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  • Fox News dominated prime-time cable coverage of the Green New Deal

    Fox covered the plan far more than CNN and MSNBC, and often failed to even mention climate change

    Blog ››› ››› TED MACDONALD

    From February 7 to February 11, Fox News aired 34 segments on the Green New Deal on its prime-time shows, according to a Media Matters analysis. This was more than triple the combined number of segments aired by its cable news counterparts: MSNBC and CNN aired eight and three segments, respectively. Just 14 of Fox's segments on the Green New Deal mentioned climate change, less than half. By contrast, MSNBC and CNN did a better job of explaining that the Green New Deal is designed to address climate change; MSNBC discussed climate change in five of its eight segments, and CNN discussed it in two of its three segments.

    Fox aired far more prime-time Green New Deal segments than MSNBC or CNN

    From February 7, when Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) released the Green New Deal resolution, through February 11, Fox News aired 34 segments discussing the Green New Deal on its weekday and weekend prime-time shows airing between 5 p.m. and midnight. February 7 and February 8 saw the most Fox coverage -- the network aired 19 prime-time segments on those two days. Tucker Carlson Tonight and Hannity led the Fox prime-time shows in the number of Green New Deal segments, airing seven and five segments, respectively.

    Across this same time period, MSNBC aired eight prime-time segments on the Green New Deal. Five of these aired on February 7, the day the resolution was introduced, including an interview with Ocasio-Cortez on MTP Daily and an interview with Markey on All In with Chris Hayes.  

    CNN, meanwhile, aired only three Green New Deal segments on its prime-time shows from February 7 to February 11. One segment came on the February 7 episode of Erin Burnett OutFront, which included an interview with Markey. Another segment aired on the February 9 episode of The Van Jones Show, and a third on CNN Newsroom on February 10.

    Most of Fox’s segments on the Green New Deal either ignored climate change or mocked it

    The text of the Green New Deal resolution makes clear that it is intended to fight climate change. Ocasio-Cortez and Markey both emphasized the urgent need to combat the climate crisis at their February 7 press conference unveiling the resolution. And Ocasio-Cortez explained in an interview with NPR earlier that day that the Green New Deal is so ambitious because the climate crisis is such an enormous threat: "Even the solutions that we have considered big and bold are nowhere near the scale of the actual problem that climate change presents to us.”

    But the majority of Fox News segments on the Green New Deal didn't even mention climate change, often ignoring the entire reason that Ocasio-Cortez and Markey had proposed such a sweeping plan in the first place. In contrast, MSNBC and CNN discussed climate change in most of their segments on the Green New Deal.

    Fox News mentioned climate change in just 41 percent of its prime-time segments on the Green New Deal. Out of the 34 segments that Fox aired about the Green New Deal, only 14 included the words "climate" or "global warming." Most segments omitted the reasoning behind the resolution and merely discussed it out of context as an onerous, oppressive policy proposal. Two of the Fox segments that failed to mention climate change instead claimed that the Green New Deal was just a pretext for implementing a radical left-wing agenda -- a theme that was popular in right-wing media even before the resolution was released.

    Even in cases when Fox figures did bring up climate change during a segment on the Green New Deal, they often downplayed the issue. In six of Fox's 13 segments that mentioned climate change, a host or guest made a dismissive or skeptical remark about the problem. For example, the February 7 episode of The Ingraham Angle featured a well-informed guest who discussed the climate challenge, but host Laura Ingraham followed up her comments by saying, "Well, it's pretty cold right now in Minnesota, but that's just a snapshot. I mean it's been a brutal winter.”

    And on the February 7 episode of Hannity, host Sean Hannity simultaneously misstated activists’ claims about climate change and downplayed the climate threat, then made ludicrous claims about how the Green New Deal would bring about the downfall of America: “They claim that the world was going to end in 12 years because of climate change, which is, of course, is not true. Now, green energy, this new deal, will destroy America, our economy as we know it.”

    MSNBC mentioned climate change in more than half of its prime-time Green New Deal segments. Five out of MSNBC’s eight segments on the Green New Deal discussed the plan in the context of climate change, and two of these were the segments that featured interviews with the resolution's co-sponsors, Ocasio-Cortez and Markey. During his appearance on All In with Chris Hayes on February 7, Markey was particularly clear about the need to act now to avoid the worst impacts of climate change:

    SEN. ED MARKEY (D-MA): By the year 2100, we're going to have lost tens of trillions of dollars to the damage which is going to be created by climate change to our country. And a stitch in time will save nine. If we invest now, we'll be able to avoid the worst, most catastrophic consequences. Otherwise the price that’s going to be paid is going to be in the tens of trillions in our country, and that will just be a footnote compared to the rest of the world.

    Another segment on All In with Chris Hayes deserves mention. Hayes described the need for a dramatic response to the climate crisis and explained why right-wing criticism of the Green New Deal is so off-base:

    CHRIS HAYES (HOST): As you watch the continued right-wing caterwauling about the Green New Deal, here's what to keep in mind, particularly as all kinds of denialists and cranks talk about what is and is not serious. The bar for entry into the conversation for seriousness in said conversation is some framework, some proposal to reduce U.S. carbon emissions from human sources by almost half -- 45 percent -- from 2010 levels by 2030. That's 11 years from now. Half of emissions. That's what the international panel on climate change says has to happen globally to avoid the worst effects of climate change. And those effects of climate change, they are happening, and they are getting more visible and more present every day.

    CNN discussed climate change in two of its three prime-time segments about the Green New Deal. While CNN ran fewer segments on the Green New Deal than the other cable news channels, it did a better job of foregrounding climate change in the segments that it did air.

    On the February 7 episode of Erin Burnett OutFront, CNN correspondent Miguel Marquez explained the reasoning of the Green New Deal's backers: "Viewing climate change as an existential threat to the entire world, fire, drought, rising sea levels, increasingly violent storms, famine, and mass migrations is what we face, they warn, if radical change isn't embraced now."

    And on the February 9 episode of The Van Jones Show, host Van Jones explained how Green New Deal supporters see climate change affecting the economy and inequality:

    VAN JONES (HOST): They point out the cost of inaction could mean we don't have a planet to live on. They also point out the program could be paid for by tax hikes on the super wealthy and cutting spending elsewhere. Their goal is not just to reduce carbon emissions but also to stimulate the job market, reduce inequality, and boost the economy in low-income areas that are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

    Fox continues to lie, fearmonger, and relentlessly mock the Green New Deal

    Fox News spread misinformation about the Green New Deal before the resolution was introduced, and it has continued to do so since it was released. Fox has aired a number of segments that lied about what’s in the Green New Deal resolution, tried to paint the resolution as an instance of alleged Democratic extremism, and downplayed the serious need to tackle climate change. One example of this comes from Sean Hannity on the February 11 episode of Hannity.

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): We'll start with New Jersey Sen. Spartacus, Cory Booker, comparing the Green New Deal to going to the moon and defeating the Nazis. And Booker is talking about Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's bizarre, horrific new piece of legislation. Let's see. That would plan the end of consumption of fossil fuels in 10 years. By the way, the planet is going to die in 12 years. What is the point? And, by the way, and seriously, don't write off Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez and her grandiose and disastrous plans. She is merely just saying and acting on what Democrats really believe but try and hide from you. Look at all of those Democrats now coming out in support of this, this Green New Deal which calls for no more oil, no more gas, no more fossil fuels of any kind. Not even any nuclear energy. And it doesn't stop there. This bill that would eliminate airplanes, gas-powered automobiles and trucks, gas-powered ovens and stoves. By the way, if you like steak -- no more cows, too much flatulence. They emit CO2 emissions. No more cows. You better load up on the steak and put in a freezer.

