Nigel Farage | Media Matters for America

Nigel Farage

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  • “The Empire strikes back”: Right-wing media defend Alex Jones after Infowars is banned from several major platforms

    ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS & ZACHARY PLEAT

    After Facebook, YouTube, Spotify, and iTunes all removed conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and Infowars pages from their platforms, several right-wing media figures leapt to the extremist’s defense. Jones’ defenders responded by criticizing and threatening “the entire rotten tech machine” and invoking a wide range of comparisons to support him, including Star Wars, George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, reality TV star Kylie Jenner, and the Holocaust.

  • Ahead of Trump-Putin meeting, Nigel Farage appears on Fox & Friends to downplay Russian hacking in the 2016 election

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    On the morning of President Donald Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Fox News turned to Nigel Farage, a network contributor with extensive ties to both Russia and Trump, for analysis and commentary. During the interview, Farage downplayed Russian interference in American elections and laughed at a co-host’s suggestion that he advised Trump to undermine the European Union and said, “I'm claiming no credit.”

    Farage, who campaigned for Trump in 2016, has deep and well-documented relationships with Russia and people -- including WikiLeaks' founder -- who are suspected of acting in the interests of the Russian government. According to British outlet The Independent, one of Farage’s closest business associates had frequent contacts with the Russian ambassador to the U.K. throughout the 2016 Brexit campaign, in which Russia reportedly interfered. Farage has also been spotted outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, “where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been living since he claimed asylum in 2012,” and he is alleged to have given Assange data on a thumb drive. The Guardian has reported that Farage is a person of interest in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in part because of that relationship. Moreover, Farage has appeared on Russian state television numerous times and has stated that Vladimir Putin is the “current world leader he most admired.”

    Farage was named a Fox News contributor in the midst of all this, despite being known for regularly engaging with racist tropes, stumping for a pedophile, and whitewashing white nationalism. During his appearance on Fox & Friends to provide commentary on Trump’s meeting with Putin, Farage characterized the unprecedented Russian campaign to interfere in the 2016 election as just “how the world works.” He added that “the establishment [is] blaming Brexit and the Trump election on Russian collusion without an ounce of evidence, and it’s up to Trump to show the world that we don't need to make things worse with Russia.” From the July 16 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

    STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): One of the things going forward, knowing that it is going to happen very shortly, the president's summit, is that there have been a number of Democrats here in the United States who suggested, well, after those 12 Russian spies were indicted for meddling in our election, they shouldn't have the summit. What do you think?

    NIGEL FARAGE: Well, let's just be clear: Twelve Russian spies have been found spying. It's what they do. They do it to us. We do it to them. It may not be very seemly, but it's how the world works. So there’s nothing in it that other than a very strange coincidence of timing, it seems to me. Look, the ultimate sanity test is, ask somebody, do you want better relations between Russia and the West, or do you want them to continue to deteriorate? And anybody with half a brain will say, well, do you know what? Talking is better than not talking.

    ABBY HUNTSMAN (CO-HOST): Nigel, I know you were with the president a few days ago. Talking to him, what is different, in your opinion, about this meeting? Because Putin has met with our presidents in the past -- they’ve all pressed that reset button, saying that things are going to get better, our relationship is going to change. What do you think is different about these two meeting today?

    FARAGE: Well, I think the fact is that the previous meetings have happened sort of around the back of global summits. This is the first time they’ve sat down specifically to try and work out where this relationship is going. So, I think it is important. There are questions, clearly, that the president has to ask of Putin. He may not answer them, but I think it's important that President Trump says, “Look, if you ever have or you ever intend to meddle in our elections, please get the hell out.” But, maybe, maybe we can start to have a more sensible relationship. Because, at the moment what we have got is we have got the establishment blaming Brexit and the Trump election on Russian collusion without an ounce of evidence, and it’s up to Trump to show the world that we don't need to make things worse with Russia.

    ...

    BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): What do you say to people who say the Russians hacked Brexit and they hacked U.S. elections, and they won on both ends?

