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Fox News continues to employ contributor Walid Phares while Donald Trump's campaign pays him $13,000 a month. Phares regularly appears on the network to boost Trump on foreign policy issues.
Two weeks ago, Fox News suspended the contributor contract of Newt Gingrich “due to the intense media speculation about Gingrich’s potential selection” as Trump’s running mate and “to avoid all conflicts of interest that may arise.” It does not appear to be concerned with any “conflicts of interest that may arise” with Phares.
Fox News states on Phares' biography page that he “joined Fox News in January 2007 and serves as Middle East and terrorism expert.” Trump’s monthly Federal Election Commission report shows that the campaign paid Phares $13,000 in both May and June for “policy consulting.”
Phares frequently appears on Fox News, where he is introduced as a Fox News analyst and Trump adviser.
“The Obama administration, unfortunately, has not accepted the principle that we're fighting an ideology,” Phares said on the July 14 broadcast of On the Record with Greta Van Susteren (via Nexis). “That is what Mr. Trump is talking about. Now, to find a policy he needs to be in government not just a candidate.”
During a June 17 appearance on Hannity, Phares called for an investigation into the Clinton Foundation’s finances and said Clinton’s foreign policy “concerns me.” While guesting on the June 23 edition of Fox Business’ Varney & Co., Phares responded to developing news about a German theater attack by claiming that if the shooting was “politically motivated terrorism,” it will benefit Trump because it will prove that “terrorism is active in Europe.”
Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is still receiving severance from the Trump campaign while serving as a CNN analyst. While Lewandowski no longer holds an official spot with the campaign, he “has been pitching his own super PAC to donors,” he has served as a Trump New Hampshire delegate, and he is reportedly still giving advice to Trump. Media ethicists have harshly criticized CNN over Lewandowski’s hiring.
UPDATE: A spokesperson for Phares responded to this piece by acknowledging that he is compensated by both Fox News and the Trump campaign. The spokesperson denied that there is any conflict of interest with him simultaneously doing work for a news organization and the Trump campaign, and criticized Media Matters for allegedly “misleading the public.” The statement is below:
In a Media Matters blog post entitled, “The Trump Campaign Is Paying A Fox News Analyst $13,000 A Month,” Eric Hananoki wrote that the Trump campaign is paying Dr. Walid Phares, "a Fox News analyst," clearly implying that the sum was being paid in order to influence Dr. Phares’ opinion in the US Presidential election.
Dr Phares has been a "contractor" not a staff member at Fox News since 2007. Fox News doesn't pay his taxes. Contractors are not part of the company's body and can be of different political backgrounds. Fox News contracts contributors from Republican, Democratic and Independent affiliations.
Dr Phares was also an advisor to Presidential candidate and nominee Mitt Romney in 2011-2012. He appeared as a Fox News contributor and his title was announced properly when his position was publicized. He was appointed by Donald Trump as one of his advisors in March 2016. Fox News has been announcing his title every time he appeared since his appointment precisely to inform the audience that he is a Trump advisor. There is no conflict of interest. Fox News employs numerous people to represent Mr. Trump’s and his opponents’ position on various issues as do the other networks.
Mr. Hananoki's insinuations are baseless and uninformed and aim at misleading the public. Dr Phares can have both statuses as long as it is announced. He has the right to be compensated as are all contributors and all contractors in all campaigns.
In the middle of an unfolding standoff between police and a gunman at a movie theater in Germany, Fox Business host Stuart Varney repeatedly pivoted to promoting Donald Trump, calling the incident “a plus” for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
On the June 23 edition of Varney & Co., Varney dedicated two segments to the developing situation, speculating in each that the situation might benefit Trump’s campaign. First, Varney and Fox News contributor Monica Crowley, a Trump apologist, agreed that the situation -- initially reported as a “mass shooting” -- would “absolutely” benefit the GOP front-runner because he has “emphasized the need for strong national security policy.”
Next, Varney asked Andrew Napolitano, a Fox News judicial analyst, what impact the incident might have on U.S. immigration policy. Napolitano responded, “When a crisis like this happens, it should benefit Donald Trump,” because “he portrays himself as the stronger, sterner protector of our shores.” He advised Trump to “express outrage and … determination” to “one up Mrs. Clinton.” Napolitano has a history of pushing conspiracy theories and recently used the horrific mass shooting in Orlando to promote debunked right-wing media myths about gun violence. He is also reportedly a likely Supreme Court nominee, should Trump become president.