    The resolution, of course, does not call for the elimination of airplanes, cows, or nuclear energy -- it doesn't mention these things at all. Hannity misrepresented lines from an informal FAQ document that has since been retracted. But Hannity continued to push these bombastic, false talking points even after it was reported that the FAQ did not represent the actual Green New Deal resolution.

    Another example comes from President Donald Trump himself on this same episode of Hannity. The show aired live footage of Trump speaking at a rally in El Paso, TX, where he said:

    PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Last week, they introduced a massive government takeover that would destroy our incredible economic gains. They introduced the so-called Green New Deal. It sounds like a high school term paper that got a low mark. It would shut down American energy, which I don't think the people in Texas are going to be happy with that. It would shut down a little thing called air travel. How do you take a train to Europe? You know, this crazy senator from Hawaii. They said, do you like it? Yes, I like it very much. Oh, really, how are we getting to Hawaii on a train? She didn't think about that one, but she's thinking about it. She will figure it out. They want to take away your car, reduce the value of your home, and put millions of Americans out of work, spend $100 trillion -- which, by the way, there's no such thing as a $100 trillion.

    Trump constantly lies, so it is no surprise that he would make false statements about trains to Europe, a $100 trillion price tag, and a Hawaii senator -- and no surprise that Fox would air his comments without correction.

    Another ridiculous example came from frequent Fox talking head Dan Bongino on the February 9 episode of Justice with Judge Jeanine:

    DAN BONGINO: Are there going to be cow assassination squads now? I mean, you are going to have to give your cow Beano to cure up their gastrointestinal issues? To prevent an Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez death squad or something?

    More cow jokes came from right-wing commentator Mark Steyn on the February 7 episode of Tucker Carlson Tonight:

    MARK STEYN: Well, the AOC plan strikingly pledges to get rid of most forms of transportation and, indeed, cows. So you can give up your Chevy Suburban and take your cow to work. The cow actually is more devastating to the environment than the Chevy Suburban. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's document actually says that she is committed to ridding America of flatulent cows and airplanes. I always take a flatulent cow on an airplane as my emotional support animal. It means that 20 minutes out of LAX, you've got the whole first class compartment all to yourself and nobody is in there. But the Europeans actually tried this and they basically -- the Irish were going to impose a tax of 13 euros per cow and the Danes were going to impose a tax of 80 euros per cow because apparently a Danish Holstein is six times as flatulent as an Irish Hereford. So in theory, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is on to something that you could, as the Europeans considered, actually have a flatulence offset regime. Obviously, you would need a secretary of flatulence in the Cabinet that you would actually -- Vermont, for example, has a lot of Holsteins there, the black and white cows that look like the governor of Virginia with only half his makeup on -- and you can take, you could take those, Vermont would be able to trade its flatulence to Washington, D.C., where it could hang like a giant cloud over Congress.

    These examples show that Fox News will go to great lengths to avoid having good-faith discussions about tackling climate change and instead paint any ambitious climate proposal as absurd and a sign of supposed Democratic extremism. That makes it especially unfortunate that Fox is the cable network that's covering the Green New Deal the most on its prime-time shows.

    Methodology

    Media Matters conducted a Nexis and IQ Media search for mentions of "green new deal" in programs that aired on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC between 5 p.m. and midnight from February 7 to February 11. We then searched within those transcripts for mentions of “climate” or "global warming." We counted any segments that were devoted to the Green New Deal or made substantial mention of it. We did not count teasers, passing mentions, or rebroadcasts.

    Image and chart by Melissa Joskow of Media Matters.

  • Right-wing media used state abortion measures to villainize people who have abortions

    Blog ››› ››› MADELYN WEBB


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    After several states promoted measures protecting abortion access, right-wing media not only spread an immense amount of misinformation about the efforts, but also lashed out at people who have had abortions, stigmatizing and denigrating them for making a personal health care decision. In particular, these outlets and media figures targeted people who have had abortions later in pregnancy -- by suggesting that they are heartless murderers, misrepresenting them as callous and irresponsible, and even calling them “satanic.”

    The bills that instigated this outrage are far from radical: Democratic lawmakers in New York and Virginia were attempting to protect abortion access at the state level, not to legalize “infanticide” -- as some right-wing media alleged. Right-wing media seized on clips of Democratic Virginia lawmakers Rep. Kathy Tran and Gov. Ralph Northan alledgedly describing later abortion procedures, spurring the spread of further hyperbole and misinformation about proactive state abortion protection bills. In reality, these measures would legalize abortions later in pregnancy “when the fetus is not viable or a woman’s health is at risk,” a far cry from right-wing media’s allegations that such procedures (and the people who have or provide them) are “demonic.”

    Here are just some of the examples of right-wing media misrepresenting people who have received abortions, a legal and sometimes necessary medical procedure:

    • Fox News contributors and right-wing internet personalities Diamond and Silk (Lynette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson) tweeted that Democrats were trying to allow “abortions up to the birth” of a baby (they aren’t) and that this was “murder”: 

    • During the January 31 edition of his radio program, Fox News’ Sean Hannity claimed that people should take advantage of “birth control options” to avoid getting pregnant. He concluded that because of these options, someone who needs an abortion later in pregnancy is irresponsible because they either should have prevented the pregnancy or gotten an abortion “in the first three months.”
    • On Jeanine Pirro’s Fox News program, Justice with Judge Jeanine, political columnist Amy Holmes said, “There are women who kill their kids for selfish reasons."
    • In a series of tweets, Washington Examiner contributor Kimberly Ross attacked people who support access to abortions as "morally weak,” and accused patients who have received them of being “predatory” and of “stand[ing] on the backs of the unborn dead”:

    • During the January 31 edition of Fox News’ The Story with Martha MacCallum, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee alleged that people who have abortions later in pregnancy are doing so because they think having a child is “going to be an inconvenience.”
    • The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro also pushed the narrative that people who have abortions later in pregnancy are doing so callously, saying that people might argue “I’d be healthier if I didn’t have this 9-month-old baby right here that’s about to enter my vaginal canal. Cut its brains out,” and claiming, “That’s what this law now allows.”
    • During President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address, Charlie Kirk, founder of the conservative group Turning Point USA, tweeted that later abortions are “despicable” and that anyone who supports efforts to protect or expand abortion access was endorsing “this savagery”:

    • After New York illuminated One World Trade Center with pink lights to honor the passage of abortion protections, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh claimed that New York was celebrating “legalized murder, calling it abortion."
    • During his Fox News program, Hannity, host Sean Hannity stated that because several laws that allow later abortion in order to protect the pregnant person’s health don’t further define what’s entailed in protecting health, “If someone says hours before [giving birth], ‘Oh, I'm having emotional second thoughts,’ and a doctor says, ’OK,’ then they're allowed to commit infanticide."
    • On Twitter, Turning Point USA’s Candace Owens said people celebrating state abortion protection measures -- which she said allow “slaughtering babies” -- were “satanic”:

    • During the January 31 edition of Fox News’ Fox News @ Night, actor Kevin Sorbo compared people who have abortions later in pregnancy to Nazis, saying: “You know, there's a group of people about 70 years ago that decided what lives were worth living, what lives were not, and they were called the Nazis.”
  • Here’s how Fox is downplaying Roger Stone’s indictments

    Blog ››› ››› COURTNEY HAGLE


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Following the news that Roger Stone, a longtime adviser to President Donald Trump, had been arrested and indicted on several charges related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian involvement in the 2016 election, Trump’s most loyal supporters at Fox News rushed to Stone’s defense.

    Early in the morning on January 25, the FBI arrested Stone on seven charges of obstruction, giving false statements, and witness tampering as part of Mueller’s investigation, which had looked into whether Stone had inside information about emails hacked by Russia and released by WikiLeaks.

