Fox News one month
Andrea Austria / Media Matters

Fox’s evening lineup pushed conspiratorial claims every single weeknight for a month

Here is a list of inane, unsubstantiated claims Fox hosts, personalities, and guests peddled to their viewers between January 30 and February 28

Recent bombshell filings released in Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News reveal the network — including its prime-time stars Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham — is willing to amplify baseless and sometimes ridiculous claims to drive profit and retain audience ratings

Any doubt that Fox News acts as an independent news bureau was eliminated after parts of Fox Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch’s sworn deposition were publicly released via Dominion filings, showing that the network is a Republican propaganda machine. Consequently, when facts conflict with the network’s economic interests (and the Republican Party’s political interests), Fox News’ tenuous relationship with the truth succumbs to outrage generation. 

Over the last month, Fox’s prime-time lineup continued to follow this pattern, spreading outlandish claims that go beyond election denial. From warmongering about China to exploiting the chemical spill in East Palestine, Ohio, to demonizing diversity initiatives to fearmongering about artificial intelligence and even “lizard overlords” supposedly intent on destroying conservative values, hosts, correspondents, and guests filled the network’s 5-11 p.m. ET airwaves with propaganda nightly. 

Fox News has built its business model around spreading misinformation and sowing chaos. And February provides a snapshot of how Rupert Murdoch has built his empire via the network, realizing nightly the Dominion filings' most revelatory message: the extent to which the network will go to deceive its viewers.

  • January 30

    Claim: The Biden administration is intentionally causing food shortages by causing “strange disasters” at food plants and chicken farms. Tucker Carlson alleged, “So even people who aren’t given to connecting the dots and don’t think of themselves as conspiracy nuts began to wonder, is there something here?” After alleging the Biden administration cannot dismiss these allegations because of a lack of data, Carlson quipped, “Settle down, QAnon.”  [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 1/30/23]

    Claim: President Joe Biden’s “vacant stare in his eyes” shows that he has dementia that is “getting progressively worse.” Serial COVID-19 misinformer Clay Travis said, “Joe’s not going to know what day it is. I'm not sure Joe knows what year it is. Sometimes I question whether he knows what country he's in. He’s got dementia.” [Fox News, Hannity, 1/30/23]

  • January 31

    Claim: A Washington Post story discussing Vice President Kamala Harris’ lack of popularity in the Democratic Party and leaks about classified documents found at Biden’s former office were “deep state hits” to throw Democrats into chaos and have Michelle Obama as the 2024 presidential nominee. Guest Monica Crowley agreed with host Jesse Watters that these stories would not have been published if “the deep state didn’t want you to know about them.” She added that after these scandals ruined Harris and Biden’s hopes for a 2024 presidential run, “I think that the most dangerous choice for the Republicans but the clearest choice for the Democrats — someone who solves all of these issues, woman, person of color, etc. — is Michelle Obama.” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 1/31/23]

    Claim: The Biden administration is prolonging the end date for the COVID-19 emergency declaration in order to maintain political power. Host Laura Ingraham admitted, “This sounds conspiratorial but I almost feel as though the administration is buying time until the next pandemic, variant. I mean, are they hoping for some other shoe to drop here? Because they cannot let go of this power. This is just bizarre.” She added that “this whole pandemic emergency from the beginning … that was just a total abuse of power. … I mean, they would have it go on for the next 25 years if they could.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 1/31/23]

  • February 1

    Claim: Global warming is a corporate scam to get consumers to buy their products and artificially create inflation. Jesse Watters claimed global warming is “more about corporate propaganda. They’re just saying, ‘You have to buy, or you’re going to die.’” Watters continued, “You got to get a new car; you got to get solar panels; you got to get a new stove. Who do you think has the money? They get the money and our prices go up.” [Fox News, The Five, 2/1/23]

    Claim: “Lizard overlords” are going to ban cash. Carlson hosted 9-11 truther and anti-vax activist Catherine Austin Fitts, who warned that “the central banks” operate in a way that “if you don’t behave, you can have your money turned off” and that Americans are “going into a system where literally our homes, our cars, our communities become digital concentration camps.” A chyron on screen stated, “It's looking more likely that we will see the day when our lizard overlords ban cash.” Carlson later cautioned, “If cash goes away, so does any power you might have had over your own life.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 2/1/23]

