Ainsley Earhardt | Media Matters for America

Ainsley Earhardt

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  • Fox News is furious that immigrants are being advised of their rights ahead of planned ICE raids

    Blog ››› ››› COURTNEY HAGLE

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Following news that Immigration and Customs Enforcement is preparing to arrest thousands of undocumented immigrants this weekend, leading Democrats responded by sharing information about immigrants’ legal rights when contacted by ICE. Fox News responded by furiously attacking Democratic leaders and accusing them of interfering with law enforcement or even putting ICE agents in potential danger.

    On July 11, The New York Times reported that “nationwide raids to arrest thousands of members of undocumented families have been scheduled to begin Sunday.” ICE reportedly plans “to deport the families as quickly as possible,” and the raids will also include “collateral” deportations in which agents may “detain immigrants who happened to be on the scene, even though they were not targets of the raids.” Officials speaking on the condition of anonymity said that “the Trump administration’s goal is to use the operation as a show of force to deter families from approaching the southwestern border.”

    Top Democrats have responded by sharing information about the legal rights that immigrants have when approached by ICE as part of the party’s “know your rights” campaign. During a press conference, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) shared information regarding the differences between search warrants that are signed by a judge and the administrative warrants used by ICE. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) -- Fox’s new favorite target -- shared a video from the National Immigration Law Center with information for immigrants who are undocumented or have undocumented family members. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tweeted a graphic written in both English and Spanish outlining what immigrants can do if they are approached by ICE this weekend.

    In addition to these Democratic leaders, lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union, immigration attorneys, and other immigration advocates have also shared information about legal protections for immigrants.

    Fox News has responded with vitriol, berating Democrats for supposedly encouraging lawbreaking by sharing information about immigrants’ rights.

    On Fox & Friends, guest co-host Griff Jenkins claimed that “the Democrats are putting themselves in a unique position of running against the rule of law.” Co-host Steve Doocy criticized Democratic lawmakers for “telling the people who might get a knock on the door over the weekend what to do if ICE shows up” instead of writing legislation. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/12/19]

    Later in the same show, Fox & Friends hosted National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd, who said that he is “amazed” that Clinton “is now actively helping people avoid justice.” Judd berated her for “helping them to continue to break the laws” and suggested that the United States will “become like Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras” if the U.S. “stops enforcing the laws,” saying that “we’re trying to turn just like that.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/12/19]

    On America’s Newsroom, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley expressed shock that “so many on the left want to tip off” undocumented immigrants. He then compared it to telling a “crack dealer, ‘Hey, heads up, man’” ahead of a police raid. [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 7/12/19]

    On Your World, guest co-host Charles Payne asked, “Just how much risk does tipping off possible raids put our law enforcement in?” Payne said that “it’s dangerous stuff” and “Pelosi is going out on a limb” by telling immigrants what to do if approached by ICE. [Fox News, Your World, 7/11/19]

    On Lou Dobbs Tonight, guest host David Asman criticized Pelosi for giving “instructions ... for people who are breaking the law about how to get around the law.” Guest Judd insisted that “the only reason that she is doing this is because she is absolutely anti-President Trump” and said Pelosi is “coaching people on how they can avoid the law and the due process that exists in the law.” Asman expressed concern that Pelosi is sharing legal information with undocumented immigrants while she “is third in line to the presidency” and “sworn to uphold the constitution.” [Fox Business, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 7/11/19]

    On Outnumbered, co-host Katie Pavlich claimed that immigrants targeted by the upcoming raids have “had their day in court, and yet now Democrats are advocating for them to continue breaking the law by not answering the door when ICE agents show up.” [Fox News, Outnumbered, 7/12/19]

  • “A magical event”: Fox & Friends propagandists swoon over Trump’s authoritarian-style July 4 makeover

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    President Donald Trump has seized control of Washington, D.C.’s traditionally nonpartisan, nonpolitical July 4 celebration in an unprecedented fashion. An event that typically revolves around civic patriotism will take on an overtly military cast, with flyovers from military jets and tanks and other armored vehicles on display in a manner reminiscent of parades in dictatorships. A holiday that marks our nation’s independence will instead be all about Trump; he will give a campaign-style speech at the Lincoln Memorial at the height of festivities, whose ballooning cost required the National Parks Service to divert nearly $2.5 million originally earmarked for parks across the country. And in a clear sign of the day’s overt politicization, the Republican National Committee has access to a block of tickets to Trump’s remarks and is distributing them to high-dollar donors.