    Following the news of Stone’s indictment, Fox News was quick to rush to his defense. In addition to criticizing CNN’s presence at the scene of the arrest and resorting to the tired “But Hillary!” line of defense, Fox figures declared that the indictments reveal nothing, insisted that there is no evidence of collusion, criticized the manner in which Stone was arrested, and called for investigations into former and current FBI officials, Justice Department officials, and top Democrats.

    Declaring that the indictments are meaningless, irrelevant, and prove there was no conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia

    On Fox & Friends, Fox News contributor Andrew McCarthy claimed Stone’s indictments actually rule out Trump-Russia collusion because “why would the campaign have had to turn to Roger Stone to find out what WikiLeaks had? They would've known that from Russia.” From the January 28 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

    BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): You just say in the big picture, there's no -- it's not -- it doesn't really touch the president yet.

    ANDREW MCCARTHY (FOX CONTRIBUTOR): Well, I don't think not just yet, Brian. I don't see how it could because, here to make it real easy, if Trump and his campaign were in a criminal conspiracy of espionage with Russia, if they had colluded with Russia, why would the campaign have had to turn to Roger Stone to find out what WikiLeaks had? They would've known that from Russia. They wouldn't've needed people like Roger Stone. It's been obvious from a long time, even if you go back to Mueller's indictment to the two Russian entities, the troll farm case and the hacking case. There's no reason to think that Russia in its operations looked for any cooperation from anyone on the American side, not just President Trump. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/28/19]

    On Fox & Friends, Fox contributor Dan Bongino claimed that the Stone indictment "proves" that there is "zero evidence" of Russian collusion. From the January 28 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

    DAN BONGINO (FOX CONTRIBUTOR): Yes, we found crimes, no question. But [former Trump campaign chair Paul] Manafort has pled guilty to them -- they're not allegations anymore. But the problem is we were all told that Mueller was investigating some grand collusion conspiracy with the Russians, of which it is not in dispute anymore, there is to this day zero evidence any of that happened, and the Stone indictment, at this point, proves it. Can we just move on and indicate what you just said, Brian? Some people were involved in some shady stuff, some admitted criminality, it had nothing to do with the Russians, very little, if anything to do with Trump other than the fact that he intersected with some of these people. And can we finally move on? Mueller needs to tell the American people, do you have collusion or not? And if not, it is time to move on. This has thrown a monkey wrench into the country's mechanics. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/28/19]

    On Fox & Friends Weekend, the three co-hosts complained about Mueller’s investigation, with co-host Pete Hegseth saying “absolutely nobody cares” and asking viewers, “Have you ever been to Russia? Can you speak Russian?” From the January 27 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends Weekend:

    PETE HEGSETH (CO-HOST): Absolutely nobody cares. No, really. I mean, this town here cares a lot because they're invested; they’ve looked like fools for being invested in the narrative and they want it to work. But no one watching this program cares. Email us. ... Do you care about Russia? Have you ever been to Russia? Can you speak Russian? Do you care about any of that at all, because you definitely don’t. Here’s the thing: I think while Bob Mueller is supposed to be an independent investigator, he's playing into the hands in this country that there are two forms of justice. Roger Stone gets his door kicked in at 4 in the morning, a 68-year-old guy who’s got no -- no physical threat to anybody. Yet Hillary Clinton bleach-bits her server, lies to Congress, and gets her lawyers there, nothing happens to her, nothing happens to Huma Abedin, any of these people. I couldn't even pronounce it. Sorry. No, but people get the sense that there are two forms of justice. [Fox News, Fox & Friends Weekend, 1/27/19]
     

    On Fox & Friends Weekend, frequent Fox guest Alan Dershowitz minimized Stone’s indictments by claiming “they’re not crimes of substance.” From the January 26 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends Saturday:

    ALAN DERSHOWITZ (HARVARD LAW PROFESSOR): Look, as Judge Ellis, who presided over the Manafort case, said about Manafort, the government isn’t interested in Manafort -- Mueller isn’t interested in going after this guy for his bank fraud. They're interested in squeezing him, they’re interested in getting information from him about the real target, and that's Donald Trump. And that’s a very disturbing way of using the criminal justice process. Also, this shows another disturbing trend, and that is Mueller has hardly indicted anybody for crimes that occurred before he started the investigation. Almost all of these crimes, like this one, occurred during the investigation, they’re process crimes, they're not crimes of substance. Now, in the indictment, Mueller tells an interesting story about WikiLeaks but he doesn't charge him with anything like that. He can't defend himself against that at trial. At trial, he's only charged with lying and tampering with witnesses and obstruction of justice, all of which occurred after Mueller was appointed. So far, Mueller has come up relatively empty on crimes that occurred before he was appointed, which was his mandate. [Fox News, Fox & Friends Weekend, 1/26/19]

    Complaining about the way the FBI arrested Stone

    On Justice with Judge Jeanine, host Jeanine Pirro ripped into the FBI’s treatment of Stone, characterizing the raid as “Gestapo tactics.” From the January 26 edition of Fox News’ Justice with Judge Jeanine:

    JEANINE PIRRO (HOST): Not a great weekend for Roger Stone, whose over-the-top arrest yesterday morning is the subject of my second opening statement tonight. So the Mueller team gets an indictment against Roger Stone, who is represented by an attorney. But instead of notifying the attorney and requesting he bring his client in for arraignment -- standard protocol in cases like Stone’s -- the Mueller team decides instead on Gestapo tactics. [Fox News, Justice with Judge Jeanine, 1/26/19]

    Later on Pirro’s show, Fox contributor and former Trump official Sebastian Gorka said the Stone arrest was like something that would happen under “a communist dictatorship.” From the January 26 edition of Fox News’ Justice with Judge Jeanine:

    SEBASTIAN GORKA (FOX CONTRIBUTOR): My parents lived under a communist dictatorship, a police state. And back then there was the phrase “Watch out for the 2 a.m. knock on the door.” In Roger Stone’s case, it was 5 a.m., but it’s the same thing. The idea that you’ve got a man who’s a senior citizen, who’s charged with -- what? Perjury? -- and you send 29 agents wearing body armor and carrying AR-15s to bang down his door. Sorry -- you know, judge, better than anybody, before a warrant is served, before somebody’s arrested in their home, there’s a commander of the operation, a threat assessment is made, and in a white collar crime this is not how you do it. This is rank intimidation, this is the corruption that Obama left over in the DOJ, and this is on Robert Mueller’s doorstep. [Fox News, Justice with Judge Jeanine, 1/26/19]

    On Fox & Friends Weekend, Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett attacked the raid, saying that Stone “is a white-collar suspect” and “not MS-13.” From the January 26 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends Weekend:

    GREGG JARRETT (FOX NEWS LEGAL ANALYST): It was an abusive, ridiculous, and embarrassing excessive use of force by the FBI. [FBI Director] Christopher Wray really ought to be embarrassed and ashamed that he allowed his agents to be exploited like that by Robert Mueller. Twenty-nine agents with repeat firing weapons in a pre-dawn raid, storming into a suspect's house. This is a white-collar suspect of process crimes. He is not MS-13. He is not a mass murderer.

    PETE HEGSETH (CO-HOST): So why did they do it?

