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Steve Doocy

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  • As hundreds of newspapers plan editorials to denounce Trump’s war on the press, Fox hosts attack the newspapers

    Blog ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Fox News and Fox Business hosts are slamming hundreds of newspapers as “anti-Trump” and “fake news” for coordinating to publish editorials on August 16 denouncing President Donald Trump’s war on the press.

    Trump and his administration publicly attacked news organizations and specific journalists hundreds of times in just his first year in office. Though he routinely attacked news organizations during his presidential campaign and the transition period between his election and inauguration, Trump’s anti-press rhetoric reached a new low in February 2017, when he began calling news organizations “the enemy of the American people”:

    Trump repeated his comments multiple times, though he eventually added the disclaimer that only “fake news” is “the enemy of the people” -- a bogus claim because he’s spent years labeling a broad range of mainstream news outlets and journalists as “fake news.”

    Many newspapers have decided that they’ve had enough and are pushing back. Led by The Boston Globe, more than 100 newspaper editorial boards around the country are reportedly planning to publish editorials on August 16 “on the dangers of the administration’s assault on the press.” Each newspaper will be writing its own editorial in this coordinated effort.

    Fox, which has both served as a platform for Trump’s attacks on the press and promoted his attacks on its own, is now criticizing the newspapers participating in this effort as anti-Trump and “fake news.” On August 13, five Fox News and Fox Business hosts took offense to the coordinated editorial release protesting Trump’s anti-press rhetoric. Fox & Friends First co-host Rob Schmitt said these newspapers are releasing editorials “attacking the president” and that “there is just kind of a mainstream, somewhat leftist bias coming from a lot of our media companies.” Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy commented that The Boston Globe “said essentially they’re going after the president.” Varney & Co. guest host Ashley Webster and Wall Street Journal editorial board member James Freeman both defended Trump’s rhetoric that the media are “the enemy of the people,” pushing Trump’s ridiculous claim that his critique applies only to “fake news.” Fox Business host Lou Dobbs referred to the planned editorials as “anti-Trump screeds” by “coordinated national left-wing fake news.” And Fox host Laura Ingraham, while criticizing media coverage of antifa actions against reporters, mocked the newspapers’ coordinated effort as “not collusion or anything.”

  • Fox & Friends accuses Vox and ProPublica of defending MS-13 with their accurate reporting on the gang

    Fox hosts keep spreading misinformation about MS-13 even when they are presented with facts

    Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    On August 10, Fox News’ Fox & Friends devoted multiple segments to attacking a collaborative video by Vox and ProPublica about the gang MS-13 that addressed "the most common misunderstandings about the gang" -- many of which are propagated by President Donald Trump. 

    Fox & Friends accused Vox and ProPublica of “defend[ing] MS-13” and claiming that the gang members “are really not that violent.” Roaming correspondent Geraldo Rivera, in a later segment, even accused the two media organizations of being “almost pro-MS-13” because of their “desire to put down the president.”

    True to form, Fox’s multiple attacks on the Vox and ProPublica report contained a lot of misinformation and race-baiting:

    • Co-host Steve Doocy accused Vox and ProPublica of “ignor[ing] the reality of what is happening on the ground. This is a vicious gang.” In reality, the video did report that the gang has “committed acts of horrific violence, mostly against other immigrants in specific communities.”
    • Co-host Brian Kilmeade incorrectly claimed that Salvadoran refugees fleeing violence in their home country formed MS-13 because they were “angry” at the United States and “start[ed] wreaking havoc” in the country. In reality, the gang initially formed as a measure of self-defense “in neighborhoods dominated by Black and Mexican gangs.”
    • Kilmeade bizarrely claimed that MS-13 “oftentimes” does “not [target] immigrant communities” but instead “working class communities, many of which are Hispanic. It doesn’t mean they are immigrant communities. It means they are Hispanic Americans.” This is false; the gang specifically targets immigrant communities because it can pressure them “by carrying out threats against family members back home.”
    • Former ICE acting Director Thomas Homan, who is a regular Fox guest, misleadingly claimed that “command and control of MS-13 is in El Salvador.” In reality, “MS-13 is a decentralized organization with no clear hierarchy” and “no leader.” It is instead built around local “cliques” that are sometimes “loyal to each other,” but also sometimes have competing interests.
    • Homan also claimed that Trump’s immigration policies are “on point” for combating MS-13, which he said was a border and immigration issue. However, decades of deporting convicted immigrants only made street gangs (including MS-13) larger and more powerful, and MS-13 members accounted for just .075 percent of all irregular border crossings in fiscal year 2017. (ICE has, however, made false accusations of gang affiliation to deport immigrants.)   
    • Roaming Fox correspondent Geraldo Rivera advocated the expansion of stop-and-frisk policies (also known as Terry stops) and any other “aggressive police tactics” to stop the gang, even though there’s little evidence that stop-and-frisk actually works. But aggressive policing does sow distrust in communities, making gang violence more difficult to combat.

    Fox’s absurdist attack on reporting by Vox and ProPublica fits the network’s growing reputation as cable news’ home for white nationalism. The network has long spread a litany of fear, misinformation, and conspiracy theories about immigrants regarding elections, crime, terrorism, and more. The network also spearheads outlandish defenses of the agencies charged with executing Trump’s racist immigration policies, which can be fairly described as a possible prelude to ethnic cleansing

    Under the Trump administration, Fox hosts’ commentary is becoming more explicitly racialized: Kilmeade defended Trump’s family separation policy simply because “these aren’t our kids,” Fox host Laura Ingraham attacked “both illegal and in some cases legal immigration” for erasing “the America that we know and love,” and Fox’s prime-time lead, Tucker Carlson Tonight, heavily focuses on themes of white nationalism and anti-feminism, receiving much adoration from bigots nationwide

    Disclosure: Hannah Dreier, the ProPublica journalist who worked on the report with Vox, is a former Media Matters researcher. 

