Right-Wing Media's History Of Exploiting Tragedy

Right-wing media rushed to exploit the deadly attack on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris. But this is just the latest in right-wing media's long history of politicizing tragedy to push political objectives.

Right-Wing Media Have Long History Of Exploiting Tragedy

Charlie Hebdo Terror Attack In Paris

Fox's Elisabeth Hasselbeck Used French Attack To Criticize New York City Mayor De Blasio. During the January 7 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, network national security analyst KT McFarland blamed the shooting at Charlie Hebdo headquarters on France's “really strict gun control” and “politically correct” policies that treat everyone equally. Echoing disdain for such policies, co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck added that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio threatens the city's security by demoralizing the New York Police Department and painting the NYPD with “a racist brush” when officers act on that principle. [Fox News, Fox & Friends1/7/15

Fox Host Eric Bolling Called For Reinstatement Of NYPD's Surveillance Program On Muslims. On the January 7 edition of Fox News' Outnumbered, Eric Bolling argued that the attack in Paris demonstrated the need for NYPD to resume scrapped surveillance program on Muslim communities. Bolling said “I would go on a limb and say yes” cops should profile Muslims. [Fox News, Outnumbered, 1/7/15

National Review Online: More Guns Would Make Public Safer From “Paris-Style Attacks.” National Review Online's Jim Geraghty used the Paris attack to advocate for more guns in public places in the U.S., suggesting that “media offices in New York City [and] Washington” might benefit from more guns by making it more “likely that any attempted attack would face armed response from ordinary citizens much quicker.” [National Review Online, 1/7/15

Fox Host Kennedy: “Best Thing That Americans Can Do Is Arm Themselves” To Fight Terrorists. On the January 7 edition of Fox News' Outnumbered, the co-hosts agreed that Americans “are being hunted” by terrorists, and network host Kennedy added that “I think the best thing that Americans can do is arm themselves.” [Fox News, Outnumbered1/7/15]

Laura Ingraham: France “Reap[s] What They Sow” With Immigration Policy. On the January 7 edition of Courtside Entertainment Group's The Laura Ingraham Show, Ingraham blamed the tragic attack in Paris on France's immigration policy, saying “the principle of multiculturalism and open borders... is pure insanity, a suicide pact.” [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show1/7/15]

Mass Shootings

In Wake Of Aurora Shooting, Fox Contributor DenieGun Violence Epidemic. In a conversation about the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado on the July 23, 2012 edition of CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight, Fox contributor John Lott rejected host Morgan's assertion that “America has the worst incidents of gun murders of any of what they call the civilized world.” Lott also took the opportunity to defend loose gun regulations, claiming that banning the types of weaponry used by the Auroria shooter would necessitate banning all semi-automatic firearms. [CNN, Piers Morgan Tonight7/24/12]

Ted Nugent Defended Assault Weapons In Aftermath of Aurora Theater Shooting. Conservative commentator and National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent used the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado as an opportunity to defend assault weapons, claiming that there were “only universally proven sporting & self defense firearms.” Nugent also took the opportunity to call for more guns in public spaces, praising the “brave warriors who saved lives” during the massacre adding, “IF only they would hav[e] had a good gun.” [Twitter.com, 7/25/12]

Fox & Friends Hosts: Shooting At Canadian Parliament “Makes The Argument About Guns.” Fox News co-hosts Brian Kilmeade and Steve Doocy jumped to connect the deadly 2014 Canadian Parliament shooting to gun laws and suggested that Canada's strict gun laws could impact safety measures:

DOOCY: We're just lucky that the sergeant-of-arms was there and he had a gun just outside the caucus room because if the gunman had gone inside with all those people, you know -- we don't know what could have happened. So that makes the argument about guns.

KILMEADE: Yeah, in Canada where they have much stricter gun control laws. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 10/23/14]

Fox's Andrea Tantaros Used Deadly Shootings To Advocate For Stop-And-Frisk And Racial Profiling Policies. On the October 27 edition of Fox News' Outnumbered, co-host Andrea Tantaros and frequent Fox guest Bo Dietl used the Canadian Parliament shooting and New York City hatchet attack to lament New York City policies that prohibit stop-and-frisk and “spying into mosques,” arguing that such policies could have prevented the attacks. [Fox News, Outnumbered10/27/14]

Breitbart.com“Good Guy With A Gun Ended Terror Attack On Canadian Parliament.” Breitbart.com echoed the NRA catchphrase which claimed that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” in an article on the Canadian Parliament shooting headlined, “Good Guy with a Gun Ended Terror Attack on Canadian Parliament.” As Breitbart reported:

The assistant commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said the attack “caught [them] by surprise,” that they didn't see it coming. So it is unclear how many more lives may have been lost if a good guy with a gun had not been present to stop Zehif-Bibeau. [Breitbart,10/22/14]

Fox's Martha MacCallum Suggested More Guns Would Have Saved Lives During Ft. Hood Shooting. On the April 3, 2014 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, co-host Martha MacCallum advocated for more guns in public spaces, suggesting that the 2014 Ft. Hood shooting could have been prevented or stopped “if other people had been armed on that base.” [Fox News, America's Newsroom4/3/14]

WSJ Columnist Taranto Used Gabby Giffords' Injuries To Silence Her On Gun Violence. On the April 19, 2013 edition of the National Rifle Association's news show, Cam & CompanyWall Street Journal columnist James Taranto questioned the authenticity of a New York Times op-ed penned by Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in response to the failure of gun control legislation. Taranto cast doubt on the idea that Giffords, who was shot in the head in 2011, had authored the piece in an attempt to silence her calls for stricter gun control measures, claiming that the op-ed appeared online too quickly to have been written by someone “who has severe impairments of her motor and speech functions.” [National Rifle Association, Cam & Company4/19/13]

