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Jesse Watters' prime-time Fox News show is a cesspool of bizarre conspiracy theories

According to Jesse Watters, the CIA has been blackmailing Joe Biden for decades, the Grand Canyon National Monument is a scheme to funnel money to foreign governments, and European countries will use offshore windmills to spy on the US

During his tenure at Fox News, Jesse Watters has risen from compiling blatantly racist on-the-street ambush interviews for disgraced former Fox host Bill O'Reilly to becoming one of the network’s highest-rated hosts. 

That rise has been fueled in part by Watters' embrace of the network's favored conspiracy theories, including questioning the integrity of the 2020 election, casting doubt on a 10-year-old rape victim to push radical anti-abortion narratives, and baselessly scapegoating offshore wind energy development for the deaths of endangered whales. 

Since the departure of top-rated Fox host Tucker Carlson, Watters has taken up his former colleague’s mantle in the Fox prime-time lineup as the network’s preeminent merchant of nonsense — which, like Carlson, he often camouflages in “just asking questions”-type language. In fact, irresponsibly floating outrageous conspiracy theories with no evidence has become a hallmark of Watters’ top-rated show.

Media Matters found that in 2023, Watters toyed with at least 24 different conspiracy theories, ranging from the threat of “transhumanism” turning everyone into mindless robots to baseless accusations of corruption at the highest levels of government.

  • Jesse Watters has spread many of the right's favorite debunked conspiracy theories during his decades-long career at Fox News

    • Watters played a pivotal role in a smear campaign denying the existence of a 10-year-old rape victim who traveled to Indiana to receive an abortion due to Ohio’s anti-abortion laws. Watters spent multiple shows discrediting the initial report and targeting the doctor who provided the abortion, arguing that the story was a “hoax” to fearmonger about the consequences of restricted health care access. In July, the rapist that Watters said didn’t exist was sentenced to life in prison. [Media Matters, 7/13/22, 7/15/22, 7/6/23; The Daily Beast, 7/14/22]
    • Watters was the first Fox News host to falsely claim that offshore wind developments resulted in whale deaths. While he had no evidence to back up his claim, Watters ran numerous segments suggesting that the recent deaths of whales across New York and New Jersey beaches were caused by the development of offshore wind turbines. This narrative became a recurring talking point used by right-wing media and conservative politicians to slow renewable energy development. [Media Matters, 2/2/23, 7/17/23; NPR, 2/22/23]
    • Watters has cast doubt on election integrity in the 2020 election. Watters emphasized that Biden “allegedly” got more votes than any previous presidential candidate. Watters also pushed lies about Arizona’s election audit, claiming that tens of thousands of “questionable ballots” were found in Maricopa County. [Media Matters, 10/8/22, 1/20/22]
    • Watters was instrumental in spreading doubt about the attack on Paul Pelosi, saying, “If we’ve learned anything about the Pelosis, you just gotta keep asking questions.” Watters continued to “keep asking questions” about Pelosi’s attack even after police released body cam footage that seemingly undermined Watters’ preferred — and extremely homophobic — narrative that Paul Pelosi was attacked by his leftist gay lover: “We still don’t know who opened the door. Was it Paul? Was it the cops? Did they not play that part of the footage in the courtroom? Why is this, such a simple detail, so hard to pin down?” Watters asked. [Twitter/X, 10/31/22; Media Matters, 12/16/22]
  • In 2023, Jesse Watters pushed even more outlandish conspiracy theories

