Steve Doocy | Media Matters for America

Steve Doocy

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  • Fox & Friends tries to smear Kamala Harris following an interview she did with The Breakfast Club

    Blog ››› ››› COURTNEY HAGLE

    UPDATE (2/13): The Breakfast Club responded to conservative media’s smear of Harris, explaining that their conversation was misrepresented.

    On February 11, presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) waded into the debate on marijuana legalization during an episode of the radio show The Breakfast Club. While responding to multiple questions, Harris revealed that she supports legalization and smoked in college. Harris also shared, in response to a question, that some of her favorite music artists include rappers Snoop Dogg and Tupac. While she was answering that question, one of the hosts further asked what she listened to when she was “high.”

    Right-wing media figures decided to interpret the sequence as Harris clearly saying she smoked marijuana in college while listening to Snoop Dogg and Tupac, which they note wouldn’t be possible because their music wasn’t released until after Harris graduated from college. They almost immediately started trying to turn the trivial nitpicking of details into a big scandal for Harris, accusing her of maliciously lying about smoking marijuana in college. Wednesday morning, this attempt to scandalize the moment made its way to Fox News’ morning show Fox & Friends. The three co-hosts treated the story as a “gotcha” moment for Harris, saying that “there’s a problem with the timeline.”  

    The wanna-be scandal underscores a larger trend of figures on the right using misinformation to paint Democratic candidates as inauthentic and unrelatable.

    BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): And then Kamala Harris came out and gave a very impressive introductory "look at me -- I want to run for president." However, if you look at some of the things she is saying about giving insurance for everybody, destroying private insurance and giving Medicare-for-all, you wonder where that came from. Then she admits on a morning radio show that she smoked marijuana because she wanted to in college.

    ...

    STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): She was listening to Snoop and Tupac when she was in college. We took a look at the record, and take a look at this. That was the appearance on the so-called world's most dangerous morning show, The Breakfast Club, here in New York. She graduated from college at Howard in 1986. She finished law school in 1989. She was admitted to the state bar of California in 1990 and then in 1991, Tupac's first album came out and in 1993, Snoop Dogg's first album was released. So there's a problem with the timeline.

    AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): So seven years after she graduated from undergrad, Snoop Dogg's debut album was released. And five years after she graduated from undergrad, Tupac's album was released.

    DOOCY: So she doesn't remember what she was listening to when she was smoking.

    KILMEADE: Right. I just don't know why -- she’s a scholar, her career is on a fast trajectory; she should embrace it, go behind it. Whoever you are, you have to be that person or it's not going to work. Did Donald Trump show you anything? For better or for worse, Donald Trump shows you exactly what he's doing every day and who he is.

  • "This is not about immigration": Fox figures stress the border wall is about Trump's political standing and 2020 chances

    Blog ››› ››› LEANNE NARAMORE

    As President Donald Trump continues to cite an immigration “crisis” and demand funding from Congress to build a wall along the U.S. southern border, Fox News figures are admitting that the wall is especially crucial because it impacts Trump’s political standing and re-election chances.

    Fox contributor Dan Bongino explicitly said that Trump’s insistence on building a wall is about giving him a "political victory,” stating, "This is not about immigration. I think everybody at this table knows this.” Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy claimed Trump needs a wall "because he needs to start running for re-election." Fox’s Tomi Lahren argued, “When President Trump listens to his instincts on this, he is right, which is why he won the election in 2016. He will win on it again in 2020. But he has to hold firm on this. The American people want a wall.”

  • “Did you hear that, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?”: Fox has another socialism freakout after Trump’s State of the Union address

    Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS & JOHN KERR

    During his 2019 State of the Union address, President Donald Trump declared, “America will never be a socialist country.” Fox News and Fox Business guests and hosts picked up the narrative, stressing that while we are watching socialism “falling apart” in Venezuela, “the Democrats continue to crawl closer” to the ideology” even though “it leads to ruin, it is immoral, and it is fundamentally wrong.”

    Here are some examples of Fox News and Fox Business figures losing their minds, once again, about socialism.

    Fox’s Sean Hannity: “The president also made it perfectly clear, America will never become -- now think about this, even Nancy [Pelosi] and Chuck [Schumer] had to stand up. Not sure that Congresswoman [Alexandria] Ocasio-Cortez liked it -- we will never become a socialist country.”

    Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy: “One of the most delicious cutaways was of Bernie Sanders” while Trump was talking about Venezuela and saying that “the United States will never be a socialist country. Now that’s something everybody’s got to applaud for, right? No, not really.”

    Doocy: “The Democrats, who would not stand, when we were talking about socialism, the unborn, unemployment, and things like that. You would think these are things we all get together on.”

    Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade claimed that socialism is “falling apart” in Venezuela, adding, “When you talk about the Green Deal, free pre-K, free college, free ‘Medicare-for-all,’ you talk about an unsustainable, untenable series of invoices that America can’t possibly pay.”

    Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer: “The policies that are being advocated by Democrats continue to crawl closer to socialism and embrace an economic scheme that I think has failed throughout the world, and that concerns me.”

    Spicer: “We see the folks in Venezuela really fighting for freedom and independence, ... and yet you have these folks in the Democratic Party that are embracing socialism and proudly -- they are embracing it.”

    Fox Business host Stuart Varney: “Socialists don’t care about growth and prosperity. They don’t care about America’s booming economy. They don’t care about it.”

    Varney: “The Democrat Party, again, my opinion, has been taken over by the socialist left. … Look what you have got here on the left of the Democrat Party. It is socialism! I’m not surprised that the Democrats in the House did not stand up and cheer when the president called out socialism. That’s who they are. That’s who they have become. OK, I’ve got a bee in my bonnet, because I am a refugee from socialism. … It leads to ruin, it is immoral, and it is fundamentally wrong. It is based actually on legalized theft.”

    Varney: “If you watch this program, you’ll know we are dead set against socialism. Personally, I walked away from British socialism in the 1970s. I have often said I am a refugee. Socialism leads to decline and ruin. It stifles individual success. So-called democratic socialism is simply legalized theft.” 

    Varney: “Democrats running for the presidency have embraced … the Green New Deal to kill oil companies and ‘Medicare-for-all’ that kills private health insurance. That is socialism. That is the new face of the Democrat Party. No wonder they sat on their hands when the president said, ‘We were born free, and we will stay free.’ Forgive me, please, for spending so much time on this, but I have seen it in practice. I have lived it. And I'm here to tell you socialism is just plain awful. This is Varney & Co.; we celebrate capitalism.”

    Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo: “How is it possible that they did not stand up when he said we will not become a socialist country?”

    Bartiromo: “That was President Trump last night disavowing socialism in his State of the Union address. … Nobody got up! … Half the room didn’t get up.”

    Fox News contributor Dagen McDowell: “These Democrats are actually anti-capitalism. … They are on the record for being in favor of socialism. We already know that socialism is going mainstream in the Democratic Party.”

    Fox Business host Cheryl Casone: “The president called out socialism last night in his State of the Union, and Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez [is] not happy about it. … The left is reeling this morning.”

    Fox Business’ Trish Regan: “Did you hear that, Bernie Sanders? Did you hear that, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? Socialism has no place in the United States of America. So it is time, right now, for you to abandon your far-left policies. We’ve seen what they have done to Venezuela.”

    Regan: “The president tonight rejecting Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro's brutal socialist policies and vowing that the United States of America will never head in that direction. Let’s hope not.”

    Regan: “To me, [denouncing socialism] should be something you should stand for. Yes, America’s never going to be a socialist country. … Nancy Pelosi -- you’re right; she did clap, a little bit -- but she wouldn’t stand for that. And to me, you know, our identity is not as socialists. I mean, we really -- we are capitalists that believe in safety nets.”

    Regan: Ocasio-Cortez “tells us we just need to be socialists, and it won't be like Venezuela. It'll be much, much better. This is her theory; this is what she was explaining to her comrades over there watching on MSNBC tonight -- that somehow Americans want this, that Americans want their money to be stolen from them, to be redistributed, and given to the likes of her.”

    Regan: “When they’re talking about things like freedom and Bernie Sanders can’t even applaud for that, we’ve got a problem!”

    Regan: “There used to be a time when that was not a cool thing, to be called a socialist. That was actually, you know, a term that could be used against you. … That’s suddenly en vogue. And do you think that that should be a warning for Americans right now, when you look at a country like Venezuela only three hours from Miami; that’s 20 years of socialism.”

    The Wall Street Journal’s James Freeman: “Some people are talking on Twitter about how isn’t it amazing an American president has to say this, that we’re not going to be socialist. But that is sadly the time we’re living in.”

