How Fox News is lying about VP Kamala Harris’ visit to Poland
The network smeared Harris from the moment she became Joe Biden’s running mate in 2020. Now they’re continuing it over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Instead of covering Vice President Kamala Harris’ visit this week to Poland as a news event requiring careful explanation or as part of the complex international response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Fox News is instead treating it as a rhetorical dartboard.
Harris traveled to Poland for an important diplomatic task: to smooth over a disagreement with the Polish government regarding its public offer to give MiG-29 fighter jets to the Ukrainian military in exchange for new fighters and military equipment from the American government. Unfortunately, the Polish government didn’t consult with the U.S. before making its announcement, which Pentagon officials had determined was “not tenable,” and which outside experts also observed had numerous logistical problems and could even risk war between NATO and Russia.
During a press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda, Harris publicly called for an investigation of potential war crimes committed by the Russian military. Duda thanked Harris for helping to demonstrate the NATO alliance’s commitment to “freedom and security,” and the two publicly addressed multiple issues ranging from the defense of Ukraine to the challenges faced by Poland and other European countries taking in refugees. Based on remarks from both leaders, it would seem Harris’ trip was a success.
Fox News, however, has totally mischaracterized Harris’ diplomatic mission and the ongoing U.S. response to Russia’s war in Ukraine, instead presenting her as an unserious person with no handle on the situation. A week ago, Fox’s Tucker Carlson even suggested Harris might be the one person to blame for the war. In the run-up to Harris’ visit, Fox prime-time host Jesse Watters declared that it was an “insult” to NATO allies to send Harris to meet with them.
These latest smears are consistent with Fox’s entire record against Harris as both a woman and a person of color. When she was selected as Biden’s running mate in 2020, Fox immediately attacked the Biden-Harris ticket for checking off “identity boxes” and warned she could potentially campaign in “in nasty tones.” Then, during the campaign itself, Fox personalities accused her of siding with “thugs” and attacked the sound of her laughter. And since Harris took office, Fox has kicked up fake outrages against her ranging from a Memorial Day weekend tweet to giving “snippy statements” to reporters, along with making snide comments about her personal life.
Some of the latest examples of Fox’s dishonest coverage include:
- Fox News anchor Bret Baier claimed on March 10 that Harris was “not answering questions on that dust-up with the MiGs, and she’s not talking about it.” Speaking at the joint press conference that same day, Harris answered a question about the Polish jet offer by pointing out “Well, we’re making deliveries every day” of other military assistance to Ukraine, particularly anti-tank systems needed to defeat Russian armored vehicles.
- Fox anchor Harris Faulkner showed a dishonestly edited video, which skipped over almost the entirety of Harris’ answer to a question about the Polish jet offer. Fox viewers did not see any of what the vice president actually said about the extensive U.S. aid to Ukraine, only the final portion in which she said the situation “requires us to be nimble and to be swift.” Faulkner then mockingly asked, “What dressing do we put on that word salad?”
- Fox News correspondent Trey Yingst ridiculed Harris and Duda’s press conference, making it appear as if no aid was coming to Ukraine: “We heard this diplomatic and political speak from Vice President Harris. The Ukrainian people don't need that. They need anti-tank missiles. They need anti-aircraft batteries.” In fact, the U.S. and allies have shipped thousands of anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons to Ukraine during this conflict, and had been providing weapons for months before in preparation for Russia’s invasion.
- Fox anchor John Roberts accused Harris of “giggling” over the refugee crisis. Harris’ laughter was the subject of more dishonest right-wing media outrage, which conveniently skipped over the full context in which a reporter asked questions to both Harris and Duda, who were uncertain over who was supposed to answer first. The two then proceeded to each give lengthy and detailed answers on the refugee situation.
And one example that deserves some further exploration: Fox host Kayleigh McEnany dishonestly highlighted a Politico story from over a year ago that said Harris was having weekly lunches with Secretary of State Antony Blinken in order to shift from her prior focus on domestic politics over to foreign policy.
“I don’t want the person having lunches with [Secretary of State Antony] Blinken going to stop World War III,” McEnany declared. “I’d like maybe Blinken to go himself, the person she is apparently learning from.”
- McEnany’s criticism ignored the paragraph immediately preceding the one she quoted, which noted how even at that early stage — starting from “the day after the inauguration” — Harris was already having top-level conversations with world leaders.
- Blinken is also working on this global crisis — because this is an all-hands situation and not a competition for Fox personalities to play one administration figure against another for cheap rhetorical points.
- McEnany previously worked as the press secretary for President Donald Trump, the only U.S. president who had no prior government experience at all.
- While he was president, Trump extorted the Ukrainian government and President Volodymyr Zelensky over their desperate security needs, in an effort to force them into supporting his politically motivated conspiracy theories, and frequently sided with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in international affairs.