Fox News is trying to paper over its use of antisemitic imagery in promoting conspiracy theories against liberal philanthropist George Soros, after deleting a political cartoon it had posted on social media depicting him as the “puppet master” supposedly manipulating Democratic officials to create “lawlessness” and “chaos.” But the invocations of his name as a destroyer of all things good and American are still continuing from the network’s on-air talent.
The lesson here is very simple: In response to any given public outrage against the network’s content, Fox will do what it believes is the minimum necessary to deal with the immediate problem — and then just continue the rest of its bad behavior.
The Daily Beast reported Wednesday that Fox had deleted an offensive cartoon from its Facebook and Instagram accounts, after the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) had tweeted that it “conjures up longstanding antisemitic tropes about Jewish power.”
Around 45 minutes before the ADL demanded the cartoon’s removal, Fox News contributor Leo Terrell claimed on the “straight news” program America Reports that a supposed crime wave was part of a deliberate political conspiracy by “left-leaning, George Soros Democratic prosecutors” to entrap police.
“I think the police department is being set up,” Terrell said. “All it takes, Trace, is one — one disputed shooting, one disputed arrest — and excuse my language, all hell’s going to break loose. And all this is going to be — those liberal prosecutors are to go after the police. The police department, they know what’s going on, and these individuals are being released because of left-leaning, George Soros Democratic prosecutors.”
Fox anchor Trace Gallagher then told Terrell that he had made “a very good point there, Leo.”
The invective also continued on Thursday morning’s edition of Fox & Friends, during a segment on organized retail thefts and other crimes that the show attributed to “soft-on-crime policies” in “liberal cities,” which co-host Brian Kilmeade said aligned with Soros’ purported efforts to “knock America down” in ways that a foreign enemy could not have accomplished.
It must be noted, however, that the premise of all these segments was wrong in the first place. A report this week in the Los Angeles Times found that organized retail thefts could amount to as little as 0.07% of total sales — with their notoriety coming from online visibility and the easy dissemination of surveillance camera videos, rather than constituting any genuine crisis or pattern of new criminal behavior. In addition, CNN has noted that recent increases in homicides still put the murder rate in major U.S. cities at only just over half of what it had been back in the mid-1990s.
Kilmeade’s description of Soros was also similar to a segment last week from Fox prime-time host Tucker Carlson, who aired a parody video featuring Soros’ face alongside a graphic declaring: “We Kill America!”
Soros has long been a focus of right-wing media attacks for his role in funding progressive political candidates and organizations. Those attacks often feature antisemitic overtones, and network personalities have smeared Soros with the overtly racist “puppet master” slur for more than a decade. The anti-Soros smears cover topics ranging from the manifestly silly to the outright dangerous. Fox News has spent years promoting dangerous lies tying Soros to migrant caravans in Mexico and suggesting he is funding refugee resettlement groups as part of a planned “great replacement” of white Americans. (This smear in particular motivated a man to murder 11 people at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 2018.)