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  • Tomi Lahren pushed a 4chan lie about Elizabeth Warren, and Fox News hasn't done a thing about it

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    Fox Nation host Tomi Lahren slandered a sitting senator and a 2020 presidential hopeful by accusing her of racism and amplified a hoax that originated from anonymous message boards. In the days since, Fox News has done nothing to hold Lahren accountable.

    Four days after Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) announced that she was launching an exploratory committee to run for president in 2020, Lahren shared with her 1.2 million followers on Twitter the slanderous accusation that Warren had a racist ornament in her kitchen:

    The screenshot of Warren’s kitchen is from a live Instagram Q&A session she did on New Year’s Eve. Lahren was amplifying and spreading a hoax that previously was spread in the anonymous message board 4chan and “r/The_Donald” subreddit on Reddit, in which a vase was misconstrued to be a racist figurine of a Black child eating a watermelon. As documented by Right Wing Watch, Lahren deleted her tweet but did not apologize or provide clarification to her massive audience. Fox News not only failed to acknowledge the slander, but Lahren’s Fox Nation shows, First Thoughts and Final Thoughts, continued to stream as scheduled on Fox’s online platform. The network also continued to book Lahren on its cable morning program, Fox & Friends.

    Lahren’s Twitter feed is a constant stream of inaccuracies, falsehoods, and vitriol. She once apparently echoed the idiotic conspiracy theory that white supremacist Jason Kessler (who organized the 2017 racist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, VA) was a tool of the left. She tweeted that watching immigrants getting tear-gassed at the border was the highlight of her Thanksgiving weekend. And just this week, Lahren baselessly claimed that the remittances that undocumented immigrants send to their home countries are used to fund “cartel and criminal organizations.” Fox News kept her on air and even gave her a hosting gig on Fox Nation.

    The network ignoring its host amplifying a easily-debunked hoax from 4chan shows the garbage that the network finds acceptable. The network also recently gave a pass to Rep. Steve King (R-IA), after King embraced white supremacy in an interview with The New York Times. Fox covered the story for a mere 42 seconds, framing its coverage as King “fighting back against a New York Times article” (a reference to King’s statement in response to the Times article).

    What Fox does find unacceptable, however, is cursing. The day after Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) said “impeach the motherfucker” in reference to President Donald Trump, the network gave 52 minutes of coverage to her comment -- 74 times more than it gave to King’s white supremacy.

  • Ryan Zinke cozied up to right-wing media until the bitter end

    The departing interior secretary mimicked Trump's media strategy, including an allegiance to Fox News

    Blog ››› ››› LISA HYMAS


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's long litany of scandals caught up with him on December 15, when President Donald Trump announced via Twitter that Zinke would be leaving his post at the end of the year. According to reporting by The Washington Post, White House officials told Zinke that he had to resign or he’d be fired.

    Throughout his 21 months at the helm of the Interior Department, Zinke hewed closely to Trump's media playbook. Like his boss, Zinke heavily favored Fox News and other right-wing outlets, giving interviews to them far more often than to mainstream outlets. Also like Trump, Zinke lashed out at journalists and news organizations that reported on his ethics problems, making false claims and calling them "fake news."

    Zinke's Fox fixation

    During his first year in office, Zinke appeared on Fox News four times more often than on the other major cable and broadcast networks combined. As Media Matters reported earlier this year, he gave 13 interviews to Fox and just one interview each to CNN, MSNBC, and CBS.

    Zinke's preference for Fox also extended to business networks: He gave seven interviews during his first year to the Fox Business Channel and just one to its chief competitor, CNBC.

    And all of the interviews Zinke gave to major TV outlets other than Fox or Fox Business happened before July 2017, when his ethical problems and scandals started getting significant media coverage. After that, Zinke retreated completely to the warm embrace of Fox for his national TV appearances. Zinke was especially partial to Trump's favorite show, Fox & Friends, where the embattled secretary of the interior received a consistently friendly reception and no hard questioning. (Fox & Friends was recently revealed to have been exceedingly accomodating to another Trump cabinet official, former Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt.)

    Rumors swirled after November’s midterm elections that Zinke would soon resign to avoid tough questioning and investigations of his many scandals from Democrats poised to take control of the House. Politico reported on November 8 that Zinke had already begun exploring other potential career opportunities, including trying to shop himself to Fox News: "Two [knowledgeable people] said Zinke has reached out to Fox to inquire about working at the conservative news channel as a contributor."