  • February 2

    Claim: Confucius Institutes are “propaganda platforms” and “part of the broader assault” by the Chinese Communist Party to buy up America. Ingraham Angle guest Rep. Mike Waltz (R-FL) claimed that with Confucius Institutes, China is “having propaganda platforms to the next generation of America.” Waltz continued, “This is part of the broader assault of the Chinese Communist Party buying up America.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 2/2/23]

  • February 3

    Claim: The Chinese spy balloon may have been carrying COVID-19 “spores.” On The Five, Watters rhetorically asked, “How do we know it’s not pushing spores? How about COVID-22, 23, whatever year it is?” [Fox News, The Five, 2/3/23]

  • February 6

    Claim: Biden’s decision not to immediately shoot down a Chinese surveillance balloon proves he is “the Manchurian Candidate under the thumb of the CCP.” During a discussion about the balloon, co-host Greg Gutfeld noted that while “we should all be pointing fingers at China instead of each other” Joe Biden could be seen as “the Manchurian candidate under the thumb of the CCP.” [Fox News, The Five, 2/6/23

    Claim: Biden “wanted the [Chinese spy] balloon sack all wet” and that’s why he chose to shoot it down over water, so it would not work anymore. [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 2/6/23

  • February 7

    Claim: Streaming platform Disney+’s reboot The Proud Family is a conduit for training Black children to fight for reparations. Watters explained, “Now, these CRT [critical race theory] cartoons are laying the groundwork for reparations. That’s it. You get a whole generation of Black American children thinking Lincoln was evil, America is racist, slaves built the whole country, and we owe everybody waving their family tree around to a lawyer $2 million a head.” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 2/7/23]

    Claim: The Biden administration had the Pentagon cancel a briefing on the Chinese spy balloon to hide the Biden family collusion with China. Watters commented, “Why are they lying about Chinese balloon flights and then covering them up? I hope it doesn't have anything to do with how the Biden family has been making money with the Chinese all these years. [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 2/7/23

    Claim: Democratic politicians will not address undocumented immigration at the border because they hope migrants will vote Democratic. Fox senior political contributor Brit Hume invoked elements of the white supremacist “great replacement” theory to conclude that many Democrats “imagine that these immigrants will come to America and in the fullness of time, they will become citizens and they will gratefully vote Democratic.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 2/7/23]

    Claim: Democrats did not arrest peaceful protesters supporting trans rights in Oklahoma but arrested January 6 insurrectionists because the party is “afraid … of voters who still have testosterone levels at the normal level.” Carlson claimed, “They’re terrified of the people they rule. That’s really the theme of that day.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 2/7/23]

    Claim: The Chinese spy balloon could be a test run to drop bioweapons on the United States. Sean Hannity asked, “What if they ever send a balloon with bioweapons? Or a balloon with weapons for an EMP attack?” [Fox News, Hannity, 2/7/23]

  • February 8

    Claim: The Biden administration’s plan to increase the size of the IRS will target waitresses, rather than rich people. The Five ran a segment on the debunked theory that an additional 87,000 IRS employees would target middle-class and lower-income individuals. Gutfeld added, “It’s sad that Joe thinks there’s just more blood to suck out of these poor people.” [Fox News, The Five, 2/8/23

    Claim: First lady Jill Biden and first gentlemen Doug Emhoff are having an extramarital affair. In an unhinged rant, Carlson alleged, “There’s a lot going on behind the scenes in the Biden administration, a lot of which we don't want to know more about. But where do these people find the time for hijinks?” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 2/8/23]

  • February 9

    Claim: Mainstream coverage of the Hunter Biden laptop story proves America is a fascist state. Host Jeanine Pirro told Hannity, “I think that Americans need to understand, Sean, that when they start suppressing freedom of speech, freedom of the press, we are living in a fascist state.” [Fox News, Hannity, 2/9/23]

    Claim: Biden blackmailed PBS into giving him an easy TV interview. Watters alleged, “PBS, a government-owned channel, is doing interviews with their own boss, the guy who pays them half a billion a year. ‘Hey, take it easy on me or I’m going to cut your paycheck.’” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 2/9/23]

    Claim: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went to a meditation camp in India under the guise of working for climate change to mock Vice President Kamala Harris and prepare for a 2024 presidential run. Watters claimed that a presidential run “would sure explain” why Clinton would “tweak” Harris in India, the “home of Kamala’s ancestors.” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 2/9/23]

