Doug McKelway | Media Matters for America

Doug McKelway

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  • Fox News reporter Doug McKelway advocates for right-wing ideas and smears Democrats on Twitter

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) is a “freak show.” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) sounds like a “school marm scold” and is “best watched with the volume turned off.” The Democratic Party is defined by “racial identity politics hucksters.” There “are other viewpoints” on climate change science and it doesn’t matter anyway because the “earth will die when the sun does.”

    Those comments aren’t by a random right-wing Twitter account but by Fox News reporter Doug McKelway, who is part of the network’s bureau in Washington, D.C.. Fox’s “news division” frequently dispatches McKelway to report on presidential politics and significant stories like the white supremacist rally Charlottesville, VA. He regularly appears on Fox’s “news”-side programming and occasionally guest-anchors Special Report with Bret Baier.

    Fox News has recently touted its “news” division as separate from its “opinion” side, especially to advertisers and Democratic politicians. That distinction has long been a farce, but McKelway’s prominent presence in the “news” division only further illustrates that lie.

    The Daily Beast’s Maxwell Tani and Andrew Kirell reported last week that in an email recently sent to some staff members, McKelway tried to defend President Donald Trump’s infamous comment that there were “very fine people on both sides” following the August 2017 neo-Nazi Unite the Right rally and resulting counter-protests. After Digital Senior Editor Cody Derespina agreed with McKelway, Fox News Radio White House correspondent Jon Decker responded by writing that they both sounded “like a White Supremacist chat room.”

    In addition to attacking Democratic politicians, McKelway frequently uses his Twitter account to push right-wing views. He has claimed that "a good parent" would explain to their children that there are “viewpoints" other than the scientific consensus on climate change; the Green New Deal would impose "financial hardship on the US" and "won’t make a dent" on carbon reduction; special counsel Robert "Mueller's people  - or someone with apparent knowledge of the raid - tipped off Mueller ally @CNN" to the raid of Roger Stone's house (they didn't); "entitlements" programs are "looming like a giant ponzi scheme"; and social justice curriculums are "wasting your kids brain."

    Here are some of McKelway’s tweets:

  • In an email to Fox employees, Fox News reporter Doug McKelway defended Trump’s “both sides” comments about neo-Nazi marchers in Charlottesville 

    McKelway has a history of defending Confederate statues and fearmongering about left-wing violence 

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Internal Fox emails reviewed by The Daily Beast show Fox News reporter Doug McKelway working to defend President Donald Trump’s infamous “both sides” comment after former Vice President Joe Biden referenced it in an April 25 campaign video.

    Following the violent August 2017 Unite the Right march in Charlottesville, VA, Trump argued that there were “very fine people on both sides.” According to an April 26 article in The Daily Beast, after Biden’s video mentioned these comments, McKelway immediately sought to defend the president in an email to his colleagues, partially by arguing that there were good people among the marchers:

    McKelway, a nine-year Fox News veteran, sent an email to dozens of network employees, saying he was “Putting this Biden statement out there, next to Trump's original presser, and a live interview I did in C-ville with ‘good people on both sides’” to supposedly fact-check Biden. The emails were first published by FTV Live.

    McKelway began his email with a Winston Churchill quote: “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” He then proceeded to echo the pro-Trump claim that the president never said what he said about the neo-Nazis who marched at the deadly event.

    McKelway contrasted portions of Biden’s script against the same quotes that pro-Trump outlets have used to claim the president never defended white nationalists. And then the reporter highlighted a quote from his own interview with Brian Lambert, an armed Unite the Right attendee, who portrayed the neo-Nazi rallygoers as victims: “They’re denying people their right to assemble. They’re denying their right to speak freely, however hateful their views may be,” he bemoaned.

