Fox News keeps spreading debunked conspiracy theory about Black Lives Matter funding

And the “straight news” and “opinion” sides of Fox are pushing the same message

Fox News’ purported “news” shows have continued to help spread a debunked conspiracy theory about the Black Lives Movement and the fundraising platform ActBlue, falsely accusing BLM of serving as a fundraising front for the Democratic Party.

As Media Matters’ Alex Kaplan has explained, as have fact-checking organizations such as PolitiFact and FactCheck, ActBlue is not a fundraising operation but a payment processor used by many progressive organizations (including Black Lives Matter) and candidates to list their causes and receive donations. (There is also a counterpart Republican-aligned payment processor and campaign listing, called WinRed.)

However, guests appearing on the “news” side of Fox’s programming (as opposed to the “opinion” shows) have continued to push the falsehood that donations to Black Lives Matter will be used by ActBlue to fund Democrats. In fact, donations to BLM made via ActBlue simply go to BLM. (And a donation to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, just to illustrate this principle, made through ActBlue will then go to the Biden campaign.)

On the July 6 edition of The Story with Martha MacCallum, former New York City Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik claimed: “If you go to the Black Lives organization website, and you donate money, it goes to ActBlue. And if you look — ActBlue is a [501(c)(3)] that, basically, gives tens of millions of dollars to the Democratic Party. Where's that money going? Back to the communities where they oversee these cities that, you know, there's this systemic slaughter of Blacks.”

Guest anchor Trace Gallagher did not correct the point.

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Citation From the July 6, 2020, edition of Fox News' The Story with Martha MacCallum

On the July 10 edition of The Story with Martha MacCallum, Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) appeared in order to discuss the public dispute between herself and the players on the WNBA team she owns, the Atlanta Dream, over her opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement.

“Look, I grew up playing sports. All of us around the country wanted our sports during the pandemic,” Loeffler said. “They have the power to unite us like nothing else, and in fact, you know, this is the opportunity. But this political platform, Black Lives Matter, is funded through ActBlue, which raises money for liberal organizations and Democrats.”

Again, guest anchor Gallagher did not correct Loeffler on this simple point.

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Citation From the July 10, 2020, edition of The Story with Martha MacCallum

And on Tuesday’s edition of America’s Newsroom, former White House political director Matt Schlapp made accusations of “collusion” between the BLM movement, ActBlue, and the various Democratic campaigns that fundraise via the platform.

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Citation From the July 14, 2020, edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom

MATT SCHLAPP (FORMER WHITE HOUSE POLITICAL DIRECTOR): In seriousness, I think the way the issue set is laying down — look, ActBlue is this online digital operation that funds a lot of money for Democratic causes. It is funding Black Lives Matter Incorporated; it is funding Joe Biden's campaign; it is fighting for Nancy Pelosi's majority in the House.

I think the fact that there is a collusion amongst all these entities sets up very nicely for Donald Trump and Republicans, to take on this question about whether police should be defunded, whether it's good to have cities that are literally in flames, where people are getting shot, which you just reported on earlier.

Just like Gallagher before her, co-anchor Sandra Smith did not explain that Schlapp was wrong in his accusation.

On the opinion side of Fox’s programming, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade lobbed this same conspiracy theory in a somewhat disjointed manner, while attacking calls to defund and replace police departments (and mistakenly calling ActBlue “True Blue”):

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Citation From the July 9, 2020, edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends

BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): Where has this model ever been effective? Where has this happened before? And, I know for sure where Donald Trump stands on this, and we'll talk about this in a little while. I'm not really sure where Joe Biden stands on this.

And the Democratic Party, and If you click on Black Lives Matter, it goes to a Democratic cause called True Blue, meaning Code Blue — I'm pretty sure one of those organizations. So, anyone who’s supporting Black Lives Matter is actually supporting the Democratic Party. So I wonder if the Democratic Party actually believes in this.

As cartoonish as this talk might seem, it’s actually no different from what viewers hear on Fox’s “straight news” programming.