Race & Ethnicity | Media Matters for America

Race & Ethnicity

Issues ››› Race & Ethnicity
  • Fox & Friends coverage of Unite The Right protests ignores white supremacists, instead fearmongers about antifa

    While happy to complain about antifa, Fox & Friends completely ignores that white supremacists are planning on gathering again

    Blog ››› ››› GRACE BENNETT

    Fox & Friends Sunday’s only coverage of the August 12 white supremacist rally in Washington D.C. mentioned only that “tense protests” were expected in Washington, and focused largely on an alleged “antifa mob” in Charlottesville, VA. August 12 marks the one year anniversary of a violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, during which an attendee with white supremacist and neo-Nazi ties allegedly drove a car into a group of counter-protesters, killing one woman, Heather Heyer. White nationalists have planned to mark the occasion with a rally in Washington, organized by the same white supremacist responsible for Charlottesville.

    Fox & Friends Sunday failed to inform their viewers about the assemblage of neo-Nazis in D.C., however. While the show did note that August 12 is the “one year anniversary of a deadly white supremacist rally,” during four nearly identical short reports, the program only explained that “tense protests are expected today.” Ignoring that those protests were again in response to the presence of white supremacists, the show fearmongered about an “anti-police bash led by an antifa mob.”

    The only other mention of the Charlottesville rally during the show came when Fox host Martha Maccallum previewed what Fox News Sunday would cover -- she also failed to mention that white supremacists were rallying in D.C. this weekend.  

    Fox’s decision to castigate anti-racist protesters without mentioning that white supremacists are once again rallying on our streets comes as little surprise to anyone familiar with the network’s coverage of the violence in Charlottesville. Following last year’s rally, Fox & Friends Sunday defended white supremacist protesters, with host Pete Hegseth arguing,  “there’s a reason those people were out there.” A Fox contributor, Charles Hurt, contended that, “there are those instigators on both sides of this fight that was going on in Charlottesville.” President Donald Trump's remarks defending neo-Nazis after Charlottesville were even full of right-wing media talking points.

    In fact, Fox’s coverage of neo-Nazis marching in Charlottesville was infinitely more sympathetic than their coverage of protesters rallying for gun control or sports players kneeling in protest of racial inequality.

  • Here are 52 examples of Laura Ingraham’s racism

    Blog ››› ››› GRACE BENNETT


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Fox News’ Laura Ingraham has drawn widespread rebuke following a racist anti-immigrant rant on the August 8 edition of her Fox show. During her far-from-subtle diatribe, Ingraham bemoaned “massive demographic changes, … changes that none of us ever voted for, and most of us don't like,” and complained, “In some parts of the country, it does seem like the America that we know and love doesn't exist anymore.” Later in the program, she questioned whether “Black-on-Black” crime is a larger issue for the Black community than the racism that infects the criminal justice system. Her comments are a nearly perfect parallel of the rhetoric used by white supremacists and were embraced and commended by former KKK leader David Duke. Outside of white supremacist circles, however, politicians, activist groups, and other media figures widely condemned the rant.  

    Following the criticism, Ingraham defended her comments, arguing that the goal of her monologue was “to point out that the rule of law, meaning secure borders, is something that used to bind our country together.” Ingraham’s deflection, however, is disingenuous and undermined by her history of racist commentary and anti-immigrant rhetoric. Her Fox News show, The Ingraham Angle, is less than a year old, but Ingraham has already turned it into a racist, extremist cesspool.

    It isn’t difficult to find examples of Ingraham’s boundless hostility toward immigrants and her obvious apathy towards non-white communities. Here are just a few highlights from over the years (seriously, there are many more):  

    Ingraham has spent years demonizing and mocking immigrants.
     

    • On The Ingraham Angle, she dismissed asylum claims from Hondurans fleeing violence because, according to her, “it’s not our problem.”

    • She claimed that children torn from their parents as a result of the Trump administration policies and who were not yet reunited with their families were being protected by the administration because, “due to domestic or drug abuse, many of these parents are now deemed unfit to care for their children or dangerous for their children.”

    • Ingraham said, “Most people believe that if you come into the country illegally, it's sad when your family gets separated, no one wants to see that, but it's your responsibility.”

    • She hosted John Lott, president of the conservative Crime Prevention Research Center, to defend his debunked report alleging that undocumented immigrants in Arizona commit more crimes -- and more dangerous crimes -- than other Arizonans.