    Zinke denied the claims that he had approached Fox about a job, but he didn't distance himself from the network. When Fox News launched a new streaming service for "superfans," Fox Nation, in late November, Zinke appeared on it twice during its first week. He visited Mount Rushmore with Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade, and he sat for an interview with conservative commentator David Webb. He also gave an interview to Kilmeade on November 21 for Fox News Talk's Brian Kilmeade Radio Show.

    Zinke was back on regular old Fox News again on November 29, when Fox News @ Night host Shannon Bream gave him a friendly platform to attack his critics and dismiss the ethics investigations that have dogged him during his tenure at the Interior Department.

    Fox still frequently had Zinke’s back even when he wasn’t on the air; the network reported on his scandals less often and in less depth than CNN and MSNBC did. For example, Fox gave lighter coverage to a controversy over expensive travel Zinke made on the taxpayers' dime, and almost no coverage to a huge Puerto Rican contract given to the tiny firm of Whitefish Energy, which had with multiple ties to Zinke. 

    Zinke's interviews with other right-wing outlets

    Fox is far from the only right-wing media outlet that Zinke ran to when he wanted to get his talking points out. He gave interviews to nationally syndicated right-wing talk radio programs, such as his May 2017 appearance on The Hugh Hewitt Show, and to conservative talk radio programs in his home state, such as Montana Talks, where he appeared in October and November of this year. In June, he gave an interview to the conservative Washington Examiner.

    Zinke also made at least three appearances on Breitbart News radio shows this year, including interviews in May, August, and November. In the August appearance, Zinke claimed that “environmental terrorist groups” were responsible for major wildfires in the West because they had tried to block some logging on public lands. The Washington Post debunked that claim, noting that "fire scientists and forestry experts have said climate change is the main factor behind the problem." In the November appearance, Zinke denied that he's done anything wrong that would warrant the many investigations and scandals surrounding him. "The allegations against me are outrageous, they’re false. Everyone knows they’re false," he said.

    In late November, Zinke also gave another interview to David Webb -- this time for his Sirius XM radio program rather than his Fox Nation show.

    Zinke's attacks on the mainstream media

    Not only did Zinke generally avoid talking to mainstream outlets; he and his press office at the Department of Interior attacked those outlets.

    After Politico published an investigative story into an ethically questionable land deal Zinke had discussed with the chairman of Halliburton, Zinke went on the conservative talk radio show Voices of Montana and called the story's reporter "nefarious," saying, "This is exactly what's wrong with the press, and the president has it right. It's fake news. It's knowing, it's willing, to willingly promulgate fake news.” But the story was credible enough that the Interior Department's inspector general started an official investigation into Zinke's involvement in the deal and referred one of its probes to the Justice Department for further investigation.

    On October 16, The Hill reported that the Interior Department's acting inspector general, who had been overseeing a number of investigations into Zinke's actions, was going to be replaced by a political appointee, citing as its source an internal email written by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson. Two days later, the Interior Department denied the report, and though Carson had been the source of the allegedly inaccurate information, Interior spokeswoman Heather Swift used the occasion to attack journalists: "This is a classic example of the media jumping to conclusions and reporting before all facts are known," she wrote in an official statement. It wasn't Swift's first attack on the media. In January, Swift disparaged a HuffPost article about Zinke failing to disclose owning shares in a gun company as "typical fake news" from the outlet.

    After Politico published its article in early November reporting that Zinke was shopping around for jobs as he prepared to leave the Trump administration, Zinke went on the Montana Talks radio show to bash the journalists who wrote the story and to criticize the media in general. From The Hill, which reported on the interview:

    Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke took to a conservative talk show to slam reporting on his ethics scandals as “B.S.”

    “They're very angry, and truth doesn’t matter to these people anymore,” Zinke said of mainstream journalists, saying that President Trump “nearly [got] assaulted” by CNN’s Jim Acosta.

    “You know, it comes from the same liberal reporters that have lost their ability to tell the truth,” he continued.

