Fox News extensively covered reported threats against Wisconsin Republicans, specifically criticizing a Time article which referred to Wisconsin's Republican Gov. Scott Walker as “Dead Man Walker” by asking, “what happened to that nationwide call for civility” following the January shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others in Arizona. But Fox itself has a history of repeatedly downplaying or mocking threats against Democrats and has repeatedly advanced hateful commentary both before and after the Arizona shooting.
Fox Extensively Covers Threats Against WI Republicans, Time Headline
Doocy: “The Runaway Democrats Welcomed Home Like Heroes While” Republicans “Get Death Threats.” On the March 14 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy teased an upcoming interview with Walker by claiming that “runaway Democrats welcomed home like heroes while [Republicans] get death threats.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/14/11]
MacCallum: “While Wisconsin Republicans Are Getting Death Threats, The Runaway Democrats Are Being Welcomed Home Like Heroes.” In a later tease for the Walker interview, guest host Martha MacCallum again claimed, “While Wisconsin Republicans are getting death threats, the runaway Democrats are being welcomed home like heroes today.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/14/11]
Doocy: “I Thought After Tucson, That Kind Of Stuff Was Over The Line.” During the interview with Walker, Doocy said: “Of course, there are reports that apparently a number of Republican senators have received death threats, and have you seen Time magazine? They've got a headline -- 'Wisconsin's Governor Wins But Is He Still 'Dead Man Walker'?' And then inside in the first paragraph it describes a chalk outline. I thought after Tucson, that kind of stuff was over the line.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/14/11]
MacCallum: “What Happened To That Nationwide Call For Civility?” Later on Fox & Friends, MacCallum asked: “What happened to that nationwide call for civility? A major magazine now calling Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, quote, 'dead man.' ” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/14/11]
Doocy: “So Much For Being Fair: One National Magazine Going So Far As To Call” Walker “A Dead Man.” Doocy later claimed, “So much for being fair: one national magazine going so far as to call Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin a dead man.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/14/11]
Fox & Friends Uses Magazine Headline To Mock Obama's Call For Civil Discourse. Later on Fox & Friends, Doocy, MacCallum, and co-host Brian Kilmeade continued criticizing Time's headline and used it to mock President Obama's call for civil discourse following the shooting in Tucson. From Fox & Friends:
MacCALLUM: But what about this? Wisconsin's governor wins, but he is still -- is he still “Dead Man Walker.” What I just said is the headline on Time magazine, OK?
DOOCY: No, you're kidding.
MacCALLUM: “Dead Man Walker.”
DOOCY: No, that can't be true.
MacCALLUM: And, you know, your mind just kind of harkens back to what happened after Tucson and, you know, sort of softened rhetoric and, you know, sort of everybody getting along mood that we were going to be part of. So that's the headline in Time magazine: “Dead Man Walker.”
DOOCY: And isn't there some imagery -
DOOCY: -- in the first paragraph of this particular article -- it talks about a chalk outline.
KILMEADE: No, no, excuse me, Steve. That couldn't happen because we were in the age of civility.
DOOCY: I know. And the president asked us not to do that kind of thing.
KILMEADE: Begged us.
DOOCY: But Time magazine, which has been politically to the left for a very long time, they've done that. Now, I wonder whether if a publication that leaned to the right, like the Weekly Standard or the National Review, if they were to publish a similar headline talking about somebody on the left, do you think there would be outrage? [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/14/11]
Right-Wing Media Previously Ridiculed And Dismissed Concerns About Violent Rhetoric
Beck: Obama Is “Poking And Prodding” People To Commit Violence. “They Need You To Be Violent. They Are Begging For It.” On his March 24, 2010, Fox News show, Glenn Beck referenced the “crazy tea baggers in the streets” and said, “Why would a government continue to poke you and poke you and poke you and poke you? Why would they say these things? Why have these people said these things about good Americans?” Beck later said: “This might be the most dangerous monologue I've ever done, because I am telling you now -- they need you to be violent. They are begging for it. You're being set-up. Do not give them what they want.” [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 3/24/10]
Hannity: “So Do You Think That This Is Just An Effort To Smear Conservatives?” During the March 24, 2010, edition of his Fox News show, Sean Hannity said that Democrats “are trying to make a big deal over the weekend and this is denied by a lot of people. I have not seen the videotape that confirms this yet. If anyone has it, send it to me. I want to see it, of racial slurs, anti-gay slurs being made at the Tea Party movement. Do we have any evidence that corroborates this at all?” Later, he asked: “So do you think that this is just an effort to smear conservatives? Is this a concerted effort to say, you know what? They are all a bunch of racists; they're all a bunch of homophobes?” [Fox News, Hannity, 3/24/10]
Doocy: “So Why Are People Angry? Maybe Because They Didn't Want This Bill?” On the March 25, 2010, edition of Fox & Friends, while teasing a segment about the threats against Democrats, Doocy said: “Meanwhile, some House Democrats getting extra security after a series of death threats and even a little vandalism over their health care votes. So why are people angry? Well, maybe because they didn't want this bill?” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/25/10]
