Fox & Friends calls student "brave" for writing Islamophobic letter demanding Muslim student group condemn ISIS terror
Video ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF
Loading the player reg...
Loading the player reg...
Loading the player reg...
Loading the player reg...
Media figures and political strategists flocked to the Sunday shows to speculate that Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly will promote “discipline” and reduce “chaos” as White House chief of staff, and that Trump will listen to him because he “respects” military officers. What their analyses left out is Kelly’s extreme policy position on immigration and his defense of Trump’s chaotic Muslim travel ban implementation.
The network’s coverage mainstreams xenophobic narratives about immigrant crime
On July 17, developments emerged in two cases of fatal officer-involved shootings, but Fox News rushed to cover only one of them and focused disproportionately on the officer’s nationality in doing so.
On the day Balch Springs, Texas, police officer Roy Oliver was indicted for the fatal shooting of Jordan Edwards, a black teenager, news broke of the July 15 shooting of an Australian woman by a Minneapolis, MN, police officer who was later identified as Mohamed Noor. Noor is Somali-American. While Fox News aired several segments about Noor, the network made not a single mention of the indictment of Oliver, who is white, continuing its disinterest in the case since Edwards was killed on April 29 in Dallas, TX.
In the first three days of coverage following the shooting of Justine Ruszczyk (who went by the surname of her fiancé, Don Damond), Fox News covered the story in 11 segments, six of which mentioned that the officer was “Somali-American,” an "immigrant" from Somalia, the first Somali-American to patrol that precinct, or that Minneapolis boasts a “very significant Somali population.” A Fox News article online began both its headline and body with Noor’s Somali background. In the same period, MSNBC and CNN both dedicated seven and 14 segments, respectively, to the story. CNN reporters did mention his Somali-American identity twice when prompted by hosts for more details about his background. MSNBC did not mention that he is Somali-American.
Fox News’ Tucker Carlson went so far as to claim the mainstream media is engaged in a deliberate cover-up of the officer’s nationality. On the July 18 edition of his show, Carlson said, "Mohamed Noor was an immigrant from Somalia. Is that a relevant fact? We don't know. But it's being treated as one by many news organizations. How do you know that? Because they're not reporting it."
Carlson was wrong to claim news organizations didn’t mention that the officer is Somali-American. His rival network CNN mentioned it that same day, and while The Washington Post -- which Carlson referenced -- did publish an early article on the story that did not mention his name or nationality (officials had not yet confirmed the identity of the officer), the paper also published a piece the next morning entirely focused on Noor and reactions in the Somali community of Minneapolis, which is bracing for backlash in the wake of the shooting. Moreover, Minnesota state officials did not publicly release the identities of the two officers involved in the shooting until Tuesday night (July 18), meaning three of Fox’s reports on Noor’s Somali identity were seemingly based on early reporting by the Star Tribune that had not yet been confirmed by police.
Carlson was also misguided in his implication that other outlets’ omission of Noor’s nationality is evidence that it’s relevant. While many questions about the incident remain, and there are legitimate grievances being voiced by Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, Damond’s family, and the Australian government over the police department’s lack of transparency in the case, none of them are focused on Noor’s identity. In fact, Damond’s hometown newspaper in Australia ran a front-page headline reading “AMERICAN NIGHTMARE” in reference to what Australians quoted in the piece see as a country “infested” with guns and a “very risky place in terms of gun violence.” Damond’s family, which just suffered a tragic loss at the hands of police, hasn't focused on Noor’s identity as particularly relevant in reports. Fox News is the exception, not the norm.
In the cases of police brutality against Jordan Edwards, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, and many others, all of whom were black, Fox News assigned no particular relevance to the nationalities of the officers involved. But the network did, in various cases, invite guests to defend the officers’ actions, criticize the victims of the shooting, or use the incident to promote questionable or problematic policing tactics. The disproportionate attention Fox News paid to Noor’s immigrant background and its resistance to defend him elucidates the limits of its pro-police posture.