    • CONSPIRACY THEORY: The Biden administration is selling oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve to China in order to buy guns for IRS agents. Watters alleged a scheme between the Biden administration and the Chinese Communist Party to “prop up Democrats before the midterms” by selling “taxpayer oil to the Chinese, the companies with the Hunter connection, and then use the revenues to buy guns for IRS agents.” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 1/2/23]
    • CONSPIRACY THEORY: The CIA is working with drug cartels to “destabilize Mexico” and ensure a cheap labor market. Watters claimed it is “suspicious” that the Biden administration seemingly “buries” stories about the threat of cartels at the southern border, then suggested the supposed leniency was due to the FBI and CIA helping Biden win the 2020 election after then-President Donald Trump threatened the cartels with a border wall. Watters cited an unnamed “journalist” to boast that this theory used to be considered a “conspiracy,” but now “everybody just assumes” the CIA is working with cartels. He warned his audience “the U.S. government's working with the narcos” to keep Mexico as an “economic puppet” and “juicy labor with natural resources that our multinationals can take advantage of.” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 1/6/23]
    • CONSPIRACY THEORY: PBS gave a softball interview to Biden because he threatened to defund the network. Watters claimed that PBS did not hold Biden accountable “for being crooked” because the public broadcast network is “a government-owned channel” that “is doing interviews with their own boss.” He suggested that Biden threatened to take away the outlet’s funding if it asked uncomfortable questions, saying, “Hey, take it easy on me or I am going to cut your paycheck.” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 2/9/23]
    • CONSPIRACY THEORY: Global warming is solely “corporate propaganda” encouraged by big businesses to price gouge their products. Watters downplayed the threat of global warming as “a sunburn” and argued that climate change is “more about corporate propaganda. They’re just saying, ‘You have to buy, or you’re going to die.’” Watters explained that “you’ve got to get a new car, you got to get solar panels, you got to get a new stove,” while corporations “get the money and our prices go up.” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 2/1/23]
    • CONSPIRACY THEORY: Democrats colluded with the FBI, CIA, and Big Tech to censor conservatives and hijack elections. Watters touted the debunked “Twitter Files” to assert that Democrats colluded with the FBI, CIA, and Big Tech to censor conservatives and rig the 2020 election for Joe Biden. Watters claimed that instead of refuting the accusations, Democrats decided to “punish these journalists for blowing up the silent censorship arm of the Democratic Party.” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 3/9/23; Media Matters, 12/15/22]
    • CONSPIRACY THEORY: Germany, Denmark, and Great Britain are going to use offshore windmills to spy on the U.S. In an effort to villainize green energy, Watters suggested that offshore wind would become “our biggest national security threat.” He then described how Germany, Denmark, and Great Britain “own our precious coastlines for wind” and warned that those countries could be susceptible to foreign bribes to spy on the United States. “Sure, they're our allies, but every ally can flip,” he said. “Our enemies would pay good money to these countries for a slice of our coast.” In an interview with Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ), Watters said that “a couple decades ago, we were killing a lot of Nazis,” and questioned whether Germany could put “little espionage technology” into the windmills or even “launch a missile” from them. [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 3/24/23]
    • CONSPIRACY THEORY: The Biden administration is paying $100 million to “fight extremists” as a bribe to exploit African countries for their resources and ensure the implementation of the Green New Deal. Watters claimed that Biden sent Vice President Kamala Harris to pay off African countries to allow the U.S. to mine minerals needed for electric vehicle manufacturing and the Biden family could make money on “the front and the back end.” Watters called Harris “the Black face of American colonialism” and alleged that the $100 million in security aid Harris announced was a bribe to allow the United States to “plunder every inch of Africa until every American child rides an electric school bus.” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 3/27/23]
    • CONSPIRACY THEORY: Joe Biden is a pivotal member of the “deep state” who orchestrated all of Trump's legal woes, including his impeachments, criminal indictments, and the FBI search in Mar-a-Lago. Watters falsely suggested Biden “spied on the Trump campaign,” sent “a political hitman into the DA’s office” to arrest him in New York, and even “personally signed off on the raid on Mar-a-Lago.” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 4/4/23; CNN, 8/29/20; Media Matters, 9/6/22]
    • CONSPIRACY THEORY: Democrats don't want Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to debate Joe Biden because he will expose that the CIA killed President John F. Kennedy. After playing a clip in which Robert F. Kennedy Jr. claimed he had “overwhelming evidence” that his uncle was killed by the CIA, Watters suggested that “maybe this is why the Democrats are trying to keep RFK. Jr. off the debate stage” because “they do not want him talking.” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 5/8/23]
