Fox and Friends | Media Matters for America

Fox and Friends

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  • Right-wing media figures are blaming everything but guns for the Parkland shooting


    On February 14, 17 people were killed in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. Right-wing media figures rushed to blame the shooting on “leftist” public schools, the FBI and its Russia probe, and on debunked connections between the shooter, Nikolas Cruz, and antifa and Islamic terrorist groups.

  • Fox & Friends didn't discuss Trump aide Rob Porter's history of reported domestic abuse but mentioned Obama 18 times

    Fox News' evening shows also virtually ignored the allegations against Porter

    Blog ››› ››› NINA MAST

    Fox & Friends didn't mention that a top White House aide has abruptly resigned amid allegations of physical domestic abuse, but found time to attack former President Barack Obama by name about various pseudo-scandals at length.

    Rob Porter, a top White House aide with direct access to President Donald Trump, resigned abruptly on February 7 amid allegations of years of domestic abuse, including physical violence, from two ex-wives. After the allegations were first reported by the Daily Mail, CNN interviewed both women, who detailed years of physical and emotional abuse in their respective marriages over a ten-year period, including punching, choking, and throwing fits of rage.

    White House chief of staff John Kelly initially released a statement of support for Porter, calling him “a man of true integrity and honor” (in a new statement, he condemned the abuse); shortly after, media began reporting that Kelly had prior knowledge of the abuse allegations, which were part of why Porter was denied his FBI security clearance. Since the story broke, a third, unnamed woman who currently works in the federal government and previously dated Porter has said she suffered "repeated abuse" by him as recently as 2016. Though he has resigned, Porter denied all allegations, calling them "outrageous" and "simply false."

    From the time the story broke on Wednesday through 9 a.m. Thursday, Fox mentioned Porter’s name ten times over four shows (seven of the mentions occurred in just two reports). Fox first covered the allegations only after White House press secretary Sarah Sanders was pressed on the allegations in the February 7 White House briefing. Fox’s prime-time shows did not mention Porter at all aside from a brief report on the 6 p.m. hour. Fox & Friends the following morning also didn't mention Porter.

    While Fox & Friends didn’t find time to report on the resignation of a top aide close to Trump stemming from domestic abuse allegations, the show hosts did mention former President Barack Obama by name 18 times in relation to various contrived scandals, including Uranium One and the private text messages of two FBI employees.


    Media Matters searched SnapStream for mentions of "Porter" on Fox News between February 6 and February 9, 2018 and "Obama" on the February 8 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends. Pronouns "he," "his," and "him" were excluded. Mentions of Porter by White House press secretary Sarah Sanders during the live airing of the press briefing were also excluded.

  • Fox & Friends follows Infowars in running with right-wing video attacking college students

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Fox News’ Fox & Friends and far-right conspiracy theory website Infowars both ran with the conservative activist group Campus Reform’s latest selectively edited hit piece against college students. Fox & Friends further edited the video and showed students' responses without giving much context to the nature of the questions that were posed to them. 

    Campus Reform is a discredited conservative group funded by right-wing dark money networks that takes students and professors out of context to fearmonger about perceived instances of liberal bias on college campuses. In its latest video, Campus Reform Media Director Cabot Phillips lied to students at New York University (NYU), telling them that President Donald Trump had already delivered his State of the Union address (the speech will take place January 30).

    Phillips gave the students fabricated information about what Trump said in the speech and asked for their thoughts. The video on Campus Reform's website features some of those questions. But on Fox & Friends, the hosts and Philips didn't always mention what he specifically asked the students, airing only the responses to his deceptive questions. For example, in the video posted on Campus Reform, Philips told some students: "One of the craziest moments [was] when he started a 'build the wall' chant with all the Republicans that were there. People on social media were accusing him of basically using the State of the Union as a campaign event." Fox deceptively aired only a response to this statement in which a woman said, "The fact that he started a chant, he's big on those."

    Alex Jones’ conspiracy theorist site Infowars and Fox & Friends have both given credence to the video. Fox’s flagship morning show aired parts of the video and hosted Phillips for an interview where they proceeded to mock the students.