    No quasi-authoritarian celebration would be complete without fawning commentary from state TV propagandists. The co-hosts of Fox & Friends, the Fox News morning program Trump adores for treating him as the hero of every story, played that role with glee on Wednesday.

    “That big celebration is going to happen down in D.C.,” Ainsley Earhardt said at the top of the 7 a.m. hour. “The president's been talking about it on the Mall. And he is really fired up about it. He’s excited. He’s saying, ‘Let's bring in the tanks.’” 

    “His big Fourth is 'Salute to America.' That's what he is going to call it,” continued Brian Kilmeade. “The Pentagon and great military leaders are thrilled to be doing this and showing to the American people everything we’re paying for.” (In fact, as The New York Times has reported, “Pentagon officials have long been reluctant to parade tanks, missiles and other weapons through the nation’s capital like the authoritarian leaders of North Korea and China.”)

    “He’s going to have fireworks, military bands, flyovers, tanks and more military vehicles, and I’m sure a lot of people,” Earhardt added.

    “I’m very excited because I’m going to leave this couch, go back to D.C. today to be out there on the Mall for you guys tomorrow morning,” said Griff Jenkins, the Fox national correspondent who was filling in for Steve Doocy in a blatant breach of the network’s purported firewall between “news” and “opinion” programming. “I have been covering the Fourth of July for a while. I’ve never seen an M1A1 Abrams tank or a Bradley Fighting Vehicle or any planes flying over, so this is going to be quite exciting.” 

    “When you see those tanks rolling into your city, down into D.C., it gets you fired up, it gets you excited because you think about our military and that represents America,” replied Earhardt.

    Every story needs a villain, and for this one, it’s those in the news media who are less enthusiastic about the president’s big show. After airing a clip reel of commentators on other networks criticizing the planned celebration, the hosts jumped in to smear anyone who doesn’t support the parade as hypocritical and framed the critique as an attack on the troops.

    “What would they say if President Obama had done this, had brought in tanks?” added Earhardt. That statement comes so close to understanding the point -- before missing it entirely. Obama spent eight years in office without taking over the July 4th celebration in this way, presumably because he thought that would be a bad idea. And if he had taken it over, Fox assuredly would have denounced him for it rather than getting excited about the military hardware on display. 

    Fox & Friends returned to the story at the top of its third hour, opening the segment with video of tanks rolling through Washington, D.C. “They are just part of a magical event, which will include a parade and flyovers; the Blue Angels will be there and various other military aircraft,” explained Kilmeade.

    After excitedly discussing the complicated effort needed to get 60-ton tanks into the center of the nation’s capital (it involved a crane), the hosts again played the clip reel of the parade’s critics.  

    “They say the same thing every day,” commented Kilmeade. “They find everything that he does just so repulsive and so ridiculous and so overblown.”

    “Shouldn’t this be a bipartisan issue?” Earhardt replied in a baffled tone of voice. “We’re celebrating America.”

    “The president tends to be a disruptor,” Kilmeade later added. “He tends to do things his way.”

    “And he does it with a massive, big way,” replied Earhardt with a similarly sized grin. “You saw on our screen; it’s not just a few fighter jets that are going to be in the air. It was like ... six different aircraft.”

    “It’s awesome. I love it,” she concluded.

    No state TV broadcaster could have put it better.

    Update (7/3/19): Fox & Friends isn’t the only Fox show that can’t get enough of Trump’s militarized July 4 celebration.

  • Fox gushes over Trump's DMZ photo-op while foreign policy experts slam him for granting legitimacy to North Korea’s dictator

    ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

    Experts on North Korea and foreign policy slammed President Donald Trump’s June 30 meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between the North and South Korean border, saying it legitimized Kim and his regime with nothing to show for it. Meanwhile, Trump’s sycophants at Fox News repeatedly praised him for the meeting and for being the first sitting U.S. president to cross into North Korea, with a Fox reporter hyperbolically suggesting it was “the greatest feat of the 21st century.”

  • Young activists demand that media cover climate change like the global emergency it is

    Fox News is singled out for being "especially terrible" on climate change

    Blog ››› ››› LISA HYMAS

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Young climate activists have been demanding that mainstream media give climate change far more attention and cover it like the true global emergency that it is, and they'll be ramping up their call this Friday.