    Zinke went on to say that some media organizations “have nothing better to do, the entire organizations are about attacking Zinke … so what happens is, they invent a story, they try to sell it, and it goes all the way up to the Washington Post, the New York Times, there’s truth to it. It’s just a series of allegations.”

    Despite his fiery denials, Zinke was indeed on his way out the door just a few weeks later.

  • God help me, I’ve watched 10 hours of Fox Nation. Here's what I learned.

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    I think it was the cake that broke me.

    Roughly eight hours into my quest to watch as much programming as possible from Fox Nation, the right-wing cable network’s new streaming service, the debut episode of D-list conservative commentator David Webb’s Reality Check was interrupted when a gentleman with a magnificent beard walked onto the set unannounced and sat next to the host. It was, we learned after some baffled hemming and hawing from Webb, the executive pastry chef and sometime Food Network competitor Robert Teddy. Apparently scheduled to talk to the host about a charity that sends pastries to the troops, he had instead shown up with a cake shaped like a hot air balloon featuring a miniature model of Webb himself as a passenger, which was soon plopped on the table.

    “You’ve thrown me all off here -- I’ve got my papers here everywhere,” Webb said, waving his pages of notes and desperately trying to transition to the next segment of a show that had quickly gone off the rails.

    Fox Nation’s first day was a shit show. The execution was terrible, with shows frequently failing to load on the website, mishaps on the set, and a collection of on-air talent that is in no way ready for prime time (which is, perhaps, why their shows are running online in the first place).

    But what Fox seems to be building -- shorn of the cable network’s pretenses of journalism, out of sight of mainstream audiences, and without fear of advertiser boycotts since the service currently features no commercials -- is a safe space to try out commentators and ideas that might otherwise be shunned. Fox is charging $5.99 a month for access to the service, and its executives clearly think that the audience wants angry far-right opinion programming.

    Take Tomi Lahren, the former host on One America News Network and Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze whom Fox has made the face of Fox Nation. Her Tuesday shows bookending the streaming service’s live programming were rants unhinged even by Fox News’ standards. She began the day by denouncing the “invasion” by migrants attempting to seek asylum in the U.S. and mocking the “ungrateful” people because “apparently tortillas and refried beans aren't good enough for these so-called asylum seekers, imagine that.” She also said, “Here’s some advice: If you don’t want to be tear-gassed when you rush the border, don’t rush the border.” Lahren ended the day by denouncing singer Barbra Streisand for her recent comments about the 2016 election, shouting through a litany of reasons she had supported Trump, arguing that “President Trump isn’t assaulting democracy or institutions; he’s saving them from the socialist utopia people like you dream of” … and attacking Streisand’s dog.

    Throughout the day, Fox Nation’s commentators pushed this sort of virulent commentary, hitting all the usual sweet spots for Fox viewers -- denunciations of immigrants, Democrats, college students, and the media, and hosannas for Trump -- with little indication that the service is trying to put in place any sort of guardrails. The sorts of factors that typically cause the network to at least pretend to hit the brakes -- unnerved staffers from the network’s “news” side and advertisers wary of being tarred with the network’s bigotry -- don’t really apply.

    Beyond political red meat, Fox Nation provides a home for the soft-focus passion projects of Fox News’ higher-profile personalities: Fox & Friends’ Steve Doocy has a cooking show, his co-host Brian Kilmeade travels the country visiting sites relevant to the nation’s history on What Made America Great, The Five’s Dana Perino hosts an interview series featuring prominent authors, and Rachel Campos Duffy has a show about motherhood.

    The service pads out the original offerings with a large assortment of old Fox News specials that have aired over the years, which fall neatly within the ideological contours of the network’s hosts and audience. If you have an urgent need to re-watch Fox News host Bret Baier’s 2006 hagiography of Bush administration Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld, his 2014 documentary purportedly showing the “smoking gun of Benghazi,” or his 2015 look at “The Tangled Clinton Web,” you can call them up on demand. You also have access to 95 episodes of National Rifle Association President Oliver North’s Fox show War Stories.

