Anyone who has had the misfortune to regularly watch Fox News' morning show, Fox & Friends, knows how unique a program it is. Hidden behind the three friendly, smiling faces of the show's co-hosts Brian Kilmeade, Steve Doocy, and Gretchen Carlson, lie some of the network's most aggressive and unrelenting misinformers. But just like last year, Fox & Friends punctuated its incessant campaign to promote conservative politics with some occasional funny and outrageous moments. Therefore, we present Fox & Friends' stupidest moments of 2011. Enjoy!
10. Doocy Makes Al Gore Joke With A Random Man Dressed As A Polar Bear In The Background
It's no secret that Steve Doocy is Fox & Friends' chief climate change misinformer. He has been known on multiple occasions to make jokes about how climate change isn't happening because it's snowing or cold at the time. (He seems to get awfully quiet during heat waves in the summer).
On January 27, while New York was being hit by a massive snowstorm, Doocy reported on the weather from outside the studio while a random man in a polar bear costume danced around behind him. Although Doocy made the obligatory Al Gore joke, what really made this moment special was that nobody on the show seemed to have any idea how to handle the situation. This led to nearly a full minute of half-hearted jokes and a high-school reunion level of awkward conversation. All punctuated by a polar bear in a Hawaiian shirt and a lei.
9. Carlson Thinks, As President, Rick Perry Might Forego Air Force One To Travel By Horse
During the GOP primary season, Fox & Friends has played cheerleader for whoever is leading in the polls at any given moment. After Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced his campaign, Fox News immediately began promoting him, with Fox & Friends leading the charge.
On the August 16 edition of the show, the co-hosts played a clip of President Clinton making fun of the concept of Perry gutting Washington, D.C., while flying around the world on Air Force One, an airplane paid for by the taxpayers. After the clip, Carlson announced, “Well, first of all, we don't know if Governor Perry would even want to fly on Air Force One.”
Huh? Would President Perry stay within a few hundred miles of D.C.? Would he never visit another country he couldn't get to by land? How does that make any sense? Don't worry, Carlson obliged us: “Maybe he'd ride his horse around town.” Yes, maybe. Maybe Perry would forget about the whole foreign policy thing and just ride around Washington on his horse. Wait, why would this be a good thing?
8. Peter Doocy Dubs Chinese Prodigy Lang Lang “The Justin Bieber Of Beethoven”
Something needs to be made clear. The only reason this particular quote doesn't register higher on the list is that it came not from co-host Steve Doocy, but by his son Peter, who is, coincidentally, a Fox News reporter. Peter Doocy had the opportunity to interview Lang Lang, a Chinese pianist who began playing at age 2 and has since gained international renown. Although (one hopes) there were questions in the interview that were unaired, the very first question we hear Peter Doocy ask Lang Lang is, “Is it safe to say, then, that you would be, like, the Justin Bieber of Beethoven?” Lang Lang replied by laughing and saying, “That's a funny way to put it.” Yeah, it sure is.
7. Fox & Friends Attacks Nickelodeon, SpongeBob For “Pushing A Global Warming Agenda” Based On “Unproven Science”
Even Fox & Friends has slow news days sometimes. Some days it seems like there's just nothing to attack the president about. August 3 apparently was one of those days. On that day, Fox & Friends actually spent numerous segments complaining that the Nickelodeon show SpongeBob SquarePants did a short animation on climate change without explaining that some people dispute the scientific consensus that the Earth is warming. Let's ignore for the moment that climate change is not, as Carlson called it, a “disputed fact,” and focus on the fact that Fox & Friends is complaining that a children's show about talking, pants-wearing sea creatures didn't explain the scientific and political debate behind a complex subject.
6. Doocy Mocks Obama For Using Binder Clip To Hold Paper Together
Fox & Friends will use any excuse to attack President Obama -- especially, it seems, when he's trying to get legislation passed. In early September, Obama pushed Congress to pass his American Jobs Act, a bill that contained job creation ideas and had public support. Unable to come up with a line of attack on the bill, Doocy resorted to attacking the “chintzy clip” that Obama used to hold the pages of the legislation together while showing a copy of the bill at a press conference. It was a binder clip. The kind used to hold pages together. What made it “chintzy”? I have no idea. But in the president's defense, it successfully kept pieces of paper from falling on the ground.
5. Kilmeade Touts VA Concealed Weapon Law: “Grab Your Gun And Get A Drink And Go Drink In Virginia”
Some of Fox & Friends' stupidest moments come when Brian Kilmeade is ad-libbing. I don't know if he thinks he's funny, or if he gets nervous, or what, but leave Kilmeade without a teleprompter long enough and stupid things are bound to follow.
After reading a quick headline about Virginia's law allowing concealed guns in bars, it seemed as though Kilmeade was required to fill about 30 seconds with about 10 seconds of material. After merely describing what was happening in the generic B-roll video playing on a monitor behind him, Kilmeade went off the rails and suggested that viewers “grab your gun and get a drink and go drink in Virginia.” What could go wrong?