    From the January 29 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

    AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): President Trump set to give his first State of the Union address tomorrow. So what happens when college students are asked about the speech before it actually takes place? Campus Reform went to NYU to find out. Watch.


    CABOT PHILLIPS (CAMPUS REFORM): What was your reaction to everything that was said?

    UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: I didn’t watch it because I couldn’t bring myself to watch it.

    UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Quite racist at the very least, if not up there with most racist.

    UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Hopefully everything that he’s outlined can be overturned by the public opinion.

    [END CLIP]

    BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): Yes. Exactly. It’s called voting. Here now to discuss is correspondent Cabot Phillips. So, Cabot, welcome back. So the premise was, let’s ask people about a speech that hasn’t happened yet.

    PHILLIPS: Exactly.

    KILMEADE: And what was the NYU reaction?

    PHILLIPS: The reaction was overwhelming disapproval of this speech, which should be encouraging for President Trump because there’s nowhere but up from here because they haven't actually heard any speech. It hasn't happened. But we’ve been hearing so long how the left has shut down anything that has to do with President Trump, with conservatism. And most conservatives assume it's not based on facts. It's based on rhetoric. It’s based on feelings, and this kind of proves that. And isn't it ironic, too, that these are supposed to be the most open-minded segment of society, the left. But, yet, they’re not coming in with an open mind to Trump's presidency or to conservatism at all. They shut down completely without actually knowing the facts.

    EARHARDT: Did you have anyone, one or two at least, that said this speech hasn't happened yet?

    PHILLIPS: Not one person was able to tell me the speech did not happen.

    EARHARDT: Really?

    PHILLIPS: There were a few that said I don't want to go on the record. I'm not entirely sure what was said. But one thing that -- every college campus I go to with Campus Reform, there's always one thing in common, and it's that there is an overwhelming pressure and bias to hate President Trump at all costs, even if there are no facts there.

  • The newest pro-Trump conspiracy theory: A "secret society" in the FBI is undermining Trump

    These idiots are misreading obvious sarcasm

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Fox News’ morning show Fox & Friends pushed the conspiracy theory that a “secret society” meant to discredit President Donald Trump might actually exist in the FBI.

    The story originated when Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) claimed on another Fox show, The Story, that in a text message exchange after the 2016 election, FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page said, “Perhaps this is the first meeting of the secret society.” Gowdy omitted any context and offered no evidence to show that such a text, which has not been released, wouldn’t have been facetious.

    Conservative media and Trump allies have repeatedly attempted to scandalize texts between Strzok and Page, who were in a personal relationship, alleging that they and other FBI officials were working against Trump during the election. But as HuffPost noted, “Most of the information that came out of the bureau during the election was damaging to Hillary Clinton, not Trump,” and Strzok and Page “exchanged texts slamming politicians and officials of all ideological stripes, not just Trump.”

    The “secret society” conspiracy theory is gaining traction on other right-wing media outlets as well. Sean Hannity tweeted, "FBI CONSPIRACY? Text Messages Show Anti-Trump 'SECRET SOCIETY' at DOJ." Breitbart published an article suggesting an association between this “secret society” and the recently reported missing text messages between Strzok and Page. The Gateway Pundit ran Fox’s interview of Gowdy as the headlining story on its front page, which was later shared by Lou Dobbs and Bill Mitchell. And The Daily Caller headlined their piece, “What Deep State? Gowdy, Ratcliffe: Texts Uncover Anti-Trump ‘Secret Society’ At FBI.”

    From the January 23 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:


    REP. TREY GOWDY (R-SC): The day after the election, the day after -- what they really, really didn't want to have happen, there is a text exchange between these two FBI agents, these supposed to be objective fact-centric FBI agents saying, “Perhaps this is the first meeting of the secret society.” So, of course I'm going to want to know what secret society you are talking about, because you're supposed to be investigating objectively.

    [END CLIP]

    STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): Lawmakers outraged as bombshell texts from that anti-Trump FBI agent and his girlfriend suggest a secret society within the agency meant to perhaps discredit the president.