    In its initial offerings, Fox Nation is leaning heavily on its close ties to the Trump administration and family. One of the service’s premiere shows is The First Family: Donald J. Trump, which promises an “exclusive look” at how the president’s children are “balancing their own home lives, yet also dealing with the spotlight of their father being the President of the United States.” The first episode features Fox Business host and Trump cheerleader Maria Bartiromo’s softball interview with Eric Trump and footage of him at home with his wife, son, and dog, at the Trump Organization headquarters in New York City and at the Trump Winery in Charlottesville, VA. Likewise, Kilmeade’s show features him getting a tour of the Naval Observatory with Vice President Mike Pence’s wife Karen and climbing Mount Rushmore with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

    There are a few flaws in the Fox Nation plan thus far, beyond the shoddy production values.

    The talent level of the service’s newly branded hosts may prove a problem. Fox founder Roger Ailes was a monster who created a propaganda machine that has been terrible for the country. But he was also a shrewd judge of talent. In his absence, Fox appears to be throwing stuff at the wall to see what will stick, lifting up people like Lahren -- a grifting Trump sycophant with no real principles whose first Fox Nation offerings suggest that she recently discovered sarcasm and air quotes. Fox is rounding out the service’s programming by giving shows to decidedly third-tier talents like Webb and Todd Starnes.

    Then again, Fox News has managed to retain viewers while rather drastically shifting its lineup since Ailes’ 2016 downfall, suggesting that perhaps the audience is willing to sit through whatever right-wing commentator the network serves up.

    There’s also a question of who the service is for. Fox is billing it as a product for the network’s “superfans,” the “folks who watch Fox News every night for hours at a time, the dedicated audience that really wants more of what we have to offer,” as Fox executive John Finley told The New York Times in February.

    But Fox News is a 24/7 news network, and its superfans also have access to the network’s B team on Fox Business, so when are they supposed to be tuning in to Fox Nation? The network’s schedule gives a strong hint -- daily streaming shows are almost entirely running during daytime hours, when the network is purportedly devoted to “news” programming as opposed to its morning and evening “opinion” shows. The bet is presumably that there's an audience that would watch C-team opinion programming or old Fox documentaries but isn’t interested in the network's news hours -- and the risk is that Fox Nation ends up cannibalizing Fox News’ daytime ratings.

    The truth, of course, may be more cynical than that. Maybe, given the advanced age of the network’s typical viewer, the audience for Fox Nation is actually people who have trouble unsubscribing after signing up for services. Perhaps the hope is if the network promotes this schlock enough on Fox News, enough of its fans will sign up and then forget that they did so, making it a lucrative revenue stream, even if its audience is low.

    Either way, here’s what that audience is getting, based on the 10 hours or so I spent pursuing the programming on Tuesday:

    Prime-time Highlights

    Rob Schmitt and Carley Shimkus do brief intros for segments from Fox News’ prime-time programs -- one each for Tucker Carlson Tonight, Hannity, and The Ingraham Angle. Think of it as the worst possible version of the Academy Awards, complete with one host finishing the other’s sentences.

    The First Family: Donald J. Trump

    I was ready for a Bartiromo interview with Eric Trump to feature questions like “Tell me about, like, growing up with this bigger-than-life father” (answer: “He’s so unconventional, but also incredible”) and “Who’s your mentor?” (“My father”). I wasn’t expecting the show to turn into an extensive infomercial for the Trump Winery and the adjacent hotel in Virginia (according to Trump, “the Mar-a-Lago of the South,” which is strange since Virginia is north of Florida), complete with a tour of the Jefferson Suite. What an incredible grift.

    Fox Nation Patriot’s Almanac

    “This day in U.S. history” as presented by Fox’s Bill Bennett, who served in President Ronald Reagan’s cabinet. Tuesday’s offering was about the U.S. Senate voting to confirm Gerald Ford as vice president. The segment did touch on President Richard Nixon’s subsequent resignation, though curiously did not discuss the reason behind it.

    Fox & Friends After the Show Show

    This program airs immediately after Fox & Friends, apparently with a cast wholly unprepared to host the show. Tuesday’s version included Janice Dean discussing her neck pain, Steve Doocy mixing up the names of two members of the crew, and Jillian Mele declaring, “Fox Nation, I swear we’re better than this.” They are not.

    The Liberty File

    This is a mini-cable news program featuring Fox’s Andrew Napolitano interviewing former independent counsel Kenneth Starr and then doing a “news I like and news I hate” lightning round. This was by far the most professionally done program on Fox Nation. Who knows how long it will last, though -- the “news I like and news I hate” segment included the sole criticisms of Trump I saw, with Napolitano denouncing Trump’s recent comments about special counsel Robert Mueller, General Motors, and the need for a state TV network.