    FARAGE: Yeah, this is because nobody thought Brexit would happen, nobody thought Trump would happen, and now the establishment, who still don't understand why middle England and middle America voted in a way that they can't comprehend. They’re desperately looking for an excuse. They’re trying to put together their own conspiracy theory. I’ve been accused endlessly by The Guardian of working with the Russians. And apart from drinking the odd vodka, that’s about as guilty as I’ve ever been. It’s ludicrous.

    DOOCY: Hey, Nigel, before you go, the news yesterday was that Theresa May, the prime minister, said that when she sat down with the president, the president said, “Sue the E.U.” Was that advice from you?

    FARAGE: All I can say on this -- all I can tell you is that the president understands negotiations, and he understood that we had paid hundreds of millions of pounds into an organization every single year, tens of billions over the last decade, to an organization who, frankly, had misspent our money. And so, President Trump’s idea was, start the negotiations being tough. I’m not going to claim credit for it. The president makes his own mind up on things. He’s very good at it.

    DOOCY: Yeah, but you did a little talking to him before he actually got there.

    FARAGE: Yeah, look, the president talks to all kinds of people. I’m claiming no credit.

  • Right-wing media praise Trump after he snubbed the British prime minister and voiced white nationalist views

    Blog ››› ››› DINA RADTKE


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    On July 12, British tabloid The Sun published a wide-ranging interview with President Donald Trump in which he disparaged British Prime Minister Theresa May and espoused white nationalist views. Conservative media figures responded to the interview by praising the president and berating his critics.

    Trump sat down for an interview with the Murdoch-owned paper shortly after the conclusion of the NATO summit, at which he insulted world leaders, missed and was late to a number of meetings, and took credit for convincing other nations to increase their NATO contributions, which he did not actually do. After alienating allies at the summit, the president proceeded in the Sun interview to undermine May and criticize her Brexit blueprint, praise her chief political rival, and threaten and threaten to kill a potential trade deal between the U.S. and Britain. Trump also used white nationalist rhetoric to talk about immigration to Europe, saying, “I think what's happened to Europe is a shame. I think the immigration - allowing the immigration to take place in Europe is a shame. I think it changed the fabric of Europe. And unless you act very quickly, it's never going to be what it was. And I don't mean that in a positive way.”

    Here’s how conservative media figures have responded to Trump’s latest outburst:

    • Fox News contributor Nigel Farage praised Trump for his “bombshell to the establishment” opposition to “globalist structures like the European Union.”
    • Fox's Steve Hilton: “The president is 100 percent right about Brexit.” May is weak and “caved in to the elitist establishment.”
    • Fox & Friends host Ainsley Earhardt: Trump is "allowed to" snub British Prime Minister Theresa May and "he's not afraid of the backlash."
    • Fox host Jeanine Pirro: “I don’t think it matters if [Trump] likes [May] as a person.”
    • Breitbart: “Trump just dropped the Mother of all Brexit Bombs on Theresa May.”
    • Breitbart also tried to legitimize Trump’s white nationalist view by hyping “significant demographic changes being seen across Europe” and fearmongering about the advent of “culturally alien practices” like female genital mutilation in Europe.
    • Anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller: “Reality vs Fantasy: President Trump warns Europe is ‘losing its culture’ by allowing ‘millions and millions’ of migrants, PM Theresa May praises their’ fantastic contribution’: Reality has a nasty way of shattering delusions. Trump speaks as it is. May…”
    • CRTV's Michelle Malkin attacked “media freaks” for overreacting to Trump’s comments, saying he was just “speaking truth” rather than acting like a "doormat.”
    • Fox's Geraldo Rivera: “He’s a great negotiator, the president.”
    • Fox host Melissa Francis: “To be clear… #TheresaMay wanted the President to lie about how he felt about her approach Brexit. And he wasn’t willing to lie. I guess #TheResistance & #NeverTrumpers thinks lying & diplomacy and the same thing.”
    • Asked about Trump’s conduct at the NATO summit and his interview with The Sun, YouTube vloggers Diamond & Silk said, “He’s doing an amazing job. He’s standing up for the American people and for America.”
    • Right-wing blog HotAir dismissed Trump’s comments, arguing they might actually help May.
  • Right-wing media’s outrageous coverage of Muslims in 2017

