Author Page | Media Matters for America

Olivia Marshall

Author ››› Olivia Marshall
  • A Terror Threat Fox News Won't Cover

    Silence From Network After Christian Minister Arrested For Threatening To Kill Muslims

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVIA MARSHALL

    Fox News was completely silent after a Christian minister pleaded guilty to plotting to attack American Muslims in New York, continuing a habit of downplaying threats to Muslims and ignoring extremist acts with no ties to Islam.

    Robert Doggart, an ordained Christian minister and former Tennessee congressional candidate, was arrested and pled guilty to attempting to recruit "expert Gunners" to aid him in a plot to kill residents of Islamberg, NY, a largely Muslim community at the foot of the Catskill Mountains. RawStory reported on the details of Doggart's plan:

    He met with the informant in Nashville and discussed using Molotov cocktails to firebomb buildings in the Muslim community, which was founded by African-Americans who had converted to Islam from Christianity.

    Doggart told the informant during a recorded conversation that he planned to bring 500 rounds of ammunition for the M4 rifle and a pistol with three extra magazines - as well as a machete.

    "If it gets down to the machete, we will cut them to shreds," he told the informant.

    He said during a recorded call that the "battalion" he commanded hoped the raid on Hancock, which is also known as Islamberg, would be a "flash point" in a possible revolution.

    "So sick and tired of this crap that the government is pulling that we go take a small military installation or we go burn down a Muslim church or something like that," Doggart said.

    The Daily Beast pointed out that the media has remained largely silent on the story, wondering at the absence of "the Fox News panic" and noting:

    It goes without saying that if Doggart had been Muslim and had planned to kill Christians in America, we would have seen wall-to-wall media coverage. Fox News would have cut into its already-daily coverage of demonizing Muslims to do a special report really demonizing Muslims.

    And in fact, Fox News has made no mention of the story at all. What's more, the network does have a history of downplaying threats against Muslims while hyping any Islamic connection to terror it can find. After the Boston Marathon bombings, the network ridiculed former Attorney General Eric Holder for warning against retaliatory acts of violence, ignoring years of threats against Muslims. In 2010, Fox host Brian Kilmeade claimed that "all terrorists are Muslims." 

    And Fox has reacted to terror attacks committed by right-wing extremists with a yawn. After the Department of Homeland Security released a report on right-wing terror in 2015, Fox News' Eric Bolling claimed "you can't name" instances of right-wing terrorism "in the last seven years," ignoring dozens of examples.

    Right-wing media have also been known to fearmonger about often-unsubstantiated Islamic terror threats. Outlets like Fox News, The Drudge Report, and The New York Post hyped an unfounded "jihadist" plot against Fort Jackson in South Carolina. And Sean Hannity and other conservatives promoted an unsubstantiated story of an Islamic State (ISIS) training camp on the U.S.-Mexico border around the same time Doggart was arrested.

    Islamberg, the town Doggart was planning to attack, has also garnered Fox News' attention in the past -- a 2007 article wondered if it was a "terror compound" and a report by Fox Business host Lou Dobbs claimed the town was home to a group engaging in "guerilla war training." 

  • Fox 5's Emily Miller Emphasizes Victim's Virginity In Sexual Assault Report

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVIA MARSHALL

    Emily Miller, chief investigative reporter for Washington, D.C. Fox affiliate WTTG (Fox 5) reported on the alleged rape of a Maryland woman, repeatedly emphasizing claims that the woman was a "virgin."

    According to Miller, police said a man sexually assaulted a Catholic nun during a home invasion in Prince George's County, MD on April 29. Miller's April 30 write-up of the assault on Fox 5's website noted that "Sources tell FOX 5 the victim, an older woman, was a virgin." In her televised report, Miller said "according to our sources, a Catholic nun, who was a virgin, was raped in her home last night." Miller repeated that the woman was a virgin later in the segment, saying "according to police sources, the victim was a Catholic nun who was a virgin."

    MILLER: Tony, this is one of those stories you just hate to believe is true. According to our sources, a Catholic nun who was a virgin was raped in her home last night. The suspect got away, but he was caught early this morning in Northeast, Washington. D.C. police cornered the alleged rapist this morning in this apartment in Northeast. He was hiding in a kitchen cabinet. Juan Randolph, seen in these photos, was arrested and is going to be extradited to Prince George's County to face charges including rape and home invasion.

