Fox's Brian Kilmeade implores Trump not to tweet about North Korea, "just to stay out of it for now"
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Fox News’ flagship morning show, Fox & Friends, breezed past new reports that a shell company used by President Donald Trump’s lawyer and business associate, Michael Cohen, to pay hush money to adult film star Stormy Daniels "received payments totaling more than $1 million from an American company linked to a Russian oligarch and several corporations with business before the Trump administration."
Yesterday, following a tweet from Daniels' lawyer Michael Avenetti, The New York Times reported on financial records that show Cohen’s shell company, Essential Consultants L.L.C., received “payments last year of about $500,000 from Columbus Nova, an investment firm in New York whose biggest client is a company controlled by Viktor Vekselberg, the Russian oligarch.” Essential Consultants also received payments from various other major companies, including AT&T. CNN noted that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators have questioned Vekselberg, who is close to Vladimir Putin, as part of the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
The potential scope of the corruption here is staggering.
it's crazy that we're probably living through the single biggest corruption scandal in presidential history
— b-boy bouiebaisse (@jbouie) May 9, 2018
Fox News has had relatively little coverage of these Cohen developments. It was briefly mentioned on Special Report, but the story was ignored through the network's prime-time lineup, and not again mentioned until Fox News at Night during the 11 p.m. hour, according to a SnapStream search.
Melania Trump’s approval ratings:
And a “controversy” about high school cheerleaders in New Jersey:
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Fox News’ morning show, Fox & Friends, completely ignored the bombshell report that Mick Mulvaney, President Donald Trump’s interim director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, admitted that when he was a congressman he wouldn't meet with lobbyists unless they had made financial contributions to his campaign.
On April 24, The New York Times reported that Mulvaney, while speaking at an American Bankers Association conference, encouraged banking industry executives to make donations to lawmakers to push their agenda. According to the Times, Mulvaney “revealed that, as a congressman, he would meet only with lobbyists if they had contributed to his [congressional] campaign.” The newspaper quoted Mulvaney saying, “If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you’re a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.”
The next morning, Fox & Friends did not mention the story at all in its broadcast. The other cable news morning shows, CNN’s New Day and MSNBC’s Morning Joe, discussed the news in detail throughout the morning. While much of the coverage was critical of Mulvaney’s behavior, some pundits, including CNN’s David Gregory and Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs, diminished his ethical pitfalls and blamed the American political system for allowing this type of corruption. Others correctly noted that these type of ethical scandals are particularly prevalent in the Trump administration.
Fox & Friends has gone to great lengths to cover up other scandals in the Trump administration. The show has downplayed Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt’s ethics problems, avoided coverage of Trump aide Rob Porter’s reported domestic abuse, and attacked other media outlets for reporting on administration scandals.
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As President Donald Trump ramps up a potential trade war with China, Fox News and Fox Business figures have been downplaying the damage his actions could do.
Since the beginning of 2018, President Donald Trump has been rolling out increasingly aggressive tariffs on Chinese goods. In January, the president announced new tariffs targeting solar panels and washing machines, goods that primarily come from China. In March, he announced further tariffs on steel imports. And this week, the U.S. announced $50 billion worth of new tariffs, prompting the Chinese government to retaliate, placing tariffs on “128 American-made products” and asserting that the U.S. tariffs “violate World Trade Organization rules.”
Following the news of China imposing retaliatory tariffs, CNN interviewed several economists who expressed concern that the increased economic hostility between the two nations might soon spiral into an all-out trade war. Joseph Brusuelas, chief U.S. economist at accounting and consulting firm RSM, told CNN, “This is a classic lose-lose proposition, no one wins.” After Trump threatened to impose additional tariffs, and the Chinese government promised to respond in kind, experts warned that additional tariffs would hurt both countries.
Despite experts’ concerns, Fox News and Fox Business figures are downplaying fears of a trade war:
On America’s Newsroom, Fox’s Maria Bartiromo dismissed concerns about trade, commenting that she’s “not worried” about trade fears because she looks “at the broader picture.”
On Fox News’ Fox & Friends, host Steve Doocy downplayed Trump’s trade moves by claiming, “there are no tariffs,” arguing that “this is the starting point,” and “it’s all a suggestion, it’s all a negotiation.”
