Fox News personalities have suggested that at least 19 Obama administration officials and nominees should resign, be fired, or have their nominations blocked. They have also called for both Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to step down.
Beck and Hannity lead Fox's charge to “get rid of” Obama “czars”
Beck's stated goal: Get administration officials fired, “take the administration down.” After weeks of attacks from Beck led to the resignations of White House green jobs adviser Van Jones and then-National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) spokesman Yosi Sergant, Beck took credit, and also received credit from the media. Beck has urged his followers to "[f]ind everything you can about" several Obama administration officials, and has declared that his goal is to “take the administration down.”
Hannity: "[M]y job" is to “get rid of every” Obama “czar.” Following Jones' resignation, Hannity stated, "[W]e got rid of one [czar], and my job starting tomorrow night is to get rid of every other one. I promise you that." In September 2009, Hannity aired a list of “10 people who President Obama has appointed or nominated to work on your behalf in your government,” and asked, “Should any of them be fired?” Hannity's case for dismissing the advisers largely consisted of false attacks, distortions, and trivial guilt by association.
Administration officials and nominees targeted for resignation, firing
In the wake of White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan's criticism of Republicans for politicizing the Obama administration's response to the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight, Fox has gone so far as to ask whether Brennan should resign, and has repeatedly hosted Republicans in Congress to say that he should.
- Fox Nation: “Should Brennan Be Fired?” On February 11, Fox Nation featured the headline: “Should Brennan Be Fired?”
- Jarrett claims Brennan “keeps making false accusations, apparently,” asks Hoekstra, “Shouldn't this guy ... resign?” On the February 10 edition of America's Newsroom, Jarrett claimed that Brennan “keeps making false accusations, apparently,” and asked Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), “Shouldn't this guy, who advises the president, resign?” Hoekstra later replied that Brennan is “poisoning the well” and that Obama “probably should fire” Brennan.
- Cavuto: Brennan “maybe, for honor,” should “just leave.” On the January 7 edition of Fox News' Your World, host Neil Cavuto said Brennan has “been mentioned ... for [a] possible firing,” adding: "[I]f it's my agency that had a systemic communications failure, maybe the better part of honor was to just say, well, this -- this happened at any agency, and this was fairly consistent and across the board and at various levels in my agency. I might not wait to be fired. Maybe, for honor, I guess -- they do this in Japan a lot, I don't know for what effect -- but -- but just leave."
Defense Department official Rosa Brooks was on Hannity's "top 10" list of “czars,” about whom he asked, “Should any of them be fired?”
Carol Browner, the director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, has come under attack by Beck and Hannity.
- Beck to his followers: “Find everything you can on ... Carol Browner.” Beck urged his followers to “find everything you can on ... Carol Browner.”
- Browner made Hannity's “top 10” list. Browner was on Hannity's "top 10" list of “czars,” about whom he asked, “Should any of them be fired?”
- Hannity said “Judge Chen should not be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.” On the October 27, 2009, edition of his Fox News show, Hannity asserted that federal district court nominee Judge Edward Chen's “comments over the years have been so controversial that The Washington Times recently called him, quote, 'another Obama nominee who doesn't appear to love America.' For example, he's no fan of the song 'America the Beautiful.' ” Hannity concluded, “Judge Chen should not be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
- Fox Nation crowed over Crawford being latest “body tossed under the insatiable Obama bus.” The Fox Nation highlighted a November 6, 2009, RedState post titled “Another Czar Bites the Dust” that claims that “Internet Czar” (actually, special assistant to the president for science, technology, and innovation policy) Susan Crawford was the latest “body tossed under the insatiable Obama bus.”
Beck repeatedly smeared former White House communications director Anita Dunn, suggested that his smears would force her to resign, and celebrated her pre-planned departure as a personal victory:
- Beck vows that Dunn will “have to go away” after “what we show you tonight.” From the October 19, 2009, edition of The Glenn Beck Program:
BECK: Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod were on television this week, and they were talking about Fox News. And they were talking about how Fox News is -- is not really even news. Now, this is an important story, because it has now been bumped up one level. Before they put Anita Dunn out there -- this is the woman who was extolling the virtues of Mao Zedong -- you know, just a guy who killed 70 million people -- and said it was one of her two favorite political philosophers -- Mao. She has since said that she was joking. We also have some new audio for you we'll play in a second. But now what's happened is, she's being jettisoned.
