Fox News aired more than 2 hours of coverage of the backlash to Target’s Pride Month displays, while running less than a minute of coverage on a new report detailing sex abuse in the Catholic Church in Illinois.
Fox added to the right-wing media backlash against Target’s LGBTQ Pride displays as part of a recent crusade against corporate Pride Month campaigns. The company decided to pull some merchandise celebrating Pride Month from store shelves after receiving threats against the safety of its workers.
From May 23 through 9 a.m. ET May 30, Fox aired over 2 hours and 12 minutes of coverage of the Target controversy. In comparison, Fox reported for just 22 seconds on the Illinois attorney general’s recent report that Catholic Church clergy members and lay religious brothers had abused nearly 2,000 children in the state since 1950.
Much of Fox’s extensive coverage of the Target boycott included expressions of outrage that children were exposed to clothing with positive messages about the LGBTQ community. While Fox repeatedly fearmongered about this supposed threat to children, the network almost completely ignored the reports of sexual abuse in the Illinois Catholic Church, airing only one segment on the attorney general’s report.
Target is just the latest brand Fox has taken aim at in its anti-LGBTQ coverage, adding to attacks on Bud Light for its Dylan Mulvaney promotional content and Disney, which the network falsely accused of grooming and sexualizing children. The repeated targeting of pro-LGBTQ products and sentiments, thinly veiled as defenses of children’s innocence, fit into Fox and right-wing media’s larger homophobic campaign to conflate the LGBTQ community with grooming and child abuse.
Media Matters searched transcripts in the SnapStream video database for all original programming on Fox News Channel for any of the terms “Target,” “clothing,” “merchandise,” or “display” within close proximity to any of the terms “trans,” “transgender,” “pride,” or “gay” or any variation of the term “LGBTQIA+” from May 23, 2023, when media first reported on Target patrons’ backlash against LBGTQ merchandise, through 9 a.m. ET May 30.
We also searched transcripts in the SnapStream video database for all original programming on Fox News Channel for any of the terms “Catholic,” “church,” “Illinois,” or “brother” or any variation of the term “clergy” within close proximity to any variation of any of the terms “child,” “sex,” “abuse,” or “allegation” from May 23, when a report was released alleging that 450 clergy in the Illinois Catholic Church sexually abused almost 2,000 children since 1950, through 9 a.m. ET May 30.
We timed segments, which we defined as instances when either the anti-LGBTQ backlash at Target stores or the report regarding child sex abuse by the Illinois Catholic Church was the stated topic of discussion or when we found significant discussion of either story. We defined significant discussion as instances when two or more speakers in a multitopic segment discussed either story with one another.
We also timed mentions, which we defined as instances when a single speaker in a segment on another topic mentioned either story without another speaker in the segment engaging with the comment, and teasers, which we defined as instances when the anchor or host promotes a segment about either story scheduled to air later in the broadcast.