Lars Larson | Media Matters for America

Lars Larson

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  • Hate Group FAIR Hosting Annual Event With Anti-Immigrant Radio Hosts

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) announced that it will hold its “10th annual Hold Their Feet to the Fire radio row broadcast in Washington,” on June 22 and 23. In previous years FAIR has hosted speakers at the event who have used their own radio shows to push anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiment. In addition, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has designated FAIR as a hate group whose founder “has expressed his wish that America remain a majority-white population.”

  • Media Slam Trump's "Totally Irresponsible" Response To EgyptAir Crash, While Fox Defends It

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    Media figures criticized Donald Trump’s response to the EgyptAir crash saying that it was “totally irresponsible” and “bad practice” for Trump to blame the crash on terrorism despite having no information at the time. Meanwhile, Fox News defended Trump’s “strong statement,” and praised him for saying “exactly what’s on everyone’s mind.”

  • Cable News Largely Silent On Report Finding “Systemic Racism” In Chicago Police Department

    Fox News Did Not Cover The Report After Frequently Dismissing Concerns Over Police Actions In Chicago

    ››› ››› BRENNAN SUEN

    Cable news only devoted just over two minutes of coverage to findings of “systemic racism” in the Chicago Police Department after a Chicago task force released a “blistering” report. Although the report made the front page of The New York Times, MSNBC and CNN spent less than two minutes each on covering the report while Fox News -- which has regularly dismissed protests over police brutality and systemic racism in Chicago -- failed to cover the report at all.

  • Fox News Leaves No Homophobe Behind

    Blog ››› ››› CARLOS MAZA

    Fox News rolled out the welcome mat for a Dallas television host who went on a homophobic tirade after openly gay NFL player Michael Sam was shown kissing his boyfriend on ESPN.

    Amy Kushnir made national headlines on May 13 after she walked off the set of The Broadcast, a Dallas, Texas morning show, following a heated discussion about the airing of Sam's kiss on ESPN. Kushnir, who co-hosts The Broadcast, argued that the kiss was being "pushed in faces" and objected to having her sons watch two men kiss. Kushnir also claimed she also opposed seeing heterosexual kissing on television, prompting skepticism from her co-hosts and eventually resulting in Kushnir walking off the set.

    That display of homophobia was apparently enough to get Kushnir an exclusive interview on Fox's The Kelly File on May 16, where she told fill-in host Shannon Bream that the kiss between Sam and his boyfriend was "shocking" and "over-the-top":

    KUSHNIR: It was actually over-the-top. ESPN used it as an opportunity to put out shocking video when ESPN is a sports network that families watch. We've got children that play sports. They watch ESPN all the time. So it bothers me that they used this opportunity to promote their left-wing agenda, in my opinion.

    Kushnir went on to lament that people with "traditional values" couldn't express their views without fear of getting "lambasted." Bream wondered if Kushnir was concerned that she was no longer able to voice her opinion, even thought it was Kushnir who decided to walk off the set of her show.

  • Fox Uses Misleading Report From Anti-Immigrant Group To Stoke Fears Of Violent Undocumented Immigrants

    ››› ››› THOMAS BISHOP

    Fox News used a misleading report from the anti-immigration Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) to accuse the Obama administration of "destabilizing the nation" by releasing undocumented immigrants with criminal backgrounds. In fact, data show that the Obama administration has met its enforcement mandate to prioritize the deportation of immigrants with criminal convictions, which has resulted in a substantial increase of such deportations.

  • Fox Guest's Answer To School Shootings Is To Abolish Gun-Free School Zones

    Blog ››› ››› THOMAS BISHOP

    Discussing a recent school shooting at Purdue University, frequent Fox News guest Lars Larson blamed gun-free school zones for the incident, stoking fears that gun-free zones attract violence.