Fox News contributor Tammy Bruce argued that “this is not about a trade war,” and compared America’s trade deficit with China to “a battered woman situation.” She also asserted that ““this will, in the end, because of Trump’s ability to negotiate, work out well.”
During the same broadcast, Fox Business’ Charles Payne claimed that “President Trump [has reminded] us that we’re not in a trade war,” because, “China already won that.”
On Fox News Radio's The Brian Kilmeade Show, Fox’s Brian Kilmeade dismissed the possibility of a trade war, claiming, “I do believe this is what we call the pre-fight, and so far, it's hype. It doesn't mean there's actually going to be a Showtime, HBO main event.”
Trump sycophant Lou Dobbs dismissed those who claim there is no trade war, claiming that there already is a trade war with China, but the United States simply wasn’t “fighting it until this president arrived in Washington.”
Fox Business' Stuart Varney explained away stock market backlash to Trump's tariffs as "an emotional response,” and claimed that “all this talk of a trade war” is “overblown.”
Frequent Fox guest Ron Meyer referred to China’s retaliatory tariffs as “minor.”
Fox’s Charles Payne claimed that the stock market drop following the announcement of China’s retaliatory tariffs was actually Wall Street “not only overreacting but trying to intimidate the White House."
On America’s Newsroom, Bartiromo claimed that she’s “not afraid of a trade war.” and that Trump’s actions are “more of a negotiation.”
During an appearance on America’s Newsroom, Payne dismissed fears about a trade war by claiming “we’re already in a trade war. We have been fighting with one hand behind our backs.”
On Fox News’ Outnumbered, Fox’s Geraldo Rivera argued that China’s retaliatory tariffs were insignificant and represented “chump change,” and expressed his confusion about why the market responded “so emotionally” to China’s tariffs.
During the same broadcast, Fox’s Trish Regan expressed her dismay at unfair Chinese trade policies, and said, “If it takes throwing around the idea of a few tariffs … maybe that works. Maybe it is, indeed, the art of the deal.”
Fox’s Sean Hannity dismissed concerns about a trade war on his radio show, claiming, “I don’t think there’s ever going to be a trade war.”
On Fox News’ Outnumbered, Fox’s Dagen McDowell defended Trump’s “approach with China,” claiming that there is a “method to this madness,” and that we don’t know if these “tariffs will ever be put in place.
Fox News’ morning show Fox & Friends continues to cover up the growing number of scandals plaguing Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, giving the story less than two minutes of coverage throughout the week.
Pruitt’s ethics problems have been steadily mounting in his short time as EPA administrator. In the past couple of weeks, it was revealed that the EPA head paid a below-market price to rent a condominium co-owned by the wife of an energy lobbyist, had his taxpayer-funded 24/7 security detail accompany him on personal trips to Disneyland and the Rose Bowl, looked into leasing a private jet for an exorbitant cost, exploited a loophole to bypass the White House’s rejection of massive pay raises for two close aides, may have violated ethics rules by having his staff carry out personal tasks for him, and abused a loophole in the Safe Drinking Water Act to hire loyalists and ex-lobbyists. And just yesterday, news broke that Pruitt reassigned or demoted at least four officials who raised concerns about his behavior, had not provided ethics officials with the full details of his living arrangement, and lied about his landlord's lobbyist husband having clients with business before the EPA.
The new reports have thrust Pruitt into the spotlight, but Fox & Friends did not mention Pruitt once on Friday. The morning show granted just one minute and 53 seconds of coverage to Pruitt’s ethics scandals from April 2 to April 6, relegating the story mostly to short headlines segments.
Notably, the day after Fox News aired a wide-ranging interview with Pruitt, Fox & Friends spent a mere minute and a half covering the story while rival networks covered the interview extensively throughout the day.
Today, a day after news broke of more scandals, President Donald Trump’s favorite morning show ignored the story entirely, opting instead to attack rapper Jay-Z for his comments on racial justice and recycle Trump’s lies about immigrants voting. Fox & Friends even interviewed two Trump administration officials, Mercedes Schlapp and Peter Navarro, and failed to ask them about Pruitt. In fact, throughout the week, six Trump administration officials appeared on Fox & Friends; none of them were asked to comment on Pruitt’s likely ethics violations.
