Brian Kilmeade | Media Matters for America

Brian Kilmeade

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  • Fox & Friends parrots opaque DHS stats to fearmonger about “criminals” in caravan

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    Fox & Friends is continuing to fearmonger about the caravan of migrants and asylum-seekers seeking to gain entry into the United States, uncritically parroting questionable statistics from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) despite the department’s track record of presenting misleading numbers under the Trump administration.

    Proceeding with a more than month-long drumbeat of fearmongering about the individuals in the caravan, Fox & Friends has now taken to repeating opaque DHS statistics, asserting that “90 percent” of individuals in the caravan “are not eligible for asylum” and that “600 of the 10,000 people that are in these caravans are convicted criminals.” Neither Fox News nor DHS has provided details on how they obtained those numbers.

    The Trump administration’s DHS has previously presented limited and misleading statistics regarding immigration. Moreover, DHS has suggested, without presenting evidence, that “criminals” are present in the caravan, issuing a strange press release attempting to support its claims with vague statements from Mexican officials. But according to The Washington Post’s fact-checker, “The language in this release is highly suspect,” and, based on statistics from previous years, “Since DHS will not break out a list of crimes, we suspect most of these people with ‘criminal histories’ are not actually violent” but instead have most likely been “convicted of immigration crimes, such as illegal entry.” The fact check also noted, “Mexican officials on the route have told Post reporters that they haven’t seen any serious criminals.”

    From the November 27 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

    GRIFF JENKINS (FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT): We learned, of course, the stunning number, which is that 600 of them believed to have had criminal histories. But we’ve also learned another figure that is very interesting, and that is 90 percent, they believe, are not eligible for asylum, which is, of course, the main reason why they’re fleeing the Central American countries.


    JEDEDIAH BILA (CO-HOST): It's really crazy, I mean, if you think about this. Like, what is the solution going to be? I mean, what are they actually going to do to remedy this? Trump is saying, you know, “I’ll shut down the border.” It seems like he doesn't have the authority to actually do that, that he would need congressional approval to do that. So, what's going to happen here?

    BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): Well, we know one thing: Ninety-eight people involved in Sunday's raids were sent out by Mexico. They have no shot at asylum. Their names have been taken and they’ve been tossed. If you want to send a message to these migrants and if you want to send a message to Mexico, since this is their problem as well as our problem, maybe they’ll get tougher on their southern border and won't be so permissive sending buses, in some cases, to expedite their trip up to our border. We might be on the same page right now because of scenes that you’re looking at.

    KILMEADE: Remember, the president was talking about this caravan because he wanted to do the best he can to keep the House and expand his lead -- the Republican lead -- in the Senate. So, that looks like the president -- since the midterms, I believe, are virtually over, with one Senate race to go and a handful of House races, I don’t really see a political advantage to the president doing this two years away from his re-election. But I do see some real legitimate danger for our border authority. Kevin McAleenan -- he’s the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection -- he told reporters yesterday that there were dozens of assaults committed against his agents. They were hit with projectiles, four had to have medical tending to, protective gear prevented some serious injuries. And, again, they’re getting hit by things by people who are storming the border, trying to create havoc there in order to get into our country. But, for some reason, we seem to be making the border guards the enemy.

    BILA: I think there’s a high expectation that President Trump -- you talked about why he’s talking about this, it’s far from his election. Remember, this is an issue that he ran on. Arguably, this the reason why he won. He put this front and center; he talked about border security. People are deeply concerned when you have people from DHS coming out and saying that 600 of the 10,000 people that are in these caravans are convicted criminals. This is an issue dear to people's hearts, they need to protect their families, and they want the security of the nation to be a top priority. So, I think that's why he’s out, front and center, making this a key issue regardless how far his own election is from it.

    KILMEADE: But he’s actually not making an issue; I think he’s addressing an emergency. If this wasn't his issue, if any president in office right now, this would be their issue.

  • Fox figures constantly parrot Trump in attacking the media


    Fox News and some of its high-profile hosts are attempting to distance themselves from President Donald Trump’s constant attacks on the media, which he has famously smeared as the “enemy of the people.” Martha MacCallum, host of Fox’s The Story, told Politico that she finds Trump’s rhetoric “wrong” and “disturbing.” Brian Kilmeade, a co-host of Fox & Friends, told viewers that he wished the president would “lose” the term “enemy of the people.” Pointing to Kilmeade’s comment, a Fox spokesperson argued to Forbes that “many of the FNC and FBN programs regularly push back on the Trump narrative.”

    These halfhearted deflections are undoubtedly an effort to avoid any blame for recent attempted violence amid calls for a boycott of the network’s advertisers. But in reality, Fox hosts, contributors, and guests have directly contributed to hostility against journalists and the media by regularly launching Trumpian attacks at outlets and reporters. They dismiss media outlets as “fake news,” label the media “the enemy of the people,” vilify individual journalists, and call for the Trump administration to crack down on the free press.

    Video by Miles Le

    Attacks on the media are frequent and vicious on Fox

    Fox’s Pete Hegseth has smeared the media as “the opposition party, the left-stream media, the legacy media, whatever you want to call them,” and argued that journalists “ continue to expose themselves because they can't hold back on their dedication to tearing down any single member of the Trump administration.”

    Fox’s Sean Hannity complained that “the propaganda media” is “out to destroy Trump. That is their main purpose. They want to advance the interests of liberal Democrats and the left. Now -- they're not journalists. They’re not reporters. They’re rigid, radical left-wing ideologues.”

    Hannity also said: “The alt-left propaganda media is getting worse every single day. They’re now at war with you, the American people.”

