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Andrea Austria / Media Matters

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Fox News has repeatedly used Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to push the same old talking points

As the crisis in Ukraine escalates, Fox News has used the situation to push their favorite pet issues. Fox News has covered the invasion of Ukraine in ways that are deceptive and opportunistic, as the network uses Ukraine to advance the same old right-wing grievances, ranging from culture war hysteria to attacks on vaccine mandates.

Here are some examples of Fox News using the Ukraine invasion to push the same old talking points:

  • Attacking climate action

  • Host Sean Hannity claimed that flooding “the market with American energy” would “bring Russia to its knees,” but that Biden “cares more about AOC, her Green New Deal climate change alarmism cult.” [Fox News, Hannity, 2/21/22]

  • Host Laura Ingraham suggested that the Ukraine conflict was just “giving the Democrats cover to stick it to Americans and continue this war on private vehicle ownership.” Former Trump advisor Stephen Miller agreed that it was “convenient,” noting the Biden administration “shut down America’s pipelines” and “canceled leases for oil and natural gas drilling.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 2/22/22]

  • Trump’s Deputy National Security Adviser, K.T. McFarland, boasted that war in Ukraine is a “unique opportunity” to sell American energy, saying “The Ukraine invasion is terrible for Ukraine, but it could actually be very good for the United States and the rest of the world.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 2/25/22]

  • Host Rachel Campos-Duffy declared the Ukrainian invasion “a Green New Deal war.” She continued, “This is John Kerry's war. This is AOC's war.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends Weekend, 2/27/22]

  • Fox Business host and Trump’s Director of the National Economic Council, Larry Kudlow, blamed this “climate change, radical stuff” for “the US losing power and giving it to Putin.” All Fox & Friends hosts agreed, with Ainsley Earhardt adding that Biden is “giving into” the Green New Deal and socialists. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/28/22]

  • Fox Business host Dagen McDowell claimed that by going “full steam ahead with the Green New Deal,” the Biden administration is going to “embolden and enrich Putin.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 2/28/22]

  • Fox host Pete Hegseth argued that “climate zealotry” within the Biden administration “prevents them from doing the common sense things” like continuing the Keystone pipeline and encouraging oil exploration and fracking. [Fox News, The Faulkner Focus, 2/28/22]

  • Fox News guest and Texas Congressional candidate Wesley Hunt declared the United States has “[Ukrainian] children covered in blood because we won't drill our own oil to supply our European friends." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/3/22]

  • Host Jesse Watters suggested Russians are funding green energy campaigns “to scare Americans out of fracking and energy exploration.” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 3/3/22]

  • After guest Victor Davis Hanson deemed fighting climate change “abjectly immoral” in a segment about the energy market and the war, Watters complained, “They are worried about what the weather is going to be like in a few decades? It's silliness." [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 3/3/22]

  • In a segment about the Russian oil ban, Neil Cavuto suggested restarting construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline would lower gas prices through expectations. [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 3/7/22]

  • Culture wars

  • After doubting President Biden’s preparedness for the Ukrainian crisis with Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), host Harris Faulkner questioned how “woke training” fits in with military readiness. [Fox News, The Faulkner Focus, 2/15/22]

  • Guest co-host Hegseth claimed Americans were “running around talking about genders and reparations” and “as a result, [Putin] thinks this is his moment to make an aggressive move.” [Fox News, The Five, 2/22/22]

  • Watters suggested that “stupid little culture wars” over “cancel[ing] podcasters” or “definitons of a man and a woman” distracted America amid “a real crisis” of burgeoning war. [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 2/22/22]

  • Host Tucker Carlson accused the Biden administration of instead of preparing for a Russian invasion of Ukraine, purposefully trying to “degrade and humiliate” the military by focusing on “white rage” and “maternity flight suits.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 2/25/22]

  • Hegseth argued that “what is happening in Ukraine is important” but it “pales” in comparison to the “wokeness in my culture.” [Fox News, The Faulkner Focus, 2/28/22]

  • Ingraham dismissed calls for more funding of the military during the Russian invasion of Ukraine because the Pentagon has “military leaders who are focused on wokeism.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 2/28/22]

  • Ingraham also attributed a perceived lack of support for the Biden administration during a time of “international crisis” to children not learning “love of our founders, our history” or “to love the country” in school. [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 3/2/22]

  • Co-host Greg Gutfeld blamed the Biden administration’s focus on the “environmental justice and trans issues” for Putin’s aggression: “What America needs right now are adults who have no patience for zoom classes on pronouns.” [Fox News, The Five, 3/3/22]