    • During a 2015 appearance on Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier, Ingraham urged then-presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Scott Walker to support ending birthright citizenship to “throw something to the conservatives on immigration.”

    • During a 2013 appearance on the now-defunct Fox show The O’Reilly Factor, Ingraham claimed that a lot of recent immigrants “have wreaked havoc upon communities.”

    • Ingraham suggested that the United States should shoot deported immigrants who attempt to re-enter the country: “Why don't we ship [imprisoned undocumented immigrants] back home and say you come again, you'll be shot crossing the border?”

    • Ingraham defended then-candidate Donald Trump’s claim that Mexico is “sending rapists” to the United States and argued that Mexicans “have come here to murder and rape our people.”

    • She mocked children detained by U.S. officials after being separated from their families, calling the detention centers “essentially summer camps,” comparing them to “play spaces,” and saying that people’s outrage over children being held in cages is “hilarious.”

    • She claimed that immigration from Mexico would make the U.S. a “hellhole.”

    • She smeared the American children of undocumented immigrants as “anchor fetuses.”

    • Ingraham compared DACA protestors to “wild dogs” and attacked DACA recipients who serve in the U.S. military, saying, “This is the American military. This is not the military of mercenary illegal immigrants!"

    • She once claimed, “Nobody has a right to be here except the people who are born here.”

    • Ingraham blamed Muslim and Latino immigrants for Republicans losing elections in Virginia and added, “It will become increasingly difficult, for sure, for Republicans to win if Republicans don't get a handle on immigration.”

    • Ingraham contended that the middle class is frustrated that “everybody has to bow down to the new immigrant class.”

    • Ingraham celebrated her radio show’s role in blocking comprehensive immigration reform, commenting to viewers, “Guess who helped stop it? You’re listening to one of the reasons it was stopped.”

    • In 2014, she argued that the Hispanic Caucus should be called the “open borders caucus.”

    • She bemoaned that an “all-immigrant population have come and moved into Northern Virginia,” claimed that “we have a mass influx of illegal immigrants in Virginia,” and called immigrant communities “rabid fanatics.”  

    • Ingraham used a drug-related arrest of one man to besmirch immigrants as “trash.”

    • She argued that one way to “enforce our immigration laws” would be to “end birthright citizenship.”

    • In 2014, she derided Michigan Republican Gov. Rick Snyder's plan to attract skilled immigrants to work and live in bankrupt Detroit, saying "we can then wall off Detroit" to keep those immigrants from moving to other parts of the country.

    • Later that year, she referred to the thousands of unaccompanied children fleeing from violence in Central America as “an invasion facilitated by our own government."

    Ingraham has demonstrated particular vitriol for Muslim people, especially immigrants and refugees.
     

    • On The Ingraham Angle, she questioned White House chief of staff John Kelly about why Trump is bringing in so many "Islamic" refugees.

    • She was an early defender of the idea of a “Muslim ban” and suggested that Trump’s proposal “isn’t broad enough.” She claimed that she would “go further” and “do a pause on all immigration.”

    • She also said that Middle Eastern countries should be told that “we’re cutting you off,” adding, “You’re not going to come into this country and destroy what’s good about America.”  

    • Ingraham stated that the U.S. should only accept refugees that “we can verifiably say are Christians” and that Muslims should “stay in the Middle East.”

    • She has fearmongered about Muslim women, asking, “What’s under that Burqa, baby?”

    • She questioned why we even allow Muslim immigration when we “can’t tell if an Islamic individual is going to be radicalized.”

    • Ingraham argued that, in contrast to Muslims, Christian refugees do not “try to blow us up.”

    • She compared mosque surveillance to “body cameras on police.”

    • She questioned why "the Muslims" are "never supporting the conservatives on" anti-LGBTQ initiatives.

    Ingraham is routinely dismissive of any language that is not English and frequently demeans languages spoken by immigrants.
     

    • She has insisted that English “should be the national language of this country.”

    • She stated, “You’re only going to be here if you’re speaking our language.”

    • Ingraham argued that multilingual schools are "costing the good people, Catholics, Christians ... opportunities and money.”

    • She claimed multilingual schools make "you think you're in a foreign country."

    • She mocked MSNBC's Jose Diaz-Balart for translating for a Spanish speaking guest.

    • Ingraham attacked a person who was protesting deportations for speaking with an accent.  