Kilmeade: “Are Democrats Using” Threats Of Violence “To Their Advantage To Marginalize Republican Opposition?” On the same episode of Fox & Friends, Kilmeade said: “Here's the question, though: Is this a Democratic tactic to take some of the people on the fringe who are clearly out of line, doing things that show violence and threats because they feel as though the vote did not go their way? And are Democrats using that to their advantage to marginalize Republican opposition?” Kilmeade continued: “For example, Tim Kaine just put out an email -- he's a great guest of ours and is always insightful for us -- put out an email saying, look at what's happening out here in America amongst the other party. We're going to need your help, send $5. So, wait a second. How outraged are you if you're looking to raise money off the outrage?” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/25/10]
Carlson Agrees It's “Disappointing” That Democrats Are Making Threats So Public And Says “They Should Just Stop Discussing It All Together.” After Doocy said that Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) “thinks the Democrat lawmakers are feeding the public's frenzy over the threats by discussing them so openly in the media,” Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson said: “It's such a political thing, though, guys. I think it would be happening on the other side of the fence, too, that maybe the other political party would try to take advantage of a situation, and that's disappointing. I think it's disappointing -- they should just stop discussing it all together. Just agree on the fact that it's disappointing behavior, no matter who's doing it.” Later, after Kilmeade said, “You hurt your own cause when you have racial epithets or have homophobic phrases,” Carlson stated, “It ruins it for everybody, just like the kid who acts up at the birthday party.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/25/10]
Fox & Friends Airs Viewer Emails Comparing Threats Against Democrats To American Revolution, William Ayers. After Carlson said, “The most important thing is what you think about all of this, because you are the ones that are going to go to the polls eventually,” Fox & Friends aired several emails from viewers that condemned the threats but immediately appeared to defend the actions. One email claimed that Democrats are using the threats “to gain sympathy. Like Rahm Emanuel said, 'you never waste a crisis.'” Another read: "[W]hat did they expect when they basically stole from the...American people. What do they think 1776 was about & wasn't there some violence back then?" A third email said: “I don't like violence & it is wrong. Having said that, why should Democrats be surprised? Bill Ayers of the Weather Underground bombed the Pentagon & now he is a 'respected' speaker of the left. Why should Democrats expect anything different?” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/25/10]
Excerpts from the emails:
Cupp: Democrats “Want Us To Feel Sorry For Them That They've Gotten A Couple Of ... Angry Voicemails.” On Hannity, commentator S.E. Cupp said, “You know, Democrats who did this -- who sort of rammed this down our throats regardless of the fact that it actually won't save us any money, it's going to bankrupt us and the American people didn't want it -- want us to feel sorry for them that they've gotten a couple of angry, you know, voicemails. They should read my e-mail. You know, what did they expect? No one condones threats. No one condones the violence, but I'm glad people are angry. I hope they stay angry.” Earlier in the show, Cupp had promoted Andrew Breitbart's decision to “combat the Congressional Black Caucus' allegations” by promising to donate $10,000 to the “Black [sic] Negro College Fund” if someone can prove the “n word” was yelled at the congressmen. [Fox News, Hannity, 3/24/10]
Fox Nation: “Are Threats Really Elevated, Or Are Dems Playing Politics?” The Fox Nation displayed a picture of several Democratic congressmen with the headline, “Are Threats Really Elevated, or Are Dems Playing Politics?” The headline linked to a NewsBusters post that claimed there are “no specific examples of alleged threats of violence cited” and that the media and politicians are “trying to construct a meme of conservative violence as we run up to the 2010 elections.” From Fox Nation: [Fox Nation, 03/24/10]
Charles Krauthammer: “I'm Sure A Lot Of This Is Trumped Up. ... You Are Always Going To Have A Kook And A Nut Here And There.” On the March 24, 2010, edition of Fox News' Special Report, Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer said of the threats, “I'm sure a lot of this is trumped up the way of the unruliness of some of the crowd on the day of the voting in the House was trumped up. You are always going to have a kook and a nut here and there. It's being used by supporters of ObamaCare to tar opponents with, you know, threats, violence, being un-American in general. I think it ought to be denounced, as the Republicans have. It should be. But it's not reflective of those who oppose the bill.” [Fox News, Special Report, 3/24/10]
Stephen Hayes: “This Happens All The Time,” “Counterproductive” For GOP To Condemn Them Again. Discussing GOP leaders' condemnation of the threats on Special Report, Weekly Standard columnist Stephen Hayes said: “They shouldn't continue to do it. They did it. They did it once, and they should never do it again. That's the end. He said we don't approve of this. That's it. If you continue to beat it up, it continues to be a story and it's counterproductive.” Later, Hayes said, “This happens all the time, and I could refer to you my own voicemail sometimes after appearances on other programs and other networks where the vitriol level was every bit as harsh as what I heard in Bart Stupak's voicemail.” [Fox News, Special Report, 3/24/10]
Beck Downplays Threats To Members Of Congress, Calling Concerns An “Overreaction.” From the March 25, 2010, edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Or, I could have gone to 1600 Pennsylvania and killed the real bird with one stone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: Isn't that a threat against the president's life?
