The Fox Business Network will launch in 30 million homes on October 15. According to Multichannel News, Neil Cavuto, the managing editor and senior vice president of business news for Fox News Channel and host of Your World, will “oversee content and business coverage” on the new channel. Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of News Corp., which owns Fox News, reportedly said that the Fox Business channel would be “more business friendly than CNBC.” Fox News chairman and chief executive Roger Ailes said, according to The New York Times: “Many times I've seen things on CNBC where they are not as friendly to corporations and profits as they should be.” TV Week recently reported that the anchor lineup of the Fox Business Network will include: Forbes on Fox host David Asman, Fox News business contributor Stuart Varney, Bulls & Bears host Brenda Buttner, Cashin' In host Terry Keenan, and business news correspondent Dagen McDowell.
As Media Matters for America documents below, if these anchors' reporting on Fox News is any indication, viewers can expect from the Fox Business Network team: rampant falsehoods, statements praising the Bush administration, suggestive questioning, scantily clad women, and celebrities discussing the news of the day.
Cavuto has been the host of Your World, Fox News' “daytime financial program,” since July 1996. He has since become the managing editor and senior vice president of business news for the channel. Cavuto's purported business coverage has included the following:
- On January 16, Cavuto asked if The New York Times is "in mourning again" as a result of the hanging deaths of Saddam Hussein's half brother and another Saddam deputy, or as Cavuto put it, “because murderers in Iraq face justice.”
- On November 16, 2006, Cavuto endorsed then-U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, who was seeking Senate confirmation after ascending to the position in March 2005 via a recess appointment. Cavuto stated that the low probability of the Senate confirming Bolton was “not right” and twice asked if “there [is] another way around” the Senate's confirmation process, wondering whether there was “an alternative way of paying” Bolton's salary or giving him “a different title.” Cavuto also praised Bolton, saying that he has done “a pretty fine job” as ambassador.
- On October 20, 2006, Cavuto failed to challenge then-White House press secretary Tony Snow's false claim that “since the president cut taxes in 2003, the Dow Jones is up 60 percent. The Nasdaq is up 80 percent.” In fact, even without adjusting for inflation, the Dow Jones industrial average and Nasdaq Composite index had grown at nowhere near the rate that Snow alleged after Bush's second major round of tax cuts in 2003. Moreover, when adjusted for inflation, the value of both stock indices had decreased since President Bush's first major tax cut package in June 2001.
- On October 17, 2006, during a discussion of President Bush's “likability,” Cavuto falsely claimed: “I think most Americans, when they're polled on the likability of this president, he polls highly in that regard. It's just on the issues like the war and concerns about the economy ... that's what gets it -- it's not his personality.” In fact, polling at the time indicated that in addition to his poor job approval ratings, Bush also polled poorly on “likability.”
- Discussing the balance between civil liberties and security on August 22, 2006, Cavuto suggested that the British have “been pragmatic” in their efforts to combat terrorism, adding that they have enacted some counterterrorism laws that would be unconstitutional in the United States because the British “have a tradition of wanting to live.”
- Referring to the National Security Agency's (NSA) just-exposed program to collect the phone call records of millions of Americans, Cavuto declared on May 11, 2006: “Yes, it is not great to necessarily hear they're collecting our phone records, but it's a heck of a lot better than collecting our remains.”
- During a March 23, 2006, interview with Rep. Ron Lewis (R-KY), Cavuto asked: "[I]f Jesus were to come back today, would he like Republicans or Democrats more?" Lewis replied: “Jesus is neither Republican or Democrat, or for that matter, any particular national creed. God loves all people.”
On-screen question marks
On-screen graphics featuring a statement followed by a question mark are a fixture on Your World. Following are examples of Your World using such graphics to suggest a position:
- During an August 13 discussion of White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove's resignation, on-screen text read: “Karl Rove leaving: A loss for Wall Street?” Cavuto posed this question to his guests, Weekly Standard executive editor Fred Barnes and Fox News director of business news Alexis Glick, and, indeed, Cavuto, Barnes, and Glick all agreed that Rove's departure from the White House would be a “loss for Wall Street.”