    CPL. NICOLE HUBBARD: At about 10:00 last night, officers responded to the five thousand block of Sixteenth Avenue in Chillum for the report of a sexual assault. They got there and found out that the victim -- or that the suspect, Randolph, had broken into the victim's home, assaulted her and fled the scene.

    MILLER: According police sources, the victim was a Catholic nun who was a virgin. She is an older woman. The spokeswoman would not comment on the sexual assault victim. She would only say this --

    HUBBARD: This is just a very disturbing crime. When something like this occurs, it just really affects our entire community -- affects our police department.

  • Fox Wonders If Muslim Faith Would Keep Military Veteran From Saluting The Flag

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVIA MARSHALL

    Fox News echoed an unfounded suggestion that a black female Miami police officer who followed military service guidelines by standing at attention during the Pledge of Allegiance might be "Muslim," and therefore disloyal to the United States.

    On the April 27 edition of Fox & Friends, the hosts reported on a controversy in Miami over a police officer, Assistant Chief Anita Najiy, who did not put her hand over her heart during the Pledge of Allegiance. Co-host Steve Doocy noted that military guidelines require that military personnel "stand at attention, remain silent, and face the flag; and that's what she's doing." Nonetheless, the Fox & Friends hosts brought up a baseless accusation by Javier Ortiz, president of the local Fraternal Order of Police, that the reason Najiy didn't put her hand over her heart is because she is "Muslim" and "has no respect for the flag or the United States":

    DOOCY: The Fraternal Order of Police president suggests this could have been a religious decision. He has suggested that perhaps she is a Muslim. That is not known. But, nonetheless, a lot of waves being made about this video down in Miami.

    BRIAN KILMEADE: By the way, if you're a Muslim, I hope it means you can still salute the flag, put your hand on your heart. What does that have to do with it?

    ELISABETH HASSELBECK: Well, you know, that would be a great question to ask. And so is it our right to know why someone would opt out of that, how does that make you feel if that is indeed her district, would you want to know?

    According to The Miami Herald, Ortiz demanded that Najiy be reprimanded for not covering her heart during the Pledge. The Fraternal Order president claimed that "Assistant Chief Najiy practices in the Muslim faith" and that "There are plenty of police officers in our department that practice the Muslim faith and pledge allegiance to our country and have a problem with her defiance towards the United States." Ortiz even accused Najiy of not being loyal to the U.S., asking, "what country is she loyal and shows allegiance to?"

    But Miami Police Major Delrish Moss said it had "nothing to do with personal beliefs" and that Najiy was following military conduct guidelines, which "supercedes police code." And the Miami Community Police Benevolent Association, which represents black police officers, blasted Ortiz claims as racist:

    "Racism cloaked in patriotism is a huge insult to the American flag, the city of Miami police department," MCPBA President Ella Moore said in a letter she intends to hand personally to Miami Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes.

    Najiy, a 32-year veteran, is "the highest ranking black female in the Miami Police Department" and the first female appointed Assistant Chief of Police in the department.

  • Another Fabrication: O'Reilly Never Witnessed The Murder Of Nuns In El Salvador

    O'Reilly's Claim To Have Seen Nuns "Shot In The Back Of The Head" Contradicted By His Own Timeline

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVIA MARSHALL

    Bill O'Reilly has claimed repeatedly that he witnessed the execution of nuns while reporting in 1981 on the civil war in El Salvador, an apparent fabrication that is at odds with both history and what O'Reilly himself has said about arriving in the country after the event took place, according to new information unearthed by Media Matters.

    The Fox host has faced withering scrutiny from historians, former colleagues, and others for having exaggerated his claims of being in a "combat situation" during the Falklands War.

    O'Reilly's El Salvador Fabrication Revealed

    Between 1980 and 1992, a civil war raged in El Salvador between the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) and the government of El Salvador. On December 2, 1980, four members of the Salvadoran national guard raped and shot "three American nuns and a layworker." The tragedy ''did more to inflame the debate over El Salvador in the United States than any other single incident,'' according to a 1993 State Department report. After the death of Silvia Arriola, a member of a religious order killed six weeks after those four churchwomen, "no priests or nuns were killed in El Salvador for more than eight years," according to Dr. Anna Lisa Peterson, a professor of religion at the University of Florida.

