Fox News has announced it's hired former Rep. Allen West as a contributor. The far-right Republican and the conservative news network are a match made in heaven: West's incendiary rhetoric against progressives and Democrats closely mirrors Fox News' own smears and attacks. Media Matters looks at eight reasons why West is a perfect fit for Fox News.
1. West Is A Former Republican Official
Allen West served in Congress for one term as a Republican before being booted out by voters. By signing with Fox News, he'll join an oasis of former Republicans candidates, officeholders, and administration officials including: John Bolton, Scott Brown, Herman Cain, Liz Cheney, Al D'Amato, Mike Huckabee, William Kristol, Jon Kyl, Angela McGlowan, Oliver North, Dana Perino, and Karl Rove.
If West decides to run again for office, he'll have plenty of company. Scott Brown, Liz Cheney and Geraldo Rivera are considering runs for office as Republicans, and Fox News has a track record of helping former Republican politicians stay in the public eye until they reenter politics.
2. West Compares His Opponents To Nazis
West told reporters in December 2011: “If Joseph Goebbels was around, he'd be very proud of the Democrat Party, because they have an incredible propaganda machine ... Let's be honest, you know, some of the people in the media are complicit with this and enabling them to get that type of message out.”
Fox News has also frequently compared Democrats and their policies to Nazis. Bill O'Reilly has repeatedly portrayed his opponents as Nazis, and once claimed that Media Matters founder David Brock employs “Joseph Goebbels Nazi stuff.”
Fox News chairman Roger Ailes once responded to NPR firing analyst Juan Williams by claiming of NPR executives: “They are, of course, Nazis. They have a kind of Nazi attitude. They are the left wing of Nazism.” (Ailes later apologized.)
3. West Claimed Dozens Of Democrats Are Communists
West has (falsely) accused roughly 80 Democratic House members of being “members of the Communist Party. ... It's called the Congressional Progressive Caucus.”
Fox News has frequently linked Democrats, and especially President Obama, to communists. Fox News host Eric Bolling referred to a speech by President Obama as a “communist, socialist manifesto.” Glenn Beck's late Fox News program depicted the 2010 election as a choice between freedom and communism. And during the 2008 presidential election, Fox News, led by then-Washington deputy managing editor Bill Sammon, linked Obama to socialism, Marxism, or Communism at least 35 times on air.
4. West Has A History Of Anti-Islam Comments
West has claimed that “Islam is a totalitarian theocratic political ideology, it is not a religion. It has not been a religion since 622 AD, and we need to have individuals stand up and say that.” He attacked Rep. Keith Ellison, who is Muslim, as representing “the antithesis of the principles upon which this country was established.”
Fox News likewise has a long history of bashing Islam. Fox News host Brian Kilmeade claimed that “all terrorists are Muslims,” and Bill O'Reilly said “Muslims killed us on 9-11” and “there's no question there is a Muslim problem in the world.” Fox News chairman Roger Ailes also has reportedly demonstrated a strong aversion to Muslims.
5. West Invokes Slavery To Bash Democrats And Their “Plantation”
West has claimed that Democrats are keeping black voters on a “plantation.” He also said that “the Democratic appetite for ever-increasing redistributionary handouts is in fact the most insidious form of slavery remaining in the world today” and President Obama would “rather you be his slave.”
Fox News has similarly used slavery rhetoric to attack Democrats. Fox News contributor Keith Ablow claimed tea partiers are like “slaves” ready to revolt; Fox News host and senior vice president Neil Cavuto likened government aid for the needy to being “enslaved to the government”; and Fox & Friends ran a segment about how the “government is enslaving people.” Former Fox News host Glenn Beck was perhaps the most persistent figure to invoke slavery to attack President Obama and progressives.
6. West Lobs Sexist Attacks
West has criticized liberal women for “neutering American men and bringing us to the point of this incredible weakness.” He also drew criticism for comments about Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) in which he wrote to her, “You have proven repeatedly that you are not a Lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me!”
Fox News similarly has a history of demeaning feminists, and using sexist rhetoric against Democratic politicians. Fox News figures such as Stuart Varney, Bill O'Reilly, Monica Crowley and Eric Bolling unsurprisingly defended West in his dispute with Schultz.
7. West Pushes Anti-Immigrant Hysteria
West has warned that illegal immigration is like an “invasion into your country.” He's also accused Democratic officials of being “almost treasonous” by inviting undocumented immigrants to attend a hearing on the DREAM Act.
8. West Assaulted A Detainee
In 2003 West admitted, as Media Matters noted, that he “threatened to kill” an Iraqi detainee in his custody; watched “four of his soldiers from the 220th Field Artillery Battalion beat the detainee on the head and body”; and, according to military prosecutors, he “followed up on that threat” to kill the detainee by shooting near his head. He was eventually “stripped of his command after pleading guilty to assaulting an Iraqi detainee during interrogation.”
Then-Fox News host Glenn Beck praised his actions as an example of a modern day Ronin, and Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade praised his interrogation methods. Fox News figures have backed torture on individuals, and dismissed the severity of harsh interrogation techniques.