    • She compared someone reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic to a “skinhead” reciting the pledge and argued that “most people who love this country love it enough to speak” English.

    Ingraham has a history of making other racist and anti-Semitic comments, as well as disparaging organizations that serve minority communities.
     

    • On The Ingraham Angle, she said that Black NBA players LeBron James and Kevin Durant should “shut up and dribble.”

    • Ingraham called NFL players who kneel during the national anthem to protest police brutality “bratty players” who “disrespect the country.” On a separate occasion, she also stated that “a lot of these guys are punks.”

    • She said that she “would’ve prefered Madea doing political commentary” instead of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA).

    • On her Fox show, Ingraham praised Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee as a “truly great” man, and on Fox & Friends, she decried the destruction of a Confederate statue.

    • During an appearance on Fox & Friends, she accused the NAACP of “becom[ing] a push organization for racist sentiments in many ways."

    • Again on Fox & Friends, Ingraham claimed that terrorism is “the price ... to pay for multiculturalism."

    • During an appearance on The O’Reilly Factor, Ingraham asked, “Are we supposed to hold the bar really low for President [Barack] Obama simply because he’s half-Black?”

    • She once argued that minority voters picked Obama because he was “half-Black.”

    • Ingraham called activist group Black Lives Matter “a complete fraud” and said they didn’t care about Black-on-Black crime.

    • She contended that “affirmative action is "shafting people who are not of the appropriate color, or background, or ethnicity."

    • Ingraham once stated that she doesn’t “think of Jewish people as minorities because they’re so successful.”

    • She attacked Univision and Telemundo as “toxic," "Hispanic-centric outlets," that "revile the American experience."

    • She also accused Spanish language media as a whole of teaching undocumented immigrants “how to avoid deportation.”

    • In 2014, Ingraham claimed that the left wants “a system of racial spoils in place to level the playing field.”

  • Fox & Friends accuses Vox and ProPublica of defending MS-13 with their accurate reporting on the gang

    Fox hosts keep spreading misinformation about MS-13 even when they are presented with facts

    Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    On August 10, Fox News’ Fox & Friends devoted multiple segments to attacking a collaborative video by Vox and ProPublica about the gang MS-13 that addressed "the most common misunderstandings about the gang" -- many of which are propagated by President Donald Trump. 

    Fox & Friends accused Vox and ProPublica of “defend[ing] MS-13” and claiming that the gang members “are really not that violent.” Roaming correspondent Geraldo Rivera, in a later segment, even accused the two media organizations of being “almost pro-MS-13” because of their “desire to put down the president.”

    True to form, Fox’s multiple attacks on the Vox and ProPublica report contained a lot of misinformation and race-baiting:

    • Co-host Steve Doocy accused Vox and ProPublica of “ignor[ing] the reality of what is happening on the ground. This is a vicious gang.” In reality, the video did report that the gang has “committed acts of horrific violence, mostly against other immigrants in specific communities.”
    • Co-host Brian Kilmeade incorrectly claimed that Salvadoran refugees fleeing violence in their home country formed MS-13 because they were “angry” at the United States and “start[ed] wreaking havoc” in the country. In reality, the gang initially formed as a measure of self-defense “in neighborhoods dominated by Black and Mexican gangs.”
    • Kilmeade bizarrely claimed that MS-13 “oftentimes” does “not [target] immigrant communities” but instead “working class communities, many of which are Hispanic. It doesn’t mean they are immigrant communities. It means they are Hispanic Americans.” This is false; the gang specifically targets immigrant communities because it can pressure them “by carrying out threats against family members back home.”
    • Former ICE acting Director Thomas Homan, who is a regular Fox guest, misleadingly claimed that “command and control of MS-13 is in El Salvador.” In reality, “MS-13 is a decentralized organization with no clear hierarchy” and “no leader.” It is instead built around local “cliques” that are sometimes “loyal to each other,” but also sometimes have competing interests.
    • Homan also claimed that Trump’s immigration policies are “on point” for combating MS-13, which he said was a border and immigration issue. However, decades of deporting convicted immigrants only made street gangs (including MS-13) larger and more powerful, and MS-13 members accounted for just .075 percent of all irregular border crossings in fiscal year 2017. (ICE has, however, made false accusations of gang affiliation to deport immigrants.)   
    • Roaming Fox correspondent Geraldo Rivera advocated the expansion of stop-and-frisk policies (also known as Terry stops) and any other “aggressive police tactics” to stop the gang, even though there’s little evidence that stop-and-frisk actually works. But aggressive policing does sow distrust in communities, making gang violence more difficult to combat.