    What Made America Great

    Brian Kilmeade is traveling the country visiting historic sites. One episode featured his visit to President Andrew Jackson’s Nashville, TN, home, The Hermitage. In the second, he visited Mount Rushmore, climbing to the top with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Kilmeade had no questions for the interior secretary about the series of scandals he’s overseen, but he did give Zinke the opportunity to declare that “the president is a builder; it’s time to rebuild our parks.” In the third episode, Kilmeade received from Karen Pence what he called “a tour of One Observatory Circle that no member of an administration has ever given before.” As he played fetch with the Pences’ dog, he declared, “Not only is your husband a really good legislator, a great politician, and the second most powerful person in the country -- he also can train a great dog.”

    Deep Dive

    In the first episode, four people who agree with each other talked about whether American college students can “still exercise free speech and free minds.” These people were: The Wall Street Journal editorial page’s James Freeman (who is also the host), his colleague at the Journal Jillian Melchior, CampusReform.org Editor-in-Chief Lawrence Jones, and Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz. The segment began with Freeman warning his viewers that “Deep Dive is not a safe space and ... microaggressions against the dominant campus culture will be not only tolerated, but even encouraged.” Somehow, it got worse from there.

    My Take w/ Stuart Varney

    Somehow, Fox Business’ Stuart Varney also arranged to do his Fox Nation show about how “free speech is being silenced” and also booked a CampusReform.org staffer to discuss it with him. Varney broke new ground in stopping the interview to complain that some of his own staffers had suggested it might be inappropriate to use the word kowtow, adding, “Can you imagine this? You can’t even -- you have to think about using the word” -- and here he attempted a Chinese accent -- “do the kowtow.”

    Halftime Report w/ Chris Stirewalt

    Fox News Politics Editor Chris Stirewalt and producer Brianna McClelland sit in front of his desk and discuss which stories will run in Stirewalt’s daily newsletter. This is exactly as boring as it sounds.

    Dana Perino’s Book Club

    Dana Perino’s second episode features Joseph Ellis, the eminent historian of the founding fathers who won a National Book Award for American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson and a Pulitzer Prize for Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation.

    The first episode features Fox colleague Greg Gutfeld, whose books include The Joy of Hate: How to Triumph over Whiners in the Age of Phony Outrage.

    Reality Check with David Webb

    This is a pretty traditional cable news-style show, with an opening monologue and guests. Webb also managed to book an actual congressman, Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), who offered this rambling promise: “You and I are on the same page. We’re going to come after it, we’re going to be strong, we’re going to stay together, and we’re going to prove to America that in 2020, we’re coming back into power and we’re going to continue to make America great again every single way.”

    Starnes Country

    In another traditional cable news-style show, Fox Radio host and noted bigot Todd Starnes is extremely angry that “an invading army of illegal aliens tried to storm our border,” which he termed “an act of war” in which border patrol agents “were forced to use tear gas and defend themselves and the American people from hundreds of invaders.” In case you weren’t clear that Starnes is a bigot, later in his opening monologue, Starnes vigorously name-checks “Barack Hussein Obama, BH Obama.” Starnes also slams the press as “the state-run media and ... the propaganda arm of the Democrats” -- during an interview with Mike Huckabee, a Fox commentator whose daughter is Trump’s press secretary. There’s also a “Heartland Headlines” segment featuring culture war controversies from around the country, like a school administrator who had recited the Pledge of Allegiance in Spanish, that Starnes yells about.

    The Quiz Show

    Stand-up comedian and Fox contributor Tom Shillue has a show in which he quizzes people. This happened:

  • Right-Wing Media Sideline Security Concerns To Compare Obama’s Louisiana Flooding Response To Hurricane Katrina

    ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    Right-wing media figures have compared President Obama’s response to the historic flooding in Louisiana to the federal response to Hurricane Katrina under President George W. Bush, while ignoring the governor of Louisiana’s concerns that a presidential visit in the midst of a massive disaster response could hinder authorities’ efforts to save lives.