    Fox guest and Daily Caller writer Stephanie Hamill said: “Some of these journalists have an agenda, and they’re pushing a globalist agenda. And so when Trump calls the media the fake news media, the enemy of the people. They are the enemy of the people when they’re not being honest.”  

    Frequent Fox guests Diamond and Silk: “Not only are [the media] the enemy of the people, they are the enemy of the truth. Because they spread lies, and that’s why we call them the fake news.”

    Fox Business host Lou Dobbs referred to planned editorials criticizing Trump’s rhetoric about the media as “anti-Trump screeds” and “coordinated national left-wing fake news.”

    Dobbs argued that “the left-wing media” was aiding the Democratic Party in carrying out “a coup d'etat against President Trump.”

    Fox host Laura Ingraham accused the media of “actively concealing the heinous actions” of groups like antifa “because they serve their ends.”

    Fox’s Jesse Watters said the press, along with leakers, comprise “the official Democratic Party opposition.”

    In response to newspapers’ condemnation of Trump’s rhetoric, Fox Business guest host Ashley Webster and Wall Street Journal editorial board member James Freeman defended Trump’s rhetoric that the media are “the enemy of the people,” pushing Trump’s ridiculous claim that his critique applies only to “fake news.”

    Frequent Fox guest Michelle Malkin: “The media is the opposition party. I gotta get that on a bumper sticker.”

    Fox host Steve Doocy: The media want “to destroy [Trump] for the most part, because they didn’t like him. Look, nobody in the mainstream media for the most part predicted or wanted Donald Trump to win. He won, ha ha, he would go, and now, look, it’s the state of journalism today.”

    Fox’s Tucker Carlson: Media coverage “enrages” the president, “and I understand why. And I think he’s probably right to be mad.”

    Hannity criticized the media for being "filled with all opinion" and "kissing [Obama's] ass,” instead of holding government accountable.

    Hannity dismissed claims that he was  “inciting violence” by criticizing the “fake news media” for “reporting fake news almost every night”:

    Fox hosts regularly insult the media’s coverage of stories that reflect negatively on Trump or Republicans  

    Lou Dobbs slammed the “national left-wing media” for covering Florida gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis’ racist comment about his opponent, Andrew Gillum.

    Sean Hannity smeared media coverage of the package bomber targeting high-profile Democrats and CNN, calling it “so over the top, so outrageous, so disgustingly partisan.”

    Hannity complained that media “betrayed the American people” in their coverage of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russian investigation.

    Hannity also slammed the media for covering his disastrous interview with Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, calling reporters “lazy, … abusively biased echo chamber people in the fake news overpaid media.”

    Fox’s Jeanine Pirro whined that coverage of Trump and Russia is “like propaganda.”

    Fox routinely celebrates Trump’s hostility toward the media

    In response to a particularly vicious press conference in which Trump “launched an extraordinary denunciation” of the media, according to CNN, former Fox host Eric Bolling claimed that the room “looked like a WWE arena, with the mainstream media having fits about being called out for their unfair reporting.”

    Fox’s Kimberly Guilfoyle called the same press conference “wildly entertaining.”

    While interviewing the president, Fox’s Pete Hegseth asked him which  is his biggest opponent -- the Democrats, the “deep state,” or the “fake news media.”

    Fox & Friends celebrated Trump’s made-up "awards" attacking media: “Excitement for President Trump's fake news awards is so off the charts.”

    Fox figures often target specific outlets and individual journalists

    When the White House banned CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins from an open press event, Lou Dobbs celebrated the move: "It's about time there were consequences for disrespectful behavior."

    Dobbs smeared CNN’s Jim Acosta as “triggered” and “delicate” after Trump supporters harassed him at a rally.

    Fox contributor Tammy Bruce: Acosta's conduct makes him "an enemy to the American people."

    Hannity argued that the president shouldn’t “do any more interviews with Lester Holt, which then is sent over their cable channel and CNN so they can rip it apart.”

    Hannity also claimed that “corporate jihad” is “being waged by NBC News against President Trump,” and he went on to attack the “alt-left propaganda, destroy-Trump-at-all-costs media.”

    Fox contributor Michael Goodwin attacked The New Yorker's Jane Mayer for her reporting on sexual assaults: "She's been on this rampage for 25 years.”

    Fox & Friends defended Trump after he launched a sexist attack on MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski, saying the media had a “melt down” over the comment and arguing that Brzezinski “make[s] a living insulting” Trump.

    After Trump tweeted a photoshopped GIF of him “body slamming” CNN, Fox & Friends Sunday praised and joked about the GIF.

    Brian Kilmeade claimed CNN “went unhinged” after Trump posted the GIF, and Fox’s Geraldo Rivera argued that the network has “this unremitting hostility to Donald Trump.”

    Fox personalities have called for a crackdown on the free press

    Fox’s Newt Gingrich urged the administration to “close down the press room, send the reporters off. They can sit over at the Hay-Adams. They can go to Starbucks across the street. I don't care where they go.” Sean Hannity rejoiced at the idea: “The media will implode! They would not know how to deal with this.”

    Gingrich argued that the White House should “suspend” CNN’s Jim Acosta “for 60 days… as a signal, frankly, to all the other reporters that there are going to be real limits” on how they’re allowed to behave.

    Gingrich claimed that if he were the president, he “would kick some of the [news] organizations out. I would flood the White House press corps with lots of people,” adding that Trump should recognize “this is a real war.”

    Hannity: “As long as they keep reporting fake news, bizarre conspiracy theories, and show this bizarre fascination and paranoia about Russia, how about no more press conferences for the Hillary Clinton-colluding media?”

    Hannity claimed that the president shouldn’t “do interviews with the network so they can spend hours and hours and hours tearing up every word this president says, something they'd never do to Obama. End it. He doesn't need the press.”