    • CONSPIRACY THEORY: Target is working with the “rainbow mafia” to fund gender-affirming surgery in schools. After suggesting that Pride Month is a “Trojan horse” to sexualize kids, Watters decried “the rainbow mafia” and attacked Target for pushing inclusivity a “little too far” by selling trans-inclusive clothing. Watters later cited a report by Fox News Digital to claim that Target is “funding the sex-change surgeries in schools behind parents’ back and the nuking of Mount Rushmore.” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 6/5/23]
    • CONSPIRACY THEORY: As vice president, Joe Biden was working as “an intelligence op” for the FBI, which then installed Biden as president after blackmailing him for a decade. Watters claimed without evidence that then-Vice President Joe Biden was acting as “one of the FBI’s top informants” and “took a $5 million bribe … from a foreign national in exchange for a policy decision” without President Barack Obama’s knowledge. Watters reasoned that the FBI “put their guy in the White House” because it has blackmail over Biden, who was “installed” by the bureau “so that he can take orders.” Over the next month, Watters repeated this conspiracy theory. On the June 26, 2023, edition of Jesse Watters Primetime, the host declared, “I know Joe Biden is an intelligence op.” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 6/5/23, 6/15/23, 6/26/23, 11/30/23]
    • CONSPIRACY THEORY: The Secret Service “incinerated” the cocaine found in the White House to protect Hunter Biden. Watters suggested that the incineration was intentionally planned to prevent evidence from coming forward. “Did the White House blow up the coke while they were testing it for fingerprints, or after they tested it?” Watters asked, declaring that “when you destroy evidence, you're participating in a cover-up.” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 7/18/23]
    • CONSPIRACY THEORY: The details in the drowning death of the Obama family’s personal chef don’t add up. Citing a Daily Mail report, Watters cast doubt on the circumstances of the death of the Obama family’s personal chef, Tafari Campbell, who drowned in a pond near the ex-president’s home on Martha’s Vineyard. “There is something strange going on with the police call logs on the night Obama’s chef drowned,” Watters said. “In the section where the cops are supposed to write the reason for the call, it was left blank. Could be a mistake, but every other call that night was properly filled out.” Even though police ruled Campbell’s death an accident, Watters baselessly suggested that a conspiracy might be afoot. When police released the audio of two 911 calls reporting the drowning, Watters told his audience those calls were “heavily redacted, likely in order to protect the first family,” before raising a series of bizarre questions about why those calls did not mention the Obamas or the staffer that was supposedly with Campbell when he died. “There's no mention of the Obama's on the call. But we now know the former president arrived at the incident command post after the 911 call was placed and spoke to Secret Service and police. There's also no mention on the call of the female Obama staffer who was paddle-boarding with Tafari when he drowned,” Watters said. [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 7/27/23, 10/24/23]
    • CONSPIRACY THEORY: “Big trans” preys on “confused kids” for profit. Watters blamed the media pushing “gender fluid ideology on children,” which he claimed had created “a generation of kids doing harm to themselves” by seeking gender-affirming care. “Big Trans is taking advantage of confused kids and they’ve created a billion-dollar industry that preys on minors,” Watters added. [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 7/27/23]
    • CONSPIRACY THEORY: Russia's attacks on the Donbas region of Ukraine had something to do with a “blackmail operation” involving Ukrainian energy company Burisma and the Bidens. During an interview with Fox host Rachel Campos-Duffy, Watters hinted at an apparent blackmail scheme between the Biden family and the Ukrainian government that supposedly influenced Russia to attack the Donbas region of Ukraine. Watters suggested that Burisma, the now-defunct Ukrainian energy company that once counted Hunter Biden among its board members, “had the oil and gas leases … for the Donbas region,” which supposedly indicated to Watters that a “a big blackmail operation” was underway. “We might have something on this tomorrow,” he teased. Seemingly intrigued by Watters’ vague suggestion of Biden family corruption, Campos-Duffy agreed, “We’re shoveling money there … to cover up the tens of millions of dollars that the Biden family took,” before adding, “I’m really happy you’re on that story, I really think there’s something there.” Watters never revisited the supposed blackmail scheme. [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 7/31/23]
    • CONSPIRACY THEORY: Grand Canyon National Monument is a Biden scheme to funnel uranium money to foreign governments. Watters claimed that President Biden declared the Grand Canyon a national monument to block uranium mining in the canyon’s surrounding areas to fund “Russia’s dangerous uranium monopoly.” Watters then speculated on Biden’s motives, questioning why the president’s “entire energy policy favors Russia and China.” “Well, does it have anything to do with the three and a half million dollars the Russians paid the Biden's? Or the Porsche Panamera that the Kazakhstanis gifted Hunter? Does it have anything to do with the three and a half carat diamond that the Chinese slipped the first son? There's something very mysterious going on in the international uranium market that involves the Bidens and the Russians.” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 8/8/23]
    • CONSPIRACY THEORY: The Weather Channel is a Biden propaganda outlet. Watters claimed the Weather Channel gave Joe Biden a softball interview because “the owner of the Weather Channel is a prolific Democrat donor.” He continued, “A corrupt, confused, weak, and terrified man is being protected by the ideological professional class who runs corporate media.” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 8/9/23]
