Brenda Buttner | Media Matters for America

Brenda Buttner

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  • Laura Ingraham’s attack on David Hogg is nothing new. Fox has been mocking students and children for years. 

    Blog ››› ››› GRACE BENNETT


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    On March 28, Fox News host Laura Ingraham tweeted a link to a Daily Wire article pointing out that Parkland survivor David Hogg was rejected by several colleges and accused him of whining about it. Ingraham’s attack on the teenage mass-shooting survivor is far from a shocking development given her and her Fox News colleagues' repeated slandering of the shooting victims. 

    In the month and a half since the shooting in Parkland, FL, Ingraham herself has said the Parkland students should not be given “special consideration” on gun policy; told her viewers that the March 14 student walkout wasn’t some sort of “organic outpouring of youthful rage,” but rather “nothing but a left-wing, anti-Trump diatribe”; and complained that anti-abortion protesters didn’t get the same attention. Two of Fox’s other primetime hosts, Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, both dismissed the students as pawns being manipulated by gun control advocates. Carlson went a step further, calling the students “self-righteous kids” who “weren’t helping at all” and comparing them to Mao's Red Guards. The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway, who is also a Fox News contributor, dismissed the students as just “children, not founts of wisdom,” and Fox & Friends Weekend host Pete Hegseth responded to the student-organized March For Our Lives by angrily commenting, “Spare me if I don't want to hear the sanctimoniousness of a 17-year-old.” Fox’s sustained and hostile attacks on students in the aftermath of the Parkland shooting fit right into the network’s years-long pattern of insulting and belittling students and children.

    Fox’s attacks on students and children go back years

    In 2017, two Fox employees attacked 8-year-olds in the course of five months. In May, after a young boy followed Vice President Mike Pence to ask for an apology for bumping into him, Tammy Bruce called the child a “snowflake” who “needed a safe space” and said he “pretty much stalked the vice president afterward.” Months later, Rachel Campos-Duffy smeared a football team of 8-year-olds as “shameful” for kneeling during the national anthem at a football game.

    Fox figures have consistently insulted college students and mocked them for attempting to make changes to their colleges and universities. A 2012 Fox panel dismissed students as “immature and irrational” after they attempted to persuade their school to divest from fossil fuels. In 2015, Fox contributor Judith Miller insulted student protesters, asking, “You want a safe space? Stay in your playpen,” and Fox anchor Martha MacCallum dismissed students’ push for safe spaces in response to racial injustice, suggesting that “if they want to see the violation of a safe space,” then they should “visit ground zero.” In 2016, then-Fox contributor George Will labeled students “snowflakes, these fragile little creatures who melt at the first sign of the heat of controversy.” Fox host Kimberly Guilfoyle laughed at students’ activism on offensive terminology and mockingly asked if an injured horse should “get a lawyer because the horse is offended” by being called “lame.” In September 2017, a Fox contributor derided college students who sought mental health care and compared them to teenage soldiers in WWII. Just two months ago, Fox & Friends ran a selectively edited hit piece against college students created by the conservative activist group Campus Reform. The show further edited the video and showed students' responses without giving sufficient context to the nature of the questions posed to them, making the students look ill-informed.

    Fox personalities have targeted some of the most vulnerable students with vicious, racist, and anti-LGBT attacks

    In 2015, Fox personalities repeatedly besmirched 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed, a Texas student arrested after bringing a homemade clock mistaken for a bomb to school. Then-Fox reporter Anna Kooiman claimed that Mohamed “might not be as innocent as he seems,” backing up her claim by noting that teen was once caught “blowing bubbles in the bathroom” at school. Fox contributor Mark Fuhrman, famous for committing perjury and spewing racial epithets during the OJ Simpson trial, assured viewers that he didn’t “feel sorry for Ahmed,” adding that the child seemed “passive aggressive” to him. Another contributor, Mike Gallagher, repeatedly compared Mohamed’s homemade clock to a bomb and suggested that the student should have been more "forthcoming" when he was interrogated by the police. And Brian Kilmeade asked whether Mohamed might be “extort[ing]” his former school district by suing.  

    Fox often attacks children who have immigrated to the United States or whose parents are immigrants. Fox personalities have repeatedly used the derogatory term “anchor baby” to belittle the children of immigrants. Tucker Carlson once responded to the notion that it is the United States' legal obligation to educate children who come into the country by saying, "But what about the rights of the kids who were born here?” Fox Business Networks’ Brenda Buttner questioned whether parents should be concerned with "a surge of up to 60,000 illegal kids in their classrooms." Buttner exclaimed, "Forget the Ebola scare. Is it really the back to school scare?" In 2016, Fox’s Heather Nauert and Brian Kilmeade slammed several refugee students who sued a school district in Pennsylvania after alleging their educational needs weren’t being met. Kilmeade smeared the students as “ungrateful,” and Nauert mocked their request, commenting that “going to our schools for free” was “apparently… not good enough for them.”

    Fox hosts have also used their shows to attack transgender students. In 2013, during a conversation about a California bill aimed at allowing transgender students to use facilities and play on sports teams that correspond to their gender identities, Fox host Greg Gutfeld mocked the “gender-confused students” that would benefit from the bill. Two years later, in 2015, then-Fox host Megyn Kelly asserted that accepting transgender students causes “confusion” for other students.