    JARRETT: This was thuggish tactics to intimidate the witness. I doubt he will be intimidated by it. But this is what Robert Mueller's investigation has come to -- no principled crimes, only process crimes, which are offenses against the legal process. So these crimes against Roger Stone are actually generated or created by the special counsel. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/26/19]

    On Hannity, host Sean Hannity complained that Stone is “being treated like Pablo Escobar” and that the investigation is “the biggest abuse of power scandal in modern American history.” From the January 25 edition of Fox News’ Hannity:

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): We are witnessing the biggest abuse-of-power scandal in modern American history. It's playing out right before your eyes. More corruption than we've ever seen. Really, a pre-dawn raid? Seventeen vehicles move in, 27 FBI agents in full SWAT gear, guns drawn, home surrounded? For what? Roger Stone is not being charged with any violent crime here. He isn't charged with colluding with a foreign government at all. He's never posed any security threat of any kind. Instead he was indicted on a series of process crimes that never would have happened, yet Robert Mueller started an investigation. This is, in other words, created by the fact that Mueller had an investigation. Why is he being treated like Pablo Escobar? [Fox News, Hannity, 1/25/19]

    Jerome Corsi, who is also wrapped up in Mueller’s investigation, appeared on Hannity to criticize the raid as “Gestapo-like tactics,” complaining that the Mueller team is “determined to terrorize people and criminalize politics.” From the January 25 edition of Fox News’ Hannity:

    JEROME CORSI (FORMER WASHINGTON, D.C., BUREAU CHIEF, INFOWARS): I was shocked. I mean, I think this is Gestapo-like tactics. I mean, what's the point in having all these armed police with riot gear bursting into a house at 7 a.m. Wife and Roger in bed. I mean, this is not America. This is not the way we treat people in America who are basically trying just to be political operatives who are earning a living and, I mean, it frightens me to think what the FBI could do bursting into my home with my wife asleep and the family asleep. There is no need for it. And I think increasingly that we're seeing an out-of-control Mueller operation that is determined to terrorize people and criminalize politics. I think it's very frightening for the direction of America. [Fox News, Hannity, 1/25/19; Media Matters, 11/13/18]

    Deflecting to attack former FBI officials

    On Fox’s Justice with Judge Jeanine, Pirro suggested the FBI should indict top former FBI and Department of Justice officials. From the January 26 edition of Fox News’ Justice with Judge Jeanine:

    JEANINE PIRRO (HOST): Stone lying to Congress? Jim Comey lied to Congress. John Brennan lied to Congress. [James] Clapper. And dear Hillary [Clinton] -- that woman lied every time she opened her mouth. Need I go on? [Fox News, Justice with Judge Jeanine, 1/26/19]

    Hannity ripped into top Justice Department and FBI officials, naming a slew of former and current officials before asking, “When will they get the pre-dawn raid treatment?” From the January 25 edition of Fox News’ Hannity:

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Five counts of lying to Congress and not once lying about emails. Oh, and text messages. All of these crimes occurring after the start of the Mueller investigation. Now, this is nothing more than a political persecution. Now, let's not forget James Comey, he lied to Congress. John Brennan lied to Congress. James Clapper lied to Congress on multiple occasions. Are they going to be charged? When will they get the pre-dawn raid treatment? What about former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, fired for lying to the FBI? When is he going to get the pre-dawn raid? Comey's general counsel, James Baker, well he leaked sensitive information. When is his pre-dawn raid? James Comey leaked bureau memos to the press via a close professor friend -- is he going to get charged with that? Now the biggest of all, we have Hillary Clinton. She mishandled top-secret classified material on an unsecured private server and then -- want to talk about obstruction of justice, not handing over emails, not handing over text messages. Oh, that's what they just charged Roger Stone with. But Hillary destroyed subpoenaed emails, 33,000 of them. Oh, and then she washed her computer hard drive with BleachBit and then they busted up the devices. Where is Hillary Clinton's pre-dawn raid? James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Sally Yates, Rod Rosenstein -- they all lied to a FISA court. They never checked the veracity of the charges in the Clinton bought-and-paid-for phony Russian dossier. Are they going to be charged for those blatant crimes? This is sad and this is now going to be the end of real justice in America because this is a two-tiered system of justice. And today after posting bail, Roger Stone, he remained defiant. [Fox News, Hannity, 1/25/19]

    On Fox’s The Ingraham Angle, guest Victor Davis Hanson tore into former FBI officials, saying that Mueller’s “legacy is now there are now two codes of justice.” From the January 25 edition of Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle:

    VICTOR DAVIS HANSON (GUEST): Yeah, well I think what gets everybody -- I don't know Roger Stone what he did or he did not do, whether he’s a provocateur or raconteur. It doesn't matter, the questions, the quality under the law. Cut to the quick, Laura, had he been James Comey and he had gone into a sworn testimony before Congress and then 245 times said he didn't know or he couldn’t remember, he wouldn't be indicted. If he had been the deputy director, Andrew Mccabe, and said he was misunderstood when he lied he wouldn't have been indicted. Had he been James Clapper and said he gave the least untruthful answers, he lied under oath to Congress, he wouldn't have been indicted. Had he been John Brennan, who’s very ubiquitous today, on two occasions lied under oath to Congress and then said the CIA doesn't lie, he wouldn't have been indicted. So what -- Robert Mueller, whether he knows it or not, his legacy is now there are now two codes of justice. There’s for people who are connected and there's people who are not connected but useful for a prosecutor's agenda. I don't think any of us want to live in a America like that. It's Orwellian and it’s third world and it’s disgusting. [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 1/25/19]

  • Trump’s propagandists go to war with each other after he caves on the shutdown

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ


    Melissa Joskow

    President Donald Trump’s loyal right-wing media supporters pushed him into triggering the longest partial government shutdown in U.S. history and urged him to stick with it as Americans suffered and his poll numbers sank. When he suddenly reversed course on Friday and decided to reopen the government without receiving funding for his long-promised wall on the U.S. southern border, his propagandists split over the wisdom of the move, exposing fault lines in a group that has been cheering on his every move for years.

    Some longtime Trump fans -- particularly those who have been the loudest advocates for harsh immigration policies, like Lou Dobbs and Ann Coulter -- are turning on the president, denouncing him for caving to congressional Democrats.

    Another group of Trumpian propagandists -- led by those who don’t focus on immigration policy as their top priority, including Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro -- continues to stand by him, arguing that he simply needs more time to execute his strategy.

    And a third faction isn’t taking a firm position, either arguing that it is too early to tell if the president caved or saying that he lost but deserves credit for trying.

    Notably, Dobbs and Hannity, who had reportedly advised Trump on his shutdown strategy, have come down on opposite sides. On Friday, Dobbs argued that Trump’s decision was a victory for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and “to deny it is to try to escape from reality.” Hours later, Hannity told his own Fox audience, “Anyone out there, by the way, thinking President Trump caved today, you don't really know the Donald Trump I know. He, right now, holds all the cards.”

    At times the split between the two factions has spilled over into open hostilities, with prominent conservative figures using their platforms to lash out at those on the other side.

    Trump craves validation, and his worldview is shaped by the hours he spends each day tuning in to supportive cable news programs and consulting privately with their hosts. But now the message Trump is receiving is no longer unified, raising questions about how he will respond.

    Video by John Kerr

    Trump lost and “to deny it is to try to escape from reality”

    Ann Coulter

    One of Trump’s earliest and most fervent converts, Coulter is the author of In Trump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome and Resistance Is Futile! How the Trump-Hating Left Lost Its Collective Mind. Her virulent anti-immigrant commentary helped shape Trump’s policy and her demand that he shut down the government to get funding for the border wall helped make it happen.

    She did not respond well to the news that Trump was reopening the government without obtaining wall funds, tweeting on Friday afternoon:

    She added that Trump “promised something for 18 months, and he lied about it” during an appearance that night on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher. Trump responded on Sunday, telling The Wall Street Journal, “I hear [Coulter’s] become very hostile. Maybe I didn’t return her phone call or something.”