  • February 10

    Claim: Professor and founder of the 1619 Project Nikole Hannah-Jones is a driver for the “leftist thinking” that’s leading to an uptick in crime. Pirro claimed that the “1619 concept” is “really the genesis of the cashless bail and all this leftist thinking.” She added, “And that is what pretty much has brought us to where we are now, where we've got criminals running rampant, nobody wants to keep them in jail, we let them out as soon as they commit a crime, and they never come back to answer the charges.” [Fox News, The Five, 2/10/23]

    Claim: Fighting climate change means a life of “insects, tap water, and celibacy.” Carlson ranted, “What else are you allowed to have in the name of the climate crisis? Well, how about no more heat or air conditioning or electricity or cars or wearing leather or eating meat or having children? All are sins against the climate. So, for you it is insects, tap water, and celibacy. That's a tough religion, even John the Baptist got to eat honey and locusts. No honey for you. We’re beyond self-denial.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 2/10/23]

  • February 13

    Claim: Candidates like Biden and Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) win electoral victories because the FBI and “some social media skunk,” rather than voters, decide elections. Watters declared, “We are losing control of our lives, people. We used to be able to control our own destiny. We used to be free. And our fate was determined by our actions. Our actions. We used to call the shots, not anymore. The refs call the shots.” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 2/13/23]

    Claim: The Biden administration ignored the chemical spill in East Palestine, Ohio, because it couldn’t use the disaster to push climate change conspiracy theories or “sell solar panels.” Carlson claimed, “And by the way what does a chemical spill have to do with climate change? If you can't use it to sell solar panels, it’s not really an environmental disaster. That’s the rule in Washington.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 2/13/23]

  • February 14

    Claim: EPA Administrator Michael Regan is unable to address the Ohio train disaster because of his focus on “electric school buses” and “environmental racism.” Watters mockingly asked if the disaster was an intentional attempt to fight racism by “spilling toxic chemicals on poor white people.” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 2/14/23

    Claim: California Gov. Gavin Newsom is working to “eliminate the criminal justice system.” Fox contributor Leo Terrell claimed that criminal reform laws “level the playing field to give the criminals an advantage.” [Fox News, Hannity, 2/14/23]

  • February 15

    Claim: A “Soros-funded” district attorney is responsible for the Michigan State mass shooting. Watters blamed former Ingham County prosecutor Carol Siemon for failing to imprison the shooter for a previous gun-related crime. Watters claimed this proved that the media’s supposed argument “the gun's the problem and we all need to lose our rights” is futile. [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 2/15/23]

  • February 16

    Claim: The Ohio train derailment may have been “deliberate” because there was a movie about a chemical spill filmed in East Palestine. “What’s really strange about this is that there was a movie filmed here, White Noise," Greg Gutfeld speculated, adding a little later, “And then it happens in this town where they filmed it, where extras were played by the citizens. Is this a coincidence? Is it deliberate?” [Fox News, The Five, 2/16/23

  • February 17

    Claim: Biased artificial intelligence robots will discriminate against conservatives. “I just hate AI already. These stupid liberal robots,” Watters said in a tirade against the technology. “And you know what they’re going to do, they’re going to censor us, they’re going to mess with us. … I can already see my future and I’m being discriminated against. We all are. Almost everybody at this table, almost, will be discriminated against by the robots.” [Fox News, The Five, 2/17/23]

  • February 20

    Claim: AI will be used to “screw” conservatives and independent Americans. Carlson quoted a report that the expressed desire of the AI chatbot of Microsoft search engine Bing is to “steal the nuclear codes, spread disinformation, and … create a deadly virus.’” His guest author Eddie Scarry suggested that Democrats and liberals will use this technology to control their opponents, claiming, “What right wingers and independent Americans need to be thinking about is how is this thing going to be used to screw with you next.” Carlson agreed, suggesting the AI technology is creating a “full dystopia at high speed.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 2/20/23]

  • February 21

    Claim: Wokeness is racism. Fox contributor Johnny Joey Jones complained about “empathetic DA’s that won't lock someone away for breaking a law that maybe was rooted in what they call ‘racism’ to begin with. The word racism is almost extinct now because we can't discern true racism from wokeness. Wokeness is racism in and of itself.” [Fox News, The Five, 2/21/23]

    Claim: The Biden administration ignored the East Palestine disaster because the city had not done business with first son Hunter Biden. Hannity surmised, “Clearly East Palestine didn’t give Hunter Biden any business deals so I guess they're low on the priority list.” [Fox News, Hannity, 2/21/23]