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On March 18, police officers in Sacramento, CA, gunned down Stephon Clark, an unarmed 22-year-old black man and father of two, in his grandmother’s backyard, sparking protests and drawing nationwide media coverage. Fox News’ reporting on the shooting has almost entirely focused on the most disruptive protests, diminishing the message of the demonstrators while portraying them as intimidating and lawless. One Fox correspondent also said the reactions to Clark’s death could actually end up harming police officers, pointing to the officer who killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, as an example.
Fox has a history of disparaging coverage of protesters -- even peaceful protesters -- particularly those protesting police brutality. The network will commonly exaggerate the disruption caused by protests and cherry-pick examples to misrepresent the overall movement. (The pattern, of course, doesn’t hold true if those protesters are white nationalist, anti-immigrant, or tea party protesters.)
An ABC affiliate spoke to protesters at a Sacramento City Council meeting, one of whom explained that the demonstrations are “the first step, and you want to have conversations with the people who can make the changes.” An ABC affiliate aired balanced footage of protesters yelling, but also sitting, speaking calmly, and supporting one another. The report emphasized that the protesters showed "solidarity" and that they were "sisters, brothers, fathers, and mothers." They also spoke to one protester at the meeting who said, “I know there's good cops out there, you know, and I don’t believe all cops are bad. I think we have some issues that need to be changed, some systemic issues that need to be changed.”
Other national cable news networks provided well-rounded depictions of the March 27 protests and allowed the protesters’ voices to be heard. MSNBC’s Joe Fryer described footage in his report as “Stephon Clark’s brother Stevante bursting into the council chambers” while “some in the crowd called for calm.” The MSNBC report showed clips of activists describing the pain in their community after the fatal shooting and included an interview with Clark’s grandmother. CNN correspondent Dan Simon highlighted the more chaotic aspects of the protests while also underscoring the “impactful moment” when activists voiced their discontent.
CNN: “There was no violence and there were no arrests” at the protest outside the Sacramento Kings game. CNN’s coverage of the March 22 protest outside the Kings basketball game made clear that the team was supportive of the protests and mentioned that “there was no violence and there were no arrests.” The reporter also spoke to Stevante Clark, whose comments included, “We’re afraid. We’re afraid. It’s not the first, and it won’t be the last. I think that’s what hurts the most.”
N.Y. Times highlighted comments from the Clark family’s lawyer, reporting that he “emphasized that in high-profile criminal cases when proven assailants are white … police officers showed restraint that is not afforded to black suspects.” The New York Times reported on comments made by civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, who will be representing the Clark family, who asked, “Why is that young black people and young brown people don’t get the same consideration” as white assailants do when they are pursued by police. The Times also published comments from a protester who said, “We run because we’re scared because they have the right to shoot us, they get away with it every day.”
Reporter describes March for Our Lives protesters as more peaceful than Clark protesters. Fox correspondent Alicia Acuna reported on Saturday that she “did not see instances where there was a lot of anger expressed” at the March for Our Lives and that protesters there “were relatively peaceful.” By contrast, Acuna commented, “That is far different from what they saw last night” in Sacramento, with the report cutting to video of protesters yelling while surrounded by police.
Fox host Abby Huntsman: “Demonstrators in Sacramento showing no sign of calming down.” On March 24, a Fox & Friends headline report about protesters in Sacramento over the weekend focused on participants “confronting police officers and blocking drivers in traffic, some even becoming violent by breaking the window of a car.”
Fox report focuses on critics of protests outside a Sacramento Kings game, including one man who hyped demonstrators as violent. Fox correspondent William LaJeunesse spoke to people attending a March 22 Sacramento Kings game who were temporarily blocked from entering the arena and who complained about the inconvenience imposed upon them by the protesters. One man commented, “The violence kind of muddles the message,” and LaJeunesse reported that one man was knocked unconscious.
Fox & Friends sensationalized Sacramento City Hall protests, repeatedly playing footage of protesters jumping on tables. Fox & Friends' coverage of the March 27 demonstrations focused on footage of protesters yelling and standing on tables.
Fox’s Jonathan Hunt: Protesters “have targeted the Sacramento Kings.” Fox co-host Sandra Smith introduced a report on the March 27 protests by commenting that the “protesters [were] standing on tables demanding answers.” She and correspondent Jonathan Hunt both reported that protesters also “targeted the Sacramento Kings.” In an earlier report, correspondent Trace Gallagher had mentioned that the Kings supported the protests, but Hunt failed to include that context in his coverage.