    DOOCY: Well that's good. And then, we just saw the sound bite with Trey Gowdy where he’s outraged that in some of the text message with these lovebirds, they’re talking about a secret society out to get Trump.

  • The misinformation Trump tweeted in his first year as president

    Blog ››› ››› NATALIE MARTINEZ

    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    Media Matters surveyed President Donald Trump’s 2,276 tweets from the first year of his presidency from January 20, 2017, until January 16, 2018, and found that at least 23 percent (522 tweets) contained fact-checked false claims or misinformation and at least 27 percent (628 tweets) attacked his perceived enemies. The media was frequently a focal point of Trump’s Twitter activity; he attacked mainstream media outlets, scrutinized specific stories that criticized him, and praised Fox News’ coverage. Democrats were a consistent target as Trump often referred back to the 2016 election, attacked congressional investigations of his campaign’s connections to Russia, and complained that Democrats in Congress were “obstructing” his agenda.

    Here is a breakdown of these patterns of misinformation he pushed, who he attacked most in his first year as president of the United States, and who Trump mentioned or retweeted the most.

    Top 5 false narratives tweeted by Trump

    Trump frequently pushed misinformation throughout the year, largely around five main narratives:

    1. In 248 tweets, Trump attacked the credibility of mainstream media outlets. Trump’s campaign against mainstream media took various forms: He called outlets “dishonest,” smeared the press as the “fake news media” when they reported on stories he didn’t like, questioned polls that had unfavorable results, and claimed specific reports or stories were false without evidence -- almost all of which have held up under scrutiny.  

    2. In 92 tweets, Trump claimed the 2016 election was rigged against him. Trump repeatedly claimed that outside forces had worked in favor of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during the election. In the first year of his presidency, Trump tweeted that the news media and social media had a pro-Clinton bias, that the FBI and DOJ “exonerated” Clinton during the investigation of her emails as a political favor, that Clinton colluded with Russia, that then-President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump’s campaign, that Obama did not investigate Russian election interference because he did not want to negatively impact Clinton's chances of winning, and that millions of fraudulent votes were cast. There is no evidence to support any of these claims.

    3. In 70 tweets, Trump pushed misinformation about immigrants and immigration. Trump repeatedly pushed misinformation about immigration to associate immigrants with drugs, human trafficking, and violent crime in the U.S. His tweets have made false, xenophobic claims regarding policy and legal actions throughout the year, such as claiming that sanctuary city policies drive up crime rates and that court actions blocking his travel ban would lead to more violence in the U.S. His tweets about “chain migration” conjured inaccurate images of an unbridled flow of unvetted immigrants into the country. He also falsely blamed Obama-era immigration policies for the growth of gangs. Trump has also smeared existing immigration programs like the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, understating its vetting and application process in order to paint the program as a threat to national security.

    4. In 64 tweets, Trump claimed that news stories about Russian interference in U.S. elections and that investigations into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians are part of a “hoax” and “witch hunt” against him. In most of these tweets, Trump accused Democrats of peddling what he claimed was a false narrative through the mainstream media and in Congress as an excuse for losing the 2016 election. He also frequently claimed that news reports about the investigation and about election interference were part of an effort by Democrats and the mainstream media to undermine his presidential achievements. Attacks like these against news coverage of Russian election interference were part of Politifact’s 2017 Lie of the Year.

    5. In 34 tweets, Trump claimed that Obamacare was dead and that instability in the market was the Democrats’ fault. Trump’s misinformation on the state of Obamacare took different forms throughout the year, beginning with misleading claims about premiums, false statements that Obamacare was in a “death spiral,” and finally blaming Democrats for the instability of the insurance market after Trump ended cost sharing reduction payments.

    Trump used his tweets to attack and disparage others 628 times.

    Trump attacked mainstream media as a whole 141 times. Trump often referred to mainstream media collectively as “fake news,” “fake news media,” and “dishonest media.” The five outlets he targeted most frequently were The New York Times (40 tweets), CNN (33 tweets), NBC (24 tweets), The Washington Post (16 tweets), and ABC (14 tweets). Some of Trump’s attacks on these media outlets and the “fake news media” were also in conjunction with praise of Fox News Channel and specific Fox programs like Fox & Friends.

