How Fox News is downplaying the anti-Trump UK protests during his state visit

Fox claims “a lot of those demonstrations will also include pro-Trump folks”

Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

Fox News’ morning shows are downplaying anti-Trump protests that are expected to flood the streets of London during President Donald Trump’s state visit to the United Kingdom, claiming that many protesters will actually be there in support of Trump and that those protesting against him are being paid and bused in.

British news sources are reporting that protest organizers say they’re expecting similar turnout to the July 2018 protests of Trump’s previous visit, which were estimated at 250,000 people in London. Opinion polling shows 67% of Britons hold a negative opinion of Trump and less than half of Britons support his state visit.

Despite these numbers, which Fox has itself acknowledged, Trump’s favorite propaganda channel spent the morning of June 3 downplaying the expected protests. Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade expressed confusion that so many Britons dislike Trump, while Fox guest Niles Gardiner said he expected “the protests will be somewhat limited in scale” and declared that “these demonstrations are going to be far-left, anti-American demonstrations.”

Other figures on the network attempted to spread confusion about what the upcoming protests will be about. Fox White House correspondent Kevin Corke said that “a lot of those demonstrations will also include pro-Trump folks.” Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy agreed, saying, “It would be hard to tell who are pro-Trump and who are anti-Trump” among the protesters, adding that “a number of the London newspapers have talked to people who are quite excited to see the commander in chief.” And Fox & Friends First co-host Carley Shimkus misleadingly attempted to make any pro-Trump presence equivalent to the anti-Trump protests: “There are going to be a lot of protests taking place in London, both protests protesting the president and counterprotests in support of him.”

Others on Fox implied that because people from all over the U.K. want to come to London to protest Trump, somehow the protests aren’t legitimate. Fox anchor Bill Hemmer remarked that many of the protesters will be from London, “but many more are bused in from the outside.” Fox foreign affairs correspondent Benjamin Hall said large crowds of protesters were “expected to descend on London, many of them bused in by left-wing groups here to protest against [Trump].” And Fox contributor Nigel Farage, who is somehow still employed by the network despite also being the head of the U.K.’s Brexit Party, misleadingly suggested Trump is actually popular in the U.K. and dismissed “these organized, paid-for protests.”