    Fox employees have also gone after other groups of students. In 2014, Fox News' "Medical A-Team" member Dr. Keith Ablow claimed that middle school girls can "certainly provoke" harassment by wearing leggings to school. In 2015, Megyn Kelly labeled a group of protesters in Missouri “angry black students.” That same year, the hosts of Fox News’ Outnumbered lamented that overweight children are allowed to feel confident in their bodies. Fox’s Sandra Smith bemoaned that kids “feel good about themselves when they shouldn’t.”

    As David Hogg demands accountability for Laura Ingraham’s bullying, it is clear that Ingraham’s behavior was not a mistake or an anomaly, but representative of her network at large.

  • Memo To CNBC Debate Moderators: Don't Fall For These Right-Wing Media Myths About The Economic Cost of Immigration

    ››› ››› RACHEL CALVERT & BRENDAN KARET

    As CNBC prepares to host the third Republican presidential debate on October 28 -- which will focus on the economy and is being billed as "Your Money, Your Vote" -- moderators Carl Quintanilla, Becky Quick, and John Harwood should be prepared to contest and correct several right-wing myths about the economic costs of immigration that are all but certain to come up.

  • The Most Absurd Anti-Immigrant Myths Of 2014

    ››› ››› JESSICA TORRES & CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    In 2014, right-wing media attacked immigrants and immigration reform by pushing baseless claims, relying on debunked research, and using misleading statistics about immigrants and the impact of immigration on the United States. Here is a look back at the most absurd anti-immigrant myths of 2014.

  • Fox News Omits Crucial Statement In Discussion About A United Nations "Global Tax"

    Blog ››› ››› THOMAS BISHOP

    On the September 29 edition of Fox News' Bulls and Bears, host Brenda Buttner and fellow Fox News contributors persisted in fear-mongering about a United Nations proposal for implementation of a "global tax" and failed to report on a statement from the U.S. Mission to the U.N. that threw cold water on the claim.

    Buttner argued to a panel of Fox News contributors that the U.N. global tax proposal "could happen, couldn't it?" She was referring to a FoxNews.com report on the United Nations, which summarized the tax proposal as the following:

    A 1 percent tax on billionaires around the world. A tax on all currency trading in the U.S. dollar, the euro, the Japanese yen and the British pound sterling.   Another "tiny" tax on all financial transactions, including stock and bond trading, and trading in financial derivatives.  New taxes on carbon emissions and on airline tickets. A royalty on all undersea mineral resources extracted more than 100 miles offshore of any nation's territory.

    Approximately 24 hours after this story was published, a spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations sent the following "unsolicited statement" to Fox News:

    The United States opposes global taxes because we believe that any source of revenue should remain under the control of national authorities. This is an idea that has been kicked around for years. Fortunately, it hasn't gone anywhere, nor will it.

    In fact, Fox News reported a similar story over a decade ago, but the host of Bulls and Bears Brenda Buttner, nor her panel -- consisting of Gary B. Smith, Stephane Fitch, Kyle Harrington, Jonas Max Ferris, and Tobin Smith -- presented the facts of the global tax initiative.

    Instead of acknowledging the statement or the tax proposal's impotent history, Buttner's panel - consisting of Gary B. Smith, Stephane Fitch, Kyle Harrington, Jonas Max Ferris, and Tobin Smith -- largely buttressed Buttner's fear-mongering about global taxes. Only Fitch questioned the necessity of the segment, arguing that "it's not going to happen," in part because "the U.N. has no taxing authority."

    Watch:

  • Fox Regurgitates Specious Wisconsin Jobs Report, Touts Upcoming Walker Appearances

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Fox News' campaign to bolster Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who faces a recall election on June 5, continued today when host Brenda Buttner, along with contributors Tobin Smith and Gary B. Smith, touted Walker's jobs creation claims as fact though official labor data show that the state has shed tens of thousands of jobs in the past year.

    From the June 2 edition of Bulls & Bears:

    Walker recently released jobs figures that claim Wisconsin gained 23,608 jobs in 2011, up from his original claims of 23,321. But those figures are contradicted by a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which shows that Wisconsin actually lost 33,900 jobs during that period, from December 2010 to December 2011. On April 24, the bureau released data showing that from March 2011 to March 2012, Wisconsin lost 23,900 jobs. And on May 18, the bureau reported that the "largest over-the-month decrease in employment occurred in Maryland (-6,000), followed by Wisconsin (-5,900)."

    As the Christian Science Monitor explained:

    Wisconsin lost 23,900 jobs between March 2011 and March 2012, according to data released Tuesday by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The state's lead in job losses is significantly greater than the rest of the 50 states: No other state lost more than 3,500 jobs.

    The majority of the losses in Wisconsin, 17,800, were in the public sector. However, the state lost more private-sector jobs, 6,100, than any other state. The only other states to report private-sector job losses in the same time period (instead of private-sector gains) were Mississippi and Rhode Island.

  • Right-wing media suggest stock market fluctuations are good judge of policy, experts disagree

    ››› ››› JOCELYN FONG

    Following President Obama's January 21 proposal to limit the size and risk-taking behaviors of banks, right-wing media figures have cited the recent dip in the stock market to criticize Obama's plan. However, economic and financial experts have said that a decline in financial stocks is not an indication that regulation is ill-advised and that stock market fluctuations do not necessarily represent the broader health of the economy.