A global energy crisis, which included skyrocketing gas and oil prices, emerged after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. Fox News and Fox Business networks have responded by repeating the usual fossil fuel talking points to claim that climate and green energy policies are worsening the crisis; that these policies in fact emboldened Russia to invade Ukraine; and that the world needs more fossil fuel energy in the future.
In attacking climate policies and defending fossil fuels, Fox networks have fallen back on one of their favorite talking points: attacking the Green New Deal.
- In a 160-day period between the invasion of Ukraine on February 24 and August 3, Fox networks mentioned the Green New Deal approximately 564 times. There were only 11 days in this period when the Green New Deal was not mentioned on Fox News or Fox Business.
- Mentions peaked in the one-month period after the Russian invasion – between February 24 and March 24, Fox networks mentioned the Green New Deal 148 times. Two days during this period – February 28 and March 8 – saw 15 mentions each.
- Mentions picked up again in June, with 109 happening that month in total and 15 mentions on June 21 alone.
- Fox Business’ Kudlow was by far the worst purveyor of Green New Deal attacks in the volume of mentions, with 79 mentions during this timeframe. Fox News’ Hannity had 61 mentions, while Fox Business’ Varney & Co. had 54 mentions.
Both of these networks relentlessly focused attacks on the Green New Deal during this time despite the fact that it is not currently U.S. law, and the Biden administration is not pursuing it. Instead, Fox is weaponizing a proposal it has spent years toxifying to thwart climate action and scare its viewers into accepting a more dangerous world with continued fossil fuel usage.
Fox immediately blamed the Green New Deal when Russia invaded Ukraine
In one week after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – February 24 to March 2 – Fox network programs mentioned the Green New Deal approximately 57 times. Right off the bat, Fox segments were blaming the Green New Deal for empowering Russia to invade Ukraine.
On the February 25 edition of Tucker Carlson Tonight, network contributor Charles Hurt called Joe Biden “a president who puts America last and believes in literally cutting every source of strength the country has out, and then setting us out into the world. This is what happens. This war is the Green New Deal war. This is John Kerry's war.”
This point was repeated nearly verbatim by Fox host Rachel Campos-Duffy on the February 27 edition of Fox & Friends Weekend, saying, “This is a Green New Deal war. This is John Kerry's war. This is AOC’s war. We are in this position because we allowed Russia to be empowered and enriched because of our energy policy.”
Additionally, Fox Business host Larry Kudlow began his first Green New Deal attack during this period on the February 28 edition of Kudlow, stating, “This whole problem was brought on by the radical left Green New Deal policies, and of course the catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan. My point is these problems are of Biden’s own making.”
As the global energy crisis unfolded over the next few months, Fox repeatedly tied any Biden climate action to the Green New Deal
As the invasion deepened the global energy crisis, Fox segments furthered the network’s Green New Deal attacks and linked them to Biden’s climate agenda and global efforts to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
On the April 1 edition of Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo’s Wall Street, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) claimed that Biden “tried to pass a Green New Deal through a Democrat House and Senate and couldn’t even get the votes. … Now they’re trying to get these federal agencies to impose it backdoor through regulation.” On the March 1 edition of Fox News' America’s Newsroom, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) stated that Biden is “continuing to double down on tenets of the Green New Deal,” while pushing for increased oil and gas leases on federal lands.
These statements show that Fox is trying to make any and all climate actions synonymous with the Green New Deal, which helps the network in its long campaign of pro-fossil fuel and anti-climate action propaganda.
It wasn’t just Biden’s climate actions (or perceived slights against the fossil fuel industry) that drew Green New Deal comparisons. For example, on the April 13 edition of Hannity, host Sean Hannity linked the plan to high gas prices and inflation, noting that gas was $2.42 under Trump, and that “inflation was only 1.4%, not 8.5. And clearly, Biden’s Green New Deal climate alarmist socialist agenda is an unmitigated disaster.” (Fox has been hounding Biden as being solely responsible for high gas prices throughout much of the spring and summer.)