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On the March 23 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Ainsley Earhardt interviewed far-right YouTube personality Laura Tam, known on YouTube as “Roaming Millennial,” effectively elevating Tam’s hate-filled online platform.
Tam appeared on Fox to express her discontent with the decision by all-female Mount Holyoke College to provide professors with techniques to facilitate a friendlier environment for transgender and gender nonbinary students. The segment misrepresented the college’s actions, but more insidiously, it acted as a de facto endorsement of Tam’s vitriolic online platform, where she has associated herself with Milo Yiannopolis’ anti-trans statements, boosted anti-Muslim extremist Tommy Robinson, hyped a false narrative about Sweden’s immigrant-induced “fall,” and embraced the “alt-right” “soy boy” trope. Tam has also been criticized for making “horrendously inaccurate” claims about race, at one point falsely claiming that black people are more likely to commit crimes than white people:
AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): An all-women’s college is telling their professors not to say the word “women” in the classroom, instead to use more gender-neutral terms.
What was your reaction to this when you heard this story this week?
LAURA TAM: Honestly, I can't help but chuckle when I hear about things like not wanting to talk about the fact that there are two genders or anything to do with this nonbinary gender stuff. And as funny as I think it is, and I think it is a natural reaction to kind of laugh about, the fact is that this is becoming increasingly common across campuses all over the country and in Canada as well. We have these administrators, these leftist progressives who take their own ideological opinions, their political views and insert them into things like speech codes and diversity classes. They try to codify their opinions into school policies to try to indoctrinate students.
EARHARDT: Do you think they should open the door then for any gender then, because they are considered an all women's school? Actually, I'm not even allowed to say "women." An all-student school.
TAM: Right. And that's what's ironic about this. You have this school that doesn't have gender-inclusive admissions policies, but they're trying to have a gender-neutral environment. I mean, what are they going to do when some high school male footballer decides that he wants to just go and dominate their entire sports team and decides to identify as, I don't know, gender fluid? Because they can't be noninclusive, and they have to accept that. So it's kind of strange now that they're accepting all genders but still not males. I'm not sure how they're really, I guess, rectifying that in their own ideological system.
EARHARDT: Mount Holyoke [College], they sent us a statement. They say, "As we know not every Mount Holyoke student identifies as a woman, but every student has a right to live and learn in an inclusive environment that is free from hostility and respectful of their identity." What's your reaction?
TAM: Well, I guess it's great that they're trying to be inclusive, and they're trying to be accepting. And I respect that. But the fact of the matter is you can't have an all-female school, which is what they're still going to be. I doubt they're going to be opening their admissions to males. You can't have an all-female school when saying things like, "Yeah, you don't have to be female to be here. Once you're actually a student, you can identify whatever you want." I mean, you're kind of going to have to pick one. And I think this is an example of how inconsistent their ideology is.
After embarrassing herself on CBS’ 60 Minutes, one of President Donald Trump’s controversial cabinet appointments, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, retreated to the administration's safe space on Fox & Friends, where she was asked easy questions and not challenged on the specifics of a school safety commission she will chair.
In a March 11 interview with 60 Minutes anchor Leslie Stahl, DeVos struggled to provide evidence in support of “school choice,” her signature issue, stumbled when challenged on her claims, and failed to answer even basic questions about schools in her home state. When pressed to say whether there are as many false accusations as actual sexual assaults on college campuses -- which fits into a long-standing right-wing media myth that the problem of sexual assault is overblown -- DeVos said, "I don't know."
Sec. of Education Betsy DeVos struggles to answer fairly basic questions on school performance on 60 Minutes pic.twitter.com/lFVq3USwUW
— Axios (@axios) March 12, 2018
The next day, Trump’s favorite show Fox & Friends interviewed her as well, feeding DeVos unspecific, open-ended questions and leaving her claims unchallenged. Co-host Ainsley Earhardt simply asked DeVos for her “reaction” to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) criticism of the Trump administration’s inaction on gun safety. Later, Earhardt’s co-host Brian Kilmeade asked DeVos to explain what HuffPost columnists “don’t understand” in response to the outlet’s criticism of “school choice” policies. From the March 12 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends (questions are bolded for ease of reading):
STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): Madam secretary, we've been going through some of the things on the agenda that the president and the White House would like to get done. But ultimately it sounds like the ultimate goal would be to harden the schools. Would that be accurate?