Look, we're in a time in America that I never thought we would get to. This is -- your children and grandchildren are going to say, where were you? What did you do? What were you thinking?
Keep a diary -- it's important -- keep a diary.
If you are on the frontlines of this debate, you're going to get threats, believe me. And you have to take them seriously. If you're in Congress or you're just on television or you're you, you have to take them seriously.
But you're getting them because you're speaking out and making a difference. The more threats you get, the more you have to take them seriously, because there are nutjobs out there.
But at no time have you ever heard me, ever, blame the threats or any of the violence on anyone other than the crazy people who are doing it. That's where it belongs.
But the left is pressuring now John Boehner to issue an apology, for what? What has John Boehner done? Did he hurt somebody? Is he teaching somebody how to build a bomb?
It seems, if it was innocent, as just an overreaction to something where there is very little evidence of -- very, very little.
MSNBC and CNN are acting like this is a near-certainty that the right will act out at any moment. And they're on hot standby. We could go at any time. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 3/25/10; accessed via Nexis]
Trotta: “The Left Wing Virtually Invented Violent Dissent” And The Press Is “Wildly Exaggerating And Embroidering” Threats To Members Of Congress. On the March 27, 2010, edition of Fox News' America's News HQ, Fox News contributor Liz Trotta said: “The left wing virtually invented violent dissent going all the way back to the 1960s. So to hear everybody wildly exaggerating and embroidering what's happened in Washington is really rather laughable. And the media has been suckered into it.” [Fox News, America's News HQ, 3/27/10]
Fox Figures Criticized Calls For Civil Discourse Following Tucson
Doocy Declares “Democrats And Progressives” Are “Trying To Use” AZ Shooting “For Political Advantage.” On the January 11 edition of Fox & Friends, Doocy hosted Fox News contributor Ellen Ratner to explain “why the shooting [in Tucson] has nothing to do with free speech.” Doocy claimed that Democrats “have really tried to make political hay out of this.” Ratner claimed the shooting had “nothing to do with political discourse,” leading Doocy to claim progressives were “trying to use this for political advantage.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/11/11]
Beck On AZ Shooting: Is The Left “Creating” Or “Exploiting” This Issue? On the January 10 edition of Glenn Beck, Beck asked if Democrats were “creating” or “exploiting” the Tucson shootings, and that criticisms of violent rhetoric were to “silence or discredit the opposition.” [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 1/10/11]
Mary Katharine Ham: “The Left Has Actually Been Calculatedly Creating” An Environment “To Blame Right-Wing Rhetoric.” On the January 10 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News contributor Mary Katherine Ham claimed that descriptions of the “toxic [political] environment” were evidence that “the left has actually been calculatedly creating an environment” to “blame right-wing rhetoric.” [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 3/14/11]
O'Reilly: Progressives Are Criticizing Violent Rhetoric On the Right Because Of “The Failure Of The Far-Left Agenda.” On the January 10 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly claimed that the “far-left vision is falling apart, so they are using a terrible tragedy, using it, to attack their perceived political enemies. That's what this is all about: the failure of the far left agenda.” [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 3/14/11]
Beck: Lawmakers Are “Pushing A Ban On Certain Symbols And Words, A Ban On Guns, A Ban On Talk Radio.” On the January 11 edition of Glenn Beck, Beck claimed Obama's “solution to the problem of the alleged violent rhetoric” is “pushing a ban on certain symbols and words, a ban on guns, a ban on talk radio.” [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 3/14/11]
Fox Itself Has Engaged In Extreme Rhetoric Since The Tucson Shooting
Palin: “Journalists And Pundits Should Not Manufacture A Blood Libel That Serves Only To Incite The Very Hatred And Violence They Purport To Condemn.” In a statement on her Facebook page responding to the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others in Arizona, Sarah Palin wrote:
Vigorous and spirited public debates during elections are among our most cherished traditions. And after the election, we shake hands and get back to work, and often both sides find common ground back in D.C. and elsewhere. If you don't like a person's vision for the country, you're free to debate that vision. If you don't like their ideas, you're free to propose better ideas. But, especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible. [Facebook, 1/12/11]
