive that [Deputy Attorney General] Rod Rosenstein put in place, but point number two on that one page was to follow the evidence of anything else that he might’ve seen about meddling in the election. And there is a lot of evidence about the Democrats and the Hillary Clinton campaign coordinating and spending money overseas on this fake dossier. But it does not appear that Mueller is pursuing any of that, that’s why I think the inspector general coupled with a yet-to-be-named appointment of a special prosecutor, is going to have to go do that job.

  • Trump to hire lawyer who used TV appearances to spout conspiracy theories, attack the FBI and DOJ

    Trump has reportedly decided to add disgraced lawyer Joseph diGenova to his legal team

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    The New York Times is reporting that President Donald Trump hired former U.S. attorney Joseph diGenova as part of his stable of lawyers. As the Times notes, diGenova “has pushed the theory on television that the F.B.I and Justice Department framed Mr. Trump.” While that conspiracy theory is one of his favorite claims, diGenova has also bemoaned the “deep state,” claimed former FBI Director James Comey “sold his soul to the devil,” and called the investigation into possible Trump-Russia collusion “the worst period in the history of the bureau.”

  • Fox & Friends spent 22 seconds this week covering Jared Kushner. Here is what it covered instead.

    Since February 28, Fox & Friends has spent just 22 seconds covering Kushner’s downgraded security clearance, ignoring three other bombshell reports

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    President Donald Trump’s favorite morning show, Fox & Friends, has all but ignored multiple noteworthy stories regarding potential criminal conduct by senior White House adviser Jared Kushner. Since the morning of February 28, Fox News’ flagship morning show has spent a grand total of 22 seconds discussing Kushner’s downgraded security clearance while entirely avoiding three other bombshell reports about him.

    On February 27, The New York Times reported that Kushner, who has had access to some of the country’s most sensitive classified documents, including the presidential daily brief, had “been stripped of his top-secret security clearance after months of delays in completing his background check.” According to the Times, Kushner had been one of “dozens of top White House officials who had been operating on interim security clearances for many months because of issues in completing their F.B.I. background checks.”

    On the same day, The Washington Post reported that foreign governments “have privately discussed ways they can manipulate [Kushner] … by taking advantage of his complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience.” According to the Post’s report, “Among those nations discussing ways to influence Kushner to their advantage were the United Arab Emirates, China, Israel and Mexico.”

    On February 28, The New York Times published a report that Kushner’s family real estate company had secured millions of dollars in business loans from Citigroup and Apollo Global Management after Kushner, a senior adviser to the president of the United States, met with the leaders of both companies at the White House. According to the Times report, while meeting with Joshua Harris, the founder of Apollo, “the two men discussed a possible White House job for Mr. Harris,” though a “job never materialized.”

    Finally, on March 2, The Intercept reported that Kushner’s family business “made a direct pitch to Qatar’s minister of finance in April 2017 in an attempt to secure investment in a critically distressed asset in the company’s portfolio.” According to the report, “The failure to broker the deal would be followed only a month later by a Middle Eastern diplomatic row in which Jared Kushner provided critical support to Qatar’s neighbors.”

    While Fox & Friends failed to spend significant time on any of these stories, the hosts managed to find time to fit in segments about:

    A pamphlet at Kennesaw State University in Georgia

    “Mega Morning Deals” on items including an oil-less fryer, Bluetooth beacons, and cashmere scarves

    Uncle Jack’s steak empire expanding!

    A congressional candidate who smoked marijuana in a political ad

    People complaining about The View host Joy Behar

    Funny videos captured by home security cameras

    An actor starring in a new faith-based movie

    Two Fox News anchors going skydiving

    And Tomi Lahren complaining about Jimmy Kimmel

    Methodology

    Media Matters searched SnapStream for mentions of the word “Kushner” and "Jared" on Fox News' Fox & Friends between February 28 and March 2.

  • Fox & Friends ignores report that foreign governments viewed Kushner as vulnerable to manipulation

    Carlson, Hannity, and Ingraham also failed to report that Kushner's security clearance was downgraded, and Fox & Friends spent just 22 seconds on it

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Following a long-standing pattern of omitting and downplaying notable developments regarding American national security during the Trump administration, Fox News has largely glossed over White House senior adviser Jared Kushner’s security clearance being downgraded, and the network has completely ignored a subsequent report that foreign governments have discussed ways to “manipulate” Kushner through his business entanglements.

    On February 27, The New York Times reported that Kushner, who has had access to some of the most sensitive classified documents including the presidential daily brief, had “been stripped of his top-secret security clearance after months of delays in completing his background check.” According to the Times, Kushner had been one of “dozens of top White House officials who had been operating on interim security clearances for many months because of issues in completing their F.B.I. background checks.”

    On the same day, The Washington Post reported that foreign governments “have privately discussed ways they can manipulate [Kushner] … by taking advantage of his complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience.” According to the Post’s report, “Among those nations discussing ways to influence Kushner to their advantage were the United Arab Emirates, China, Israel and Mexico.”

    But a Media Matters review found that Fox’s 8-11 p.m. lineup of Tucker Carlson Tonight, Hannity, and The Ingraham Angle, which reaches millions of viewers, did not mention Kushner at all. Fox’s flagship morning program, Fox & Friends, spent just 22 seconds covering Kushner’s security clearance being downgraded. And just two shows, Special Report with Bret Baier and The Story with Martha MacCallum, covered the Post’s story about foreign governments targeting Kushner for manipulation.