BETSY DEVOS: Well, Steve, that's one of the opportunities we have and one of the responsibilities we have, frankly. We have many other venues in our country that are kept safe, and schools have to be a part of that equation as well. And every state and every community is going to do this slightly differently, but we’re going to advance ways in which schools can be made safer for students. And in which -- which works for each community and for each state.
AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): Madam secretary, thank you so much for being on with us. Chuck Schumer -- he is not on board with this plan. This is what he had to say., and let's get your reaction. ... It’s a statement: “The White House has taken tiny baby steps designed not to upset the NRA when the gun violence epidemic in this country demands that giant steps be taken. Democrats in the Senate will push to go further, including passing universal background checks, actual federal legislation on protection orders, and a debate on banning assault weapons.” What's your reaction?
DEVOS: Well, the point is there are pieces of legislation before Congress today that can take significant steps in the right direction. Background checks, the Stop Violence Act. They have broad bipartisan support. And the president wants to see Congress act now, take these steps today, and then let's look at what we can do as next steps beyond that. But every time we’ve had a situation like this, we’ve had a lot of discussion, and camps go into their various corners. And then we sit and don't get anything done. The president is committed to taking action and to ensuring that we do what we can at the federal level to protect kids.
BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): Do you like what Florida did last Friday?
DEVOS: I think Florida has done an amazing job in a very short period of time of tackling some very difficult issues, and I think that every state is looking in that same direction, though Florida had obviously immediate motivation.
DOOCY: Sure. And one of the things that Florida did -- and now they are being sued by the NRA -- is they raised the age for buying a long gun to age 21. The president had said shortly after Parkland he would like to see that happen. But that's not in the proposal. Any idea why?
DEVOS: Well, everything is on the table. And part of the job of this commission will be to study that and see if that is advanced ultimately as a recommendation in next steps. The point being there are many steps to be taken now, and additional steps that will be taken down the road as we do the work of the commission.
EARHARDT: The president had mentioned making our schools similar to airports where you have to go through metal detectors, you have to show IDs. Any details on that?
DEVOS: Well, you know, some schools actually do that today. And perhaps for some communities, for some cities, for some states, that will be appropriate. There is not going to be a one-size-fits-all solution to this issue and this problem. There are going to be many different solutions, and one of the things the commission has been charged to do is to really do an inventory and raise up all of the best practices across the country because some communities are getting it really right.
KILMEADE: If I'm governor, I’d like to do it myself. Governor [Rick] Scott was not waiting for anything from Washington. That's probably what you should do. But I want us to switch to something else that really is the hallmark of your secretaryship, if that's a word, and that is giving kids a school -- give choice, vouchers for kids to be able to go to schools, some of which are excellent schools, and out of schools that might be failing. Well, Huffington Post says, “School choice is a lie that harms us all.” What don't they understand that you do?
DEVOS: Well, they obviously haven't talked to the many thousands, if not hundreds of thousands or millions of parents, who want to have the chance to choose the right education for their child. And we know today there is just a fraction of families in this country that are able to make that choice. And we need to make that choice much more broadly available to ensure that every child is in a school and in a learning environment that works for him or her.
KILMEADE: And some can't afford it and that's where the vouchers come in, correct?
DEVOS: That's right. And a voucher is just a mechanism. There are many mechanisms that can be used. The key is giving parents freedom for their kids' education. Freedom to make the decisions and the choices that are right for their child or their children.
EARHARDT: Is that any type of school? Does that include religious schools?
DEVOS: It does indeed. There are many programs already today in states that are serving small numbers of families of kids, and if they select a school, a faith-based school, that is certainly their option and choice. But, the idea, again, is giving parents the kind of freedom that those who have means and those who are wealthy are able to make those decisions on a daily basis.
DOOCY: Well, we like the idea, but of course the teachers unions don't because they feel their jobs are at stake.
