Fox News personalities have latched onto a new poll that found half of Americans believe that the Justice Department’s indictment against former President Donald Trump is politically motivated. But this finding shouldn’t surprise anyone at the network, where anchors, hosts, and guests have spent the last 10 months peddling the very same narrative.
On June 9, Trump was federally indicted on 37 counts related to his handling of classified information after he left office, including allegedly violating the Espionage Act and allegedly engaging in conspiracy to obstruct justice. He pleaded not guilty during his June 13 arraignment in Miami, Florida.
Throughout the coverage of Trump’s arraignment, Fox News anchors, hosts, and guests, repeatedly referenced a new Reuters/Ipsos poll showing that 81% of Republicans and half of Americans believe Trump’s indictment is politically motivated.
Prime-time host Laura Ingraham employed the poll’s findings Tuesday evening to claim that the “petty revenge play” against Trump will ultimately backfire since, as a chyron on the screen read, “liberal fervor to destroy Trump alienates millions.” And on the network’s “straight news” program America’s Newsroom, Fox legal analyst Jonathan Turley referenced the poll to claim that the Department of Justice faces an upward battle to find a panel of unbiased jurors.
The poll’s results should come as no surprise to Fox personalities, many of whom have been pushing the narrative that Trump is being politically persecuted since the very beginning of the DOJ’s investigation.
After the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago for classified materials, many on Fox News claimed that Trump was on the receiving end of a biased, partisan investigation
- Then-Fox contributor, and Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump claimed that the search at Mar-a-Lago “looks like a political attack on Donald Trump.”
- Conservative radio host Gerry Callahan joined Tucker Carlson Tonight and called the FBI “the partisan militant wing of the Biden administration.”
- Ingraham described the DOJ’s leadership as “not the image of lady justice operating with a blindfold,” saying it’s more like “a Praetorian Guard that shields all of those who hold the real power in this town.”
- Fox host Jesse Watters said: “So, this is a big fishing expedition, using anything they can against Trump to take him out of the race for 2024.”
- Matthew Whitaker, former acting attorney general under Trump, said the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago “is just a continuation on the deep state's war against Donald Trump.”
- Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett described the search as “the weaponization for political purposes by the FBI and the Department of Justice.”
- Prime-time host Sean Hannity claimed that “DOJ is now being used as a weapon against Biden’s top political rival, that’s the former president of the United States of America, Donald Trump.”
Fox repeatedly aired similar rhetoric after Trump’s indictment was announced
- A Fox News chyron read: “Wannabe dictator speaks at the White House after having his political rival arrested.” (The network claims this chyron was “taken down immediately and was addressed.”)
- Watters’ immediate reaction to Trump’s indictment was to suggest it was a distraction from the House GOP's Biden investigations, and Fox contributor Charlie Hurt agreed, saying, “The fact that you have the two -- this is no coincidence. I think it's clearly designed.”
- Fox co-host Rachel Campos-Duffy argued that “this is the ultimate weaponization of our government by the party that is in power to take out the next — you know, the opponents, the leader of the opponent party who's leading by a lot.”
- Whitaker lamented that Trump’s indictment “appears to be a completely political prosecution.”
- Conservative pundit and Fox contributor Tammy Bruce ranted that Trump’s indictment “is about indicting and stopping his [Biden’s] main political opponent.”
- Article III Project President Mike Davis claimed that Trump’s indictment “was a political hit by Biden and Garland to take out Trump for the 2024 presidential election.”
- Right-wing activist Ned Ryun claimed that the indictment indicates that “the legal system” was used as a “weapon against political opponents.”