    Breitbart.com

    The website’s obsessive focus on immigration and its support for Trump during the 2016 election helped fuel his political rise. After news broke that Trump had caved, Breitbart splashed “NO WALL” in bright red type on its front page:

    Matt Drudge

    Drudge’s virulently anti-immigrant website, Drudge Report, also went all in to support Trump during the 2016 election, and his subsequent backing of the president was rewarded with an Oval Office meeting. But like Breitbart.com, Drudge Report responded to news of Trump’s cave with bright red text noting that his deal included “NO WALL FUNDS.”

    Tomi Lahren

    Lahren parlayed Trump sycophancy into a Fox News contributor slot and a Fox Nation show. Here’s how she responded to the news:

    Lou Dobbs

    Dobbs’ Fox Business show is characterized by his xenophobic campaign against immigrants and his frighteningly over-the-top adulation of the president. Those two factors have made his show one of Trump’s favorites and have made Dobbs one of the president’s outside advisers, including on the shutdown. Forced to decide between the two by Trump’s Friday announcement, Dobbs slammed the president, saying that “illegal immigrants are surely pleased” by the result. He later added: "This president said it was going to be conditional -- border security, building that wall -- and he just reversed himself. That's a victory for Nancy Pelosi. It will be perceived as such on every television monitor and screen in the country -- and to deny it is to try to escape from reality, and that we ain't going to do here."

    Minutes after that segment aired, Trump tweeted:

    Trump didn’t “cave”; he “holds all the cards”

    Sean Hannity

    Hannity, who speaks with the president so frequently that White House aides reportedly call him the shadow chief of staff, took the most extreme U-turn to match Trump’s rhetoric. Last Wednesday, he argued that Trump would continue the shutdown “indefinitely.” Two days later, he said that “anyone out there” who is “thinking President Trump caved today, you don't really know the Donald Trump I know,” adding, “He, right now, holds all the cards.”

    Jeanine Pirro

    Pirro -- who has been friends with Trump for decades, has advised him privately, and produces a propagandistic show the president watches religiously -- has both remained loyal to Trump and lashed out at those who do not. On Saturday’s program, while displaying a graphic of critical headlines from right-wing outlets, she claimed, “Instead of giving the president credit for recognizing the damage to this country, he was attacked by virtually everyone.” Pirro added that Trump “did not cave” but simply made “a strategy decision to pick the ground to fight on.” She also criticized Coulter for denouncing Trump.

    Pete Hegseth

    Hegseth is a Fox & Friends Weekend co-host and sometime presidential adviser whom Trump reportedly considered for a cabinet slot.

    Rick Santorum

    Santorum is one of CNN’s paid Trump shills.

     

    Sebastian Gorka

    The former Trump aide and current Fox contributor called Trump's decision to end the shutdown a “master stroke.”

    To say Trump caved, “that's a little early, isn't it?”

    Fox & Friends

    The president’s favorite show kept telling him that he was winning throughout the shutdown, and now it won’t tell him that he’s lost. As the president live-tweeted this morning’s program, co-hosts Brian Kilmeade and Steve Doocy each suggested it was too early to tell whether the president had been defeated. Meanwhile, guest Newt Gingrich went after Coulter, saying that Trump “should not pay any attention” to her:

    Coulter subsequently responded on Twitter, mocking Gingrich for his sycophancy:

    Laura Ingraham

    Ingraham, who was reportedly considered for a White House communications role, acknowledged that the president lost but argued that he should get credit anyway.

  • Four ways that Fox is misinforming people about Trump and the Senate GOP's proposal to end the shutdown

    Blog ››› ››› COURTNEY HAGLE


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    As the longest government shutdown in history continues, Fox News and Fox Business are doing their part to push a proposal from President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans. But in the proposal, which Trump's media allies insist is a great deal for Democrats, the GOP is offering only temporary fixes to problems Trump created and adding new restrictions for asylum seekers, while ignoring Democrats' primary point -- that Trump is holding the government hostage.

    The Trump administration has billed the proposal as a generous compromise for Democrats. Officials claim that it would expand existing protections for about 700,000 immigrants currently protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, started under President Barack Obama; expand protections for immigrants who currently have temporary protected status (TPS); and provide $800 billion in aid to improve care for children and families at the border.

    In exchange, Trump is demanding $5.7 billion to fund a wall on the U.S. southern border and asking for “millions more” funding for law enforcement. This includes “2,750 more border agents and other law enforcement officials, millions of dollars in screening technology to detect drugs at ports of entry, and the hiring of 75 new immigration judges to address the immigration court backlog, which is currently the biggest barrier to deporting people quickly.” The proposal would increase the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) budget by more than $1 billion. The proposed bill also includes changes to asylum rules for Central American children and teenagers that would allow them “to apply for asylum in their home countries — a modification of an Obama administration program Trump ended in 2017.” In return, the Trump administration wants to change the current immigration law to eliminate automatic court hearings and make it easier to deport children and teenagers who come to the U.S.

    Despite the administration's attempt to paint this as a good faith offer, there are many reasons why the Democratic leadership is calling his proposal a “non-starter.” First, the proposed bill does nothing to address the Democratic leadership’s main concern that Congress should not be debating border security while the government is shut down. Second, the concessions that Trump’s administration is eager to offer Democrats would likely have little impact. Trump's attempts to end DACA and TPS are being fought in court, and the Supreme Court has not yet agreed to take up either case, meaning it is unlikely that a three-year, one-time extension will protect DACA and TPS recipients any longer than waiting for an eventual Supreme Court decision would. The time period for immigrants to apply for DACA has ended, and only current DACA recipients are allowed to re-apply every two years. Democrats understand that if “they don’t make a deal, current DACA recipients will remain protected from deportation and able to work for several more months at least.”

    The TPS and DACA concessions that Trump's administration is eager to paint as wins for Democrats would actually weaken the programs. Trump’s TPS proposal would eliminate temporary protections for refugees from six of the 10 countries currently covered by the program. The proposal also affects DACA recipients and asylum seekers by imposing stricter penalties for providing incorrect information during the application process, which could result in an application being denied due to minor mistakes. The proposal also determines new requirements for approving an asylum claim, and adds that an application can be rejected for not being “consistent with the national interest.” Lorella Praeli, the ACLU’s deputy national political director, warned ABC News in a statement: "This sham ‘compromise’ would weaken the asylum system, strip vulnerable children of critical safeguards ... and hollow out protections for individuals from countries ravaged by natural disasters or war."

    The Democrats have no reason to trust Trump when it comes to immigration because he has flip-flopped on such policy proposals in the past. Trump also did not negotiate this proposed bill with the Democrats, but instead consulted with Vice President Mike Pence, top aide Jared Kushner, and congressional Republicans such as Sen. Lindsey Graham. Finally, the Democrats see the demand of $5.7 billion for a border wall as Trump simply trying to fulfill a racist campaign promise to his base.

    Despite this, Trump’s supporters at Fox are trying to boost this bill by pushing it as a great deal for the Democrats, claiming that the proposal offers greater protection for DACA recipients, arguing that the changes to asylum rules are actually positive, and floating the idea that rejecting this proposal would mean Democrats don’t really care about DACA recipients.