Beck: “Nazi Tactics Are Progressive Tactics.” On the January 20 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck, Beck discussed the Nazi tactic of “PR” and claimed that those “Nazi tactics are progressive tactics.” [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 1/20/11]
Doocy: Obama Admin Are “Barest-Knuckle Brawlers” Since Nixon; Are Trying To “Suppress Dissent.” On the January 25 edition of Fox & Friends, Doocy quoted a GOP strategist calling the Obama administration the “barest-knuckle brawlers to sit in the White House since the Nixon administration” and claimed that calls for civility were an attempt to “suppress dissent.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/25/11]
Beck: “This Is The Coming Insurrection.” On the January 31 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck, Beck claimed that uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia were “the coming insurrection.” [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 1/31/11]
Scheuer: Obama's “Arrogance And Racism” Is “Going To Get More Of Our Kids Killed.” On the March 7 broadcast of Glenn Beck, Michael Scheuer, who frequently appears on Fox News as a national security expert, said of Obama's statements on Libya:
ANDREW NAPOLITANO (guest host): How much of a threat is Moammar Gadhafi to the United States of America at the present time?
SCHEUER: Zero, sir.
NAPOLITANO: And what would be the basis? Moral, political, economic, or military for the American president to threaten military action against him?
SCHEUER: Arrogance and racism is the answer. Every time Obama opens his mouth, he sounds like a combination of Kipling and Woodrow Wilson.
He's going to teach our little brown brothers how to vote and how to elect people. He's really a tragedy for America. He's going to get more of our kids killed in wars that we can't get out of once we start. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 3/7/11]
Scheuer: Obama Is A “Coward” And A “Stooge” For Not “Using The Word Jihad.” Following the shooting of U.S. soldiers in Germany, Scheuer appeared on the March 3 Fox & Friends to accuse Obama of “act[ing] as a stooge” because he didn't “use the word jihad” to describe the shooter's motives. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/3/11]
Kilmeade And Johnson Recommend Profiling, Asking “Are You Here To Commit Jihad” To Prevent Terrorism. Discussing the recent arrest of a Saudi student in the United States during the February 25 broadcast of Fox & Friends, Kilmeade noted that the student was in the U.S. on a “student visa” and asked, “Did the government give him a license to kill?” Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. called for racial profiling of students, such as asking potential foreign students, “Are you here for jihad?” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/25/11]
Huckabee: Obama Grew Up “In Kenya.” On the February 28 edition of WOR's The Steve Malzberg Show, Fox News contributor Mike Huckabee stated of Obama: "[O]ne thing that I do know is his having grown up in Kenya, his view of the Brits, for example, very different than the average American ... his perspective as growing up in Kenya with a Kenyan father and grandfather, their view of the Mau Mau Revolution in Kenya is very different than ours because he probably grew up hearing that the British are a bunch of imperialists who persecuted his grandfather." From the February 28 program:
MALZBERG: Don't you think it's fair also to ask him, I know your stance on this. How come we don't have a health record, we don't have a college record, we don't have a birth cer - why Mr. Obama did you spend millions of dollars in courts all over this country to defend against having to present a birth certificate. It's one thing to say, I've -- you've seen it, goodbye. But why go to court and send lawyers to defend against having to show it? Don't you think we deserve to know more about this man?
HUCKABEE: I would love to know more. What I know is troubling enough. And one thing that I do know is his having grown up in Kenya, his view of the Brits, for example, very different than the average American. When he gave the bust back to the Brits -
MALZBERG: Of Winston Churchill.
HUCKABEE: The bust of Winston Churchill, a great insult to the British. But then if you think about it, his perspective as growing up in Kenya with a Kenyan father and grandfather, their view of the Mau Mau Revolution in Kenya is very different than ours because he probably grew up hearing that the British were a bunch of imperialists who persecuted his grandfather. [WOR, The Steve Malzberg Show, 2/28/11]