Special Report’s “cancel culture” fixation

bret baier

Citation Molly Butler / Media Matters

Fox News executives typically try to avoid accountability for the incendiary rhetoric of the network’s prime-time hosts by pointing to the work of “news”- side programs like Special Report with Bret Baier. In reality, Baier’s show simply puts a more journalistic gloss on the same collection of right-wing obsessions typically discussed later in the evening, from the Benghazi attacks to “Climategate” to “deep state” conspiracy theories.

Special Report’s coverage of so-called “cancel culture” provides a recent and telling example of this phenomenon. The program has featured at least 18 segments that explicitly mentioned “cancel culture” since the last week of December.

In March, for instance, Republican politicians, right-wing talking heads, and Fox “news”- side anchors alike frantically bemoaned the purported “cancelation” of Dr. Seuss, particularly the decision by Dr. Seuss Enterprises to stop publishing and licensing six of the author’s least-heralded books. Special Report cheered on the grievance- mongering, running segments about the story on three different nights. 

“The cancel culture going after Dr. Seuss tonight,” Baier himself warned his audience on March 2.

Other purported victims of “cancel culture” dissected on Baier’s show include social media users, U.S. presidents whose names San Francisco considered removing from public schools, Georgia Republicans whose voting restrictions were opposed by major corporations, and “you.”

This is a real screengrab from Fox’s flagship “news” program.

Special report segment on The Muppets being "canceled"