  • A Look Back At Fox News' Interviews With Obama Ahead Of His Sunday Network Appearance

    ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN, BRENNAN SUEN & CRISTIANO LIMA

    Chris Wallace will interview President Obama on Fox News Sunday April 10, marking Obama's first interview with the network since 2014. In past interviews, Fox figures including Wallace, Bret Baier and Bill O'Reilly have focused on Obama's ties to "radical" figures, hyped supposed scandals, lectured Obama on race, and interrupted him repeatedly.

  • Here Are The Big Players In The Inevitable Smear Campaign Against Judge Merrick Garland

    ››› ››› PAM VOGEL

    As President Obama reportedly prepares to announce Judge Merrick Garland to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, media should be prepared to hear from several right-wing groups dedicated to opposing the nominee, no matter who it is. These advocacy groups and right-wing media outlets have a history of pushing misleading information and alarmist rhetoric to launch smear campaigns against Obama's highly qualified Supreme Court nominees, using tactics including, but not limited to, spreading offensive rumors about a nominee's personal life, deploying bogus legal arguments or conspiracy theories, and launching wild distortions of every aspect of a nominee's legal career.

  • Right-Wing Media Smear Sanders With "Historically Inaccurate And Ridiculous" Comparison To Nazi Ideology

    ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Right-wing media have been smearing Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who identifies himself as a democratic socialist, by comparing his ideology to that of Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist German Workers' (Nazi) Party. Experts have called the comparison "inaccurate," "outrageous," and "a trivialization of history."

  • Six Years Of Right-Wing Media Attacks On Obama's State Of The Union Addresses

    Blog ››› ››› BRENNAN SUEN

    Right-wing media personalities have incessantly attacked President Obama's six previous State of the Union addresses -- from calling the speeches "boring" to questioning his decision to invite a wounded veteran to the event -- and have even frequently waged the attacks before the addresses even occurred. Ahead of Obama's January 12 State of the Union address, Media Matters looks back at conservative media's long history of attacking annual addresses.

    2010: Get Ready For A "Big Propaganda Speech."

    Before President Obama made his first official State of the Union address on January 27, 2010, right-wing media pundits called the speech "stupid" "propaganda." Fox host Sean Hannity repeatedly referred to the upcoming speech as "propaganda," and former Fox host Glenn Beck told his viewers "you don't even have to watch this stupid speech tonight. I'll watch it for you so you don't have to." Beck added, "I want to hang myself over watching this." Fox Business' John Stossel asked Obama to use the address to apologize for being "arrogant." After his speech, media personalities criticized Obama, and claimed he didn't show enough humility. Stossel said Obama "certainly didn't sound humbled," and only a few minutes into the address, National Review's John Hood criticized Obama's "cadence and rhythm" for coming "across as flippant and arrogant." The talking point wasn't anything new -- frequent Fox guest Ben Stein had predicted that "we'll see Obama with his fake modesty and his fake humility" before the speech took place. Once again, Glenn Beck joined the chorus: "the arrogance from the moment this guy walked in, the arrogance -- there's no humility there."

    2011: Obama Will "Lie For An Hour And Fifteen Minutes."

    President Obama made his second State of the Union address on January 25, 2011, and the media predicted it would focus on theatrics instead of substance. Rush Limbaugh directed his listeners to watch a Golf Channel show he appeared in instead of the address, predicting that Obama would "lie for an hour and fifteen minutes." On Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade questioned whether Obama would be sincere, suggesting that the president was merely trying "to make sure he gets re-elected." After the speech, Limbaugh continued to attack Obama's sincerity, saying Obama "just doesn't believe" the "pro-America rah-rah" featured in the speech and suggesting that the speech was plagiarized. Fox & Friends' recap of the debate called the speech "boring."

    2012: Obama's Speech Helped "Kick Off His Class Warfare Campaign" That "Declared War On Success."

    Continuing their tradition of attacking Obama prior to the address, Fox News hosts criticized the focus on economic security and income equality. On Fox & Friends Kilmeade said that Obama would "bring up the class warfare stuff," while co-host Steve Doocy forcasted that it would "ignite the whole class warfare thing." Co-host of Fox's The Five , Andrea Tantaros predicted the address would be a "very divisive, very evil speech" that is "designed to get people in the audience who are sitting home on their duffs ... angry at their neighbors who are actually going out, who are working hard."