Attack On School In Peshawar, Pakistan

Fox News: Obama Calling Pakistan Terror Group “Terrorists” Isn't Good Enough. Fox correspondent Ainsley Earhardt scrutinized President Obama's response to the 2014 deadly attack on a school in Peshawar, Pakistan that left 145 people dead, including 132 school children. Moving the goalposts on how Obama should respond to terror attacks, Earhardt criticized Obama for calling it terror but not mentioning the Taliban. [Fox News, Fox & Friends12/17/14]

Deadly Hostage Situation In Sydney, Australia

Fox Host Elisabeth Hasselbeck Cited Hostage Situation To Justify CIA Torture. Following a 2014 fatal hostage situation in Sydney, Australia, Fox & Friends co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck cited the incident to lament the criticism facing the CIA in the wake of the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on the CIA torture program:

HASSELBECK: When you see what's happening in Australia today, right now, in a chocolate shop, and you understand the real war with ISIS that we're in. It's the sharp contrast with the accusations of the CIA really just trying to do their job and keep America safe for the past 13 years startles you.  [Fox News, Fox & Friends,12/15/14]

Fox  Hosts: “Cut Off The Fingers And Toes”; “Let's Waterboard Them.” On the December 15, 2014 edition of Fox News' The Five, co-hosts Greg Gutfeld and Bob Beckel cited the fatal Sydney hostage situation as the latest example of global terrorism and the need for torture techniques. Gutfeld said that interrogators “have to have a last resort” to get information, recommending that they “cut off the fingers and toes” of detainees. Beckel concluded that the United States should be capturing and waterboarding Islamic State prisoners. [Fox News, The Five12/15/14]

Fox Correspondent Leland Vittert: “Does Something Like This Justify ... Breaking The Law In The Interest Of Public Safety?” During the December 15 edition of Happening Now, Fox News foreign correspondent Leland Vittert discussed the hostage situation in Sydney, Australia. After reporting that at least one hostage had been killed, and citing so-called “fallout” from the Senate's CIA torture report, Vittert asked guests Alan Colmes and Tammy Bruce whether “something like this justif[ies], once again, the need for sometimes bending the law, perhaps some people would even say breaking the law, in the interest of public safety?” [Fox News, Happening Now12/15/14]

Deaths Of Eric Garner And Michael Brown

Fox's Andrea Tantaros Used Eric Garner's Death To Attack NYC Mayor And Blame Cigarette Taxes. On the December 4 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, network host Andrea Tantaros blamed Eric Garner's death on New York City's cigarette tax and attacked Mayor Bill de Blasio, saying the mayor had “created a lot of these situations, remember, he hiked up the tax on cigarettes.” [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor12/4/14]

Sean Hannity Found A Way To Make Eric Garner's Death About Benghazi. On the December 5 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show, Hannity expressed outrage over Speaker of the House John Boehner's (R-OH) call for a congressional investigation into the death of Eric Garner, using Garner's death as an opportunity to criticize Boehner for not showing enough enthusiasm over investigations into the 2012 deadly attacks in Benghazi, Libya. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show12/5/14]

Fox News Turned To Racial Profiling Advocate To Promote Stop-And-Frisk In Wake Of Garner Death. On the August 6 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, frequent Fox guest and racial profiling advocate Bo Dietl discussed the death of Eric Garner with host Steve Doocy. Doocy cited “critics” who say the streets of New York “are much less safe” under De Blasio because of his “plans to stop, or at least scale back, stop-and-frisk. Dietl lamented that New York City policies have prohibited stop-and-frisk,” and questioned the validity of the medical examiner's report on Garner's death. [Fox News, Fox & Friends8/6/14]

Ebola Crisis

Limbaugh Used First U.S. Ebola Diagnosis To Stoke Immigration Fears. Following the 2014 outbreak of Ebola, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh used the first diagnosis of the virus within the United States to stoke fears that our open borders “are allowing people with diseases to come to the U.S..” Limbaugh also claimed that the U.S. “had somebody come across the border carrying Ebola with them.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show10/2/14]

Laura Ingraham On Ebola: “What's More Important, Political Correctness And An Obsession With Open Borders For Multicultural Purposes Or Our Nation State.” On the October 2 edition of The Laura Ingraham Show, radio host Laura Ingraham used the news of the first Ebola case diagnosed in the United States to complain about the Obama administration's “obsession with open borders” and immigration, saying “I say our nation state is more important than people who think you can never shut down air travel or immigration or anything else on the face of the planet.” [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show10/2/14]

Natural Disasters

Ingraham Attacked Obama Following Deadly 2011 Missouri TornadoesIn a May 2001 tweet following the deadly 2011 tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri, Laura Ingraham attacked President Obama, claiming he had not received enough criticism for traveling to Europe in the tornadoes' aftermath. [Twitter.com, 5/24/11]

Fox Hosts Used Hurricane Sandy To Deny Global Climate Change. In the days following Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the hosts of Fox News' The Five rushed to deny the impact of climate change. Dana Perino used the devastating storm to discount global climate change, asserting that “This has nothing to do with global warming.” Co-host Eric Bolling also denied the relation between the storm and climate change, saying: “Where is the proof? These global warming claims have been debunked time and time again. Look, it's weather. Weather changes. Things happen. It has nothing to do with global warming.” [Fox News, The Five10/31/12,10/31/12]