4. Kilmeade On U.N. Sec. Gen. Ban-Ki Moon: “I've Eaten There Before”
Kilmeade is no stranger to racially charged comments. In fact, one of his greatest hits was in 2009, when he claimed Americans don't have “pure genes” because we marry “other species and other ethnics.” But not all of his race-related comments are quite so horrifying and confusing.
While reporting on plans by the United Nations, Kilmeade and Doocy laughed about the fact that the U.N. Secretary General's name is Ban-Ki Moon. Kilmeade topped off this intellectual discourse by joking, “I've eaten there before.” Ha! It's funny because the Secretary General of the United Nations and some restaurants are Korean. I wish I'd been monitoring this show to see what Kilmeade could have done with the former Secretary General's name.
3. Fox & Friends Explains Oil Drilling: “Just Poke A Hole In The Ground”
One of Fox & Friends' favorite themes is that nearly every conceivable economic woe could be solved by merely drilling for more oil on domestic land. To support this false claim, they frequently bring in Eric Bolling, a guy who -- surprise -- has ties to the oil industry.
In early March, there was idle speculation that Obama might tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in order to lower gas prices. Ultimately, he didn't, but it did offer Fox News figures an opportunity to push its“drill baby drill” agenda. On March 7, after listening to Bolling misinform about the effect drilling would have on gas prices, with nothing but agreement from the co-hosts, Doocy wrapped up the segment by suggesting Obama “just poke a hole in the ground.” Of course, this was less than a year removed from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in which America watched for three months as crude oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico, killing waterfowl, poisoning the sea life, and dealing a major blow to the lives and livelihoods of Gulf residents. Somehow, Doocy failed to remember that all that came from a “hole” someone had just poked in the ground.
2. Kilmeade Cites His Roomba To Argue For Replacing Air Traffic Controllers With “Robots”
In April, the airline industry was rocked after a series of reports came out that air traffic controllers had fallen asleep on the job. This led to many people like the Fox & Friends co-hosts -- who had no idea what they were talking about -- speculating about solutions to the problem. The greatest of these moments came on April 15, when Kilmeade, responding to whether air traffic control should be automated, said: “I mean there's vacuums now, right now, cleaning my area rug in my house. A robot, right now ... a Roomba --right now. ... And at first we were holding back; we were not willing to turn over the vacuum duties to a robot, but we have.” What else can you say about this? Kilmeade thinks his Roomba's ability to vacuum an area rug unsupervised means air traffic control could also be done by robot.
1. Kilmeade And Johnson Recommend Profiling And Asking “Are You Here For Jihad?” To Prevent Terrorism
Kilmeade's role on the show is usually as the loveable goof. He messes up his lines, gets confused, says stupid stuff, and the other co-hosts laugh at him. But if there's one thing that can make Kilmeade consistently drop his goofy demeanor, it's stories about national security and terrorism. Not that this makes him any smarter, just more serious.
In late February, news broke that a Saudi student had been arrested in an alleged plot to attack the home of former President George W. Bush. This enraged Kilmeade and Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr., who had some helpful advice for the Obama administration about how to screen for terrorists:
JOHNSON: So we have to understand that obviously America is the beacon of opportunity. Everybody wants to come here to learn and to live and to do well. But what are we doing in the embassies and the consulates around the world in terms of -- no but what's the interview process, Brian?
JOHNSON: Are we profiling these folks and looking at them hard and say, “Listen, are you really here to go to Lubbock, Texas, to learn something, or are you here for jihad?”
Surely, no terrorist can withstand such withering interrogation. Forget waterboarding -- why not look them dead in the eye and just ask? It's a well-known fact that terrorists are completely unable to lie. And withprofiling, of course, we can combine the two least effective counterterrorism methods: racial profiling and asking people if they're here to commit jihad. Thanks, guys.
BONUS: Fox & Friends Co-Hosts Create Unbelievably Awkward Situation By Hosting Hank Williams Jr.
Although this list was meant to be focused on actual Fox employees, we would be remiss if we didn't mention what was certainly the most uncomfortable Fox & Friends moment of 2011, when the three co-hosts invited country singer Hank Williams Jr. on the show in October. Fox & Friends has a history of hosting actors, musicians, and entertainers as long as they're anti-Obama, and many of us assumed it was just a matter of time before this habit led to catastrophe.
While it might have taken longer than expected (I'm not counting this complete disaster; they should have known better), Hank Williams Jr. certainly obliged. The interview started out poorly, with Williams in sunglasses and folded arms clearly making Kilmeade uncomfortable. The fireworks, however, started after Carlson declared that she'd “love to pick your brain about politics.” Williams immediately launched into a bizarre and barely coherent rant against politicians ending with the now-famous line that Speaker John Boehner and President Obama playing golf together “would be like Hitler playing golf with [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu.”
The aftermath was painful to watch. While Doocy desperately tried to get the conversation back on track, Kilmeade stared off-camera and Carlson looked as if Williams had just stolen her puppy. The interview, now fatally crippled, stumbled along for another two or three excruciating minutes. After steering Williams toward football and his father's recordings, the pain finally ended when Williams was cut off and Carlson, to her credit, “disavowe[d] the analogy between Hitler and the president.” The rest is history: Williams released an apology of sorts, and ESPN dropped his theme song from Monday Night Football after the clip went viral.