    Declaring that the proposed bill is a great deal for the Democrats

    Fox & Friends’ host Steve Doocy characterized the proposed bill as “a win-win for both sides.” From the January 22 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

    STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): If those moderate Democrats who we’ve heard on television over the last month or so don't come to the table and put forth a good-faith effort to negotiate an end to this and simply vote in lock step with Chuck Schumer, you got to wonder why -- other than to not allow Donald Trump a win. Because when you look at the deal that the president proposed on Saturday, he gets some wall money, although just about a quarter of what he asked for initially. And the Democrats wind up with DACA protections, humanitarian money close to a billion dollars. It's a win-win for both sides. If they say no, I'm sure people all across America, as Ali just said, are going to blame the Democrats. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/22/19]

    Fox Business’ Stuart Varney said that “for the life of me,” he doesn’t understand how Democrats can “keep going with their blanket resistance.” From the January 22 edition of Fox Business' Varney & Co:

    STUART VARNEY (HOST): Really, I mean, it’s such an obvious deal, isn't it? You take care of the Dreamers, and I think most Americans would like in some way to take care of the Dreamers. But you also build a wall. You stop the problem in the future. And -- for the life of me, I don't see how [Rep.] Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Schumer can keep going with their blanket resistance to anything that Mr. Trump proposes. [Fox Business, Varney & Co., 1/22/19]

    On Fox’s Special Report with Bret Baier, guest Mollie Hemingway characterized Trump’s offer as “a ridiculously generous proposal.” From the January 22 edition of Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier:

    MOLLIE HEMINGWAY (THE FEDERALIST): He is now taking matters into his own hands, working with the vice president, bringing forth this other proposal. It is actually kind of a ridiculously generous proposal, a lot of what the president and [Sen.] McConnell have been suggesting in a way that might even risk losing some of the support that they have from the conservative base. I mean all of this generosity with DACA and the temporary status, and the Central American asylum status-seekers. All of these things, they’re very generous offers -- $5 billion for a wall is really very little money. The idea that you’re not going to see any movement from the other side -- the reason why it might be a problem for Nancy Pelosi is her only talking point is we want to reopen the government. Well, you have to act like -- as Greg said -- you have to act like you’re serious about that, if you really want to do it. If you are not offering anything, not putting anything on the table, not putting forth any realistic compromise and not accepting these really generous offers, it kind of hurts your own talking point. [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier, 1/22/19]

    Fox & Friends Weekend co-host Pete Hegseth called the proposal a “gift to Democrats,” while Jedediah Bila described the proposal as “a genuine effort on [Trump’s] part to compromise.” From the January 20 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends Weekend:

    PETE HEGSETH (CO-HOST): And the sort of gift to Democrats was the three years of legal relief, basically a three-year extension of DACA protection for DACA recipients and then a three-year extension of protection for immigrants under a temporary protected status. He held firm on the $5.7 billion, a lot of people looking to see whether he would move on that. And then basically said, “Hey, if you want to reopen the government, I will give you DACA, I will give you other aspects of temporary protected status, only temporarily for three years.” And then I think that gives him room to say, “Well, if you want a full DACA fix, I want even more wall money.” I'm not saying that's where it will go. But -- he didn’t cave on the bigger number, which is what people were looking at.

    JEDEDIAH BILA (CO-HOST): I think this was a genuine effort on his part to compromise. [Fox News, Fox & Friends Weekend, 1/20/19]

    Later on in the show, co-host Ed Henry gushed that Trump is “talking about compromise” and “common sense,” while Bila said that she is “infuriated by the Democrats’ reaction.” From the January 20 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends Weekend:

    ED HENRY (CO-HOST): The Democrats always want to say he's harsh, he wants to divide. Instead he's talking about compromise, he’s talking about common sense, he's talking about compassion. So what were the outlines, what were the specific of that deal -- $800 million in urgent humanitarian aid. So he’s not just talking about cracking down. He's talking about helping people on the border. He also, though, has $805 million for drug detection technology at ports of entry saying, I'm going to be tough on the border. Over 2,700 additional border patrol agents, law enforcement officials. Again, to highlight the crackdown as well, 75 new immigration judge teams to reduce that backlog we hear about, months and months of cases built up, which is why a lot of people end up getting dumped out on the streets of America. And sticking -- holding firm on that number, $5.7 billion in border -- in actual wall funding. But then here's what he's reaching out to Democrats about. Three years of legislative relief for 700,000 DACA recipients. So there’s not a path to citizenship that Democrats want. They don't get to stay here forever but a three-year pause, which seems like a reasonable compromise. And a three-year extension of TPS, which is essentially Temporary Protection Status for about 300,000 immigrants who are here right now from El Salvador and other countries in Central America.

    JEDEDIAH BILA (CO-HOST): I'm actually infuriated by the Democrats' reaction. I really am, because this is all stuff that they've supported in the past. And they’re complaining -- They have complained in the past. You saw Barack Obama even talking about the humanitarian crisis. Well, this addresses that. They have asked for this, for DACA to be addressed, this addresses that. They have in the past supported border security. This addresses that. So he really came to the table with something that should have been palatable to everyone, and for them to just immediately respond the way they did, I mean let's take a look, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, right away saying, “We reject it, we’re not interested.” And Pelosi saying it's unacceptable and a non-starter. Schumer, “more hostage-taking.” How do you have that reaction? [Fox News, Fox & Friends Weekend, 1/20/19]

    On America’s News Headquarters, Fox guest Patrice Onwuka characterized Trump’s proposals as “concessions.” From the January 19 edition of Fox News’ America’s News Headquarters:

    PATRICE ONWUKA (INDEPENDENT WOMEN’S FORUM): You know, I’d like to believe that, I’d like to hope so. Those are two pretty big concessions on the part of the administration in saying “Listen, we actually want Democrats to come to the table and not be on vacation or sorry, traveling, outside of the country, going on junkets or whatever the case may be.” I mean, I think at this point it would be good to see progressives actually put forward a hand and say “Hey, we’re actually willing to make some concessions as well and meet the president and Congress and Republicans halfway here.” Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like that's going to happen. [Fox News, America’s News Headquarters, 1/19/19]

    Claiming that the proposal is a good deal for DACA recipients and offers greater protection

    Fox & Friends guest Ali Noorani claimed that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has “an incredible opportunity” to allow immigrants to “retain their legal status.” From the January 22 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

    ALI NOORANI (NATIONAL IMMIGRATION FORUM): The Senate majority leader has an incredible opportunity in front of him to put 800,000 people back into solvency. They’re going to be missing their second paycheck at the end of the week. Sen. McConnell can not only strike a deal that gets their paychecks with you, but also get President Trump the border resources that he’s looking for and permanent protections for recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival and Temporary Protected Status. You put those two numbers together, we are talking about 1.8 million people who are getting a paycheck or being able to retain their legal status. Sen. McConnell has got an incredible opportunity to bring Schumer and Pelosi to the table to strike a compromise. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/22/19]

    Fox & Friends guest Linda Vega falsely claimed that currently “applicants are not able to re-apply for benefits” and that Trump’s proposed bill would give recipients the chance to “permanent residency … or to actually work and pay taxes.” From the January 22 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

    LINDA VEGA (IMMIGRATION LAWYER): Well the rush is currently -- applicants are not able to re-apply or apply for any benefits. They're at a standstill. If they're in court proceedings they're being deported. This plan, this three-year offer by the president would offer them the opportunity to adjust their status to permanent residency, or to continue studying in the country, or to actually work and pay taxes. It's a great offer for a starting point. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/22/19]

    Arguing that the changing asylum rules to limit asylum is actually good

    On Fox News’ The Five, co-host Jesse Watters listed “changes to the asylum” procedures as “logical arguments” that Democrats “just can’t argue with.” From the January 21 edition of Fox News’ The Five:

    JESSE WATTERS (CO-HOST): These logical arguments, they just can't argue with. All they say is, “Oh, it's mean.” So if you look at what he's offering, he's offering humanitarian assistance. He's offering changes to the asylum. He says only 280 additional walls to be needed and to be built. And what are they saying? No? And millions of people are still not getting paid. I don't think that's very compassionate. [Fox News, The Five, 1/22/19]