    Trump attacked these five individuals by name most frequently: Hillary Clinton (50 tweets), Barack Obama (27 tweets), James Comey (18 tweets), Democratic New York Sen. Chuck Schumer (13 tweets), and Republican Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker (12 tweets). These attacks -- except for those about Corker --  were generally linked to the 2016 election and attempts to discredit Mueller’s investigation.

    Top Twitter accounts mentioned and retweeted by Trump

    In his first year of presidency, Trump most frequently retweeted and mentioned the Twitter handle of Fox News’ morning show, Fox & Friends (@foxandfriends). His second most retweeted handle was his own (21 retweets). Trump retweeted Fox Business, Fox News, the two networks’ programs, and various Fox personalities more times (88 retweets) than members of his administration and government departments combined (71 retweets), excluding times he retweeted his own handle (21 retweets). Trump also retweeted unverified handles that don't belong to a public figure or entity (33 retweets) almost three times as often as he retweeted elected Republican officials (12 retweets). 

    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

  • On Fox & Friends, Kris Kobach pushes study from discredited figure to claim Dreamers are prone to violence

    Blog ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    Kris Kobach, Kansas Republican secretary of state and anti-immigration activist, pushed a highly dubious study from criminologist John Lott on Fox & Friends to suggest that recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program are highly prone to criminal activity.

    Kobach referenced Lott’s recent study about crime in Arizona to suggest that DACA recipients’ “criminality is twice that of the comparable American population.” Lott is a discredited figure whose studies have been debunked by academics and dismissed by experts.The study also contradicts years of sociological research finding that undocumented immigrants commit fewer crimes than U.S. citizens and ignores the fact that in Arizona, “people who look ‘foreign’ are more likely to be stopped for minor infractions,” according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). And according to ThinkProgress, “roughly 0.3 percent” of DACA recipients have been “involved in criminal behavior.” During the segment, Kobach listed other lies about DACA, such as calling it "amnesty" and saying that DACA recipients take jobs away from U.S. citizens.

    From the January 17 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

    BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): Kris, you know what the raging debate now is. The Democrats want DACA. The Republicans say in exchange for legitimate border security, end of chain migration, end of the lottery system. And we're going to be looking at a lockout because no one can agree. What's your solution?

    KRIS KOBACH: DACA, the amnesty for nearly a million illegal aliens -- the average age is 24. Their criminality is twice that of the comparable American population. We just saw a study out of Arizona. It's bad for America. So if we were to grant a DACA amnesty, you'd have to have, in my opinion, all the things that President Trump outlined and you just mentioned, plus E-Verify. E-Verify right now is only mandatory in a few states. You'd have to make it mandatory everywhere to ensure that the flood of illegal aliens who are going to come in -- every time we have an amnesty, it brings another flood of illegal aliens -- we've got to make sure that they aren’t stealing jobs from Americans as well. So you'd have to have E-Verify in addition to all those other law enforcement measures.

  • Fox anchor calls a seemingly forced kiss a "hot pursuit," even after a host points out that it was unwanted

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    During the January 4 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, a teaser aired for an upcoming report on a Los Angeles police chase that ended with the male perpetrator forcibly kissing his female companion. Co-host Steve Doocy exclaimed, "Wait, that's a kiss? What?" and fellow co-host Ainsley Earhardt pointed out that "she doesn't look like she wants to be kissing him" as the on-screen chyron labeled the apparently nonconsensual act "a passionate arrest":

    Nonetheless, Fox's Jillian Mele started her report on the story by calling the police chase a "hot pursuit" and saying, "Police breaking up the passion by tasing the man and tackling the woman":

    JILLIAN MELE (HEADLINES ANCHOR): OK, so we're giving the phrase "hot pursuit" a whole new meaning, I tell you. A couple getting in one last kiss after leading police on a two-hour chase. The woman is accused of stealing a U-Haul truck, then leading officers on a pursuit through Los Angeles, but a blown tire ended the whole thing. Police breaking up the passion by tasing the man and tackling the woman. Both were arrested and treated for drugs.