Fox also invoked the Green New Deal to suggest that Europe's implementation of climate policies is why it is in an energy crisis right now, as on the May 13 edition of Hannity, with Fox contributor Phil Flynn saying: “Look at the war in Europe. This is the first war of the Green New Deal, right, because Europe … decided to get more dependent on green energy, and it's failing, and we want to repeat the same mistakes here.”
Mentions again peaked in mid-June, when Fox blamed the Green New Deal for high gas prices and energy shortages
There were 15 Green New Deal mentions on June 21, with Fox Business’ Kudlow alone airing 7 that day.
The host and former Trump economic adviser claimed that “Joe Biden has decided to choose a radical climate agenda rather than national energy security,” adding, “We're also financing Russia's war machine, but the Bidens are still determined to implement a crazy Green New Deal strategy that frankly will never happen.” He also falsely implied that the Biden administration supports high gas prices, stating, “The Biden administration would much rather go for their crazy woke Green New Deal stuff, climate change stuff, instead of sensible, commonsense national security measures that would increase fossil fuels. … They think high gas prices are great for their Green New Deal.”
A new line of attack came on the June 17 edition of Hannity, when guest host Pete Hegseth linked the Green New Deal to potential rolling blackouts during the summer.
“Now, but rather than admit these obvious policy failures, the far-left climate extremists who now run the Democrat Party – and they do – they're not resting,” he declared. “They refuse to admit their mistakes and instead continue to double down on their destructive, economy-killing Green New Deal disaster.”
Fox has been claiming that the Green New Deal is responsible for mass protests in the Netherlands and Sri Lanka
In multiple segments in July, Fox prime-time host Tucker Carlson blamed the Green New Deal for large protests in the Netherlands, food and fuel shortages in Ghana, and the government’s collapse in Sri Lanka, even going so far to say, “That is what the Green New Deal looks like in Sri Lanka,” over footage of rioting and police violence on the July 11 edition of Tucker Carlson Tonight.
“Oh, so pampered lifestyle liberals in the United States just destroyed something else,” Carlson complained. “They did to Sri Lanka what busing did to American education – just absolutely wrecked it and then walked away like nothing happened.”
The next night he expanded its scope, claiming that “the Green New Deal has actually taken effect around the world.” He did this again on July 20, stating, “The rest of the world has been a lot more eager than the United States to dive right into the Green New Deal.”
This framing also came up on the July 18 edition of The Ingraham Angle, with Heritage Foundation fellow Joel Griffith declaring, “If you look at what’s happening overseas, we see outright riots and protests because people are enduring the Green New Deal when it comes to agriculture.”
Now, Fox is invoking the term to attack the climate provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act
In late July, Senate Democrats announced a surprise climate bill that includes over $360 billion in clean energy spending. Despite the fact that the newly named Inflation Reduction Act also offers concessions to the fossil fuel industry, Fox once again invoked the Green New Deal to bash the bill.
On the July 28 edition of Fox & Friends, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) stated that Democrats “have a bunch of Green New Deal subsidies in there.” Later that night on Hannity, the host claimed that the bill “includes billions in funds for the Democrats’ Green New Deal fantasies.”
Notably, one of the most recent mentions implied that the climate bill is actually the Green New Deal, with Jesse Watters claiming that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) “fell in line and signed on to the Green New Deal” on the August 2 edition of Jesse Watters Primetime.
Fox is utterly obsessed with the Green New Deal, and network personalities will use it in any way they can to downplay the need to address the climate crisis
Since its introduction in early 2019, the Green New Deal has been a staple of Fox’s climate denial programming. Although mentions of it have waxed and waned over time – for example, Fox mentioned it a lot during the 2020 presidential election, and again when the Green New Deal was reintroduced in Congress in April 2021 – it’s always been used by Fox as a symbol of supposed environmental extremism. Connecting it now to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and global protests, however, is a dangerous escalation in Fox’s campaign against climate action.
Media Matters searched transcripts in the Kinetiq video database for all original programming on Fox Business Network and Fox News Channel for the key phrase “green new deal,” from February 24, 2022, through August 3, 2022. We counted each instance of the phrase as a single mention.