    When listing Trump’s proposals on Fox News’ Justice with Judge Jeanine, host Jeanine Pirro characterized the changes to asylum rules by saying, “Now young people can seek asylum in their country.” From the January 20 edition of Fox News’ Justice with Judge Jeanine:

    JEANINE PIRRO (HOST): The president described in clear and direct language the human crises ranging from 300 of our children dying every week from heroin -- 90 percent of which comes through those porous Mexican borders. Now young people can seek asylum in their country without traveling with those dangerous human traffickers and coyotes. [Fox News, Justice with Judge Jeanine, 1/20/19]

    Accusing Democrats of not caring about DACA recipients if they do not accept the proposed bill

    Fox News’ host Sean Hannity accused Democrats of scoring “cheap political points” instead of caring about DACA recipients, while Trump is making “honest efforts. From the January 22 edition of Fox News’ Hannity:

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): So the president is trying to do his job. Honest efforts, reaching out to the Democratic Party in every possible way. An invitation a day, they won't meet him. They are too busy traveling on paid junkets and using taxpayer money. Once again, they want to score cheap political points. I thought they cared about the furloughed workers. Apparently not. I guess they cared about the DACA kids, apparently not, and the Dreamers, apparently not

    While Democrats dig in and obstruct, even some in the hate-Trump media are beginning to admit that the president is making Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats look pretty stupid. [Fox News, Hannity, 1/22/19]

    On Fox News’ Outnumbered, co-host Katie Pavlich claimed that “people are starting to notice” that Pelosi cares “more about politically scoring points than she is about scoring points for the people she claims to want to protect.” From the January 22 edition of Fox News’ Outnumbered:

    KATIE PAVLICH (co-host): At the same time that Nancy Pelosi continues to play games, and the president gives them things that they voted for in the past, whether it's barriers on the border or protections for DACA recipients, Dreamers, their parents. They continued to say no. He's put many, many things on the table. I think that Nancy Pelosi takes for granted her voting base and the base of the left. Because, as Harris -- you always brings up, she's been protested before for not protecting DACA recipients in a way that she has promised to do. I think that people are starting to notice that when push comes to shove and it's put on the table, she is more about politically scoring points than she is about scoring points for the people she claims to want to protect. [Fox News, Outnumbered, 1/22/19]

    Fox & Friends Weekend co-host Ed Henry claimed that “DACA recipients and others [are] saying that they are getting frustrated with Nancy Pelosi and the democratic leaders. From the January 20 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends Weekend:

    ED HENRY (CO-HOST): Democrats love to talk about about, “Oh, the president’s under pressure from his right flank. And Ann Coulter’s not happy with a deal like this, and she pressured him into a government shutdown.” What they don't like to talk about is how there are some on the left now, DACA recipients and others, saying that they are getting frustrated with Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leaders. That they promised the DACA recipients the moon and they are not delivering. [Fox News, Fox & Friends Weekend, 1/20/19]

  • Jeanine Pirro was paid to speak at GOP event with Kevin McCarthy -- who thanked her on Fox the next day

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Earlier this year, the Kern County Republican Central Committee in California paid Fox News host Jeanine Pirro $25,000 to keynote a fundraiser that also featured House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). The very next day, McCarthy, whose district includes most of the county, appeared on Pirro’s show and thanked her for giving “a great speech.”

    Pirro is a Republican who hosts the weekend show Justice with Judge Jeanine. She appeared at a campaign rally with President Donald Trump last month. Fox News subsequently claimed that it “does not condone any talent participating in campaign events,” which is a blatant lie.

    Fox News personalities regularly appear at events for candidates and political parties and sometimes get paid to do them. Fox News personalities Lou Dobbs, Sebastian Gorka, Greg Gutfeld, and Pete Hegseth have received money to headline fundraising events. Media Matters recently documented more than $200,000 in speaking fees that Pirro has received from 13 Republican organizations in the past two years.

    The help isn’t always just contained to the event. As Media Matters documented last week, the Livingston County Republican Committee in Michigan paid Hegseth to keynote a fundraiser with then-Senate candidate John James. Hegseth then repeatedly interviewed James on his Fox & Friends Weekend program (and didn’t disclose the payment from the committee).

    Pirro has similarly used her Fox News program to push a Republican cause that was related to her speaking fee.

    On March 16, the Kern County GOP hosted a fundraising dinner featuring Pirro. According to Federal Election Commission records, the party paid Pirro a total of $25,000 for speaking at the event (the party sent its payment to Fox News’ New York City headquarters). Kevin McCarthy, whose 23rd Congressional District "covers most of Kern,” also spoke at the event.

    Pirro also tweeted a picture of herself with McCarthy at the fundraiser:

    On the following day, March 17, Pirro hosted McCarthy and told him: “Happy Saint Patrick's Day, and especially in Kern County where I saw you last night. Great Republican county.” McCarthy replied: “Well, you gave a great speech.” At the conclusion of the interview, McCarthy said: “Judge, thank you so much for having me and thanks for coming to California. You are always welcome to come back.” Pirro did not mention the event payment during the interview.

    Fox News did not respond to a request for comment.

  • Fox is going to love Trump attorney general pick William Barr

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Update (12/7/18): Trump has announced that he will nominate Barr to be attorney general. 

    Fox News' leading propagandists have been begging for President Donald Trump to install an attorney general who will turn their conspiracy theories into federal investigations. With William P. Barr, the reported front-runner to fill the position, they may finally get their wish.

    In a November 2017 meeting with Trump, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro reportedly savaged then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his failure to conduct a federal investigation into a deal approved while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state that gave Russia control over some U.S. uranium mines. Conservatives latched on to that deal during the 2016 presidential election, pushing a bogus conspiracy theory that Clinton approved Russia’s effort to buy Uranium One, a Canadian firm with licenses to extract uranium in the U.S., because she had benefited from Russian government bribes. Fox tried to divert attention from reporting about Trump’s Russia ties by devoting hours of airtime to the pseudoscandal in the weeks before Pirro’s White House meeting. Now, the Fox host was using direct access to the president to undermine the attorney general, calling for him to appoint a special counsel to scrutinize Clinton and trying to make a federal case out of right-wing bullshit.

    Pirro’s rant reportedly agitated Trump, who became angry that Sessions was failing to act in his interests -- as if the attorney general were his personal lawyer. But Sessions largely weathered the harsh public criticism from the president and his Fox propagandists over the Uranium One case. He pointedly refused to appoint a special counsel, instead directing prosecutors to examine the issue to little effect.

    But now Sessions is gone, canned by Trump after a drumbeat of attacks from Fox for that very unwillingness to use the Justice Department to punish the president’s enemies and his refusal to interfere in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election. And his reported likely replacement is already on the record supporting a Uranium One investigation.

    Barr, who served as attorney general to President George H.W. Bush, is Trump’s “leading candidate” to return to that office, The Washington Post reported Thursday. In public statements made since Trump’s election, Barr has repeatedly suggested that he is much more willing than Sessions was to use law enforcement as a tool to enforce the president's will. That includes moving forward with a federal probe into the Uranium One deal.

    In November 2017, after Sessions publicly declined to appoint a Uranium One special counsel, The New York Times reported that Barr “sees more basis for investigating the uranium deal than any supposed collusion between Mr. Trump and Russia.” He also defended Trump’s public calls for investigating his former political rival, complaining, “To the extent it is not pursuing these matters, the department is abdicating its responsibility.”

    In a separate November interview with The Washington Post, Barr said, “I don't think all this stuff about throwing [Clinton] in jail or jumping to the conclusion that she should be prosecuted is appropriate, but I do think that there are things that should be investigated that haven't been investigated."