    Jeremy Bash, former chief of staff at the CIA and the Defense Department, noted that Kushner’s lack of a top-secret security clearance “effectively means he cannot do his job as the top diplomat overseeing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process,” adding that Kushner “cannot be involved in policy making, … can’t go into the White House situation room [to] have conversations, [and] can't prepare the president for engagements with foreign leaders.” Bash also said he thought the downgrade in Kushner's security clearance was "professionally fatal for him."

    Fox’s decision to disregard the reports on Kushner follows a long-standing and glaring pattern of ignoring or downplaying major reports on threats to American national security and, specifically, the special counsel’s investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election.

    Methodology

    Media Matters searched SnapStream for mentions of the word “Kushner” on Fox News on February 27 and 28.

  • Fox News conveniently overlooks Mitch McConnell's refusal to alert Americans to Russian interference before the 2016 election

    McConnell refused to sign onto a bipartisan effort made by Obama to publicly call out Russian interference and respond to the attack

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Following the indictment of 13 Russian nationals who were allegedly involved in interfering in the 2016 presidential election campaign, Fox News is attempting to cast blame on the Obama administration and deflect scrutiny from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for his role in blocking the administration from alerting the country prior to the election.

    On Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, Josh Holmes, former chief of staff to McConnell, sought to blame former President Barack Obama for not stopping the Russian influence campaign, asking, “What in the world [was Obama] doing for the last two years” he was in office to prevent the Russian interference during the 2016 campaign.

    But Holmes seems to have conveniently forgotten that his former boss shot down Obama’s efforts to “generate bipartisan support for an American response to a foreign attack” and refused to sign a bipartisan letter in August 2016 that would have explicitly warned the American public about the Russian influence efforts during the ongoing campaign. Former Vice President Joe Biden recently (though not newly) explained that the Obama administration specifically sought a bipartisan, "united front to dispel concerns that going public with such accusations would be seen as an effort to undermine the legitimacy of the election." According to The Washington Post, McConnell even “voic[ed] skepticism that the underlying intelligence truly supported the White House’s claims” of Russian interference. While McConnell’s office claims that McConnell signed onto a bipartisan letter that was sent to the National Association of State Election Directors to warn the state officials about possible hacking attempts, according to Politico, “That missive ... did not address Russia specifically, or the larger topic of influence beyond voting systems.”

    Despite McConnell’s refusal to cooperate with Obama's efforts to call out Russian influence efforts before the elections, Fox anchor Bill Hemmer attacked the Obama administration, saying it “didn't get around to even acknowledging [the Russian interference] until October of 2016.” From the February 20 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom:

    BILL HEMMER (HOST): So, Josh, we’re having a bit of a redo, yet again, on this. There are questions about [former CIA Director] John Brennan. There are questions about what the CIA, what the [the office of Director of National Intelligence] DNI, what everybody was doing back in 2014, ‘15, and ‘16. Now, how’s the Obama team going to address that?

    JOSH HOLMES (FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF OF SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL): Well, what I think is particularly galling here is that, if you were to listen to some of those players that you just named over the last six, eight months, they would have you believe that the entire Russian, quote unquote, “collusion investigation” started, and began, and ended within the confines of the Trump campaign. And what we've now come to find out through the Mueller indictments over the last month is this has been going on from 2014. So I think it's a legitimate question, beyond a legitimate question, to ask what in the world they were doing for the last two years?

    [...]

    MARIE HARF (FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR): The bigger point here is, Bill, we can have a legitimate debate about why [the Obama administration] didn't do more. And there were good reasons. We were concerned about Russian escalation, we were concerned about being partisan.

    [...]

    HOLMES:  Everybody has sort of conflated the election with this Russian interference. The election itself, there is absolutely no evidence that any votes were changed, as you said, Bill. But the Russian interference is real and it dates back to 2014, and it’s something that we’ve really got to get a hold on. What is extremely concerning to me is that for two years we went through a basic understanding that they were trying to do what they were going to do, and the Obama administration didn't get around to even acknowledging it until October of 2016.

  • The morning after Florida shooting, elected GOP officials appeared on only one show: Fox & Friends

    No elected GOP officials appeared on morning shows on CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, or CBS. Chris Cuomo: Republicans "wouldn’t even come on the damn show.”

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    The morning after yet another deadly school shooting in the United States, Republican elected officials avoided all but one morning news show: Fox & Friends.

    Yesterday, a shooting at a Florida school left at least 17 students and adults dead. It was the 18th shooting at a school in the U.S. just this year. Today, Republican elected officials avoided ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and MSNBC’s morning shows, opting to exclusively appear on Fox & Friends. Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott and Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) all appeared on Fox to discuss the shooting. Cruz attempted to explain the shooting by saying, “Evil is, sadly, always present” and complained that “the reaction of Democrats to any tragedy to is try to politicize it.” Rubio referred to the shooting as “an isolated instance” that resulted from “a perfect storm of circumstances.” And Scott told the Fox & Friends hosts that he was “mad” and asked, “How can this be going on in our society?” Democratic Florida Sen. Bill Nelson also appeared on Fox & Friends to discuss the shooting.

    Meanwhile, no Republican elected officials appeared on any other broadcast and major cable news channel. CNN host Chris Cuomo noted that it was not for lack of trying, saying that Republicans “wouldn’t even come on the damn show” to talk about the shooting in Florida:

    In the aftermath of past mass shootings, Fox News has provided a platform for Second Amendment advocates to push misinformation about firearms while repeatedly asserting that the aftermath of a mass shooting is “not the time” to talk about policy solutions to address gun violence.