And the network’s coverage, while an outlier for mainstream reporting on the story, is essentially a more sanitized version of stories with headlines like “First Somali-Muslim police officer in Minnesota KILLS blonde yoga instructor in cold blood” and “Unarmed White Woman Murdered In Minnesota, Dems SILENT After Shooter's ID Revealed…”. There are many more. Noor’s religion has not been obsessed upon outside of far-right blogs and Twitter.
Minnesota’s Somali immigrant community has been a strangely popular target for Fox News and other right-wing media outlets. The network has previously fearmongered about Somali immigrants, called the area “ground zero” for ISIS recruitment, and attacked the Minneapolis mayor for giving her State of the City address in a mosque. Fringe media websites and fake news purveyors recently targeted Minneapolis in response to the city’s announcement that it was launching a hate crimes reporting hotline, claiming the move amounted to “fascism.”
In its hyperfocus on Noor’s nationality, Fox News served to validate the racism, xenophobia, and debunked associations between immigration and crime espoused by pro-Trump fake news purveyors, conspiracy theorists, white nationalists, and notorious Islamophobes alike. Noor's background is only as relevant as it is in any officer-involved shooting, and if it's being touted as more than that, we should be asking why.
Media Matters searched SnapStream between 5 a.m. and midnight on both July 17 and 18 and between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m on July 19 for mentions of “Roy” or “Oliver,” “Edward” or “Jordan,” and “Somali,” "Noor," "Minneapolis," “Minnesota,” "Damond," "Ruszcyzk," and “Australia.” Teaser segments were excluded.
Wash. Post previously reported on former right-wing columnist William C. Bradford's "disturbing tweets”
The Trump administration recently appointed William C. Bradford to be director of the Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs. Bradford has a history of making incendiary, conspiratorial, and violent commentary on Twitter and in a regular online column.
The Washington Post’s Dino Grandoni reported that Bradford, formerly the attorney general of the Chiricahua Apache Nation, had written a number of “disturbing tweets,” including calling former President Barack Obama “a Kenyan creampuff,” calling Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg a “little arrogant self-hating Jew,” questioning in 2016 whether a “military coup” might be needed if Obama refused to leave office, and claiming that Japanese internment camps were “necessary.” He also “wrote that women should not serve in the military and referred to then-Fox News host Megyn Kelly as ‘MegOBgyn Kelly,’” the Post noted.
Bradford has since deleted his Twitter account and apologized for his remarks, stating, “As a minority and member of the Jewish faith, I sincerely apologize for my disrespectful and offensive comments.” He also said that “as a public servant, I hold myself to a higher standard.”
In 2015, Bradford resigned from his job as a professor in West Point’s law program “after arguing that fellow legal scholars who criticize the war on terrorism are ‘treasonous’ and should be arrested, interrogated and even attacked as ‘unlawful enemy combatants,’” according to the Post.
Following the Post report, Media Matters found that Bradford also tweeted, “Imagine a world without Islam” and “Transgenderism is a mental illness” (via Internet Archive).
In addition, Bradford wrote columns for the website Communities Digital News, an online site that split off from The Washington Times in 2014. Bradford wrote columns there from 2015 to January 2017 and claimed that the death of White House deputy counsel Vince Foster was “suspicious”; warned in January 2016 that “a second U.S. Civil War may be necessary” if a Democrat is elected president; and disparaged women in combat as “inadequate” and said that putting them there “is a deliberate act of national self-destruction and a gift to our enemies.”