  • Fox & Friends gives Trump administration credit for “cracking down on Russia” after it belatedly implements legally required sanctions

    New sanctions were mandated by US and international law for Russia’s nerve agent assassination attempt in the UK

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Fox & Friends is, yet again, pointing to congressionally-mandated sanctions the Trump administration is (belatedly) implementing to claim the president is “cracking down on Russia.”

    On August 8, the State Department announced a new round of sanctions against the Russian government and affiliated entities in response to the use of a Soviet-era nerve agent in the attempted assassination of a former Russian spy and his daughter on British soil in March. Months later, in July, two British civilians also came into contact with the nerve agent, killing one.

    Now, Fox & Friends is pointing to the newest round of sanctions to claim the president is “holding Russia accountable” and “screwing this collusion thing up,” even though the sanctions are mandated by Congress and international law, and the administration has been late in implementing them.

    AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): The Trump administration holding Russia accountable.

    BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): Again. The U.S. is issuing brand new sanctions, and this, after the attempted assassination of a former Russian spy and his daughter. They've been investigating since, and they don't like what they've found.

    STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): Griff Jenkins live in Washington, D.C. with the details on how the U.S. of A is cracking down on Russia.

    ...

    DOOCY: It looks as if the president is screwing this collusion thing up because I've been watching on the other channels, "He's been colluding with Russia." And yet, once again, they're cracking down on Russia.

    EARHARDT: Slapping sanctions.

    DOOCY: Flying in the face of that narrative with new sanctions.

    ...

    KILMEADE: Every step of the way the president's done this, but he doesn't trumpet it. He doesn't say, "Hey, I've got a press conference, here are the sanctions." He just puts them on, and the next thing you know, they're mounting and I think they are significant. Especially they still focus on the Maginsky (sic) Act, and what he did to certain oligarchs surrounding Vladimir Putin, because it's really throttled their individual banking ability and investment ability.

  • Fox & Friends deceptively edits clip of US senator to claim she was “confused” about Trump’s family separation policy

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Fox & Friends deceptively edited a clip of an exchange between Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and the head of removal operations for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Matthew Albence, during a July 31 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing regarding oversight of immigration enforcement and family reunification efforts. Despite the way Fox & Friends presented the dialogue -- suggesting a sitting U.S. senator was “confused about the immigration laws” -- Hirono was, in fact, correct in her assertions that the Trump administration alone made the decision to start prosecuting everyone crossing the border illegally, which has resulted in the separation of hundreds of immigrant families. Albence would acknowledge Hirono’s assertion as “correct,” but Fox & Friends did not include the comment in its deceptively edited clip.

    From the August 1 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

    AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): There was one senator, Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono, she was confused about the immigration laws, and she started asking this ICE official, Mr. Matthew Albence, she appeared to be losing her patience, then he lost his patience because she didn’t understand the law, and she was -- just watch this.

    [BEGIN CLIP]

    MAZIE HIRONO : Would you send your child to [family residential centers]?

    MATTHEW ALBENCE (IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT): Again, I think we're missing the point. These individuals are there because they have broken a law. There has to be a process --

    HIRONO: They have broken a law only as deemed so by the president with his --

    ALBENCE: No, ma'am, they're there for violation of Title 8 of the immigration -- of the U.S. Nationality Act.

    [VIDEO JUMPS]

    ALBENCE: They are in those FRCs pending the outcome of that civil immigration process. They have broken the law.

    [VIDEO JUMPS]

    ALBENCE: They're both -- they’re criminal proceedings, when the Border Patrol prosecutes them, but at the conclusion of the process, once the individual came into ICE custody, they would go through administrative proceedings.

    HIRONO: I'm confused.

    [END CLIP]

    STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): Apparently the senator from Hawaii didn’t understand that the parents were separated from the children because the parents had broken the law. It’s just a fact, and she thought it was because of the president’s “zero tolerance” policy. In fact, it was a U.S. statute.

    From the July 31 Senate Judiciary Committee Oversight of Immigration Enforcement and Family Reunification Efforts hearing:

    MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI): Mr. Albence, would you send your child to FRCs?

    MATTHEW ALBENCE (IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT): Again, I think we're missing the point. These individuals are there because they have broken a law. There has to be a process --

    HIRONO: They have broken a law only as deemed so by the president with his --

    ALBENCE: No, ma'am, they're there for violation of Title 8 of the immigration -- of the U.S. Nationality Act. OK, there's 8 USC 1325, that's illegal entry is both a criminal and civil violation. They are in those FRCs pending the outcome of that civil immigration process. They have broken the law.

    HIRONO: Well, these are mainly -- my understanding is that, under zero tolerance, these are no longer civil proceedings, but, in fact, are criminal proceedings. No?

    ALBENCE: They're both -- they’re criminal proceedings, when the Border Patrol prosecutes them, but at the conclusion of the process, once the individual came into ICE custody, they would go through administrative proceedings.

    HIRONO: I'm confused.

    ALBENCE: OK.

    HIRONO: So, the law that --

    ALBENCE: The criminal proceeding is the individual being prosecuted for the criminal violation of improper entry --

    HIRONO: And that was the zero tolerance policy, right? That everyone would be prosecuted in a criminal proceeding. Is that not right?

    ALBENCE: That is correct.

    HIRONO: Thank you.