    The article explains that a second Fox employee, Digital Senior Editor Cody Derespina, replied to the email agreeing with McKelway and linked to another interview with a Unite the Right marcher who claimed he was “simply there to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee.” A third respondent, Fox News Radio’s White House correspondent Jon Decker, however, noted that this marcher had chanted “Jews will not replace us” during the march. McKelway then realized the man he had interviewed also had clear white nationalist allegiances:

    An hour later, a seemingly humbled McKelway returned to the thread, walking back his previous words. He linked to an article from C-Ville, a Charlottesville alt-weekly, that showed his one-time interviewee Brian Lambert was, in fact, a white nationalist who trespassed in local parks, removed tarps off Confederate statues, placed rebel flag stickers on surfaces, and flashed a white-power symbol to supporters during his sentencing hearing.

    McKelway, who works for Fox News’ so-called “straight news” division, has previously defended Trump’s comments and has a history of engaging in “both sides” rhetoric himself.

    In the aftermath of the Charlottesville protest, during which counter-protester Heather Heyer was killed by a neo-Nazi, McKelway asked then-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe if he would “repudiate the violence that we saw Saturday from the left.” McKelway has also defended Confederate statues on-air, once arguing that anti-Confederate protesters want “airbrushing of history, a tactic of totalitarian governments” and suggesting this was a “common practice in the former Soviet Union.”  

  • Some Democrats went to Puerto Rico to spotlight the island's recovery, and Fox News is furious

    Democrats went to Puerto Rico to discuss, fundraise for, and spread awareness about hurricane recovery, but Fox News says they were "partying in Puerto Rico" instead of "doing something in Washington"

    Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    On the morning of January 14, Fox News focused heavily on a group of over 30 Democrats, most of them members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, who spent the weekend in Puerto Rico as part of an annual retreat. Fox spun this trip as the Democrats partying "on the beaches" instead of working to end the government shutdown.

    Democrats were actually in Puerto Rico for a retreat organized by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ Bold PAC. According to The Hill, Bold PAC chair Tony Cárdenas said “he chose Puerto Rico for this year's convention to showcase the island's needs as it slowly recovers from 2017's Hurricane Maria.” NBC News reported that members of Congress sought to aid the island’s recovery from Hurricane Maria by bringing medical supplies and discussing the neglected recovery with Puerto Rican political leaders, including Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, and several top legislators. 

    Democrats also attended a performance of Hamilton, part of a special limited-time run in which creator and original star Lin-Manuel Miranda reprised his role to help raise funds for hurricane recovery. According to The Hill, Miranda said, “We brought Hamilton here to bring a spotlight to Puerto Rico” and its recovery. All Democrats who attended bought their tickets with their own money. 

    NBC News also reported that “The Bold PAC conference was scheduled for Puerto Rico months before the shutdown” and that the group would be monitoring the shutdown and its developments. The report also noted that the congressional members would “be able to get a bird's-eye view of how the shutdown is affecting the island that is trying to pull itself out of a financial crisis while recovering with the devastation of Category 4 Hurricane Maria."

    While Fox News did mention that it was “a work-play trip,” most of its 19 mentions or segments about the story between 6 a.m. and noon on January 14 were intended to create an image of Democrats ducking their responsibility to help end the government shutdown (which Fox News helped start) and instead vacationing in paradise while real Americans suffer. 

    Fox & Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt said that “the optics are not good” for the Democrats when “there are 800,000 [federal] workers that aren’t getting paid,” but members of Congress who are “supposed to be doing something in Washington” are instead “on the beaches with their families.” Fellow co-host Brian Kilmeade also falsely claimed that CBS and NBC didn’t cover the story, when both networks covered the story online before Monday.

    Fox & Friends opened its 8 a.m. hour with the line “President Trump says it’s time for Democrats to get off the beach and come back to work while the shutdown enters day 24.” 

    Kilmeade said that the Democrats were “even enjoying a Broadway show" in Puerto Rico. Fox & Friends First co-host Rob Schmitt, who is covering the story in Puerto Rico, reported, “There have been some meetings and there has been some work done. But there’s also been plenty of leisure time.” He also complimented Sen. Bob Menendez’s (D-NJ) “great Instagram photo,” saying he’s “got the nice tan going.” 

    Kilmeade also asked counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway about the White House’s reaction to “the Democrats partying in Puerto Rico rather than staying” in Washington, D.C.

    Fox correspondent Doug McKelway compared the Democrats’ Puerto Rico trip to Trump’s normally frequent golfing excursions, commenting that Trump “has been picking his travels very, very carefully” with the government shutdown, and during these times “playing golf, not such a good thing, visits to Puerto Rico, not such a good thing.” 

    Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer criticized the “30 Democratic members” for going “down on some PAC event where they’re soliciting money from lobbyists in Puerto Rico and hanging out on the beach.”

    Fox re-aired Trump’s highly misleading comment that “the Democrats were in Puerto Rico celebrating” the government shutdown.

    Miranda addressed the controversy at the summit in Puerto Rico as he thanked the Democrats and other officials assembled for being “here to work, despite what anyone might claim.” 

  • Fox Host Baselessly Links Shooting To “Animosity In The Climate Change Wars”

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier featured a segment that baselessly connected the recent shooting at a building on a University of Alabama campus with “animosity in the climate change wars.”

    Over the the March for Science weekend, seven shots were fired at a building at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. One of the shots struck the window of an office next to the office of John Christy, a professor of atmospheric sciences, who has testified before congressional committees on multiple occasions to repeat his claim that climate model projections of future warming are overstated. No one was hurt in the incident.

    Christy told AL.com that he thought his floor was targeted. But the university said in a statement that investigators believed that the shooting, which they say struck multiple floors of the building, was a “random, isolated event unlikely to be a premeditated act.” AL.com further noted that the investigators “have marked the case ‘inactive’ pending new information.”

    Nonetheless, on the May 2 edition of Special Report with Bret Baier, host Bret Baier introduced a segment on the shooting as evidence that “animosity in the climate change wars is hitting new lows.” During the segment, correspondent Doug McKelway incorrectly reported that Christy “got seven bullet holes in his office windows” (AL.com reported that only “one went through a window in the office next to Christy's”) and made reference to Christy’s skepticism of computer model climate predictions.

    Baier’s report comes after Breitbart.com, National Review, and numerous climate deniers pinned the shooting on climate activists despite a lack of evidence.

    From the May 2 edition of Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier:

    BRET BAIER (HOST): We are awaiting a decision from President [Donald] Trump on whether the U.S. will continue to participate in a worldwide global warming treaty that he criticized during the campaign. Correspondent Doug McKelway tells us tonight the animosity in the climate change wars is hitting new lows.

    DOUG MCKELWAY: In 1991, climate skeptic John Christy got NASA’s medal for exceptional scientific achievement. Last week, he got seven bullet holes in his office windows during the March for Science weekend at the University of Alabama, Huntsville. Police think it was random. Christy thinks he was targeted. Christy measures actual earth temperatures from satellite data. He is skeptical of computer model predictions of warming and government remedies to fix it.

    Related:

    AL.com: Alabama Climate Change Skeptic Believes Shots 'Targeted' His Office Floor

    WaPo: Credible Climate Scientists Need To Boycott Biased Congressional Hearings

    Previously:

    TIMELINE: Fox News' Role In The "Climate Of Doubt"

    Fox Tries To Debunk Global Warming, Fails Miserably

    Tucker Carlson Attacks Bill Nye As A "Bully" During Interview On Climate Change

  • Here Are 21 Times The White House And Media Allies Explained That The Muslim Ban Was About Muslims

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY & BRENNAN SUEN

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled against President Donald Trump’s travel ban targeting seven Muslim-majority countries, confirming that Trump and his supporters’ previous public statements expressing their intent to unconstitutionally discriminate against Muslims can “be used in proceedings.” Media Matters has compiled 21 quotes from Trump, his team, his cable news surrogates, and figures on Fox News admitting that the ban’s original intent was to single out Muslims.

  • Fox Cares About Equal Pay Only When It's Politically Advantageous

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    Fox News hyped the contents of stolen emails released by WikiLeaks that show members of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign team discussing pay disparities at the Clinton Foundation, saying it’s proof that the foundation was “not paying women equally” and asserting that it shows “hypocrisy” from Clinton, who has fought for equal pay. But Fox’s claim doesn’t hold up, as “the statistical pool is too limited” to draw any conclusions on equal pay, according to PolitiFact. Fox has a pattern of hyping deceptive and false attacks on Democrats’ records with gender pay disparities, while at the same time dismissing the larger problems around gender pay inequality.

  • The Benghazi Pipeline: How Two Anonymous Fox Sources May End Up Speaking To The Benghazi Select Committee

    Blog ››› ››› BRENNAN SUEN

    Select Committee on Benghazi Chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) is reportedly urging two witnesses to speak to his committee after they made anonymous appearances on Fox News’ Special Report, where they suggested the military did not take all available actions to save lives during the 2012 Benghazi attacks.

    Fox News opened the May 11 edition of Special Report with a report featuring two anonymous witnesses who believe that there were additional assets the military could have deployed during the 2012 Benghazi attacks. Fox correspondent Adam Housley contrasted their statements with claims from the State Department Accountability Review Board and “the claim by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the State Department that nothing more could have been done.” In fact, reports from House and Senate committees, the secretary of defense, the chairman of the joint chiefs at the time of the attack, and some of their predecessors all back up the State Department’s conclusion that no other military response would have yielded better results.

    On the May 12 edition of Special Report, guest host Doug McKelway reported that Gowdy responded to Housley’s report by “urging witnesses who spoke to Fox News to talk to his committee,” despite Housley’s troubled history of citing discredited Benghazi “witness” Dylan Davies. Davies admitted to falsifying statements about his experience during the Benghazi attack after claiming he scaled a wall of the compound, personally struck a terrorist in the face with his rifle butt, and later went to the Benghazi hospital to see Ambassador Chris Stevens' body on CBS’ 60 Minutes. Housley has used unnamed sources before to revive the myth that there were unused military assets that would have been able to affect the outcome of the attack.

    Fox’s obsession with the Benghazi attacks has been well documented. In the first 20 months after the Benghazi attacks, Fox aired 1,098 evening segments about them, many of which suggested a “cover-up” by the Obama administration and Clinton. Fox also spent months pushing for the formation of a select committee to investigate Benghazi.

  • Myths & Facts: The Gender Pay Gap And Need For Equal Pay

    Right-Wing Media Still Refuse To Acknowledge The Gender Pay Gap

    ››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON

    Equal Pay Day “symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year,” according to the National Committee on Pay Equity. Despite efforts toward equitable pay in the United States over the past several decades, American women still face a considerable gap in pay when compared to their male counterparts. Rather than acknowledging the overwhelming evidence that American women are still paid less than men for the same work, conservative media have promoted myths and misinformation that obscure the truth about pay disparities.

  • Right-Wing Media Use Wisconsin Primary Turnout To Dismiss Discriminatory Impact Of Voter ID Laws

    ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G. , ALEX KAPLAN & DINA RADTKE

    Right-wing media figures are using the high April 5 voter turnout during the presidential primary in Wisconsin, which has a voter ID law, to dismiss concerns about the discriminatory impact of such laws. But experts say conclusions about the impact of voter ID laws cannot be drawn based only on high voter turnout, and several media outlets reported that the law did harm potential voters in the state's primary.

  • Right-Wing Media Baselessly Accuse MoveOn.Org Of Inciting Violence At Trump Rally

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

    Right-wing media figures are blaming MoveOn.org for violence that occurred following Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump's canceled rally in Chicago on March 11, likening the group to the Ku Klux Klan and accusing them of "creating this havoc and ... putting innocent people's lives in jeopardy." In fact, several media figures have slammed Trump for condoning "violence in rally after rally," and at the Chicago event MoveOn.org only helped provide logistical support for the protests, including printing signs and recruiting attendees.