BECK: Now that we've exposed Anita as yet another radical in the White House, they're gonna need to jettison Anita Dunn, especially after what we show you tonight. She'll have to go away, because we're asking too many questions about Anita. So now we get up to the big boys. [10/19/09]
- Beck sings “Movin' on up” as he announces Dunn's departure from White House, suggests he was responsible. On his November 11, 2009, Fox News show, Beck announced that Dunn was leaving her post at the White House and sang, “Movin' on up.” On his November 16 program, Beck also said: “Was it that Anita Dunn was a left-wing nut job? We played the tapes of her preaching the virtues of Mao to a bunch of high school students. Yes, she just stepped down a few days ago.” Contrary to Beck's suggestion that he was responsible for Dunn's departure, Politico reported in April 2009 that she had taken the position on an interim basis.
Following White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel's comments in which he called plans by liberal groups to run ads targeting conservative Democrats “f***ing retarded,” Palin and Hannity campaigned for his firing.
- Palin calls for Emanuel firing via Facebook, Fox News Sunday. In a February 1 Facebook note, Fox News contributor Sarah Palin called for Obama to fire Emanuel for using the slur “retarded” during a closed-door meeting with Democrats, writing: “I would ask the president to show decency in this process by eliminating one member of that inner circle, Mr. Rahm Emanuel, and not allow Rahm's continued indecent tactics to cloud efforts.” On the February 7 edition of Fox News Sunday, Palin again called for Emanuel's termination, saying: 'I think Rahm Emanuel should step down" for “giving our president wrong advice.”
- Hannity asked: “Does Rahm 'Rahmbo Dead Fish' [Emanuel], does he need to go?” On the February 10 edition of Hannity, Hannity asked Michelle Malkin, “Does Rahm 'Rahmbo Dead Fish,' does he need to go?” Malkin replied, “Well, as I've always said, the fish rots from the head down. The corruption rots from the head down. And this really lies at the feet of the commander in chief.” [Accessed from the Nexis database]
Hannity called for the resignation of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates after falsely claiming that Obama was cutting defense spending.
- Hannity: “Robert Gates ought to resign, and resign now.” From the April 7, 2009, edition of ABC Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show:
HANNITY: Robert Gates ought to resign, and resign now. Because if Robert Gates wants to preside over the single dumbest defense scale-down in American history that puts us on a pre-9-11 footing, I would not want that on my watch. I wouldn't accept it on my watch, and for him to be, you know, wanting this position more than standing up for what's right is frankly surprising to me, and I thought that was one of the better choices of Obama.
Fox News personalities have called for the resignation of Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner since the early months of Geithner's tenure.
- Gingrich: “I've said for weeks that Geithner should be fired.” On the March 25, 2009, edition of Hannity, Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich said Geithner “should be fired,” in response to Hannity's question: “does he deserve to be fired?” :
HANNITY: Does he deserve to be fired?
GINGRICH: I remember -- look, first of all, I've said for weeks that Geithner should be fired. I think that as long as he's secretary of the treasury he and Chris Dodd and Barney Frank are three of the greatest obstacles to economic recovery that we have. The idea that a U.S. secretary of the treasury could be that casual, either that ignorant or that uninformed, about the role of the U.S. dollar in the world system is a little bit frightening, frankly, and I think the immediate reaction of the world market told you how unnerving it was to have him casually suggest that we could have some very strange artificial currency, specialdrawing rights, at the International Monetary Fund, somehow replace the dollar? I thought it was remarkably destructive. [From the Nexis database]
- Hannity again asks, “Does Geithner need to go?” On the February 10 edition of Hannity, Hannity asked Malkin: “Does Geithner need to go?”
Appellate court nominee Judge David Hamilton was on Hannity's "top 10" list of “czars,” about whom he asked, “Should any of them be fired?”
Several Fox News personalities have questioned whether Attorney General Eric Holder “need[s] to go” or declared he “should resign” over the handling of the attempted Christmas day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.
- Palin: Eric Holder “should step down” because of “the way we are treating these terrorists.” On the February 7 edition of Fox News Sunday, Palin called for Eric Holder to step down over his handling of the Christmas day attempted bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, saying: Eric Holder “should” step down for “giving our president wrong advice,” and “because of the way we are treatinig these terrorists, allowing them our U.S. constitutional protections when they do not deserve them.”