    During the January 21 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, host Martha MacCallum moderated a discussion with Larson, a radio host, and Fox contributor Julie Roginsky about preventing violence in schools following the tragic shooting death of teaching assistant Andrew Boldt at Purdue University. Larson dismissed the notion that private gun sales should be subject to background checks, claiming that not "one single incident" has occurred from a private-party sale without a background check. Instead, he blamed gun-free zones, asserting, "[t]he fact is, almost all these incidences happen in gun free zones, virtually all of them," adding that "having more guns in society -- it does make society safer."

    In fact, statistics show that gun-free school zones are safer for youth than areas that permit them. The Bureau of Justice Statistics found that gun-free zones like primary and secondary schools are typically safer for young people, as gun deaths in gun-free zones never exceeded 2 percent of total youth homicides:

  • Fox, Glenn Beck Give Home To NRA's Arms Trade Treaty Conspiracies

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Right-wing media dishonestly reacted to Secretary of State John Kerry's signature to the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) by promoting the National Rifle Association's conspiracy theory that the treaty -- which aims to stem the flow of weapons to human rights abusers -- would threaten gun rights and require the United States to create a civilian gun registry.

    In fact, the treaty only regulates the international trade of arms and explicitly affirms the right of a nation to regulate domestic firearm ownership "pursuant to its own legal or constitutional system." As the American Bar Association noted in an analysis that found the treaty to be consistent with the Second Amendment, "the treaty would not require new domestic regulations of firearms."

    Still, Fox News continued its checkered coverage of the ATT, promoting baseless conspiracy theories about the treaty.

    On September 25, Fox host Heather Nauert reported on Fox & Friends that "gun supporters are opposing part of [the ATT] because it requires the United States government to adopt a new civilian gun tracking system, and that could sidestep the Second Amendment":

  • Fox News Still Denying Role Of Stand Your Ground In Zimmerman Acquittal

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Fox News is using an ad opposing Stand Your Ground self-defense laws that reenacted the fatal 2012 shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin to revive the false claim that Florida's Stand Your Ground statute played no role in the acquittal of Martin's shooter, George Zimmerman.

    On August 19, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence released an online ad reenacting the night Martin was killed as part of an effort to seek the repeal of Stand Your Ground laws, which are on the books in more than 20 states. Those laws drew controversy after Martin's death, with critics claiming Florida's broad self-defense statute had provided Zimmerman with too much leeway to kill Martin without repercussion. On July 13, a Florida jury found Zimmerman not guilty of murder or manslaughter in Martin's killing. Two days later, a juror told CNN that they felt neither crime applied because Zimmerman had "a right to defend himself" by killing Martin under Stand Your Ground, which should have ended all debate over whether the law played a role in the case.

    But while discussing the CSGV ad on the August 20 edition of America Live, guest anchor Shannon Bream said, "Let me also start with the fact that the Stand Your Ground law was not used in the Zimmerman case, but that's what this ad is all about. Does it do a disservice to both sides of this debate if we're starting from a place that's not even factually accurate?"

    After radio host Richard Fowler attempted to correct Bream by accurately stating that the Stand Your Ground defense was described in instructions to the jury, Larson falsely responded, "No, it wasn't."

    From the August 20 edition of America Live:

    BREAM: Richard, let me also start with the fact that the Stand Your Ground law was not used in the Zimmerman case, but that's what this ad is all about. Does it do a disservice to both sides of this debate if we're starting from a place that's not even factually accurate?

    FOWLER: The facts are that the Stand Your Ground law was in the jury instructions and beyond that --

    LARSON: No, it wasn't. No it wasn't.

    Larson is wrong. The publicly available Zimmerman trial jury instructions -- which were entirely based on Florida's Stand Your Ground self-defense law -- stated: "If George Zimmerman was not engaged in an unlawful activity and was attacked in anyplace where he had a right to be, he had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he reasonably believed that it was necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony."

    The jury instructions are nearly identical in wording to the text of Florida's Stand Your Ground law. According to Dan Gelber, a former Florida state senator and former prosecutor who opposes the law, Stand Your Ground "fundamentally changed the analysis used by juries to assign blame in these cases." The law was also important to the case because it was cited by authorities as a reason for why Zimmerman was not initially arrested after shooting Martin.

  • FAIR's "Hold Their Feet To The Fire" Event Attracts America's Anti-Immigrant Radio Hosts


    The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) will hold its annual "Hold Their Feet To The Fire" event on April 17 and 18 in an effort to derail immigration reform and stop the passage of a recently-introduced comprehensive immigration reform bill.

    The event -- which will host more than 60 talk radio hosts -- will allow the hosts to broadcast live and urge listeners to push lawmakers to oppose immigration reform.

    Last year's event played host to many anti-immigrant radio commentators, including several who have announced that they will attend again this year. These hosts have used their platforms to attack immigrants for bringing diseases to America, committing a disproportionate amount of crime, and illegally voting in U.S. elections, and one host even called for the hanging of undocumented immigrants who commit crimes in the U.S. and sending their bodies back to their home countries:

    Lars Larson 

  • Fox Guest Lars Larson Pushes False Information About NY's New Gun Laws

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Frequent Fox News guest Lars Larson made the spurious claims that a recently enacted New York gun law forces siblings to run background checks on each other when transferring weapons and would allow a mental health professional to report patients who they "don't trust" to prohibit them from purchasing a gun.

    In fact, the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013 (SAFE) expands background checks to private firearm sales but exempts immediate family members from performing checks. The legislation also requires mental health professionals to report individuals "likely to engage in conduct that could seriously harm the patient him/herself or others" to the authorities so that the patient's information can be crosschecked with gun ownership databases. It does not, however, prohibit individuals from owning a firearm because of a mental health provider's vague suspicions.

    Larson made incorrect statements about the SAFE Act on the March 22 edition of America Live on Fox News:

    Larson falsely claimed that SAFE would give mental health professionals the ability to report patients that they simply "don't trust" and suggested that the legislation could be broadened prohibit gun ownership for veterans with "mild PTSD."

    While the SAFE Act does create a new reporting requirement for mental health professionals, Larson greatly exaggerated its scope. The legislative memo that accompanied SAFE explained that the law creates a reporting requirement for patients likely to harm themselves or others and extends outpatient mental health treatment for individuals discharged from Office of Mental Hygiene hospitals:

  • ADL Criticizes "Inappropriate" Holocaust References From Conservative Media During Gun Debate

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has issued a press release expressing concern over the "inap­pro­pri­ate invo­ca­tions of Hitler, Nazis, and gen­eral Holo­caust imagery" in debates about gun violence after the Sandy Hook shooting.

    In a related blog post, the ADL wrote: "These com­par­isons, made by polit­i­cal pun­dits on national news pro­grams as well by oth­ers out­side pol­i­tics, are not only mis­placed and offen­sive, rely­ing on fac­tu­ally incor­rect premises and exag­ger­a­tions, but also deflect atten­tion away from an impor­tant national discussion."

    Some of their examples of this type of imagery include:

    • The Drudge Report, under the headline "White House Threatens 'Executive Orders' on Guns," featured photos of Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin (Jan. 9).
    • Former Major League pitcher John Rocker wrote on about what he described as "...the undeniable fact that the Holocaust would never have taken place had the Jewish citizenry of Hitler's Germany had the right to bear arms and defend themselves with those arms" (Jan. 15).
    • During an interview on the Fox News Channel, Lars Larson suggested that, "...if the president does it that way, everybody in America will be required to go in and give fingerprints....  It will be 'your papers, please' like Nazi Germany" (Jan. 9).

    The group spotlighted conservative media figures arguing that the Holocaust could have been averted if Jewish people in Germany had better access to firearms, and explained that "Gun control did not cause the Holocaust; Nazism and anti-Semitism did."

    In addition to the instances highlighted by the ADL, Media Matters has documented additional instances of conservative media making references to Nazis and other totalitarians in the midst of discussions about gun violence.