Here are some of the lowlights of his columns:
Bradford called Vince Foster’s death “suspicious.” In one column, Bradford wrote that Hillary Clinton “may be the most godless person in D.C. She may have a date with fire.” He then added that “Stumping for Hillary, [Madeleine] Albright is silent about Vince Foster. Foster was a longtime Clinton colleague and deputy White House counsel, whose suspicious 1993 death prevented him from testifying in criminal matters involving Hillary, including the mysterious disappearance of subpoeanaed (sic) Rose Law Firm billing records. His death was officially ruled a suicide, but many doubt Foster killed himself.” [Communities Digital News, 2/16/16]
Bradford said “a second U.S. Civil War may be necessary” if the country elected a Democrat. In a January 2016 column, he warned that “Americans will elect slavery over freedom for the goodies bought with other people’s money, time, and toil. And so, a second U.S. Civil War may be necessary to pull up the roots Communism has sunk deep into our soil. But election 2016 is our last best hope to avoid it. Pray the voters choose well.” In a December 2015 piece, he wrote that “a second U.S. civil war that inflicted death on the scale of the first would kill ten million Americans. Let’s … [commit] to limited government, a traditional understanding of the Constitution, and a relearning of the concept of the ‘enemy.’ Only by doing so can we ensure that Americans never suffer the hell of civil war again.” [Communities Digital News, 1/30/16; 12/5/15]
Bradford: Putting women in combat “is a deliberate act of national self-destruction and a gift to our enemies.” He wrote in December 2015 that women “have no place in combat,” writing that then-President Obama’s “feminization of the U.S. military is not about promoting equality of opportunity. It is a deliberate act of national self-destruction and a gift to our enemies. It denies men their exclusive role as protectors. It strips women of a special protected status. And it destroys a social compact that predicates civilizational self-defense upon sex-role differences that has saved the West from barbarism for millennia.” He added:
That the West of 2015 has abnegated the ancient social compact for civilizational self-defense is most acutely on display in the U.S. armed forces, where transgendered soldiers openly serve a commander-in-chief who throws like a girl, rides a bicycle with a helmet, golfs in 1950s-era girl’s saddle shoes and—against logic and expert military advice—now sends women to battle men. The dangerous and suicidal lie underlying Obama’s fundamental transformation of the military is that women, far physically weaker and less aggressive than men, can prevail in the physical death struggle of combat.
Could anything be further from the truth? Who doubts that if men and women fight hand-to-hand the former will make short, ugly work of the latter? Given a choice, what enemy would not elect to battle female American soldiers rather than their bigger, stronger, meaner, more vicious, testosterone-fueled male counterparts?
Placing American women in combat sends terrible and morally corrosive messages: We are not serious about defeating radical Islam. Men no longer merit the pride that comes with bearing the sacred duty of protecting women, children and nation. Women are the functional equivalents of men without special responsibilities or aptitude for raising children, nurturing families and transmitting moral values. And our civilization is no longer worth preserving since women, who we know are inadequate to the task, are sent to defend it. [Communities Digital News, 12/18/15]
Bradford: The military “may be justified in ousting President Obama.” He wrote of then-President Obama in November 2015:
A military coup is not yet and may not prove necessary to safeguard Americans against radical Islam. The voters may yet have the chance to usher in a new president committed to the destruction of ISIS and its wicked ideology.
Much can happen between now and the end of President Obama’s term in January 2017. Yet ISIS has vowed and U.S. intelligence agencies expect follow-on attacks on the U.S. and its allies. And if past is prologue Obama will do next to nothing in response other than recite some of the “legitimate grievances” Islamists incubate against the U.S.
Obama has proven for seven shameful years that he is the best friend radical Islam could possibly have in the Oval Office and, as such, is a domestic enemy of the Constitution and the American people.
If partisan politics continues to prevent other constitutional methods from removing a president willfully derelict in his duty to defend the nation against radical Islam, the U.S. military—bound by its oath of office to “defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic”—may be justified in ousting President Obama.
Whatever transpires between now and January 2017, the risible response to the Friday the 13th attacks establishes that it is past time, by any lawful means, to remove President Obama from power for dereliction of his duty to engage and defeat radical Islam. [Communities Digital News, 11/20/15]
Bradford: Government “hope[s] the socialist-Islamist Red-Green axis will wreck capitalism.” He wrote in February 2016:
Because government, media, and academic totalitarians hope the socialist-Islamist Red-Green axis will wreck capitalism faster than Big Brother can by himself, they blind themselves to Bigger Brother’s true nature and wage infowar on his behalf. Perhaps no one better embodies the intersection of Red and Green than President Obama himself, a socialist for whom al-Qaeda and ISIS would have voted had they been able.
If Orwell were writing today, he might call socialism “Red Brother” and radical Islam “Green Brother” for clarity’s sake. Government, media, and university socialists have ensnared us in a dystopia where not just one, but two evil ideologies—Red Brother and Green Brother—are warring against us.
