Tucker | Media Matters for America


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  • Candidates who care about climate change should be wary of partnering with Fox News

    Blog ››› ››› EVLONDO COOPER

    Media Matters / Melissa Joskow

    Fox News is trying to entice Democratic presidential candidates to participate in town halls on the network, as Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT) is scheduled to do on April 15. Though Sanders has explained his reasoning for wanting to do a town hall on Fox, there are plenty of good reasons why other candidates should think carefully about whether they want to partner with the network. 

    Fox is a pernicious propaganda machine for the Trump White House, and it has a long history of both denying and downplaying climate change and helping to block climate action. Fox is currently at the peak of its political influence, but it's also at a precarious point both financially and in the court of public opinion. Many advertisers have fled and others are considering following suit, not wanting to be associated with the network's bigoted and toxic commentary. Fox is now desperately courting advertisers by trying to paint itself as a legitimate news outlet ahead of May 13, when it will host an "upfront" event at which it aims to sell about 60 to 70 percent of its advertising space for 2020. Democratic candidates might want to keep their distance and not enable Fox's attempt at whitewashing its toxicity.

    Fox consistently spreads right-wing misinformation, lies, and climate denial

    The New Yorker recently exposed how Fox News has developed a symbiotic relationship with the Trump administration and has become a nexus of the right-wing disinformation network. And earlier in April, The New York Times Magazine detailed how Fox founder Rupert Murdoch’s media empire “helped elevate marginal demagogues, mainstream ethnonationalism and politicize the very notion of truth” in the U.S. and beyond, “destabiliz[ing] democracies around the world.”

    After the New Yorker published its piece in March, the Democratic National Committee barred Fox News from hosting any of its upcoming presidential primary debates.

    Fox News has been especially destructive on the climate change narrative, serving as an echo and amplification chamber for climate denial and environmental deregulation efforts. For years, Fox has played a critical role in undermining the public consensus around climate change by eroding trust in climate scientists and scientific institutions, according to a 2013 study. A separate study by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that 72 percent of Fox News segments about climate science in 2013 "contained misleading statements." In the years since, the network has continued to parade a coterie of network personalities, fringe cranks, and conspiracy theorists to push misinformation about climate change and attack those working to confront the climate crisis.

    During the Trump administration, Fox News has also provided a safe haven for disgraced officials like former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Not only did Pruitt and Zinke prefer Fox News over other news networks, they both used their appearances on Fox to question climate science and to advocate for harmful environmental rollbacks, often with little to no pushback from fawning hosts.

    Fox's "straight news" anchors are not honest brokers on climate change and other critical issues

    Fox News claims that Martha MacCallum and Bret Baier, the Fox hosts who will anchor the town hall with Sanders, are straightforward newscasters. But a closer look at their past comments and reporting reveals that they cannot be trusted to foster good-faith discussions about key issues, including climate change.

    MacCallum has denied basic climate science and made ridiculous claims about global warming. In 2014, on Fox News Radio's Kilmeade & Friends, she said:

    MARTHA MACCALLUM: I mean the climate has changed over the course of the thousands and thousands of years that the Earth has been in existence. It has changed, you know, by several degrees up and down over the course of it. I just don't think that there is convincing evidence that the presence of man has altered that more dramatically than say the earth being covered with volcanoes emitting, you know, naturally noxious gases.

    That same year, MacCallum downplayed the importance of climate change and argued that Democrats in Congress should be concentrating on other issues instead. And in March 2015, after the Obama administration announced a voluntary emission-reduction pledge ahead of the U.N. climate talks in Paris, MacCallum was critical of the move and falsely said that the U.S. was going to the "upper end of the range" with its commitment and "nobody else has to do it." In fact, dozens of other countries had by that point announced targets to cut or curb their greenhouse gas emissions, including the European Union, whose target was more ambitious than the one the U.S. put forth.

    Baier has a reputation for not being as bad as some of the more explicit climate deniers on his network, but according to a 2014 analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists, he has still aired "a number of segments containing inaccurate statements about climate science." He has given climate skeptics a platform to attack climate science and climate action, often with very little pushback.

    Fox is now desperately trying to convince advertisers that it's not toxic

    In March, Fox News executives held an unprecedented meeting with its advertisers to persuade them not to abandon the network after more than 30 companies had dropped their ads since the initial push began in December of last year. Recent calls for companies to pull their ads from Tucker Carlson Tonight and Justice with Judge Jeanine came in response to Media Matters releasing audio of Fox host Tucker Carlson's racist and misogynistic rants on the Bubba the Love Sponge Show from 2006 to 2011, and to Fox personality Jeanine Pirro’s anti-Muslim tirade against Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

    For years, Fox News has let its prime-time hosts spew bigotry, propaganda, and dangerous conspiracy theories on a nightly basis, while using its so-called "news" programming to give the network a veneer of respectability. But the "news" side and the "opinion" side of Fox News are two sides of the same coin. Fox is dangerous and corrupt from top to bottom.

    The Fox executive wooing Democratic candidates has actively hampered honest reporting on climate change

    Bill Sammon, Fox's senior vice president and Washington managing editor, is courting Democratic candidates for town halls and trying to get the DNC to reconsider its decision not to let Fox host a debate.

    Sammon has a notoriously terrible record on climate change. In 2009, he sent a memo to Fox journalists ordering them to curtail honest reporting on climate change:

    We should refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question.

    He sent the memo out less than 15 minutes after a Fox correspondent accurately reported that U.N. scientists said the 2000-2009 period was "expected to turn out to be the warmest decade on record." When the correspondent returned to the air a few hours later, he added views from climate "skeptics" into his reporting. Sammon has also tilted Fox's coverage of other issues further to the right.

    Four years ago, Sammon played a key role in crafting questions for a Republican presidential primary debate. Do Democratic candidates want to invite Sammon to craft questions for them now?

    With Fox on the ropes with advertisers, Democratic candidates should consider if they want to throw Fox News a lifeline this spring.

  • Here Are Some Of The Sexist Things Neo-Nazi Favorite And O'Reilly Replacement Tucker Carlson Has Said


    Fox News announced that host Tucker Carlson would be taking over Bill O’Reilly’s prime-time 8 p.m. slot after O'Reilly was forced out following pressure from advertisers amid an increasing number of sexual harassment reports against the longtime host. However, Carlson has a long record of minimizing rape and sexual harassment reports, as well as making sexist and demeaning comments against women and gender equality.

  • When Tucker Carlson Thought A Senator Soliciting Prostitutes Was "None Of Our Business"

    Carlson: "I wish David Vitter were a Democrat... because then I would defend him every bit as zealously."

    Blog ››› ››› SIMON MALOY

    Tucker CarlsonTucker Carlson has defended The Daily Caller's reporting on Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) patronizing prostitutes in the Dominican Republic as "traditional, straightforward journalism" as that story has come under fire. But when Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) was accused of patronizing prostitutes in 2007, Carlson defended Vitter and lambasted the media for digging into what he described as private matters that were no business of theirs.

    In their initial much-hyped pre-election bombshell, the Caller reported on allegations from two Dominican prostitutes that Menendez had paid them for sex. Menendez has repeatedly denied the allegations, and the FBI has reportedly found no evidence of their veracity. 

    This week the story has unraveled after the Washington Post and ABC News reported that one of the prostitutes who alleged that she had sex with Menendez has recanted her story in an affidavit and claimed that she was paid to lie about the senator. ABC further reported that they also looked into the story last year but decided not to run it because they doubted the women that they and the Caller had spoken to were telling the truth.

  • Pat Buchanan's Worst MSNBC Moments

    ››› ››› BEN DIMIERO

    MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan has a long history of bigoted commentary in his books, columns, speeches, memos, and media appearances. Here are a few of his worst moments on MSNBC.

  • Media asserted that McCain flew coach in 2007, without noting expenditure records showing payments for use of wife's jet

    ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Despite the availability of expenditure reports showing that Sen. John McCain's campaign used a corporate jet owned by his wife's company over a seven-month period beginning in the summer of 2007, several members of the media asserted earlier this year that McCain flew coach when the campaign was low on funds.

  • "Offended" Buchanan stands up for "white males," claiming only "white males" died at Gettysburg, Normandy


    After MSNBC's Tucker Carlson noted that Howard Dean reportedly said that the Democratic presidential field "looks like America," while the Republican field, made up of white males, "looks like the 1950s and talks like the 1850s," Pat Buchanan reported being "offended" by Dean's remarks and said: "[W]hat did white males do? OK, they were the only guys signing the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, all the dead at Gettysburg, all the dead at Normandy." In fact, "nearly 2,000" African-Americans took part in the Normandy invasion, at least some of whom apparently died as a result, and at least one woman and one African-American were reportedly killed in the Gettysburg campaign.

  • Carlson asserted Clinton's court-appointed representation of rape suspect was "immoral" -- but legal experts say she was doing her job


    Referring to a Newsday article about Hillary Clinton's representation of a man accused of raping a 12-year-old girl, Tucker Carlson said on his MSNBC program: "Now their defense is, 'Well, that's what lawyers are supposed to do.' In other words, it's legal, therefore it's allowed. I guess my response would be, it's still repulsive and immoral." In fact, the Newsday article made clear that legal experts agreed that Clinton was simply fulfilling her legal and ethical obligation as the defendant's lawyer, a job she was reportedly assigned by the court.

  • Tucker Carlson echoed Kaus, VDARE contributor on Michelle Obama: "I think she's got a chip on her shoulder"


    Discussing recent comments by Michelle Obama, Tucker Carlson said: "I have thought from Day One that Michelle Obama, impressive as she is, clearly intelligent, very handsome, self-possessed -- I think that she's got a chip on her shoulder." Similarly, Slate.com blogger Mickey Kaus wrote of Michelle Obama: "For whatever reason, she sure seems to have a non-trivial chip on her shoulder and it's not a winning quality." Additionally, referring to a February 16 Newsweek profile, VDARE.com contributor Steve Sailer wrote that Michelle Obama "sounds like she's got a log-sized chip on her shoulder from lucking into Princeton due to affirmative action."

  • Days after Today apology for Fonda comment, MSNBC hosted Roger Stone of anti-Clinton group Citizens United Not Timid

    ››› ››› SARAH PAVLUS

    Just days after NBC apologized for the use of the word "cunt" on Today, Republican consultant Roger Stone, who recently established the anti-Hillary Clinton group Citizens United Not Timid -- which emphasizes its acronym on its website and on T-shirts by bolding the first letter in each word of its name and purports to "educate the American public about what Hillary Clinton really is" -- appeared on MSNBC's Tucker.

  • MSNBC's Shuster falsely claimed he said "Americans should be proud of" Chelsea Clinton before his "pimped out" comment


    Addressing a remark he made about Chelsea Clinton's work on her mother's campaign -- "doesn't it seem like Chelsea's sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way" -- MSNBC's David Shuster stated that "last night, I used a phrase -- some slang about her efforts. ... [T]o the extent that people feel I was being pejorative, I apologize for that. I should have seen that people might view it that way, and for that, then I'm sorry." However, Shuster never mentioned the specific "slang" he used in reference to Chelsea Clinton's campaign work, and he falsely claimed that, during the same segment in which he referred to her "being pimped out," he said "Americans should be proud of [Chelsea]" and that "everybody, all of us, love" her.

  • Carlson -- who has said Obama "seems like kind of a wuss" and "sounds like a pothead" -- now claims he "give[s] the guy a pass at every turn"


    Discussing what he described as "slavish" and "slobbering" media coverage of Sen. Barack Obama, Tucker Carlson stated: "And I will freely confess that I am absolutely part of the problem. I give the guy a pass at every turn and I'm nice to him even though I disagree with him." In fact, over the past year, Carlson has leveled personal attacks against Obama and spread misinformation about him.

  • Imus and Carlson invoke Chavez to smear Dem presidential candidates

    ››› ››› ANDREW WALZER

    While discussing Hillary Clinton with fellow radio host Jay Severin, Don Imus asked, "Well, why do we think that we -- I mean, why don't we just select [Venezuelan President] Hugo Chavez, then, if we want some rabid nut? I mean, why do we think that that's a face we want to put on America?" Severin answered: "I think you've got that, that's pretty much it. With Hillary Clinton you've got Hugo Chavez in a dress, and about the same size." Separately, discussing John Edwards' performance in the Nevada caucus, MSNBC's Tucker Carlson asserted, "It turns out that Hugo Chavez and his ideas are still not that popular in this country, liberal as it's become. That's the lesson I take away."