    Fox’s absurdist attack on reporting by Vox and ProPublica fits the network’s growing reputation as cable news’ home for white nationalism. The network has long spread a litany of fear, misinformation, and conspiracy theories about immigrants regarding elections, crime, terrorism, and more. The network also spearheads outlandish defenses of the agencies charged with executing Trump’s racist immigration policies, which can be fairly described as a possible prelude to ethnic cleansing

    Under the Trump administration, Fox hosts’ commentary is becoming more explicitly racialized: Kilmeade defended Trump’s family separation policy simply because “these aren’t our kids,” Fox host Laura Ingraham attacked “both illegal and in some cases legal immigration” for erasing “the America that we know and love,” and Fox’s prime-time lead, Tucker Carlson Tonight, heavily focuses on themes of white nationalism and anti-feminism, receiving much adoration from bigots nationwide

    Disclosure: Hannah Dreier, the ProPublica journalist who worked on the report with Vox, is a former Media Matters researcher. 

  • NPR adopted white supremacist Jason Kessler's false equivalence frame

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    NPR’s Morning Edition gave a gift to white supremacists, in the manner in which the show paired an interview with the white supremacist organizer of the Unite the Right rally alongside an interview with a Black Lives Matter activist.

    On its August 10 edition, NPR’s Morning Edition interviewed Jason Kessler, the white supremacist organizer of the upcoming second edition of the Unite the Right rally -- the gathering of racists that, on its first edition last year in Charlottesville, VA, resulted in the death of counterprotester Heather Heyer after a white supremacist drove a car into a crowd. While NPR’s Noel King effectively highlighted the bigotry of Kessler’s views and pushed back on his baseless claims of censorship and underrepresentation, the show adopted Kessler’s absurd frame as it immediately followed up his interview by bringing on Hawk Newsome, the president of Black Lives Matter New York, to comment on the rally.

    The bizarre juxtaposition is particularly evident from NPR's segment titles:

    During his appearance on NPR, Kessler -- who has secured permits from the National Park Service for the rally in Washington, D.C., this Sunday -- asserted he was “not a white supremacist” and that he was a “human and civil rights advocate focusing on the underrepresented Caucasian demographic.” For the past year, Kessler and other white supremacists have been entangled in a debate about the best way to present their bigoted views, focusing on whitewashing their racism by asserting themselves as a “positive, mainstream movement” which “primarily focus[es] on whites, who are uniquely denied the right to guard their survival and advocate their interests.” Kessler pushed this narrative on the show, seeking legitimacy by claiming white people aren’t “allowed to organize into political organizations” to push their interests and then drew a false equivalence of Unite the Right to Black Lives Matter or the NAACP, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, and what he seeks to accomplish by organizing his rally.

    JASON KESSLER: I’m not a white supremacist, I’m not even a white nationalist. I consider myself a civil and human rights advocate focusing on the underrepresented Caucasian demographic.

    NOEL KING (HOST): The underrepresented Caucasian demographic. In what ways are white people in America underrepresented?

    KESSLER: Well, because they’re the only group that is not allowed to organize into political organizations and lobbies and talk explicitly about what interests are important to them as a people. You have Blacks, who are able to organize with Black Lives Matter or the NAACP, you have Jews who have the ADL, Muslims have CAIR.

    Immediately after airing Kessler’s interview, NPR brought on Hawk Newsome of Black Lives Matter, and asked him why he declined Kessler’s invitation to speak at the racist rally. Newsome condemned Kessler and underscored his refusal to be tokenized by white supremacists.

    NPR played into the white supremacist tactics of false equivalence by featuring Newsome’s interview right after Kessler’s. While it’s crucial to include voices of color, seek the perspectives of those affected directly by white supremacy, and provide coverage to the activists protesting the Unite the Right rally, NPR failed to offer forceful pushback to Kessler’s absurd claim that white supremacists are equivalent to groups legitimately fighting for equality, seemingly delegating that responsibility to Newsome. It’s also debatable whether audiences benefited from listening to Kessler citing Charles Murray’s debunked writings as scientific evidence of some races being superior to others, or whether white supremacists deserve a mainstream platform in the first place.

    What’s undeniable is that NPR committed “journalistic malpractice” by presenting Black Lives Matter as the “other side” of white supremacy.