Steve Doocy | Media Matters for America

Steve Doocy

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  • Fox News wanted to exploit a caravan of migrants as a midterm election issue, so that's what Trump is doing

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    President Donald Trump responded on Thursday morning to reports of a caravan of migrants moving through Central America toward the U.S. border by blaming Democrats for their purported “assault on our country.” The president was mimicking the commentators he was likely watching on Fox News, who urged Republicans to weaponize the caravan as an election issue ahead of next month’s midterms.

    A caravan of as many as 4,000 Honduran migrants has entered Guatemala, leading Fox hosts to spend much of the week trying to stoke fears that the migrants are “heading this way” with plans “to storm our border.” None of this makes much sense -- the caravan would still need to make it through all of Guatemala and Mexico, and the Mexican government is currently deploying its own resources to stop the migrants. But because Trump’s worldview is shaped by the hours of Fox he consumes each day, that coverage is having an impact on U.S. policy -- and now, the topics of discussion in the midterm elections.

    Trump entered the fray on Tuesday morning, warning that the U.S. would cut off aid to Honduras if the caravan isn’t turned back:

    Trump frequently spends his mornings live-tweeting Fox & Friends, and his tweet almost certainly came in response to the show's coverage of the story that day:

    With Trump weighing in, the story’s coverage escalated. And on Wednesday night, Fox contributor and presidential confidant Newt Gingrich urged Republicans to make the caravan a key voting issue:

    “I think two words are going to define the night of the 2018 election in the next three weeks,” he told Sean Hannity. “One is Kavanaugh and the other is caravan.” Claiming that “the left is eager” for the caravan to enter the United States, Gingrich argued that “the American people are going to reject ... the way they are dealing with the border, and I think those will end up being the reasons the Republicans keep the House and dramatically increase the number of senators they have.”

    The next morning, Fox & Friends repeatedly urged Republicans to take Gingrich’s advice.

    During the show’s lead segment, after several minutes of dire warnings about the caravan, the hosts replayed portions of Gingrich’s comment. “So it comes down to a simple question regarding the Republicans and the Democrats, because it’s clear,” said host Steve Doocy. "If you think that our southern border should be open, support the Democrat. If you think the southern border should actually be a border with security, and stopping people, and processing them accordingly, then you’ve got to vote for Republicans, the Republicans say.”

    In a second segment that hour, Fox contributor and former ICE Acting Director Tom Homan said, “This caravan issue lays at the feet of the Democratic Party up on the Hill” for not closing loopholes in immigration law. “I hope the American people are paying attention because this isn’t the president’s failure, this isn’t the secretary’s failure; this is the Democrats’ failure because they know the issue and they refuse to fix it. They’re putting their political ambitions ahead of public safety, national security, and border control.”

    During a third segment, Doocy said that the election is “going to come down to” voters asking each other, “Hey, did you see that story this morning on Fox & Friends about the caravan? Can you believe that the Democrats want open borders?”

    And at 7 a.m., the hosts again highlighted the migrant caravan, with Doocy arguing that “these images do get the base on the Republican side interested in voting because, clearly, it's a choice. Do you want a southern border with security or not?”

    The president apparently got the message. In a series of tweets beginning at 7:25 a.m., he used the caravan to attack Democrats, saying they had “led (because they want Open Borders and existing weak laws)” an “assault on our country.” He also threatened to stop "all payments” to Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, and said he would “call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER” if Mexico could not “stop this onslaught.”

    This is not the first time Fox’s migrant coverage has triggered Trump to erupt on Twitter. In the spring, he similarly lashed out in response to Fox’s coverage of a caravan of migrants moving through Central America.

    This Fox-Trump feedback loop presents a problem for journalists, as the president drives the network’s fearmongering coverage into the mainstream policy debate.

  • Fox & Friends ignores violent attack by far-right group Proud Boys while fearmongering about supposed left-wing “mob rule”

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Fox & Friends continued to push its pre-midterm election bogus narrative of left-wing “mobs” while willfully ignoring numerous instances of violence carried out by far-right groups, including an incident this weekend of 30 members of the right-wing group the “Proud Boys” beating up protesters in New York. The beatings took place after Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes gave a speech at the Metropolitan Republican Club.