Trump foreign policy adviser Walid Phares echoed Fox’s promotion of the GOP candidate, saying that if the shooting was “politically motivated terrorism,” it will benefit Trump because it will prove that “terrorism is active in Europe.”
Varney has track record of inserting praise of Trump’s foreign policy positions into his reporting. On May 19, when an EgyptAir flight crashed in the Mediterranean Sea, the Fox Business host framed the tragedy as “a plus” and “politically good for Donald Trump.” On March 22, he also let Phares erroneously claim the United States doesn’t have a vetting process for Syrian refugees, whom Trump has incorrectly labeled as a threat to national security.
Right-wing media quickly exploited the terrorist attacks in Brussels by stoking fears about the U.S. refugee vetting process, calling for the profiling of Muslims, stoking anti-immigrant sentiments, hyping anti-Muslim fears, blaming political correctness for the victims of terrorism, crediting Donald Trump with being "right" when he said Brussels was turning into a "hell hole," calling for torture and waterboarding, and criticizing President Obama.
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Conservative media figures have wrongly accused Muslim groups and leaders of failing to denounce the violent acts of the terrorist group the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL), despite the fact that numerous Muslim religious authorities, advocacy groups, and Imams have come together to denounce the Islamic State's un-Islamic crimes against humanity.
UPDATE: Mediaite reported in an article following the publication of this post that Fox says Chao is no longer a Fox News contributor. Mediaite wrote: "We reached out to Fox and they replied that Chao is, in fact, not a Fox News contributor." Fox identified Chao as a Fox News contributor as recently as September 6 during an appearance on Fox Business.
If it's hard to differentiate Fox News contributors from members of the Romney campaign, it might be because they're sometimes one in the same.
Four Fox News contributors are serving as surrogates or advisers for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign. In many instances, Fox News has failed to disclose its employees' ties to the Romney campaign while hosting them.
Another contributor, Karl Rove, is a co-founder and adviser for the super PAC American Crossroads, which is spending millions to defeat President Obama. Jay Sekulow frequently appears on Fox News to discuss legal issues and attack the Obama administration without being identified as a Romney legal adviser.
The following are the Fox News contributors who are also members of the Romney campaign.
Fox News has repeatedly hosted advisers to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney without disclosing that they are helping his campaign. Media Matters examined recent appearances by advisers John Bolton, Jay Sekulow, and Walid Phares, who have all appeared on Fox News and criticized the Obama administration.
Bolton and Phares are Fox News contributors, while Sekulow is a frequent Fox News guest.
Bolton, a Romney foreign policy adviser, said on Fox News that Obama's foreign policy is "confused and incoherent and incompetent" and defended Romney's foreign policy experience. Sekulow, a Romney legal adviser, has repeatedly appeared on Fox to attack the Obama administration on a variety of legal issues. And Phares, a member of Romney's foreign policy and national security advisory team, has criticized the Obama administration's handling of Syria and Afghanistan on Fox.
Fox News routinely violates journalistic ethics. Last week, Media Matters noted that Fox News has aggressively promoted Karl Rove's Super PAC American Crossroads, often without disclosing Rove's connection to either American Crossroads or Fox News.
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Fox News covered less than four minutes of a 26-minute press conference held by White House homeland security adviser John Brennan and press secretary Robert Gibbs to discuss the recent interception of explosives in cargo from Yemen. The press conference lasted more than 26 minutes, and CNN and MSNBC covered almost the entire press conference.
At one point while the press conference was occurring, Fox News host Neil Cavuto showed live footage of the press conference without audio and said: "I just want to bring people up to date here of Robert Gibbs, the White House press spokesman, is addressing reporters now along with the president's top security adviser. We are monitoring that, but I want to go back to" guest Walid Phares.
Phares went on to rehash an old attack against the government for not using the word "jihadist" -- an attack that we debunked when he previously made it on Fox & Friends:
While the press conference was occurring, Cavuto also had time to talk with Mike Huckabee, a Fox News contributor and the former Republican governor of Arkansas, and Bob Livingston, a former Republican congressman from Louisiana.
Fox & Friends criticized the Obama administration's "new national security strategy" because it will "no longer make references to radical Islamic extremism or jihad." However, this policy is not new; indeed, Bush administration officials discouraged the use of such terms, which they said "unintentionally legitimize" violent extremists.