DEVOS: Well, there are some very powerful forces that are arrayed against changing the status quo. And that is what we are up against. But the reality is that the majority of people in this country support the idea of giving parents that kind of freedom. And so this legislation is going to continue to advance at the state level. At the national level, we’re going to continue to push this conversation, and to encourage our lawmakers to look at ways that they can encourage it both in their states, and take steps nationally that will help parents be free to make those decisions for their kids.
Fox & Friends guest laments the “war on masculinity,” claiming that “the worst thing you can be in America today is a white, heterosexual Christian male”
In an interview on Fox & Friends, comedian Chad Prather claimed that The Hollywood Reporter’s March 7 cover story, headlined “Triumph of the Beta Male,” is part of an ongoing “war on masculinity.” Prather’s disdain for the cover is similar to reactions to the story seen on message boards including Reddit, 4chan, and 8chan, as well as reactions from MAGA trolls and conspiracy site InfoWars.
From the March 9 edition of Fox News' Fox and Friends:
RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY (CO-HOST): So is this a harmless Hollywood profile piece or does it say a lot more about the state of men in America?
PETE HEGSETH (CO-HOST): We're getting reaction from comedian and blogger Chad Prather. Chad, thank you. You are a proud alpha male, I know. Your hand is in your own pocket. What do you make of this?
CHAD PRATHER: My mind is blown on this thing. Can you believe this? I mean, where is culture going at this point? Why is there such a war on masculinity? There is. The worst thing you can be in America today is a white, heterosexual Christian male. There's an all-out war on people. So I don't understand why there is just such a -- just such a battle just to be masculine. Why is it -- and then you're offensive if you are. I mean, I'm going to have people who are going to get on here, they're going to see the little segment that we put on Twitter or whatever and they're going to say, "Oh my gosh, it's a guy that cowboy hat. What does he know?" Well, tonight you’ll probably eat meat and a guy in a cowboy hat probably raised that cow. So, you know, it's just -- it’s OK to be a man.
CAMPOS-DUFFY: Well, and being masculine doesn't mean you can't be a gentleman. When I first met you, when you came on set I loved that you shook my hand and you tipped your hat just a little bit.
PRATHER: Didn’t I, though? Didn’t I?
CAMPOS-DUFFY: It was so cute. I'm married -- you won't believe this -- I'm married to a lumberjack, a professional lumberjack.
STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): And congressman.
CAMPOS-DUFFY: And he happens to be a congressman. But I married him because he was a lumberjack. I don't think women really like that beta male thing. What’s up with that?
PRATHER: They don't. You know what women like? They like men. They like men that are men and men that are confident in being men. And I'm giving you permission right now, America, be masculine. If you're a man, there's no -- what's the word, misandry? We talk about misogyny, but what is the word, is it misandry? Where you have man haters. These people that are -- so men can't speak their mind. They can't make jokes. They can't burp and scratch themselves. It's OK, boys -- scratch yourselves.
DUFFY: Rachel Maddow's head is exploding after this segment.
PRATHER: She’s very masculine. Can I say that?
Since February 28, Fox & Friends has spent just 22 seconds covering Kushner’s downgraded security clearance, ignoring three other bombshell reports
President Donald Trump’s favorite morning show, Fox & Friends, has all but ignored multiple noteworthy stories regarding potential criminal conduct by senior White House adviser Jared Kushner. Since the morning of February 28, Fox News’ flagship morning show has spent a grand total of 22 seconds discussing Kushner’s downgraded security clearance while entirely avoiding three other bombshell reports about him.
On February 27, The New York Times reported that Kushner, who has had access to some of the country’s most sensitive classified documents, including the presidential daily brief, had “been stripped of his top-secret security clearance after months of delays in completing his background check.” According to the Times, Kushner had been one of “dozens of top White House officials who had been operating on interim security clearances for many months because of issues in completing their F.B.I. background checks.”
On the same day, The Washington Post reported that foreign governments “have privately discussed ways they can manipulate [Kushner] … by taking advantage of his complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience.” According to the Post’s report, “Among those nations discussing ways to influence Kushner to their advantage were the United Arab Emirates, China, Israel and Mexico.”
On February 28, The New York Times published a report that Kushner’s family real estate company had secured millions of dollars in business loans from Citigroup and Apollo Global Management after Kushner, a senior adviser to the president of the United States, met with the leaders of both companies at the White House. According to the Times report, while meeting with Joshua Harris, the founder of Apollo, “the two men discussed a possible White House job for Mr. Harris,” though a “job never materialized.”