    Barr has also echoed the effort by Trump and his Fox allies to delegitimize Mueller’s probe because some of his team members had Democratic ties. “In my view, prosecutors who make political contributions are identifying fairly strongly with a political party,” he told the Post in July 2017. “I would have liked to see him have more balance on this group.”

    And in a May 12, 2017, op-ed for the Post, he defended Trump’s decision to terminate James Comey as FBI director. Barr agreed with the White House’s initial explanation for Comey’s removal -- that the firing was justified because Comey had usurped the authority of the attorney general by unilaterally announcing that Clinton should not be charged over her use of a private email server. He did not address Trump’s statement, offered on NBC the night before, that he actually fired Comey over his handling of the Russia probe.

    If nominated and confirmed, Barr would replace acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who had publicly mused about curtailing the Mueller probe.

    Trump and his Fox supporters want an attorney general who shares their authoritarian view of the law as a constraint on the president’s enemies but not his allies. It seems unlikely that the president’s eventual pick won’t fit that bill -- and Barr's recent comments suggest he would.

  • Fox News desperately insists Michael Cohen’s (other) guilty plea means “absolutely nothing”

    Blog ››› ››› JOHN KERR & NICK FERNANDEZ

    After President Donald Trump’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to “lying to Congress about the timing and extent of his negotiations,” on behalf of the Trump Organization, to build a Trump Tower in Moscow -- his second guilty plea to a federal crime in three months -- Trump’s sycophants and defenders in the media are proclaiming that Cohen’s guilty plea means “absolutely nothing.” By furiously attempting to spin the potentially devastating news as “a nothingburger,” right-wing media are simply picking up where they left off in August after Cohen pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws on Trump’s behalf. And even though Trump’s stooges in the media have openly worried about what may come next for some time now as the special counsel investigation continues, they continue to wage their public relations campaign with laughable spin:

  • Ann Coulter went on Fox News and called for migrants to be shot. Here’s the headline Fox went with.

    Blog ››› ››› LIS POWER

    Conservative commentator Ann Coulter urged President Donald Trump to allow soldiers to shoot people at the border or, alternatively, invade Mexico during an appearance on Fox News’ Justice with Judge Jeanine on November 24. Despite Coulter’s outrageous comments, Fox News headlined the show’s transcript on its website “Coulter urges Trump to follow through on tough border talk.”

    During the show, Coulter argued that U.S. soldiers "can shoot invaders," adding that if they couldn't shoot them in the United States they could "go one yard into Mexico." When host Jeanine Pirro pushed back, stating, “Ann, we can’t invade Mexico. … We certainly can’t cross the border to shoot them up over there,” Coulter responded, “Reagan invaded Grenada, and Grenada was far less of a threat to Americans.” She also stated that even if judges would try to prevent Trump from allowing soldiers to shoot at migrants or invade Mexico, “that’s not a reason not to try it.”

    To summarize: Coulter called for shooting migrants or invading Mexico, and Fox News thought the best description for those comments was “Coulter urges Trump to follow through on tough border talk.”

    Here’s the transcript:

    JEANINE PIRRO (HOST): You know what the legal requirement is, [the] Posse Comitatus [Act]. I mean, he is doing everything he can ...

    ANN COULTER (CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR): That you can’t shoot Americans --

    PIRRO: ... to back it up. What?

    COULTER: Number one, you can't shoot Americans; you can shoot invaders. Number two, even if that were true, OK, go in one yard into Mexico. What is happening on our border is certainly --

    PIRRO: So we should invade Mexico?

    COULTER: -- a bigger crisis for Americans than Grenada was.

    PIRRO: Ann, we can’t invade Mexico to stop them from coming in here. I mean, we're doing the same thing unless Mexico gives us that authority. If you recall, even in Benghazi they said, "We didn't get permission from Libya to go in and protect our men." We certainly can’t cross the border to shoot them up over there, I mean, if that's what you're talking about -- to send the military there.

    COULTER: We invaded -- Reagan invaded Grenada, and Grenada was far less of a threat to Americans than what’s happening on our border and I am saying, I don't think the Posse Comitatus Act -- I mean, Nazis have been arrested by our troops, when they landed in the Hamptons no less, with guns.

    PIRRO: Right, because they were, because --

    COULTER: Our troops had guns. He is the commander-in-chief. This is what he should be doing, and as for the omnibus bill and [Speaker of the House Paul] Ryan --

    PIRRO: And he has got to follow the laws because there are federal judges all over this country who will stop him in his tracks. Final word, Ann, real fast.

    COULTER: Well, I don't think so. I don't think so.

    PIRRO: I've been watching the news.

    COULTER: Most of the property in Texas -- so they'll bring a lawsuit, but they will lose.

    PIRRO: Yes, ultimately.

    COULTER: And that's not a reason not to try it.

  • Fox host Jeanine Pirro has banked more than $200K speaking at GOP events since Trump's inauguration

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    Fox News host Jeanine Pirro has received more than $200,000 in speaking fees from 13 Republican organizations in the past two years, according to a Media Matters analysis.

    The network recently lied by claiming it “does not condone any talent participating in campaign events.” In reality, Fox News personalities have routinely participated in Republicans events such as fundraisers and rallies.

    Perhaps the most prolific campaigner for Republicans is Pirro, the host of the weekend show Justice with Judge Jeanine. Pirro has positioned herself as one of President Donald Trump’s most sycophantic backers in the media. She has ​reportedly attempted to cash in her on-air advocacy for a senior job in the Trump administration.

    Pirro has also turned her pro-Trump advocacy into a lucrative side business as a paid speaker for Republican events. Fox News has no apparent problem with her and other personalities such as Fox News host Pete Hegseth and contributor Sebastian Gorka getting paid by Republican organizations; in one case, a Republican committee sent a payment directly to Pirro at Fox News’ New York City headquarters.

    Here is a list of 13 events that Pirro has done since 2017, along with the amount of money she or her speaking agency, Premiere Speakers Bureau, received in speaking fees near the time of the event. The data was obtained through a search of available campaign finance reports posted on state and federal databases.

    • Scott Wagner for Governor in Pennsylvania (October 10): $35,000. (Note: Initial reports documented that Wagner paid Pirro $24,500; an additional payment of $10,500 was made public following those reports.)
    • Kern County Republican Party in California (March 16): $25,000
    • Sangamon County Republican Central Committee in Illinois (February 8): $13,250
    • New Jersey Republican State Committee (Pirro received a “speaker’s fee” in January, February, and March of 2018 for an “event”; Media Matters wasn’t able to determine which event she did, and the committee did not respond to a request for clarification.): $15,000
    • Alachua County Republican Party in Florida (November 9, 2017): $15,000
    • California Republican Party (October 21, 2017): $20,000
    • Volusia County Republican Party in Florida (October 8, 2017): $20,000; separately, Pirro also received $442.35 for "books."
    • Republican Party of Arkansas (July 28, 2017): $15,000
    • Bonneville County GOP in Idaho (March 31, 2017): $14,000; separately, Pirro also received $2,204.42 for “airfare and hotel.”
    • Republican Committee of Lower Merion and Narberth in Pennsylvania (March 20, 2017): $5,284; separately, Pirro also received $240.90 for "transportation expenses."
    • Georgia Republican Party (March 13, 2017): $15,000; separately, Pirro also received $261.38 for “travel fees.”
    • Erie County Republican Committee in New York (March 9, 2017): $7,579.34
    • Kent County Republican Committee in Delaware (February 18, 2017): $12,000 (via SENR PAC, which is the campaign committee of the Delaware Senate Republicans).

    Fox News did not respond to a request for comment.