Fox News personalities and guests have long attacked Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, and now Pennsylvania lawmakers are trying to impeach him.
Earlier in September, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives sent Krasner a subpoena to hand over documents that pertain to the way he prosecutes crime, and Krasner refused to comply. Conservatives have attacked him over this and ultimately the state House voted to hold him in contempt. Krasner did partially comply with the subpoena despite calling it “undemocratic,” but he refused to hand over documents that might violate grand jury secrecy laws.
Now part of the push to impeach Krasner, who was overwhelmingly reelected in 2021, is a report that argues his policies contributed to a rise in Philadelphia’s crime rate. But criminology experts have taken issue with the report’s methodology, saying its conclusions are shaky. Texas A&M economics professor Jennifer Doleac wrote, “The errors are so egregious that publishing this article in this journal feels like malpractice.”
In reality, there does not seem to be a correlation between high crime rates and progressive prosecutors. In fact, one study shows that cities with progressive DAs actually saw slower growth in homicides and no correlation to high crime.
These discussions are lost in the right-wing echo chamber, where pundits relentlessly criticize progressive prosecutors. Right-wing media have singled out crime as a wedge issue to push conservative candidates onto voters, and their attacks have included district attorneys. Earlier this year, right-wing media successfully pushed for the recall vote of San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, and now they are looking to Philadelphia as their next target.
Many Fox News personalities argued Krasner was failing in his role in prosecuting criminals, decontextualizing Philadelphia’s crime rate from national crime rates and citing total numbers of murders rather than per capita rates. This makes Philadelphia’s crime appear higher than it actually is since the city has a large population.
Right-wing media are calling for or justifying Krasner’s removal, blaming him for crime rates, and engaging in antisemitic fearmongering about a link to Jewish billionaire philanthropist George Soros:
Justifying and calling for Krasner’s removal
- Fox News’ David Lee Miller uncritically cited the discredited report in his coverage of Krasner’s impeachment, saying, “A portion of their interim report says violent crime in Philadelphia increased to unprecedented and unacceptable levels during DA Krasner's watch.”
- During an interview with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Fox anchor Harris Faulkner misleadingly cited total murder numbers as opposed to per capita numbers, saying, “The numbers don't lie. More than 380 murders in Philadelphia this year. New York and Los Angeles nearly as bad. The people want change. Those are blue cities. The people want change. Recall efforts are now underway to try to boot Krasner from his position.”
- On October 25, Faulkner again promoted the attempt to oust Krasner: “Outrage in Philadelphia over liberal District Attorney Larry Krasner. A scathing nw report details his dismal failure to keep crime under control. He has been under pressure before. Now it's really on.”
- Fox News host Jeanine Pirro attacked Krasner as “inept” and a “liar” before adding, “He should not be DA. He should be the public defender.”
- Right-wing Pennsylvania radio host Chris Stigall called for arresting Krasner for not complying with a subpoena from the state legislature: “If we had a Republican governor like DeSantis in Florida you know what we'd do? At bare minimum suspend Larry Krasner if not outright arrest him today for not complying with the subpoena.”
Blaming Krasner for high crime rates
- Fox News correspondent Bryan Llenas parroted GOP talking points, saying, “Republicans insist it has everything to do with Krasner. Since he was elected DA in 2017, the city's murder rate is up 70% while retail theft, armed robbery, property, and violent crime all continue to surge.”
- Fox News anchor Julie Banderas claimed Krasner’s policies have failed, citing one example: “The latest example of Philadelphia's progressive district attorney Larry Krasner and his soft-on-crime policies are not working out. This is horrendous. A Philadelphia man — here’s just one example — who was exonerated for a 2012 murder in Philadelphia is now the suspect in a recent deadly shooting.”
- Former GOP Senate candidate George Bochetto attacked Krasner on Fox & Friends, saying, “Larry Krasner, our district attorney, refuses to carry out his responsibilities. Refuses to enforce bail. Refuses to violate parole violators and put them back in jail.”
- Fox News correspondent Nate Foy said: “Krasner is often blamed for the murder of Philadelphia police officer James O'Connor in 2020” because “Krasner's office let him [the shooter] walk free without bail.”
Linking Krasner to George Soros
- Fox News host Tucker Carlson claimed there is “an attempt, of course, to destroy the middle class” with crime, adding, “So in Philadelphia a lot of these crimes can be traced to one man, Soros-backed DA Larry Krasner. He’s decided not to charge many robbers with crimes. … If you stop charging people with certain crimes, they commit more of them. That seems like an obvious observation. And again, it's more evidence this is not an accident.”
- While discussing crime in Philadelphia, Fox News contributor Leo Terrell said: “The Democrats have abandoned the victims and for some crazy, perverted reason are backing the criminals. I can mention two words, George Soros, George Soros, George Soros, because his money is allowing these prosecutors to stay in office.”
- Along with displaying a photo of Krasner, Fox host Laura Ingraham said: “So, as the bodies keep piling up needlessly in districts run by Soros-picked DAs, is it not worth asking, ‘What would save more lives today? Gun control, or recalling every DA that George Soros funded?’”
- Fox & Friends Weekend co-host Will Cain fearmongered about Soros spending “$40 million in the past 10 years, to electing DAs like Alvin Bragg, Kim Fox in Chicago, Larry Krasner in Philadelphia. And by the way, that's only a sampling. Fifty percent of your district attorneys in the biggest cities across the country are elected with the backing of George Soros.”
- Fox News host Jesse Watters said Krasner was “funded with big bucks by George Soros,” adding, “In Philly, where under Larry Krasner — they call him Uncle Larry — the city has seen a surge in violence.”