On the February 28 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy parroted a talking point from a recently released Republican National Committee (RNC) research document to attack Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff, failing to disclose that the RNC was the source of his claim.
During a discussion about FISA court judges, Doocy claimed that Schiff, who serves as the ranking minority member on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, has appeared on television “227 times [in] the last year.” This figure originated from an RNC research report released one day earlier titled “The Schiff Show.” The report claims that Schiff gave “a whopping 227 television interviews” between January 23, 2017, and February 25, 2018, and alleges that Schiff “has used the House's Russia investigation as his big break … to raise his profile.” Doocy failed to mention the partisan origins of the figure during the segment.
This is far from the first time that Fox & Friends has adopted Republican Party official talking points without disclosing their origins, effectively acting as the party’s de facto propaganda arm. In 2011, Fox & Friends borrowed language from an RNC research document to criticize Democrats for “pivoting” to “jobs” after the default crisis was resolved. In 2013, the show aired a video compilation critical of President Obama that bore a striking resemblance to an RNC document posted to the committee’s website just one day prior. The pattern also goes beyond Fox & Friends; in 2009, Fox’s Happening Now attempted to pass off a Republican press release as its own research and even reproduced a typo from the original document. From the February 28 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:
STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): What we have learned over the last couple of weeks is the Republicans and the Democrats both came out with their memos. The Republicans alleged FISA abuse, said that FISA warrants were obtained pretty much corruptly by not telling the whole truth. Well, the whole question comes down to this: Do you think that was the only time there was a FISA abuse during the Obama administration? Because now this attorney general, at the behest of the president of the United States, is going to look into making sure everything was followed legally in that department.
DOOCY: But, the big question is with this Carter Page FISA application, which happened time after time after time, were all the cards laid on the table? It doesn't look like it.
AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): That's why it's so important for the FISA courts to ask the proper questions. We don't have the transcripts. We don't know if they said --
DOOCY: It's a secret court.
EARHARDT: Do you want to spy on President Trump’s or candidate Trump's campaign? All right. Wouldn't you think they would say -- and they know it's political. I'm sure, I'm sure they asked, right? I'm sure they said this is political. Who is giving the money for this? Who's funding this? Who funded the dossier? What's in the dossier? Is the dossier verified?
BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): And if you are listening to Carter Page and Carter Page plays -- and he played a small role on the foreign policy committee. And he calls Steve Bannon. And he never talked to the president. But everybody around, Don Jr., whoever is helping Donald Trump win this, pull off this unfathomable victory, they're all recorded. That's all brought in. Are you OK with that?
DOOCY: That's the big question. Because it is a secret court, there is so -- is there any oversight? Five years ago, Adam Schiff, who you see 227 times the last year on television, he actually five years ago introduced a bill that would make FISA judges subject to presidential approval and Senate confirmation. Who are these guys? Well, we would know because there would be an approval process. He, Mr. Schiff, put that bill out there five years ago. Did not pass. Now, a Republican from Florida, Matt Gaetz has put the same bill out and, yet, he hasn't been able to get Adam Schiff, the guy who came up with it, to sign off on it.