  • Anti-immigrant rhetoric

  • Network contributor Newt Gingrich complained, “Biden wants us to worry about the border in Ukraine, the American people are worried about the border with Mexico.” [Fox News, Sunday Morning Futures, 1/23/22]

  • Carlson said that “invading America is called equity, invading Ukraine is a war crime.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 2/22/22]

  • Carlson again compared Russia invading Ukraine to migrants crossing the American southern border: “How can people be this worried about Ukraine's borders and this careless with our own?” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 2/23/22]

  • Guest Kellyanne Conway suggested that “nobody is really tending to our southern border, but now we’re interested in [Ukraine’s] border.” [Fox News, Hannity, 2/23/22]

  • Hegseth claimed that he and his viewers were “frustrated by the fact that our southern border is wide open here in the United States of America, yet we're obsessing over a border half a world away.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/24/22]

  • Faulkner suggested that the US can't live up to NATO obligations against Russian aggression because of “​how we've handled our own border​ south." [Fox News, Outnumbered, 2/24/22]

  • Guest J.D. Vance, a Senate candidate from Ohio, said Ukrainian financial aid should be conditional on support for the southern border: “What about our sovereignty?” Carlson agreed, saying that Americans should be “upset most of all about the degradation of [their] own country.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 3/3/22]

  • Anti-Iran nuclear deal

  • Guest Nikki Haley, Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, said the Iran nuclear deal was one of the reasons for the invasion of Ukraine: “Biden is falling all over himself to get into the Iran deal. … Every one of these was an invitation to Putin. I don't think Putin initially thought he wanted to go to war but I think Biden allowed the green light.” [Fox News, The Story with Martha MacCallum, 2/24/22]

  • Guest Walid Phares, a conservative commentator, linked Iran nuclear negotiations to Putin's decision to invade Ukraine, saying Russia assumes the U.S. won’t “confront them” because the U.S. is “sitting at the same table” with Russia for the Iran deal. [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 2/24/22]

  • In a segment discussing the Iran nuclear deal, Fox guest Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) claimed the Biden administration is “completely tone-deaf when it comes to Iran. Trump put Iran in a box and they’re about to let him out of the box." [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 2/28/22]

  • After Baier noted that “a lot of people” disagree with returning to the Iran nuclear deal, host John Roberts responded, “There are repercussions to that deal that we may see.” [Fox News, America Reports, 3/3/22]

  • Attacking vaccines

  • Ingraham claimed vaccine mandates are “weakening our military,” saying, “As the Biden administration beats the war drums in Ukraine, they are actively gutting our military with these vaccine mandates.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 2/22/22, 2/22/22]

  • Carlson accused Biden of lying about his stance on vaccine mandates to cast doubt on his stance against committing American troops to Ukraine: “Joe Biden is telling us he will not commit American troops to Ukraine. Biden also claimed he opposed vaccine mandates. So is he telling the truth?” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 2/28/22]

  • Host Brian Kilmeade criticized Biden as being late on reversing COVID-19 restrictions, “as late as he is with the sanctions, as late as he is with Ukraine.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/2/22]

  • Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) brought up war crimes perpetrated in Ukraine to attack Dr. Anthony Fauci and vaccines on Tucker Carlson Tonight: “We're talking about war crimes. I want to talk about the crimes against humanity that has been perpetrated by Anthony Fauci, the CDC, and the federal government against the American people. I want to talk about the dead Americans. People who had myocarditis, people who had a reaction to the vaccine.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 3/4/22]

  • Promoting gun ownership in the U.S.

  • Hegseth asked correspondent Steve Harrigan, “We know about our Second Amendment here. How prevalent are firearms and the willingness for young men who are not already conscripted in the military to take up arms?” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/24/22]

  • While discussing Ukrainian civilians fighting back by using guns, guest Dana Loesch mocked gun safety proponents in the U.S., saying, “I'm waiting for the anti-gun lobby to ask Ukrainians, do they really need that many rounds?” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 2/25/22]

  • Correspondent Lucas Tomlinson reported that “the Second Amendment is alive and well right now in Ukraine.” “As it should be,” host Jesse Watters responded. [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 2/25/22]

  • Guest Richard Childress, a former member of the board of the NRA, appeared on Fox & Friends to discuss his offer of ammunition to Ukraine and tout the Second Amendment: “This is a wake-up call for America, why we have to have our Second Amendment.” Fellow guest Fox News contributor Joey Jones added, “Americans need to be armed and they need to know how to protect themselves.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/2/22]