    Freeman: “It is amazing, given that we’ve been getting this real-time education [from Venezuela] in socialism and its destructive power, that meanwhile it seems to be picking up in the United States.”

    Donald Trump Jr.: Democrats “use Venezuela as their model for socialism, so I love that my father said that ‘America will never be a socialist country,’ because that’s the other side’s platform right now. … Watch their body language last night on things that all Americans should agree on. They don’t even stand or applaud. It’s pretty scary.”

    Trump Jr: Systems like socialism would “shut down” everything that makes America great. “Just look at anywhere else they’ve been implemented.”

    Presidential historian Doug Wead on Trish Regan Primetime: “My socialist friends here in the United States say American socialism will be very different from the Soviet Union, very different from Venezuela, and we'll have freedom of speech, for example. But we already have American socialism. It's practiced at the University of California at Berkeley. On many of our campuses, we're experiencing socialism right now. They don’t allow freedom of speech.”

    Wead on Varney & Co.: “Bernie Sanders got trapped in that socialism comment. I think that will come back to haunt him.”

    Republican National Committee spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany: The speech was great at “exposing the radical left agenda, the infanticide, the ideas of socialism and single-payer and these really radical proposals.”

  • Fox & Friends ignores report on Trump properties firing undocumented workers in interview with Eric Trump

    Blog ››› ››› COURTNEY HAGLE

    On the February 5 edition of Fox & Friends, the co-hosts invited President Donald Trump’s son and Trump Organization vice president Eric Trump on to discuss the border wall and undocumented immigrants, but they  failed to ask him about new reports that the Trump Organization has started purging undocumented workers from five Trump golf courses in New York and New Jersey. According to The Washington Post, the purge was “set in motion after a series of reports about the clubs’ employment of workers without legal status,” and 18 people have been fired so far. Last night, Eric Trump personally confirmed the firings to the Post.

    From the February 5 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:

  • Fox & Friends goes all in on misinformation and shame about state efforts to expand abortion rights

    Blog ››› ››› SHARON KANN & JULIE TULBERT

    New York recently passed a law protecting and expanding abortion rights in the state, and a similar bill was just introduced in Virginia. Fox News has led the charge of right-wing media outlets that have responded by pushing a steady stream of anti-choice misinformation. And the January 30 edition of Fox & Friends exemplified exactly how not to cover abortion rights by airing segments with a number of absurd and baseless allegations that not only misinformed viewers but also shamed those who need access to later abortions as a necessary part of health care.

    On January 22, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Reproductive Health Act, changing a pre-Roe v. Wade state law that criminalized abortions after 24-weeks of pregnancy to now allow abortions “when the fetus is not viable or a woman’s health is at risk” with the consent of a doctor. Right-wing media responded by framing the law as a “barbaric” action by Cuomo and the New York legislature.

    Legislators in Virginia also introduced a bill in January that would protect abortion rights by eliminating some restrictions on abortion care, including one currently requiring three doctors to consent for a patient’s third-trimester abortion. On January 29, a video of the bill’s Democratic sponsor discussing the legislation went viral, with right-wing media and anti-abortion figures falsely claiming it as evidence that both Virginia and New York were promoting abortions up until the moment of birth.

    On January 30, Fox & Friends put on a masterclass in misinformation, airing multiple segments with inaccurate and stigmatizing claims about both the legislation in New York and Virginia, and about later abortions more broadly.

    Falsely claimed New York’s law and a newer Virginia bill allow abortions “up to the moment of birth”

    During Fox & Friends’ January 30 coverage of the Reproductive Health Act and the bill introduced in Virginia, the hosts repeatedly alleged that such measures allow abortions “right up to the moment of birth.”

    For example, in one segment, co-host Ainsley Earhardt argued that both New York’s law and the Virginia bill would let someone “carry a child all the way to the day of birth and then decide not to have that baby.” In a second segment, Earhardt repeated this claim, saying each would allow an abortion to happen “all the way up until the very day you are supposed to deliver.” In each segment, co-host Steve Doocy agreed with Earhardt’s inaccurate claims, saying that he believed each measure would allow abortions to be performed “up until the moment of birth.” Doocy also added his own misinformation, claiming that these procedures could happen “as you are dilating, right there at the time of birth,” or when someone was “on the table, … you could abort the baby right then.”