The GOP decided years ago it would rather collaborate than battle Democrats and risk losing elections. Constitutional fidelity is rarer than marital fidelity in the single-party leviathan inhabiting D.C.’s swamp. Democrats have engineered a train of Red and Green abuses that rolled over Americans and their Constitution with Republicans riding along as freight.
Government’s service to Red Brother is never-ending: ObamaCare; open borders; a feminized military; lawless judges; an $19 trillion national debt; “climate change” treaties; IRS threats against conservatives; the Second Amendment under siege; FCC regulation of the Internet. [Communities Digital News, 2/9/16]
Loading the player reg...
Loading the player reg...
As President Trump's executive orders banning immigration from first seven, then six, majority-Muslim nations have moved through the U.S. court system, they've been met with a series of legal setbacks and direct action and have drawn extensive media coverage. What follows is a timeline of events surrounding the ban, with a focus on right-wing media hypocrisy, denial, and defense of the president's increasingly indefensible policy. This post will be updated.
Loading the player reg...
Loading the player reg...
Breitbart’s xenophobic “Sweden YES” tag is a dog whistle to the “alt-right,” and the misleading articles marked with the label serve as the foundation for the outlet’s anti-immigrant campaign in both Europe and the United States.
In a March 17 interview with NBC News, Breitbart.com’ Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow attempted to distance his site from the “alt-right,” claiming that it’s “not a hate site.” But one of the website’s new favorite content tags -- “Sweden YES!” -- is an “alt-right” catchphrase that began as an effort to mock Sweden’s multiculturalism, gender equality, and positive stance on immigration.
According to Know Your Meme, “Sweden Yes” began on a German international messageboard, Krautchan/int/, in 2012. From there, it became a subreddit, which is currently “quarantined” due to its “shocking or highly offensive content.” The phrase is also popular on the anonymous online message board 4chan, where there is currently an archived Sweden Yes thread on the /pol/ page, with activity as recent as March 20. The meme is associated with Captain Sweden, a series of Swedish webcomics named for an anthropomorphized multicultural Sweden, often depicted engaging in interracial intercourse or featuring immigrants engaged in criminal behavior.
The Breitbart content organized under the “Sweden Yes” tag is written almost exclusively by Chris Tomlinson, a Breitbart London contributor who often retweets far-right French political leader Marine Le Pen and far-right, anti-Muslim Dutch political leader Geert Wilders, as well as Lauren Southern, an “alt-right” media figure who was recently allowed into a White House press briefing. Virginia Hale, a white nationalist Breitbart reporter with a history of using anti-Muslim rhetoric, has also written “Sweden Yes” content in recent weeks.
The first Breitbart content tagged “Sweden Yes” was published in November 2015. But that article was one of only five pieces of content given the tag before President Donald Trump’s February 18 speech in which he instructed the audience to “look at what’s happening last night in Sweden,” which he said “took in large numbers” of Muslim immigrants and refugees. Trump followed up his remarks about Sweden by mentioning three French and Belgian cities attacked by domestic terrorists over the past two years. Trump’s comment was a clear suggestion that Muslims and refugees are responsible for a so-called “crime wave” in Sweden. Multiple fact-checkers have debunked both Trump’s seeming implication of an attack the night before he spoke and his claim about migrant crime in Sweden. But the damage had already been done. Since his speech, Breitbart has labeled 32 pieces of content (of a total of 37) with the “Sweden Yes” tag.
The site’s “Sweden Yes” content often makes evidence-free claims, exaggerates unrelated past incidents of crime to report on recent events, or exploits incidents in other countries to stoke fear about immigrant crime in Sweden. For example, a March 8 Breitbart article fearmongered about the takeover of Malmö due to “mass migration, predominantly from Middle Eastern nations” to claim that the the city’s longtime residents are leaving the city, possibly due to an “explosion in crime” and “warring gangs.” But the words “warring gangs” are hyperlinked to another Breitbart article about these so-called gangs, which cites a Reuters article. Reuters makes no mention of whether the perpetrator of the gang shooting of a 16-year-old boy in Malmö was an immigrant.