    Blog ››› ››› SANAM MALIK & MILES LE

    Anti-Muslim hate crimes increased for the second consecutive year in 2016, according to the latest FBI numbers. During this climate of bigotry, the right-wing media figures used their platforms to blatantly spread fear and misinformation, demonizing Muslims all over the world. Some explicitly called for American Muslims to be put in internment camps, while others denied the existence of Islamophobia in our schools (Islamophobia actually increased in 2016), and claimed that Muslim immigration means more terrorism (there's no connection).

    Here is a glimpse of some of the most absurd things the right-wing media figures said about Muslims in 2017. 

  • Fox contributor and Fox guest float internment after London attack, network later apologizes

    Blog ››› ››› NINA MAST

    Fox & Friends Sunday hosts apologized after two of the show’s guests -- one of whom works for the channel -- floated the possibility of using internment camps to detain terror suspects in the U.K. following the June 3 attack in London.

    The day after the attack in London, which killed seven and injured dozens, Fox News’ Fox & Friends Sunday hosted Fox contributor and former U.K. Independent Party leader Nigel Farage and Daily Mail columnist Katie Hopkins. Both guests invoked the idea of internment camps for terror suspects in the U.K. to respond to the attack. Later in the show, the hosts apologized for their guests’ radical suggestions. From the June 4 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends Sunday:

    CLAYTON MORRIS (CO-HOST): Earlier on the show, we had a couple of guests mention the word internment, the idea of internment camps, as a possible solution to this. I think I made it well-known my feeling on that, which I find reprehensible, but on behalf of the network, I think all of us here find that idea reprehensible here at Fox News Channel. Just to be clear.

    PETE HEGSETH (CO-HOST): No suggestions of that.

    MORRIS: Absolutely.

    Farage first brought up the notion of internment camps, saying that “unless we see the government getting tough, you will see public calls for those 3,000 [terror watch list suspects] to be arrested.” Farage added, “if there is not action, then the calls for internment will grow”:

    ABBY HUNTSMAN (CO-HOST): Nigel, you have the pulse of the people. You were behind the Brexit movement before anyone really knew that that was actually going to happen. We've got these big elections in the U.K. this week. What is the mood?  What is the sense where you are of the people in the U.K. about this threat of terror? [Do] they feel like where they are they have a handle on it?

    NIGEL FARAGE: We are as a people very slow to anger. We are remarkably tolerant of things. But I do think, bear in mind this is now the third terrorist incident that has happened in my country in the spate of as many months. And the mood that I get now is we want some real action. We don't just want speeches given outside number 10 Downing Street. We want genuine action. And if there is not action, then the calls for internment will grow. We have over 3,000 people on a sort of known terrorist list, and we’re watching and monitoring their activities, but a further 20,000 people who are persons of interest, mainly they’re linked in some way to extremist organizations. Unless we see the government getting tough, you will see public calls for those 3,000 to be arrested. And I’m not sure, I’m not sure that that is the right approach, because the big danger with that is we might alienate decent, fair-minded Muslims in Britain.

    HEGSETH: Of course. Calls for internment --

    FARAGE: But whatever happens, we do need action.

    HEGSETH: -- would be strong talk.

    Later, Hopkins reiterated Farage’s remarks about internment, and even went further, saying that the U.K. “need[s] start incarcerating, deporting, repeating until we clean this country up” and that “we do need internment camps”:

    CLAYTON MORRIS (CO-HOST): How do you think her speech resonated? Do you think it hit the mark, or did it miss?

    KATIE HOPKINS: It missed the mark. I mean, we were relieved, I think, I was relieved that she didn’t come out and say the stuff that our London Mayor Sadiq Khan has been saying.