    Abortions at “the moment of birth” are not a thing that happens, no matter how much Fox News repeats this false claim as if it were fact. As Forbes’ Tara Haelle explained in 2016, “Those who seek late-term abortions are seeking them before a pregnancy reaches full term but often and unfortunately after they have discovered in the second or third trimester some problem with the fetus or danger to the mother.” Later abortions, although often medically necessary, are extremely rare, with slightly more than 1 percent of procedures performed past the 21-week mark. In other words, later abortions are not entered into lightly or often, and are almost certainly not occurring with the frivolity and carelessness that Fox & Friends’ coverage suggests.

    Used or accepted stigmatizing language characterizing later abortions as “murders”

    Beyond spreading misinformation, Fox & Friends’ January 30 coverage also used extreme language to stigmatize people for having later abortions.

    In a segment focused on responses to viewer questions, all three co-hosts read and agreed with viewer messages containing stigmatizing and inaccurate language. For example, co-host Brian Kilmeade read a comment claiming these measures were “out of control” and that it should be considered “murder at this point in the pregnancy” to have an abortion. These sentiments were echoed in comments read by Earhardt and Doocy, who in turn shared and supported viewer messages calling it “mortifying” to “terminate a child who is able to cry” and lamenting that “these folks have no heart. It’s a disgrace.” In a second segment, Kilmeade read a viewer comment alleging that the Virginia bill “makes all parties involved no better than criminals on the streets that murder.” Earhardt turned her attention from the lawmakers to specifically shaming people who have later abortions, saying, “It blows my mind how a mom can do that. And it’s heartbreaking.”

    Far from these depictions promoted by Fox & Friends, later abortions are performed for complicated personal and medical reasons. The people that Fox News figures and their viewers’ comments compare to murderers often have to make the difficult decision to end a wanted pregnancy because of a nonviable fetus or due to the great medical risk to the pregnant person. If Fox News really wanted to understand “how a mom can do that,” they could read accounts of those who actually had to make the choice of having a later abortion rather than demonizing those individuals and feeding a larger right-wing media frenzy.

    Lied about the measures “eliminating doctors” from the decision to have a later abortion

    Although most of the right-wing ire about the New York law and similar measures has focused on permitting later abortions (even though Virginia already allows them), Fox & Friends’ January 30 coverage also promoted misinformation about a provision in the Virginia bill concerning doctors’ involvement with such procedures. The Virginia bill would eliminate an unnecessary roadblock to abortion access that requires three doctors to agree before a patient can have a medically necessary later abortion. Instead, only one doctor would be needed.

    Fox & Friends lied about this provision, with Earhardt inaccurately claiming that the Virginia bill would “eliminate the doctors” from the process of approving an abortion so that “anyone can do it, doesn’t matter if the doctors approve or not.” In reality, the proposed bill removes the burdensome requirement to have three separate doctors approve a later abortion procedure.

    Fearmongered about a Virginia bill (that is unlikely to pass) to suggest extreme bills were “spreading” to other states

    Fox News already sensationalized its coverage of New York’s Reproductive Health Act in a number of segments across the network, but the January 30 edition of Fox & Friends focused on the new Virginia bill as a harbinger of extremism “spreading” from New York to other states.

    Most of Fox & Friends’ January 30 segments linked the New York law to broader discussions of the Virginia bill. In one segment, Earhardt made the connection between the network’s coverage of the two measures explicitly, saying that the provisions of the New York law that “blew many people’s minds” were “also spreading in our country.” In other segments, Earhardt made the connection more subtle, merely suggesting that “in Virginia, they’re talking about something similar,” or claiming that lawmakers were now “talking about it in the state of Virginia.” In each example, Earhardt and her co-hosts used outrage about the New York law -- largely stoked by Fox News and other right-wing media outlets -- to manufacture urgency and paranoia about the Virginia bill and the likelihood that other states may attempt to protect and expand abortion rights.

    Instead of characterizing New York’s law as an outrage that is “spreading” to other states, Fox & Friends should recognize the legitimate risk that the Supreme Court could overturn Roe v. Wade, particularly after the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh. As a result, lawmakers have felt the need to protect or expand abortion rights. While the Virginia bill that Fox & Friends spent a significant amount of time fearmongering about isn’t even likely to pass, the Supreme Court could deliver a significant blow to Roe as soon as this week when it considers whether to stop a Louisiana law that would close the state’s final abortion clinic.