Finally, on March 2, The Intercept reported that Kushner’s family business “made a direct pitch to Qatar’s minister of finance in April 2017 in an attempt to secure investment in a critically distressed asset in the company’s portfolio.” According to the report, “The failure to broker the deal would be followed only a month later by a Middle Eastern diplomatic row in which Jared Kushner provided critical support to Qatar’s neighbors.”
While Fox & Friends failed to spend significant time on any of these stories, the hosts managed to find time to fit in segments about:
A pamphlet at Kennesaw State University in Georgia
“Mega Morning Deals” on items including an oil-less fryer, Bluetooth beacons, and cashmere scarves
Uncle Jack’s steak empire expanding!
A congressional candidate who smoked marijuana in a political ad
People complaining about The View host Joy Behar
Funny videos captured by home security cameras
An actor starring in a new faith-based movie
Two Fox News anchors going skydiving
And Tomi Lahren complaining about Jimmy Kimmel
Media Matters searched SnapStream for mentions of the word “Kushner” and "Jared" on Fox News' Fox & Friends between February 28 and March 2.
On the February 28 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy parroted a talking point from a recently released Republican National Committee (RNC) research document to attack Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff, failing to disclose that the RNC was the source of his claim.
During a discussion about FISA court judges, Doocy claimed that Schiff, who serves as the ranking minority member on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, has appeared on television “227 times [in] the last year.” This figure originated from an RNC research report released one day earlier titled “The Schiff Show.” The report claims that Schiff gave “a whopping 227 television interviews” between January 23, 2017, and February 25, 2018, and alleges that Schiff “has used the House's Russia investigation as his big break … to raise his profile.” Doocy failed to mention the partisan origins of the figure during the segment.
This is far from the first time that Fox & Friends has adopted Republican Party official talking points without disclosing their origins, effectively acting as the party’s de facto propaganda arm. In 2011, Fox & Friends borrowed language from an RNC research document to criticize Democrats for "pivoting" to "jobs" after the default crisis was resolved. In 2013, the show aired a video compilation critical of President Obama that bore a striking resemblance to an RNC document posted to the committee’s website just one day prior. The pattern also goes beyond Fox & Friends; in 2009, Fox’s Happening Now attempted to pass off a Republican press release as its own research and even reproduced a typo from the original document. From the February 28 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:
STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): What we have learned over the last couple of weeks is the Republicans and the Democrats both came out with their memos. The Republicans alleged FISA abuse, said that FISA warrants were obtained pretty much corruptly by not telling the whole truth. Well, the whole question comes down to this: Do you think that was the only time there was a FISA abuse during the Obama administration? Because now this attorney general, at the behest of the president of the United States, is going to look into making sure everything was followed legally in that department.
DOOCY: But, the big question is with this Carter Page FISA application, which happened time after time after time, were all the cards laid on the table? It doesn't look like it.
AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): That's why it's so important for the FISA courts to ask the proper questions. We don't have the transcripts. We don't know if they said --
DOOCY: It's a secret court.
EARHARDT: Do you want to spy on President Trump’s or candidate Trump's campaign? All right. Wouldn't you think they would say -- and they know it's political. I'm sure, I'm sure they asked, right? I'm sure they said this is political. Who is giving the money for this? Who's funding this? Who funded the dossier? What's in the dossier? Is the dossier verified?
BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): And if you are listening to Carter Page and Carter Page plays -- and he played a small role on the foreign policy committee. And he calls Steve Bannon. And he never talked to the president. But everybody around, Don Jr., whoever is helping Donald Trump win this, pull off this unfathomable victory, they're all recorded. That's all brought in. Are you OK with that?
DOOCY: That's the big question. Because it is a secret court, there is so -- is there any oversight? Five years ago, Adam Schiff, who you see 227 times the last year on television, he actually five years ago introduced a bill that would make FISA judges subject to presidential approval and Senate confirmation. Who are these guys? Well, we would know because there would be an approval process. He, Mr. Schiff, put that bill out there five years ago. Did not pass. Now, a Republican from Florida, Matt Gaetz has put the same bill out and, yet, he hasn't been able to get Adam Schiff, the guy who came up with it, to sign off on it.