    After the address, right-wing media largely continued their "class warfare" narrative. Fox's Doocy doubled down against Obama's focus on income inequality, saying that his comments regarding billionaires paying the same percentage of taxes as their secretaries were intended "to kick off his class warfare campaign." Fox Business' Dave Ramsey even claimed Obama "declared war on success in the name of this class warfare politics."

    2013: Obama Gave A "Castro-Like Speech ... Albeit In English."

    After President Obama's February 12, 2013 State of the Union Speech, right-wing radio host Mark Levin accused Obama of "lying to the American people" in a "Castro-like speech." Levin criticized the economy under Obama claiming he keeps "proposing more programs, more trusts, more partnerships, more agencies, more spending." A Fox Nation headline echoed Levin's comments: "Obama Pleads For Billions In New Deficit Spending." That same post, however, linked to a FoxNews.com article that reported the full transcript of Obama's comments, explaining that his proposals would be "fully paid for" and that "nothing [he's] proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime."

    2014: "Does It Matter What The President Says" In His State Of The Union Address?

    Before the January 28, 2014 State of the Union, Fox News once again downplayed the address, asking, "Does it matter what the president says?" After the address, Rush Limbaugh was critical of Obama's guest, wounded Army Ranger Cory Remsburg's presence. Limbaugh claimed that Obama invited a wounded veteran to the address to say "look what George Bush is responsible for." Right-wing media also pounced on Obama's comments that climate change demands urgent action and that the debate over it is "settled." Their evidence against the claim? Cold weather and snow across the country.

    2015: "I Hope He Fails."

    In the most memorable vitriol from President Obama's January 20, 2015 State of the Union, Rush Limbaugh told his audience he had already written his response before the address: "I hope he fails." Limbaugh then bragged that "that has been my State of the Union response every year. I hope he fails. It is what it is. You can't get more clear cut than that." On his January 21 show, Limbaugh rehashed his reasoning behind boycotting the speech saying that he would have been "insulted as a conservative" and "lied to" and that the address would have been the "next Santa Claus list."

    Note: this analysis did not include Obama's 2009 Address to Joint Session of Congress.

  • Fox Nation Promotes Absurd Conspiracy Theory That EPA "Foul[ed] Up" Animas River "On Purpose"

    Blog ››› ››› KEVIN KALHOEFER

    On August 12, FoxNation.com republished portions of a post by The Gateway Pundit headlined, "Letter to Editor PREDICTED COLORADO EPA SPILL One Week Before Catastrophe So EPA Could Secure Control of Area." Fox Nation highlighted the portion of the Gateway Pundit post in which author Jim Hoft wrote: "The letter detailed verbatim, how EPA officials would foul up the Animas River on purpose in order to secure superfund money. If the Gold King mine was declared a superfund site it would essentially kill future development for the mining industry in the area. The Obama EPA is vehemently opposed to mining and development."

    Examiner.com also cited the letter in an August 12 post claiming "[e]vidence suggests that the EPA's Animas wastewater spill was purposeful for gaining Superfund money." The conspiratorial letter was also republished in The Wall Street Journal, although The Journal described the spill as an "accident" and only cited the letter to suggest further EPA action "may make the situation worse."

    Previously:

    BP's Biggest Defenders At Fox Now Comparing EPA Spill To Deepwater Horizon Disaster

    The Conservative Media's Faux Outrage Over The EPA Mine Spill

  • Fox Versus Fox Latino On Hillary Clinton's Immigration Remarks

    Blog ››› ››› BRIAN POWELL

    Fox News' varied online news platforms characterized Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's recent remarks on immigration with three very different headlines.

    In May 5 remarks, Clinton called immigration "a family and economic issue" and expressed support for expanding protections "to help parents of immigrant children stay in the United States."

    Fox News Latino headlined a story about her remarks as, "Hillary Clinton makes deportation protection, path to citizenship central to campaign."

    This frame contrasted significantly with that of FoxNews.com and Fox Nation. FoxNews.com referred to "illegal immigrants" in a headline that read, "Clinton calls for path to 'full and equal citizenship' for illegal immigrants."

    Fox Nation, a site known for trading in racial dog whistles, chose the headline, "Hillary Clinton Vows to Expand Obama Amnesty to More Illegals."

    Fox News and Fox Latino have a history of portraying the same events through very different lenses.