- A January 17 segment on global warming featured on-screen text that read: “Global Warming?” and “Nation in a Deep Freeze: What Global Warming?” Cavuto began the segment by noting freezing temperatures in Texas, Arizona, and California and asking if these temperatures were "[p]roof that all this hype over global warming could be just that -- hype?"
- On August 16, 2006, Cavuto introduced a segment on media coverage of the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict by asking, "[I]s the liberal media fueling terror?" Throughout the segment, on-screen text read: “Is the liberal media helping to fuel terror?”
- During an August 14, 2006, segment on which U.S. president has had the most effective Mideast policy, the on-screen text read: “The #1 President On Mideast Matters: George W. Bush?”
- Cavuto ended the May 22, 2006, edition of Your World with the following teaser for the next day's program: “Are Democratic leaders who criticize the war in Iraq actually aiding the terrorists? Why Nevada Senator John Ensign [R] says, 'You bet they are.' ” An on-screen graphic read, “Dems helping the enemy?”
Another Your World staple is frequent video of scantily clad women:
- On May 4, 2006, Cavuto interviewed Playboy founder Hugh Hefner and Playboy model Kara Monaco, who had just been named the 2006 Playmate of the Year. In introducing the segment, Cavuto offered a pre-emptive defense of the interview -- presumably to those who would question its suitability for a “financial program” -- saying: "[T]his really is a big, big business story. The winner becomes the new face of Playboy, itself an empire, for the next year, representing the company around the world and schmoozing with powerful business titans." The ensuing interview, however, was light on business discussion but featured plenty of scantily clad and nude (though obscured) footage of Monaco.
- Just before adult film actress Mary Carey was to attend a March 16, 2006, fundraising dinner given by the National Republican Congressional Committee, Cavuto interviewed Carey about her professed intention to run for California governor for a second time in the upcoming election. But before hosting Carey on Your World, Cavuto teased the interview with video footage of Carey dressed in a French maid's uniform performing a pole dance. Over video footage of Carey pole-dancing, Cavuto informed viewers, “Her political platform included taxing breast implants and making lap dances tax deductible. But before you laugh at porn star Mary Carey, remember this: She placed 10th of 135 candidates running for California governor. Wait 'til you hear what she's up to now.”
- A Media Matters review of Fox News programs from December 5-15, 2005, found at least eight different segments featuring photographs or video footage of nude or nearly nude women, as well as discussions on news programs of “hot” videos, and an item on provocative attire in the workplace. Your World featured six of the eight segments.
The editions of Your World guest-hosted by Asman have also featured leading questions:
- On December 21, 2006, during Asman's interview with Michael Farr, president of the investment firm Farr, Miller & Washington, about the positive effects of mild winters on the economy, an on-screen graphic read: " 'Global Warming': Great for Business & Economy?" Asman led into the interview by saying, "[M]y next guest says if what's happening in New York is global warming, he's all for it." Farr responded, “Well, now, hang on, David. First of all, global warming is a very serious issue, and it could have devastating effects. That we are having a milder winter is a really good thing for the economy, and milder winters are always pretty good.” Farr later added, “Global warming is not a good thing. Global warming is a tremendously bad thing.”
- On April 10, 2006, during a discussion of nationwide protests of proposed immigration legislation, Asman wondered: “With so many illegals hitting the streets, is this the perfect time to round up these lawbreakers and ship them out?” As Asman spoke, the on-screen text read “Round 'Em Up?” Throughout the following segment, the on-screen text read: “Perfect Chance to Arrest Illegal Immigrants?”
- A February 23, 2006, segment on escalating sectarian violence in Iraq featured on-screen text that read: " 'Upside' To Civil War?" and “All-Out Civil War in Iraq: Could It Be a Good Thing?”
And scantily clad women:
- In a May 12, 2006, Your World segment titled “Porn to Run,” Asman interviewed Steven Hirsch, co-founder and CEO of Vivid Entertainment Group, about the business of Internet pornography. Throughout the interview, the broadcast was split-screened with footage from adult movies produced by Vivid Entertainment; the clips aired during the interview featured scantily clad women pole-dancing and stripping in front of men. Hirsch has made several appearances on Your World to discuss the sex industry.