- Hannity asks, “Does Eric Holder need to go?” On the February 10 edition of Hannity, Hannity asked: “Does Eric Holder need to go?”
- Fox & Friends host guests to attack administration and declare Holder “should resign” over terror suspect. On the February 9 edition of Fox & Friends, host Brian Kilmeade asked guest Michael Scheuer what Holder should do if there is another terror attack, and Scheuer declared Holder “should resign” over his handling of terror suspect Abdulmutallab.
White House science adviser John Holdren was on Hannity's "top 10" list of “czars,” about whom he asked, “Should any of them be fired?”
After leading Fox News' witch hunt against assistant deputy secretary for Safe and Drug-Free Schools Kevin Jennings, Hannity called for Jennings to be fired:
- Hannity crusaded against Jennings and declared: “I want him fired.” Hannity listed Jennings as one of the “top 10” Obama “czars” about whom he asked, “Should any of them be fired?” Hannity then launched attacks against him during 11 separate editions of his Fox News show over the course of just one month. On September 30, 2009, Hannity stated, “I want him fired.”
Dawn Johnsen, Obama's nominee to head the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, was on Hannity's "top 10" list of “czars,” about whom he asked, “Should any of them be fired?”
State Department official Harold Koh was on Hannity's "top 10" list of “czars,” about whom he asked, “Should any of them be fired?”
Federal Communications Commission chief diversity officer Mark Lloyd was on Hannity's "top 10" list of “czars,” about whom he asked, “Should any of them be fired?”
Since the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight, Fox News has waged war on Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, going so far as to ask whether she should be fired.
- Doocy: Napolitano is “number one on the list” of people who might be fired. On the January 5 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy quoted Obama saying the airline security breach was “totally unacceptable” and remarked that “it did sound for a little while like some career person might wind up losing their job, and Janet Napolitano was number one on the list.” Later during the broadcast, Doocy asked: "[W]ill her head roll? Chances are, no."
- Fox guest Newman claimed Napolitano “not qualified to conduct a cavity search on a bowling ball.” On the January 4 edition of America's Newsroom, former radio host “Gunny” Bob Newman said, “With all the ways Al-Qaeda can attack us, is we have got to get qualified people in the jobs.” Newman later claimed: "[Y]ou look at Janet Napolitano, in charge of Homeland Security, and she's not qualified to conduct a cavity search on a bowling ball."
- Cavuto compares Napolitano to fired Redskins coach Zorn. On the January 4 edition of Fox News' Your World, host Neil Cavuto compared the job that former Washington Redskins head coach Jim Zorn did with his NFL football team to the job Napolitano is doing as secretary of Homeland Security. Cavuto said that “Jim Zorn is out as coach of the Washington Redskins, Janet Napolitano still in as head coach of Homeland Security. He lost some games and lost his job. She could have lost a lot more and keeps hers.”
- Fox Nation: “Fire Napolitano?” On December 28, 2009, Fox Nation posted an article about Napolitano, claiming that she “conceded Monday that airline security failed ... a turnaround from her declaration a day ... earlier that 'the system worked.' ” The headline asked if Napolitano should be fired, though the article to which Fox Nation linked contained no such declarations.
National Security Council official Samantha Power was on Hannity's "top 10" list of “czars,” about whom he asked, “Should any of them be fired?”
Trumpeting charges made by right-wing websites, Beck repeatedly attacked then-National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) spokesman Yosi Sergant for purportedly “creating a propaganda machine for the president of the United States.” Following Sergant's reassignment and subsequent resignation, CNN's The Situation Room, the Associated Press, The Washington Post, and Washington Examiner political editor Chris Stirewalt, among others, credited Beck for helping precipitate Sergant's resignation.
- Beck takes credit for Sergant's resignation. On the November 16, 2009 edition of his Fox News show, Beck stated: “We played tapes of the call with Yosi Sergant and Yosi Sergant had to step down.” [via Nexis]
Fox News went after Cass Sunstein, Obama's nominee to head the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, because of what was falsely characterized as his supposed support for "forced sterilizations" and mandatory organ donations. Following Van Jones' resignation, Beck and Fox Business' Eric Bolling listed Sunstein as a target.
- Beck urged followers to “Find everything you can on Cass Sunstein.” From Beck's Twitter feed:
- Bolling stated: “Van Jones resigns. ... How about ... Cass Susstein [sic].” From Bolling's Twitter feed:
- Sunstein tops Hannity's list. Sunstein was “No. 1” on Hannity's "top 10" list of “czars,” about whom he asked, “Should any of them be fired?”
While Beck has stated that he “didn't want” former White House environmental adviser Van Jones “to be fired,” Beck was at the forefront of the attacks against Van Jones. Following Jones' resignation, numerous media outlets -- including Fox News -- credited Beck with “keeping” the Jones “story alive,” pushing the story into other media outlets, and forcing Jones to step down.
- Hannity credited Fox News for Jones' resignation: “We have sounded the alarm.” On the September 18, 2009, edition of Hannity, Sean Hannity said: "[O]ver the past few months, we have sounded the alarm about the White House's green jobs czar, Van Jones, who was forced to step down just weeks ago."
- Beck crowed about Jones' resignation. On the September 17, 2009, edition of his Fox News show [via Nexis], Beck stated: “I want to take a look at what you have accomplished here in just the last few, really, weeks. Self-avowed communist Van Jones -- we talked about this. They made fun of us. He resigns.”
- Beck: “Removing Van Jones is not enough,” and called on listeners to ask, “Why is this man in [Obama's] administration?” Discussing Jones on the September 3, 2009, edition of his radio show, Beck asked, “Is it time yet that you demand an answer from the president of the United States, 'Why is this man in your administration?' ” Beck went on to claim: “And it's not about Van Jones. Removing Van Jones is not enough.”
- Bill O'Reilly: “Do you want them to fire this guy, Van Jones?” Talking about Jones with Beck on the August 26, 2009, edition of The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly asked Beck, “Do you want them to fire this guy, Van Jones?” O'Reilly added, “You see, this guy reminds me of Reverend Wright. ... He's an anti-American guy, we think.”
Other Democratic leaders targeted for removal from office
Fox News personalities called for Nancy Pelosi to step down as House speaker over the controversy regarding what the Bush administration told her about its use of harsh interrogation techniques.
- Morris: “It is in the best interest of the American people that ... she step down.” On the May 14, 2009, edition of On the Record, Fox News contributor Dick Morris stated: “This is not the time to be without a speaker of the House of Representatives. And Nancy Pelosi will not be able to devote her time and attention to the Obama legislative program if she's defending this. It is in the best interest of the American people that this not serve as a distraction and that she step down.”
- Tantaros: “Democrats need to come out and call for her to tell the truth or resign, because ... she's hurting her colleagues.” On the May 14, 2009, edition of America's Newsroom, Fox News contributor Andrea Tantaros stated, “I think the Democrats need to come out and call for her to tell the truth or resign, because she is really -- she's hurting her colleagues.” When co-host Megyn Kelly asked Tantaros, “Is it that bad? Are we at the point where a resignation demand should be made?” Tantaros responded, “Absolutely. And I think her colleagues need to do it. I think they need to call for her to either come out, tell what she knew, when she knew it, testify. If they find her to be lying, then she needs to step down.”
- Megyn Kelly: “What can be done to take away the speakership?” On the May 15, 2009, edition of America's Newsroom, Kelly asked Rep. Steve King (R-IA) of Pelosi: "[C]an she be held accountable, if indeed the American public believes that she lied, if the members of the House believe that she lied, and on top of lying, she then threw our CIA under the bus? What can be done to take away the speakership? What would be the procedure for that?"
- Fox Nation on Pelosi: “Is Her Speakership in Jeapordy?” On May 15, 2009, the supposedly unbiased Fox Nation also posted the headline “Watch Nancy Twist in the Wind: Is Her Speakership in Jeopardy?”
In the wake of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's controversial comments about Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign, numerous conservatives in the media accused Democrats of having a “double standard” for defending Reid's controversial comments about Obama after criticizing controversial comments made by former Republican Sen. Trent Lott in 2002. Palin went so far as to call for his resignation.
- Palin on Reid: “I think he should step down.” On the January 14 edition of Hannity, talking about Reid's Obama comments, Palin said, “Should he step down? Well, I think he should step down anyway, because I think he is driving a bus that's headed towards a train wreck that is going to happen in America if we continue down this road that he and Pelosi and Obama want us to be on -- a road that is allowing this government growth and is hesitant to fully bolster our national security.”