FoxNews.com has begun to publish anti-LGBTQ articles that use TikTok videos in place of meaningful reporting, mimicking a strategy popularized by the virulently anti-LGBTQ Twitter account Libs of TikTok.
Fox News has played a major role in spreading anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, and the network has used Libs of TikTok as a sort of wire service for anti-LGBTQ clickbait. The account — run by Chaya Raichik — often attacks teachers, politicians, and members of the LGBTQ community by sharing their content in a context primed for a moral panic. As violence toward LGBTQ people has increased, including in the recent Colorado Springs Club Q shooting, Libs of TikTok has continued targeting schools, teachers, and events.
FoxNews.com is now promoting baseless anti-LGBTQ smears under a similar strategy. A Media Matters review found eight recent examples of FoxNews.com articles that used a single TikTok video as a primary source to fearmonger about LGBTQ issues in schools. Three of those articles were published in the past week.
On Facebook, the eight articles have received over 34,000 interactions, according to data from CrowdTangle. All eight articles include the name or photo of the individual teachers in the TikTok videos, while selectively highlighting certain aspects of what they’re supposedly teaching. Despite right-wing media’s readiness to catastrophize the situations described in these articles, many of them seem to highlight teachers talking to students about common topics such as pronouns or gender identity.
Three of the articles are dedicated to the TikTok videos posted by one teacher in California, who shared the books they included in a “queer library” as resources for students. The second in this series of articles highlights a comment from a father in the school district who said, “What was in the library pretty much made me sick.” This week, this school received a bomb threat which claimed that there were “bombs in the classroom of teacher Flint, the instructor who Fox News said posted on TikTok about their classroom LGBTQ library.”
Another Fox article focused on an Illinois librarian who posted a TikTok about the book Gender Queer: A Memoir. While the article quotes both the teacher and the author of the book, it goes on to say that “some comments called the book ‘disturbing’” and that one critic “called the push behind the book ‘state sponsored perversion.’” Fox has a history of demonizing this book including falsely claiming that it promotes pedophilia.
Two other articles focus on videos made by nonbinary teachers about how their students identify them. In each instance, Fox refers to the teachers as having “interrogated” students but offers no proof that the students have any issue with their teacher’s gender identity. One of the articles even features quotes that show that the students seemingly responded positively to these discussions. For example, an interaction described in one article depicts the teacher asking a student if they “have power over” them to which the student reportedly replied, “No. You could tell me something, but I don't ... necessarily need to do it.”