Bill Cunningham | Media Matters for America

Bill Cunningham

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  • ABC’s This Week finds out what happens when you have fringe radio host Bill Cunningham on as a guest

    Cunningham used his appearance to compare Sen. John McCain to a “backstabber, O.J.-style”

    Blog ››› ››› KATHERINE HESS

    Bill Cunningham likened Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to O.J. Simpson, calling the senator a “backstabber” on ABC News’ This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Sen. McCain voted no along with Republican Senators Susan Collins (ME), Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Senate Democrats to block the “skinny repeal” of the Affordable Care Act.

    Cunningham has a history of inflammatory on-air commentary, especially when it comes to former President Barack Obama and discussing women whom he disagrees with. In some of his many appearances on the Fox News Channel, he questioned fellow guest Tamara Holder’s ability to do math, said she didn’t “look like a Catholic girl” but rather a “Farrah Fawcett wannabe,” and told her to know her role as a woman and “shut her mouth.” He has also more recently stated that the “ugly broad” Joy Behar should be “muzzled” for criticizing Trump.

    He has continuously called the former president "Barack Mohammed Hussein Obama,” and asserted that it would be a “shock” if he won "in these difficult terrorist times” in 2008. He repeatedly spread misinformation about President Obama to his listeners, alluding that Obama and Satan were somehow linked, and stated that Obama wanted to “gas all the Jews.”

    Cunningham has been a vocal supporter of Trump, calling him the “Trumpster,” boosting his supposed accomplishments and speaking vehemently against his critics. During this segment, Cunningham defended Trump’s record, saying, “I don't think any president after six or seven months could travel the way the Trumpster has traveled, with the outpouring of love and affection, despite the fact that a few days ago, the backstabber, O.J.- style, who is Sen. John McCain, that began his public life as a hero and is ending up giving a thumbs down and a middle finger to the middle class by not repealing Obamacare.”

    From the July 30 edition of ABC News’ This Week with George Stephanopoulos:

    MARTHA RADDATZ (CO-HOST): OK, so [Trump] does seem to have some pretty solid base support, but I've been around the country and in Ohio, and Pennsylvania, a lot, and the independents who voted for Donald Trump do seem to be a little squishier of late. And how about that poll? Our latest ABC News/Washington Post poll has his approval rating down to 36 percent, the lowest for any president at the six month mark in 70 years. So what does he do about people outside of his base? The rest of America? What advice would you give him?

    BILL CUNNINGHAM: Martha, when he went to Youngstown, [OH], thousands and thousands showed up. If he would come here to Cincinnati, the same thing would happen. I don't think any president after six or seven months could travel the way the Trumpster has traveled, with the outpouring of love and affection, despite the fact that a few days ago, the backstabber, O.J.-style, who is Sen. John McCain, that began his public life as a hero and is ending up giving a thumbs down and a middle finger to the middle class by not repealing Obamacare. What happened a couple of days ago is terrible. And Trump, I think, has lost a bit of little support in the periphery, but the heart and soul of America that beats this great country is Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa. This is where real Americans, normal Americans live. These are the lands of J.D. Vance and Hillbilly Elegy. This is where normal people get up every day, and everywhere I look, everywhere they look, things are good. Everything that should be up is up. Things that should be down are down. America is pretty good. Plus, school starts in two weeks. I see an America bursting at the seams to get loose. And frankly, most of my listeners are proud that the Trumpster is still in the White House and he’s still extremely popular among the base who put him there. And if the election were held today, I think there was a poll a few days ago, that the Trumpster would beat Hillary again, and again, and again. Basically in the land of J.D. Vance and Hillbilly Elegy, things are pretty good. What I see on television and read in newspapers from the East Coast is a disconnect to normal Americans like me.

  • Ten Of The Most Ludicrous Fox News Guests

    Blog ››› ››› BEN DIMIERO

    Last week, Fox News invited discredited conspiracy theorist Kathleen Willey on air to smear Hillary Clinton. Willey has for years spread outlandish conspiracies about the Clintons, including suggesting that they may have been behind the death of her husband and former White House aide Vince Foster.

    During the interview Fox host Megyn Kelly pointed out that "detractors" say Willey is a "dishonest person," and that "there's no direct evidence tying the Clintons" to some of Willey's more outrageous allegations. But the fact that Willey is dishonest and lacks evidence for her smears merely highlights the folly of giving her a platform in the first place. 

    Fox News has had similar lapses in judgment when hosting other conspiracy theorists and smear artists in the past. Among others, Fox has hosted a person who thinks the Obama administration may have "orchestrated" the Benghazi attacks; a guest that believes the president and Osama bin Laden are literally the same person; a blogger that thinks Obama's father isn't Obama's father; a contributor that once wrote a column arguing Rep. Gary Condit had Chandra Levy killed by a gay Caribbean motorcycle gang; and someone who thinks the president "bears traits that resemble the Antichrist." 