    According to BuzzFeed News, on October 13, “The far-right men’s organization ‘Proud Boys’ violently beat two or three apparent protesters Friday night following a Republican event in Manhattan. About 30 members of the group ... participated in the beating, some screaming threats and slurs at the individuals, according to video and an eyewitness account.” As a result of the attack, Gov. Andrew Cuomo requested an FBI investigation into the violence, and “also assigned a State Police hate crimes unit to assist with the New York Police Department’s investigation of the fighting, which he linked to President Trump.”

    Proud Boys is a self-described “Western chauvinist” men-only fraternal organization with violence at its core. To earn a low-level membership (or “second degree”), prospective members have to subject themselves to continuous punches by other Proud Boys while naming five breakfast cereals. The highest membership level, the fourth degree, is earned only if the member has engaged in violence with anti-fascists. McInnes himself is on the record saying he “cannot recommend violence enough. It is a really effective way to solve problems.”

    But, in Fox News’ alternate reality, “antifa” and liberal protesters are a serious physical threat to average conservatives and Trump supporters, while the far-more common phenomenon of right-wing violence does not receive any attention or is downplayed. From the October 15 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

    AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): You think, Stuart, are people sick of this? They don’t want all this violence in the street?

    STUART VARNEY (HOST, FOX BUSINESS): I don't think America likes violence in the street. Political violence has no place in America. We don't like it, and I think it’ll work against the Democrats. I haven't seen a single leading Democrat say, hey, tone this down, stop this mob rule, stop this confrontation. I haven’t seen a single Democrat do that.

    ...

    Yeah, the emotion of the mob, and the nonsense of socialism combined. I think it’s an untenable position.

  • Actual historian dismantles Dinesh D'Souza's lie about slavery and the Constitution

    On Fox, D’Souza dismissed slavery’s impact on the Electoral College by separating it from the three-fifths compromise, and Mike Duncan fact-checked him

    Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    On the October 8 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, pardoned felon and infamous serial liar Dinesh D’Souza responded to a tweet from New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez by misleadingly suggesting that the three-fifths compromise did not indicate that the founders considered Black people less than fully human, because “the South wanted Blacks to count for a full person.” D’Souza also claimed that the Electoral College is “a different matter,” as it was merely about “the large states and the small states” vying for power. 

    As explained by author and award-winning history podcaster Mike Duncan, this is nonsense -- the three-fifths compromise was about artificially inflating “the political weight of the landowning white southerners” to increase both the number of representatives they received in the House and the impact of their votes for president.

  • Fox & Friends fearmongers about left-wing violence while ignoring violence and threats from the right 

    Blog ››› ››› GRACE BENNETT

    Today’s edition of Fox & Friends painted a picture of a society terrorized by left-wing violence and threats toward conservatives, completely ignoring very real incidents of violence and intimidation against Democrats and professor Christine Blasey Ford.

    Hosts Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt, and guest host Ed Henry spoke at length about the supposed violence of the left, and fearmongered about the danger it entails for conservatives. Some of the hosts’ most pressing concerns included people protesting inhumane policies by yelling at politicians dining in restaurants, and peaceful protesters placing cameras in politicians’ faces. While the discussion did highlight some genuinely concerning threats against Republican senators, the hosts did not mention any threats against their Democratic colleagues or their staffs.

    Just three days ago, a Florida supporter of President Donald Trump was arrested after repeatedly posting online about his plans to kill Democratic senators. In one post, he wrote that he was “about to accept an offer on my house just to get more money to fund my plan to kill Democrat office holders and their families.” He also expressed hope that fellow conservatives would break into liberals’ homes and murder them in their sleep. Democratic Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama reported that his female staff members have received violent threats from supporters of newly confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. And Christine Blasey Ford, who testified under oath that Kavanaugh assaulted her while in high school, has been the target of sustained harassment and death threats for weeks. The threats are so serious and pervasive that she still cannot return to her home, even after Kavanaugh was confirmed and sworn in as a Supreme Court justice.

    Fox & Friends chose to ignore these clear incidents and threats of right-wing violence, and instead focused on fearmongering about an allegedly lawless left. From the October 8 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends: