Fox & Friends Saturday | Media Matters for America

Fox & Friends Saturday

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  • Fox Corp. board member Paul Ryan has been the subject of fawning praise from Fox News

    ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

    Fox Corp., the parent company of Fox News, announced on March 19 that former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) will serve on its board of directors. Ryan had been the recipient of fawning praise from Fox News personalities in the past for his right-wing budget proposals and his selection by Mitt Romney as his vice presidential pick for the 2012 presidential election.

  • Expert debunks conservative attacks on John Kerry and the Logan Act regarding the Iran deal

    Blog ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

    Conservative media were quick to claim former Secretary of State John Kerry is violating the Logan Act following a Boston Globe report that he is working to save the Iran nuclear deal by meeting with top officials from Iran, Germany, and France. But according to a legal expert, the Logan Act, which prohibits private citizens from engaging in unauthorized intervention in U.S./foreign disputes to "defeat the measures of the United States," wouldn't apply in part because the deal is still current U.S. policy.

    The May 4 Globe story reported that Kerry has met twice with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and French President Emmanuel Macron, has met German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and has talked on the phone with a top European Union official as he seeks to preserve the nuclear deal. America’s European allies are also urging Trump not to end the pact, as he has threatened to do. Brookings Institution foreign policy expert Michael O’Hanlon told the Globe that “former secretaries of state often remain quite engaged with foreign leaders, as they should,” but that “it’s rarely so issue-specific.” According to the Globe’s report, Kerry is working with both former Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, who along with Kerry helped negotiate the nuclear deal, and a group called Diplomacy Works. They are also lobbying Congress to support the deal and arguing the case in media outlets.

    President Donald Trump’s allies in conservative media were quick to attack Kerry over this report. Alan Dershowitz, a retired Harvard Law School professor who has tirelessly defended Trump on the Russia investigation, said on the May 5 edition of Fox & Friends that if the Logan Act were enforced, “my friend John Kerry would be violating” it. On May 7, Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy said, “Some have suggested, isn’t he breaking the Logan Act.” Right-wing website The Federalist claimed that Kerry’s actions are “treasonous and likely in violation of the Logan Act.” Many Trump supporters on Twitter accused Kerry of being in violation of the Logan Act. And Trump himself recently wrote on Twitter that Kerry’s actions were “possibly illegal.”

    But according to University of Texas School of Law professor Steve Vladeck, who explained the history of the Logan Act to The Atlantic in early 2017, the Logan Act wouldn’t apply to anything Kerry is doing, in part because the Iran nuclear deal is still official government policy. From the Globe’s report:

    “The act only applies to conduct that is designed to ‘defeat the measures of the United States’ or influence the conduct of foreign governments,” Vladeck said. “If all Kerry is doing is working to keep in place something that’s still technically a ‘measure of the United States,’ I don’t see how the statute would apply even if someone was crazy enough to try it.”

  • Fox & Friends weekend shows ignored stories about Trump associate Michael Cohen

    Blog ››› ››› BRENNAN SUEN


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    Donald Trump’s favorite Fox News program Fox & Friends’ weekend editions completely ignored a series of major damaging stories about Trump associate Michael Cohen. This continues the show’s pattern of playing defense for the president and ignoring damaging stories.

    On April 9, FBI agents raided Cohen’s hotel room, home, and office “seizing business records, emails and documents related to several topics, including a payment to a pornographic film actress.” Federal prosecutors in Manhattan revealed on Friday, April 13, that Cohen has been under investigation for months and that a grand jury has been convened that is separate from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Prosecutors emphasized that while Cohen has been called Donald Trump’s lawyer, he is being investigated over his business dealings and that Cohen “is in fact performing little to no legal work.” CNN also reported that during the raid, the FBI seized recordings between Cohen and Stormy Daniels’ former attorney.  

    Also on Friday, McClatchy reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has uncovered evidence that Cohen “secretly made a late-summer trip to Prague during the 2016 presidential campaign” after he “vehemently denied for months that he ever has been in Prague or colluded with Russia during the campaign.” If true, the evidence would corroborate parts of the Christopher Steele dossier “purporting to detail the Trump campaign’s interactions with Russia.”

    Yet another Cohen-related story broke on April 13, when CNN reported that Cohen “facilitated a payment plan totaling $1.6 million last year to a former Playboy model who says she became pregnant by Elliott Broidy, a leading GOP fundraiser.” Broidy resigned as a result of the revelations.

    While Fox & Friends has been silent on Cohen, Trump has reportedly called Cohen. Trump also tweeted about the matter.

    The obsequious relationship between Fox & Friends and Trump has been well documented, with Trump’s tweets frequently lining up with segments and talking points from the right-wing morning show. Media Matters has repeatedly highlighted the feedback loop between the show and Trump, including how Trump has made policy announcements responding to its segments. Fox & Friends has also repeatedly ignored damaging stories about Trump and the Russia investigation.

    Methodology:

    Media Matters searched Snapstream transcripts of Fox & Friends Saturday and Sunday for mentions of the word “Michael” or “Cohen.”

  • Fox is spinning a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers as a "major concession." It's not.

    Blog ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    Over the past week, Fox hosts and pundits have insisted that the White House gave a “major concession” by including a pathway to citizenship to undocumented immigrants who qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in its immigration proposal, ignoring the draconian aspects of the plan.

    On the January 27 edition of Fox & Friends Saturday, co-host Pete Hegseth exclaimed, “For conservatives, citizenship and 1.8 [million] DACA recipients is a lot more than people expected this White House to give … They made that concession out of the gate.” Tucker Carlson echoed that sentiment on his show, claiming that “the White House’s proposed immigration deal gives a major concession to Democrats: amnesty.” Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace has pushed the “huge concession” line multiple times. Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen was the latest to make the misleading claim on the January 31 edition of America’s Newsroom:

    First off, the proposal grants the Trump administration $25 billion for a border wall, a number that has been criticized as “a bloated increase from the $18 billion the White House called for just at the start of the year.”

    And as the libertarian think tank Cato Institute points out, “The new plan [cuts] the number of legal immigrants by up to 44 percent or half a million immigrants annually—the largest policy-driven legal immigration cut since the 1920s.”

    The proposal also pits “immigrants against one another” as it limits the scope of family reunification policies, preventing immigrants who have obtained citizenship from sponsoring certain family members and likely deterring skilled immigrants who are considering relocating to the United States. The White House proposal also expedites deportations for undocumented immigrants, effectively “strip[ping] all those people, if caught by the federal government, of their right to a deportation hearing before a judge.”

    Fox's servile "major concession" drumbeat is just another example of the network sacrificing context to push the White House’s agenda.

  • Executive Time: Hail to the live-tweeter in chief

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    Welcome to Executive Time, a recurring feature in which Media Matters senior fellow Matt Gertz explores the intersection between President Donald Trump’s Twitter feed and the hours of cable news he reportedly consumes daily, with a special focus on his favorite morning program, Fox & Friends. You can follow Matt’s work on Twitter @mattgertz and see previous installments in this series here.

    Days this week Trump appeared to live-tweet cable news: Five (three from Fox & Friends, one from Fox & Friends Saturday, one Fox’s America’s Newsroom.)

    Tweets this week apparently resulting from live-tweeting cable news: 11 (six from Fox & Friends, two from Fox & Friends Saturday, three from Fox’s America’s Newsroom.)


    It’s almost a year into Donald Trump’s presidency, and to celebrate, Axios reporter Jonathan Swan gave us a gift that perfectly sums up this administration: the news that White House staff refer to the lengthy blocks on the president’s private schedule when he is quite literally left to his own devices as “Executive Time.”

    Those blocks “almost always means TV and Twitter time alone in the residence,” per Swan’s sources, and the president has been demanding them more frequently as he heads into his second year in office.

    The president’s twin obsessions of Twitter and television are deeply entwined. In fact, I’ve concluded that the best explanation for the president’s Twitter feed is often that Trump is “live-tweeting Fox, particularly the network’s Trump-loving morning show, Fox & Friends,” as I wrote last week in Politico Magazine. I’ve been chronicling that pattern on Twitter for months, starting my mornings by carefully tracking the president’s truculent tweets back to the Fox programming he is echoing. This presidential live-tweeting has occurred even more frequently in recent days.

    The president’s private schedule for January 2, Swan reports, shows that Trump’s first meeting was at 11 a.m., that he had two and a half hours of “Executive Time” throughout the day, and that his “official day” ended at 4:15 p.m. Here’s what else the president did that day, as cogently described by Toronto Star’s Daniel Dale:

    Trump appears to often use the early-morning “Executive Time” to watch Fox & Friends, where co-hosts Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt, and Brian Kilmeade provide the president with soothing bromides about his successes, helpful explanations for his failures, vicious attacks on his political and media foes, and seething culture war jeremiads that stir up his base. The hosts and guests know that the president may be watching, and openly use the program to try to influence his decisions.

    We saw presidential live-tweeting scramble the policy-making process just this morning. Fox & Friends was covering a House vote scheduled for today to renew a portion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act -- a move supported by the White House. During the segment, Fox senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano commented, “I don’t understand why Donald Trump is in favor of this. His woes began with unlawful foreign surveillance and unconstitutional domestic surveillance of him before he was the president of the United States.” He then turned to the camera and said, “Mr. President, this is not the way to go.” Doocy added, "Our lead story today was about how apparently that dirty dossier filled with stuff that was just made up apparently was used in part to get a FISA warrant to spy on President Trump."

    Roughly 45 minutes later, the president, who had been live-tweeting the program all morning, tweeted that FISA was “the act that may have been used, with the help of the discredited and phony Dossier, to so badly surveil and abuse the Trump Campaign by the previous administration and others?” With a few words on the president’s favorite show, a Fox analyst created chaos, with a House Republican source telling NBC that the tweet “is an issue” and the president being forced to send another tweet trying to walk back his first one. Meanwhile, Swan reported, "Top Hill sources are trying to figure out who 'got to' Trump to influence him to write the first tweet."

    The problems of this Fox-Trump feedback loop are legion. The president's views are molded by right-wing misinformation, as he relies on a pack of bigoted morons to explain the world rather than the vast expertise of the federal government. His live-tweets upend the news cycle, thrusting the network’s obsessions into the mainstream and turning conservative pseudoscandals into national news. As journalists shuffle their priorities to respond to the president’s tweets from in front of his television, important news stories are crowded out. And of course, it’s deeply unnerving that the leader of the most powerful nation on earth is spending hours each day watching television.

    None of this is likely to change in the near future --  since Politico published my piece early Friday morning, Trump has sent 11 tweets on five different days that I was able to link to Fox’s programming.

    And so, I’ll be covering this intersection of the president’s tweets and the cable news he watches, with a special focus on his favorite program Fox & Friends, for a regular feature we’re calling “Executive Time.”

    The president is live-tweeting

    Here are the Trump tweets from the last week I am reasonably confident are the result of the president directly responding to cable news programs he had been watching.

    January 5. One Fox & Friends live-tweet.

    January 6. Two Fox & Friends Saturday live-tweets.

    January 8. One Fox & Friends live-tweet.

    January 10. Three America's Newsroom live-tweets.

    January 11. Four Fox & Friends live-tweets.

    Fire and fury

    While the president takes his cues from Fox & Friends, he regularly lashes out at outlets producing journalism critical of his presidency.

    Propaganda watch

    Other highlights from Fox & Friends, the president’s favorite morning cable news program.

    President’s Daily Brief

    The people Trump turns to for news are not the best and the brightest.

  • The president spent his holiday tweeting at the television

    Trump livetweeted Fox on eight of the 11 days of his Florida trip 

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    President Donald Trump left the White House December 22 for an extended holiday vacation at Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Palm Beach, Florida. Along with daily games of golf at Trump International Golf Club and an appearance at Mar-a-Lago’s ethically dubious New Year’s Eve party, the president found time to regularly engage in one of his favorite pastimes: watching Fox News programming and tweeting about it.

    I traced 12 of Trump’s tweets from December 22 through his January 1 return to the capital to Fox segments Trump appeared to be watching at the time. Trump live-tweeted various Fox programs on eight of the 11 days he spent on vacation. He even seems to have tweeted based on a segment he watched on Air Force One en route to Florida.

    With some of these tweets, the president simply continued his ongoing feuds with the media and the FBI. But others could have real ramifications for U.S. foreign policy and domestic politics. In response to Fox’s programming, Trump tweeted about protests in Iran, issued an ultimatum to Democrats over immigration policy, attacked China over its handling of North Korea, and endorsed a Republican congressman for governor of Florida.

    Trump loves Fox & Friends, the network’s morning show, often holding up the program’s shockingly sycophantic anchors as a model that other, more critical journalists should emulate.

    The day before he left for Florida, Trump praised the program’s anchors for being named the “most influential media figures” by Mediaite. The anchors received that designation because of Trump, who watched the program obsessively, frequently tweeting about what he saw.

    And indeed, Trump tweeted based on Fox & Friends and its weekend editions on December 22, December 24, December 26, December 28, December 29, and December 31.

    Here are the Trump tweets and the associated Fox segments:

    December 22

    December 23

    December 24

    December 25

    December 26

    December 27

    December 28

    December 29

    December 30

    December  31

    January 1


    After returning to Washington, D.C., yesterday, the president seems to have spent much of the morning live-tweeting Fox & Friends and Fox’s America’s Newsroom:

  • Trump is reportedly considering fulfilling a months-long right-wing media fantasy to fire Robert Mueller

    ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    President Donald Trump and his legal team “are exploring ways to limit or undercut special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, building a case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest,” according to a Washington Post report. The president’s right-wing media allies have waged a months-long campaign against Mueller and his team, calling for Mueller to be fired or his investigation “to be shut down,” and citing supposed “conflicts of interest” among members of Mueller’s investigative team and even of Mueller himself.

  • Pundits Defend Trump’s Dangerous Phone Call With Taiwan’s President

    Experts In Asian Pacific Studies And International Relations Warn It “Raises The Risk Of Diplomatic Disaster”

    ››› ››› NINA MAST

    Pundits are defending President-elect Donald Trump’s protocol-shattering phone conversation with Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen as “terrific” and saying it will have “no cost to America,” but experts in Asian Pacific studies and international relations warn that the move “does not bode well for US-China relations” and “raises the risk of diplomatic disaster.”

  • Fox News Pushes Clinton Indictment Reporting Less Than A Day After Baier Apology

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Fox News returned to pushing reporting that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is likely to face an indictment less than 24 hours after the network apologized for making the claim.

    On November 2, Special Report anchor Bret Baier claimed that according to anonymous sources, FBI investigations into Clinton would “continue,” that “there is a lot of evidence,” and that “barring some obstruction in some way, they believe they will continue to likely an indictment.” Fox heavily hyped Baier’s reporting in the following days. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his campaign also picked up Baier’s reporting and used it to attack Clinton. However, non-Fox media outlets soon debunked Baier’s reporting, saying it was “wrong” and “just not true.”

    Baer subsequently issued an apology for his reporting on November 4, saying that his reference to a “likely” indictment was “a mistake” because “no one knows if there would or would not be an indictment no matter how strong investigators feel their evidence is. It is obviously a prosecutor who has to agree to take the case and make that case to a grand jury.”

    However, Fox News is now back to touting dubious reporting that Clinton will likely face an indictment if she’s elected president.

    Discredited conservative journalist Ed Klein appeared on the November 5 edition of Fox & Friends Saturday and claimed that his “sources are telling” him that “there’s a very good chance that if she’s elected president on November 8th, by the time inauguration comes around, [FBI Director James] Comey will have recommended an indictment.” Klein continued that there would be a “constitutional crisis” because the attorney general would not “accept his recommendation for indictment.” Taking Klein’s claims seriously, co-host Clayton Morris wondered if vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine would then become president when Clinton is indicted, and co-host Abby Huntsman told Klein they “learned a lot from you this morning.”

    Klein has a long history of sloppy and inaccurate reporting about the Clintons. Reporters from across the political spectrum have called his work "junk journalism," "devoid of credibility," "suspect," "fan fiction," "lazy, cut-and-paste recycling," "strewn with serious factual errors, truncated and distorted quotes," "thoroughly discredited," "smut," "sordid," "poorly written, poorly thought, poorly sourced," and "bullshit." Klein had lunch with Donald Trump in May and said that he’s known him for 35 years and has "met with him on numerous occasions, talked to him on the phone countless times, traveled with him, and written two lengthy magazine cover stories about him."

    From Klein’s segment (h/t New York’s Gabriel Sherman):

    ED KLEIN: Here’s what my sources are telling me. They’re saying that there’s a very good chance that if she’s elected president on November 8th, by the time inauguration comes around, Comey will have recommended an indictment of the president-to-be.

    CLAYTON MORRIS (CO-HOST): That’s what your sources are telling you?

    ABBY HUNTSMAN (CO-HOST): Wow.

    KLEIN: Yeah. And it would be a constitutional crisis of enormous proportion --

    HUNTSMAN: -- [inaudible] we’ve never experienced before.

    KLEIN: -- because the attorney general with, of course, the president’s backing, is not going to accept his recommendation for indictment. So there’ll be this titanic battle between the FBI on the one hand, the attorney general and the White House on the other hand, just before the inauguration.

    MORRIS: You play this all out historically. She becomes president. She actually takes the -- puts her hand on the Bible, becomes president. The vice president then, maybe, Tim Kaine becomes, takes over? This would be remarkable.

    KLEIN: I was thinking, she becomes president and what if she becomes debilitated for reasons of health? That’s the other aspect of this nobody ever discusses. Are we going to get the goofy Tim Kaine as our vice president moving in or will we have Bill Clinton behind the scenes being a kind of Edith Wilson-like when Woodrow Wilson had his stroke? 

  • Fox’s Most Recent Attempt At Revisionist History On The Origins Of The “Birther” Controversy Falls Flat

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Fox News is attempting to spin a stolen email from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta as proof Hillary Clinton and her 2008 presidential campaign “push[ed]” the narrative that then-Sen. Barack Obama is a Muslim and thus “started” the birther controversy. However, the email that the network is citing actually shows a Democratic super PAC, composed of allies of both Obama and Clinton, engaging in the normal practice of testing potential negative attacks “on BOTH Clinton and Obama in a hypothetical match-up against” 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain (R-AZ).

    During the October 15 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends Saturday, co-host Clayton Morris teased a segment that would supposedly reveal “the truth about the birther movement,” adding “wait until you hear who really started it.” Citing a hacked email from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta that was made public by WikiLeaks, Morris claimed the “bombshell” email shows “that Hillary was pushing the Muslim Obama narrative back in 2008.” Fox News correspondent Ed Henry noted Democratic strategist Paul Begala’s explanation that the correspondence was from a super PAC that was “testing out different narratives the Republicans were pushing” against both Democratic candidates, but added, “This is what their explanation is, to be fair. But they're still raising” the birther controversy.

    Fox’s representation of the content of the email in question is misleading. The Fox hosts falsely claimed “Hillary was pushing” birther claims, but the email was not generated by the Clinton campaign. Instead, the email details proposed questions for a poll commissioned by an organization established to support the Democratic candidate for president in the general election engaging in the common practice of “testing your opponent’s attacks on you.”

    The email was written by Kristi Fuska, an analyst with Democratic firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, regarding polling for a group called Progressive Media USA, which was composed of supporters of both Clinton and Obama. Tom Matzzie, an Obama supporter who received the email in question, said that the Democratic group was testing possible general election attacks from Republicans “on BOTH Clinton and Obama in a hypothetical match-up against McCain.” Matzzie also explained that “the research team that cooked up the Obama attacks eventually went on to work for the Obama campaign.”

    Fox’s revisionist history regarding the birther controversy flies in the face of the network’s long history of enthusiastically echoing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s years-long, racist crusade to raise doubts about President Obama’s legitimacy, and ignores the fact that Fox provided Trump with a friendly platform to promote his birther beliefs for years.

    This post has been edited for clarity.

  • Fox Mischaracterizes Clinton's Hacked Remarks To Claim She's Smearing Millennials

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    Fox News is mischaracterizing remarks Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton made at a private fundraiser in February, falsely claiming that she was mocking Bernie Sanders’ supporters as “broke and delusional.” In the audio of the remarks, which security officials believe was originally hacked by Russian government operatives and then later posted by the Washington Free Beacon, Clinton is highlighting the “sense of disappointment among young people in politics” and why they were driven to support Sanders.