    Below is an admittedly incomplete list of the least credible guests the network has ever hosted. People that just missed the cut include a self-proclaimed prophet who warned that the Antichrist "will employ precisely the same methods" as President Obama and the author of the birther tomes Where's The Birth Certificate? and Where's The Real Birth Certificate? 

  • Memo To The Media: What The RNC Didn't Boycott


    The media has extensively reported on the Republican National Committee's decision to boycott MSNBC following an offensive tweet for which the network subsequently apologized. But they've spent far less attention on the fact that the RNC denounced MSNBC while on Fox News -- a network that has frequently aired offensive and derogatory comments.

  • Right-Wing Media Go Wild For Sen. Cruz's Fake Filibuster


    Following a 21 hour fake filibuster by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), right-wing media figures were quick to praise the effort as "genius." Fox host Sean Hannity opened his September 25 show, Hannity, with an over-the-top montage of Sen. Cruz's filibuster alongside images of Gadsden flags, American flags, trains, and Americans getting their hair cut, while conservative radio host Bill Cunningham compared Cruz to Davy Crockett, James Bowie, and John Wayne:

  • The Openly Sexist Corner Of Fox News Primetime


    After previously being called out for making sexist comments to Fox News contributor Tamara Holder, conservative radio host Bill Cunningham was invited back on opposite her on Hannity, where he once again made inappropriate remarks.

    On Thursday September 19, Cunningham questioned Holder's ability to do "math," and then proceeded to tell her that she doesn't "look like a Catholic girl," but rather a "Farrah Fawcett wannabe." This followed a Fox News daytime show calling out Cunningham in June for not being "civil" when he told Holder, "Know your role and shut your mouth." Holder asked, "My role as a woman?" And Cunningham agreed, "Yeah. Yeah." Cunningham later asked Holder while berating her, "What are you going to cry?"

    Cunningham's comments aren't out of character for Hannity, a show that regularly features sexist commentary:

    Hannity is scheduled to move to 10 p.m. in October when Megyn Kelly's show begins airing at 9 p.m. Sean Hannity's radio show also was recently dropped by Cumulus.

  • Fox News Daytime Calls Out Fox News Primetime For Damaging Public Debate

    Blog ››› ››› EMILY ARROWOOD

    Fox News' America's Newsroom criticized a Hannity segment for "cross[ing] the line" of "civil society" after a frequent Hannity guest yelled for his female debate opponent to "know your role and shut your mouth." The daytime program wondered if this type of behavior -- not far from standard fare on Hannity and other Fox primetime programming -- damages the nation's ability to have serious discussions.

    Radio host and frequent Hannity guest Bill Cunningham appeared on the June 20 edition of Hannity to debate Fox contributor Tamara Holder on the merits of claims that Attorney General Eric Holder mislead Congress while under oath. Out of the gate, Cunningham told Tamara Holder she was "one of the stooges of the left," pointing his finger at her while loudly shouting, "Sign the petition, Tamara! To call for the resignation of the chief law enforcement officer of this nation because he lied under oath when he criminalized journalism. And you know he did it but you refuse to do what's right." Holder replied that, "your finger does not prove your point," pointing back at Cunningham:  

    CUNNINGHAM: Whose finger's in my face right now? 

    HOLDER: Mine, because I'm telling you to shut up.

    CUNNINGHAM: Wait a minute. You shut up. Know your role and shut your mouth.

    HOLDER: My role as a woman?

    CUNNINGHAM: Yeah. Yeah.


    HOLDER: What is your obsession with stooges? Aren't stooges like little elves?

    CUNNINGHAM: I'm sitting next to you. I'm sitting next to you. And you're a liberal stooge and an excuse-monger for the Obama administration.

    HOLDER: Never mind. I --

    CUNNINGHAM: What are you going to cry?

    HOLDER: No! I'm not going to cry.

    CUNNINGHAM: You're not going to cry?

    The next morning, America's Newsroom dedicated a segment to whether Cunningham's behavior "crossed the line," concluding that conduct like this on Hannity stifled important public debate on national issues. Host Martha MacCallum appeared speechless after playing an excerpt of Cunningham's comments, asking, "Is this what we've come to? Is this civil society?"

    Fox contributors Juan Williams and Mary Katherine Ham agreed that Cunningham's conduct was unacceptable, as Williams asserted, "He not only crossed the line, he obliterated the line ... I think it shut down the conversation. That doesn't help."

    MacCallum shared the concern that personal attacks like Cunningham's damage the nation's ability to communicate, wondering, "What does this say, sort of, about our ability to communicate and you know, have a serious, respectful discussion on these things these days?" Williams replied, "What it does is, it makes it very difficult then to cross lines to have reasoned conversation."

    Bill Cunningham has been crossing the line for years, and yet Fox continues to host him during primetime. Among his most egregious claims, Cunningham has declared President Obama "to be the beast. Six-six-six," and said that under the Obama administration "women are going to sell their bodies for pennies." He claimed the poor are in poverty "because they lack values, ethics, and morals" and advocated "beat[ing]" the hell outta" the homeless. Still, a Nexis transcript search finds Hannity has hosted Cunningham eight times so far in 2013.