- On February 23, 2006, Asman interviewed Anna Benson, proprietor of Anna Benson Enterprises, a website that features a photo gallery of Benson in provocative poses and that also links to a poker website with which she is affiliated. During a portion of the interview devoted to Benson's negative views on People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and filmmaker Michael Moore, Asman aired some of the site's photographs and observed, “There's some pictures of you in some very, ah, wonderful poses.”
Varney, Buttner, Keenan, and McDowell
While guest-hosting or appearing on Your World, Varney, Buttner, Keenan, and McDowell have advanced their own falsehoods and distortions, and have commonly expressed conservative or pro-Bush administration viewpoints:
- On December 29, 2006, Varney asked: “If and when Saddam [Hussein] is put to death, will The New York Times be in mourning about it?” Varney was discussing a December 29, 2006, New York Times editorial that said Saddam's trial was “flawed, politicized and divisive” and that executing him will not “automatically create a new and better Iraq.” Subsequently, on January 1, Varney claimed that “it appears the paper of record is” mourning Saddam's death because "[t]oday's headline call[ed] the hanging 'a rush job.' " Varney then asked: “So, is the Times now an advocate for the Iraqi dictator?”
- During a January 2, 2006, discussion about what he dubbed “Hollywood Bush-bashing,” Varney said, "[T]here has got to be a lot of people like me who will not go to see people who insulted my president in the year '04 and that election. I cannot divorce their talent from their political views."
- During a September 12, 2006, panel discussion of how the recent attack on the U.S. Embassy in Syria would affect the stock market, Buttner asserted that “Wall Street is very insular” and “the market's going to go down” if a terror attack occurs in the United States. Buttner then claimed: “Thank God and thank President Bush it hasn't happened here yet,” adding that “they've [terrorists] been trying and President Bush has been trying to stop them despite the opposition of some very misled people.”
- While interviewing right-wing pundit Ann Coulter on August 24, 2006, Buttner invited Coulter to elaborate on the “great job” she had done, in her most recent column, of bashing Democrats for not supporting the Bush administration's fight against terrorism.
- On May 29, Keenan pushed a misleading comparison between the national box office earnings over Memorial Day weekend of two recent blockbusters -- X-Men: The Last Stand and The Da Vinci Code -- and those received during the limited release of An Inconvenient Truth, a documentary on former Vice President Al Gore's campaign to raise worldwide awareness of global warming. Keenan noted that X-Men is “expected to earn more than $120 million ... as The Da Vinci Code fell to fourth place.” She then added: “Al Gore's global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth? Well, it earned less than half a million dollars during its quote, 'limited release.' ” But Keenan neglected to mention that An Inconvenient Truth's “limited release” consisted of only four theaters nationwide, while the most recent installment of the X-Men series and The Da Vinci Code were shown on 3,690 and 3,754 theater screens respectively. Gore's documentary reportedly earned nearly three times more money per theatre screen than X-Men and more than eight times more per theatre screen than The Da Vinci Code over the three-day holiday weekend.
- Introducing a May 29, 2006, debate on the significance of riots that occurred in Kabul, Afghanistan, following a fatal accident involving a U.S. military truck, Keenan asked if the riots were the work of “a small group of troublemakers” or whether “the Afghan people [are] simply ungrateful?” During the segment, on-screen text read “Afghan Ingrates?” and “Is Afghanistan being Ungrateful Towards America?”
- On July 15, 2004, Keenan responded to a question from Cavuto about Wall Street's “consensus view” on whether Vice President Dick Cheney should stay on the Republican ticket, by asserting that Wall Street would “be happy to have Martha Stewart on the [GOP] ticket if it meant John Kerry wasn't gonna become the next president, because, I mean, this Kerry-Edwards ticket is the most liberal ticket since ... McGovern ran in 1972.”
- On August 29, McDowell falsely claimed that Sens. Barack Obama (D-IL) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) “rack[ed] up another endorsement today, this one coming straight from Cuba's Fidel Castro,” referring to an August 28 column by Castro in the Cuban newspaper Granma. In fact, at no point in his column did Castro endorse Clinton or Obama; to the contrary, he attributed to Clinton and Obama a pro-democratic view that he called an “error,” and he said of Clinton and Obama, “They are not making politics: they are playing a game of cards on a Sunday afternoon.”