    [...]

    HOPKINS: At least Theresa May came out and said “enough is enough.” What she hasn’t done, what she didn’t do, is tell us what we need to hear. And that is that things are going to change completely. That tomorrow, 3,000 people on the watchlist are going to be rounded up. We need to hear that 650 jihadis that returned to the U.K. are going to be incarcerated and deported. And we need to hear that Saudi-backed mosques and extreme hate preachers and imams within those mosques are also going to be shut down and deported. That’s what regular British people want to hear, what I want to hear. And it is not enough to say we will win against terror, because if this is terror losing, then victory is meaningless because this is horrible.

    [...]

    MORRIS: Talk about the nuts and bolts of this. Nigel Farage on the show a short time ago bringing up the word “internment,” bringing up the specter here in the United States of internment camps -- Japanese internment camps. You’re mentioning deportation and rounding up and mass incarceration. What would that look like? Do you think that Theresa May, do you think that the British government would actually do that?

    HOPKINS: I don't think they've got the stomach to do that. I don’t think they’ve got the political will to do that. I also see how they pander still relentlessly to these preachers who are on the wrong side of this argument. People who are against the prevent strategy for counterterrorism. People like Cage to speak out always in defense of Islam and how great it is. Islamic preachers who speak out about the fact that what we need to be worried about is Islamophobia. We’re not worried about that. We do need internment camps. Before, I would’ve bought the idea that, no, this gets more people radicalized. You know, that’s not the solution. But we’ve gone beyond the tipping point. I tell you this country cannot take another attack.

    Farage and Hopkins are both notorious Islamophobes on whom Fox News regularly relies for its post-terror attack fear-mongering about Muslims and immigrants. Farage is a staunch Trump ally, former Breitbart contributor, and anti-Muslim agitator who has accused British Muslims of having a "split of loyalties" and falsely claimed Sweden is the "rape capital of Europe” because of Muslim immigration. Farage frequently appears on Fox to push anti-immigrant rhetoric. Hopkins frequently uses her Daily Mail column to push xenophobic misinformation. Hopkins, who is currently being sued for libel, has called migrants “cockroaches” and falsely accused a Muslim family of being terrorists. In a recent report from Sweden, she claimed without evidence that the country’s news is filled with reports of rape and assault of young women, discussed an unsourced alleged rape of a 12-year-old by an unaccompanied minor immigrant, and told the impossible-to-substantiate story of a girl “terrified of going out alone” because she lives “near a busy shopping centre which draws migrants from no-go zones,” which do not exist in Sweden. Her vitriolic xenophobia has made her a favorite of the "alt-right."

    Fox has a pattern of hosting anti-Muslim guests to fear-monger about refugees and immigration, and, since the election of President Donald Trump, attempting to justify his anti-Muslim policy proposals in the wake of terror attacks, even when it doesn't make sense. Most recently, after the terror attack in Manchester, Fox hosted the architect of the post-9/11 torture program to blame civil rights and invited Farage to use the attack (which was committed by a U.K. native) to justify Trump's Muslim ban. One Fox & Friends host has even admitted that the show only covers terror attacks when they appear to implicate Muslims.

    This is not the first time the idea of internment camps to deal with Islamist terrorism has been floated on a Fox show. In 2016, Fox guest Carl Higbie cited Japanese internment camps as a precedent for Trump’s calls for a Muslim registry. And in 2010, then-Fox contributor Liz Trotta seemed to defend the use of Japanese internment camps when discussing outrage over a blog post by Martin Peretz about Muslims.

  • This is how right-wing media reacted to ISIS terrorism under President Obama

    ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN, NINA MAST, BRENNAN SUEN & CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    ISIS has claimed responsibility for a terrorist attack in Manchester, England, which killed more than 20 people. During Barack Obama’s presidency, right-wing media figures exploited terrorist attacks that ISIS claimed responsibility for to blame, criticize, and attack the president. Additionally, right-wing media figures castigated Obama for not leaving a foreign trip in the aftermath of an attack.