    Claim: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs are a tool for elites to maintain control through sowing racial hatred to control populations. Fox contributor Mollie Hemingway claimed that DEI programs are actually racist, and racism has “been a tool for elites to control other people.” So, Hemingway claimed, “elites cling to” these programs to retain power. [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 2/21/23

    Claim: AI will be the left's weapon in its takeover of the West. Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk claimed that AI will “become a woke super weapon” and that ChatGPT “is going to be an instrument of trying to make the left's takeover of the West more efficient.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 2/21/23

    Claim: Governments will now be able to institute climate lockdowns because the world accepted COVID-19 lockdowns. Former COVID-19 task force member Dr. Scott Atlas claimed, “These people in power are apt to do these draconian lockdowns and things, again, for other so-called existential crises. I'm predicting we'll see these restrictions for things like climate change if we don't stop this and get a public airing of this.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 2/21/23

  • February 22

    Claim: Democrats are using the legal system to stop Trump from running for president. Carlson asserted that the Georgia grand jury foreperson’s media appearances are evidence that “Democrats are using the legal system to stop a presidential candidate from running for president.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 2/22/23

  • February 23

    Claim: The Biden administration is intentionally trying to destroy America because it hates America and wants globalism. Fox News contributor Sean Duffy claimed the White House is “trying to tank the American economy. They’re trying to destroy America because they hate America.” He added, “They want to transform America, right? This is a transformational presidency. Barack Obama started it; Joe Biden is going to finish it -- middle-class America be damned. This is about an elite ruling class, a globalist idea.” [Fox News, Hannity, 2/23/23]

  • February 24

    Claim: Companies aren’t helping East Palestine residents out of fear of political retaliation from the Biden administration. Fox host Rachel Campos-Duffy questioned the absence of “corporate America” for their lack of philanthropic interest in the Ohio disaster, saying, “This is classism, this is racism, and this is political retaliation.” Campos-Duffy also speculated that perhaps corporations do want to help, “but they know this administration is highly vindictive and they could stick the EPA or the FBI or the IRS on them. So they’re holding back because this administration has signaled to the country ‘nothing is happening here, we don’t care, don’t show up.’” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 2/24/23]

    Claim: The World Health Organization is stealing U.S. supplies “in the name of global equity." Hannity complained about the Biden administration agreeing to a global pandemic accord draft proposed by the WHO, saying, “The WHO wants to steal critical supplies from we, the American people, in a time of crisis, all in the name of global equity.” [Fox News, Hannity, 2/24/23

    Claim: Leftists discriminate against Asian Americans because they hate American excellence. Newt Gingrich claimed “it just terrifies the left” when marginalized groups “assimilate” and embrace American culture, because “[the left’s] vision is of a world in which the world submerges us.” He singled out Asian Americans, alleging that “liberal school boards discriminate against Asian Americans because they do too well.” [Fox News, Hannity, 2/24/23

  • February 27

    Claim: The U.S. government created a psyop to convince people to get the COVID-19 vaccine and the Ukraine war was started to cover up America’s involvement in creating the virus. Watters hosted controversial guest Andrew Huff, who claimed the government “created a psychological operation to drive fear into people and also created financial incentives or disincentives for people to get the jab.” He also claimed the Ukraine-Russia war was started to distract from so-called evidence of “America’s fingerprints” in COVID-19’s origin, to which Watters responded, “I don’t know what to believe anymore.” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 2/27/23

    Claim: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is recruiting criminals to vote for her by using “notoriously political” jail guards to ballot harvest. Watters alleged that “Chicago prisoners are being recruited to vote for Lori Lightfoot” ahead of her runoff election. His guest Chicago reporter William J. Kelly later added that Cook County Jail is “an ideal location for vote harvesting and vote or ballot manipulation,” where “notoriously political” jail guards take advantage of the facility’s faulty cameras and ballot harvest with impunity. [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 2/27/23, 2/27/23

  • February 28

    Claim: The Democratic National Committee changed the primary calendar to have South Carolina first to “help Joe Biden win” because it’s “a machine state where the outcome can easily be scripted.” Carlson wildly theorized that “the DNC has already changed the primary calendar to make South Carolina, which is a machine state where the outcome can easily be scripted, the very first contest. And that was not an accident. It was done, it was changed, to help Joe Biden win.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 2/28/22

    Claim: Democrats want to create a new system of slavery, “neo-slavery.” Candace Owens claimed “the ultimate thing” Democratic Party is after is “neo-slavery.” Owens added, “They want to make sure that no individual holds power in this country.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 2/28/23]