Despite its promise to deliver “total fair and balanced network coverage” of the April 15 tea party protests, Fox News repeatedly promoted the protests on that day and engaged in inflammatory rhetoric during its coverage.
Despite its promise to deliver “total fair and balanced network coverage” of the April 15 tea party protests, Fox News repeatedly promoted the protests on that day, while hosts and guests, including those on Fox Business, engaged in inflammatory rhetoric during their coverage of the protests. As Media Matters for America documented, Fox News aggressively promoted the protests prior to April 15, encouraging viewers to get involved across the country. The network also featured at least 20 segments on the protests and at least 73 in-show and commercial promotions for them from April 6 to April 13. Indeed, Fox News has repeatedly described the protests as “FNC Tax Day Tea Parties.”
Examples of Fox News' and Fox Business' April 15 tea party coverage included:
- Discussing how to show support for tea parties, Fox & Friends' Gretchen Carlson claimed: “You can hang [a teabag] from your mirror, too, like fuzzy dice.”
- Fox News host Megyn Kelly claimed that “you can join the tea party action from your home if you go to the FoxNation.com ... a virtual tax day tea party.”
- Fox Business anchor Cody Willard asked, “Guys, when are we going to wake up and start fighting the fascism that seems to be permeating this country?”
- Willard further stated that conservatives and liberals are “both fascists who are taking all of my money and building up corporate America with my welfare.”
- Fox News host John Gibson expressed “hope” that millions of people" would participate in the protests.
- Fox Business anchor David Asman told viewers they “need[ed] to go” to the tea party merchandise website “no matter what side of the issue you're on.”
- Willard asked a protester: “Are you worried about me taking these dollars from you ... or destroying those dollars? I mean that's what the government does anyway.”
- On The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News contributor Dennis Miller claimed that “the average American taxpayer feels like they've just been shot in the head in a deck chair on a sinking boat.”
- Fox News host Sean Hannity asked contributor Newt Gingrich “one serious question” : “Is this now a battle between capitalism and socialism?”
- Hannity also asked: “Why don't we have more anger towards government, or is this the anger that finally is beginning to emerge?”
- Discussing the protests on Hannity, RedState's Erick Erickson stated, "[I]f we don't do something, if we don't turn the corner, we're going to be enslaved to the government."
- Also on Hannity, radio host Bill “Bubba” Bussey said it was “time for a revolution.”
- Hannity also featured a Thomas Paine imitator to plug the tea parties.