    • CONSPIRACY THEORY: Biden and his team are doing “absolutely nothing” to stop fentanyl trafficking because “they prefer a passive public.” “China’s sending us the fentanyl, the Mexicans are trafficking it here, and Joe’s doing absolutely nothing about it. Why?” Watters asked, before answering his own question. “The professional class decided it's okay to kill yourself. It's pro-euthanasia. They find this behavior acceptable. They prefer a passive public.” Watters added that those in power are “fine” with “tranq heads and fentanyl heads” because — unlike the “wild” people who were addicted to stimulants during the crack epidemic — “they’re not asking questions, they’re not participating, and they’re not a threat.” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 8/9/23]
    • CONSPIRACY THEORY: Corporate diversity, equity, and inclusion training is a “shakedown” to encourage more racism so diversity trainers get paid. Watters argued DEI training was a “shakedown” in which diversity consultants earned “big money” training corporate employees on racism in the workplace so that their companies could publicly broadcast — and profit from — the idea that they are not racist. (“My company is not racist, please buy our products,” Watters described.) Watters’ guest, Erec Smith, a “former diversity trainer” turned supposed whistleblower, argued that diversity trainers like racism because it keeps them in business. “If you’re making all that money off racism, the last thing you want is for racism to go away. You’re going to perpetuate it. You’re going to see it where it isn’t,” Smith claimed. Summarizing Smith’s arguments for his audience, Watters said, “They were seeing racism where it never existed in order to get paid.” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 8/28/23]
    • CONSPIRACY THEORY: The Biden family’s Chinese business partners paid them in diamonds to avoid the IRS. Watters baselessly claimed that a Chinese company illegally paid the Biden family in diamonds to avoid drawing the attention of the IRS. “Everybody knows diamonds [are] a time-tested way to launder money, and hide that money from IRS agents,” Watters said, adding, “Diamonds and art, both spaces that Hunter plays in. There’s no paper trail or record-keeping with diamond transactions.” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 9/18/23]
    • CONSPIRACY THEORY: Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) is the victim of a smear campaign engineered by the CIA and the Biden administration as part of a conspiracy to help Democrats. After Menendez, the former chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was indicted on charges of bribery, fraud, and extortion related to his dealings with the Egyptian government, Watters argued that the CIA was using “the same Trump playbook they used last time” to smear Menendez as a “traitor” and a spy. Watters baselessly alleged that Menendez — who has since been accused of acting as an unregistered agent of Egypt’s government — was “such a threat to Democrats” that the Biden administration and the CIA “smeared [him] as a spook” to supposedly cover up President Biden’s criminal behavior. “What does gold bar-Bob have on the Bidens? That’s the question,” Watters said. [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 9/29/23; Associated Press, 9/22/23, 10/12/23]
    • CONSPIRACY THEORY: Biden framed Menendez as a ploy to sell Turkey F-16s and grant Sweden NATO membership. Watters alleged that President Biden had hatched a scheme with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to remove “gold bar-Bob Menendez” from office because he was supposedly holding up the sale of $20 billion worth of F-16 jets to Turkey, which was in turn blocking Sweden’s entrance into NATO. “Look how nicely things fall into place for Biden and his boys, when two gold bars are found in a Senator's house,” Watters said, before adding, “Eh, it's probably a conspiracy theory.” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 10/2/23]
    • CONSPIRACY THEORY: Joe Biden is installing kill switches to disable cars on Election Day and keep people from voting. Watters falsely claimed a provision in the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act stipulating that new vehicles should include drunk driving prevention technology by 2026 was a ploy engineered by “big tech and big government to monitor your freedom of movement.” Watters also speculated that the Biden administration could “hit the kill switch on every pickup truck in Pennsylvania on Election Day” to keep people from voting. [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 11/8/23, Associated Press, 3/3/22]
    • CONSPIRACY THEORY: “Transhumanist” tech executives and the Biden administration want to turn you into a mindless “RoboCop.” Watters said “executives in Silicon Valley and the eggheads at the World Economic Forum” want to “transform what it means to be human” through transhumanism: the technological enhancement of human brains and bodies using microchips and other implants. “It’s not just about dominating your attention with their screens, apps, and devices, and extracting all of your information for cash. It’s also about control,” Watters declared.” Once you join their universe, you’re dependent on them — they can control you, track you, or they can turn you off.” Watters hosted Laura Aboli, whom he introduced as an “activist and entrepreneur.” Aboli claimed that President Biden had signed an executive order that would “channel funding and resources to bioengineering and biomanufacturing” for the “transhumanist agenda.” Watters asked, “Like we all get turned into RoboCop?” “I’m afraid that’s probably what they want for us,” Aboli replied. [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 11/20/23; The Guardian, 5/6/18]