    Sixty-six activists with the international direct-action group Extinction Rebellion were arrested while protesting for more and better climate coverage in front of the New York Times building on June 22. Eve Mosher, a New York-based spokesperson for the group, told CNN, “They should be treating it like World War II, where there were headlines every day.”

    To tell news outlets what kind of coverage they want to see, the New York City chapter of Extinction Rebellion put out a list of “Standards for Media” featuring these main points:

    • “Climate headlines daily”
    • “Climate everywhere: every beat, every story”
    • “Suggest real solutions”
    • “Use climate emergency language”
    • “Enact climate standards for political endorsements”
    • “Remove financial conflicts of interest”

    The Extinction Rebellion protesters and other activists have been inspired by 16-year-old Swedish climate leader Greta Thunberg, who started the school climate strike movement in 2018. She pointed out in a January TEDx talk that the media's undercoverage of climate change has led to the public failing to understand the gravity of the crisis:

    I remember thinking that it was very strange that humans ... could be capable of changing the Earth's climate. Because if we were, and if it was really happening, we wouldn't be talking about anything else. As soon as you'd turn on the TV, everything would be about that. Headlines, radio, newspapers, you would never read or hear about anything else, as if there was a world war going on. … You would think the media and every one of our leaders would be talking about nothing else.

    Now, youth activists are calling for a climate strike against the media on Friday, June 28 -- the first in a series of climate strikes this summer aimed at powerful institutions that aren't taking the climate crisis seriously. These will build on the energy generated in March during a global school strike that saw students in more than 100 countries leave their classrooms to demand meaningful climate action.

    The 14-year-old American climate justice activist Alexandria Villaseñor, founder of Earth Uprising International, wrote about the need for a media strike over the climate crisis in a piece co-published by The Nation, Columbia Journalism Review, and The Guardian, using research from Media Matters to bolster her case:

    The media as a whole lets us down every day by either treating the climate crisis as a non-story or, worse, by propagating misinformation designed to confuse people and thwart action. Recently I learned ABC’s World News Tonight devoted more broadcast time to the new royal baby in a week than it spent on climate change during the entire year of 2018, according to data analyzed by the watchdog group Media Matters. ABC, CBS, and NBC did not mention the words “climate change” or “global warming” once during the combined 28 news stories they ran about catastrophic flooding in the Midwestern United States in March.

    Which is why I and countless other young people around the world will be climate-striking against the news media this coming Friday—protesting outside of TV, radio, and newspaper and other news outlets to demand that they start covering climate change like the emergency that it is.

    Villaseñor called out Fox News in particular for its pernicious and destructive role in spreading misinformation about climate change and downplaying its severity, again citing research by Media Matters. Her piece was headlined “Why I’m Climate Striking Against Fox News on Friday”:

    This Friday, I will be striking outside of Fox News headquarters in New York City because Fox’s coverage of the climate crisis is especially terrible. Unlike the other broadcast networks, Fox doesn’t practice climate silence. It does something worse: It spreads climate misinformation—for example, by reporting as fact the lie that the well-established science linking greenhouse gas emissions with rising temperatures is unfounded. When the US Senate was about to vote on the Green New Deal last March, Fox aired more than twice as many prime-time segments discussing the Green New Deal as MSNBC and CNN did combined. But Fox’s coverage was full of climate denier talking points, including absurd suggestions that the Green New Deal would get rid of cows and cost a stratospheric $93 trillion.

    Fox News commentators have long belittled youth climate activists. In February, President Donald Trump's favorite show, Fox & Friends, aired a discussion in which co-host Ainsley Earhardt said that climate activists are “using the children,” and New York Post columnist Karol Markowicz said, “You can't have a debate with children,” adding, “You're supposed to nod, and smile, and agree to whatever the little kids want ... they're manipulating you by using children.” In March, a Fox & Friends segment about a youth climate lawsuit against the U.S. government featured guest co-host Jedediah Bila saying that kids are “being used as propaganda,” and longtime industry shill and climate denier Steve Milloy agreed, saying that “these are kids being used by adults as human shields to advance their political agenda. This is ideological child abuse. It's got nothing to do with the climate.”

    People interested in joining the climate strike against media can learn more from the Earth Uprising website, and everyone can spread the word using the hashtags #CoverClimateNow, #MediaClimateStrike, and #ClimateStrikeSummer.