    O'Reilly has spoken on several occasions about his time covering the Salvadoran civil war as a CBS correspondent in 1981, suggesting at least twice that he witnessed the murder of the churchwomen. On the September 27, 2005, edition of his talk-radio program The Radio Factor, O'Reilly said, "I've seen guys gun down nuns in El Salvador." And on the December 14, 2012, edition of his Fox News show, O'Reilly spoke of telling his mother that "I was in El Salvador and I saw nuns get shot in the back of the head."

    However, O'Reilly could not possibly have witnessed the murder of the churchwomen if his own timeline is to be believed. The former CBS correspondent only arrived in El Salvador in 1981, as he mentioned on the February 22, 2002, edition of The O'Reilly Factor, saying (according to Nexis transcript), "Before I went to El Salvador in 1981, I talked with some experienced Latin American experts, people who had seen the brutal wars down there for themselves. I had never been in a war zone before, so I wanted some prep."

  • Amid Controversy, Bill O'Reilly Is Still Talking About His Time Covering The Falklands War

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVIA MARSHALL

    Amid controversy over whether he has repeatedly lied about his role as a reporter in Argentina during the Falklands War, Bill O'Reilly once again suggested that he was "down there" in a war zone in 1982.

    On the February 19 edition of his show, during a discussion about the lack of networks news coverage of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) conflict, O'Reilly said that he had covered "minor wars like the Falklands ... I was down there in Argentina." 

    The Fox host has come under fire after Washington bureau chief David Corn pointed out in a recent Mother Jones article that O'Reilly has said he reported from active war zones like the Falklands during his time with CBS News, when in fact no CBS News correspondents reported from the Falkland Islands at the time. O'Reilly lambasted the Mother Jones report, calling it "garbage" and Corn a "guttersnipe."

    Corn responded in an interview with Politico's Dylan Byers, explaining that O'Reilly has said (emphasis added):

    "He said he was in the war zone during the Falkland Island conflicts -- the conflict was in the Falkland Islands, it was not in Buenos Aires," Corn said. "He covered a protest after the war was over in Buenos Aires. I don't think that's a reasonable definiton of a combat situation. If you look up 'combat situation' in the dictionary, it's not 'an ugly protest'."

  • Fox's Stacey Dash Apologizes For Implying Some Sexual Assault Victims Are "Bad Girls ... Who Like To Be Naughty"

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVIA MARSHALL

    Fox News host Stacey Dash apologized for comments she made on the network suggesting that some sexual assault victims are "bad girls ... who like to be naughty."

    On the January 30 edition of Fox's Outnumbered, the co-hosts discussed reports that sorority women at the University of Virginia were ordered by their national chapters to avoid fraternity "bid night" parties. Dash commented, "I think it's a good thing for the good girls ... to be told, stay home. Be safe. The other bad girls -- bad women -- or the ones who like to be naughty, might go out and play and get hurt."

    Her remarks were met with widespread criticism, and on February 2, Dash apologized on her Facebook page, claiming she had made a "failed attempt at humor":

  • Limbaugh Savors Comparisons Between Scott Walker, Himself, And Caesar

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVIA MARSHALL

    Rush Limbaugh fawned over Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and his potential to be the GOP's 2016 presidential nominee, seemingly impressed that some may have drawn comparisons between Walker's recent remarks and Rush's own rhetoric.

    On the January 26 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show, Limbaugh praised Walker's January 24 appearance at the Iowa Freedom Summit, a gathering of conservative activists, lawmakers, and 2016 hopefuls in Des Moines. Limbaugh raved that Walker "wowed them" at the Summit and suggested that Walker's speech was reminiscent of Limbaugh's own remarks at CPAC in 2009:

    LIMBAUGH: Apparently he showed up and he made a speech on Saturday that had people telling [him] it reminded them of the speech I gave at CPAC. Now if that's true, that means that he went pedal to the metal, wall-to-wall conservativism with charisma and bold ideas and solutions based on his own policies.

    Later in the show, Limbaugh instructed Republicans to treat Walker like Caesar, saying "I really think that Scott Walker is the kind of guy the Republicans need to hoist on one of those chairs they used to take Caesar through the crowds with."