Another Breitbart article, about a Swedish program to train asylum seekers from the Middle East to work in correctional facilities, acknowledges that “so far the program has not run into a glaring issue that plagues many prisons across Europe, the growth of radical Islam and radicalization of inmates,” before claiming that French and British prisons have becoming a “breeding ground for radical Islamic indoctrination.” But the training program is in Sweden, not France or Britain, and while it places recently arrived immigrants in jobs within prisons, these program participants are guards, not inmates. The article also claims, “In HMP Gartree, a maximum security prison in the UK, entire cell blocks are run under a variation of Islamic sharia law according to reports.” The words “Islamic sharia law” link to another Breitbart article, which cites a Sun article to claim “Muslim extremists … are running an entire [cell] block under sharia law.” However, the Sun quotes a prison spokesman in the U.K. saying, “There is no evidence to back-up any of these claims about HMP Gartree."
The exploitation of longstanding anti-Muslim tropes in the context of Swedish crime is merely the latest iteration of Breitbart’s anti-immigrant crusade in Europe. A false report Breitbart published in January alleging that a "mob" of Muslims attacked a German church spurred the German government to investigate what it deemed the “unprecedented proliferation” of fake news, a phenomenon which the Swedish prime minister recently mentioned as a concern his government is committed to investigating.
The Trump administration has drawn criticism for its seeming embrace of the anti-immigrant "alt-right" movement. The incoming Trump administration was criticized in December 2016 because "A senior member of President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team and a delegation of US Republican and European lawmakers canceled a briefing  with Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely over a refusal to allow a Swedish far-right member of the group into the meeting[.]" Nevertheless, President Trump in January gave former Breitbart head Stephen Bannon a seat on the National Security Council's principals committee, which affords him access to meetings with senior-most national security officials. While Bannon is no longer formally associated with the outlet, according to a former Breitbart spokesperson, the site is still heavily influenced by Bannon’s editorial guidance.
Trump’s baseless February 18 claim about immigrants committing crimes in Sweden is just one more example of how his administration both validates outlets like Breitbart and mainstreams “alt-right” narratives under the guise of keeping Americans safe.
Image by sarah Wasko.
Independent Journal Review (IJR) chief content officer Benny Johnson and two other IJR employees were indefinitely suspended after writing and publishing a baseless conspiracy theory -- originally pushed by “alt-right” fringe media -- which suggested that former President Barack Obama’s visit to Hawaii played a role in a ruling by a federal judge based there that froze President Donald Trump’s revised Muslim ban.
On March 16, under Johnson’s direction, IJR published, then retracted, an article that attempted to “point out the timing and the opportunity” presented by Obama’s presence in Hawaii days before the judge’s ruling. The conspiracy theory was originally pushed by fringe and “alt-right” outlets such as Infowars and The Gateway Pundit, and it seemed to originate from a thread on the online anonymous message board Reddit. The outlandish theory even made its way to Donald Trump Jr., who retweeted a Twitter post that tied the judge to Obama.
According to reports from Politico and Business Insider, after IJR investigated the publication of the baseless story, the site suspended Johnson and editors Kyle Becker and Becca Lower. In a statement, IJR founder Alex Skatell wrote that “we got it wrong and ultimately deserve all the criticism.” Business Insider noted that Johnson, who has been accused of plagiarism multiple times and has previously pushed false claims, “had been warned earlier that the story about Obama was an unfounded conspiracy theory, but he assigned it to Becker anyway.”
This is the second recent occasion in which a right-wing media figure has been disciplined for spreading unsubstantiated allegations and conspiracy theories about Obama. IJR’s actions came a day after reports emerged that Fox News’ Andrew Napolitano was being taken off the air “indefinitely” for promoting the false claim that Obama used the British government to spy on Trump.
Media’s Unbalanced Coverage Of Terrorism Leaves Americans With “An Exaggerated Sense Of That Threat”
The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog published a report that found that news media give “drastically more coverage to attacks by Muslims, particularly foreign-born Muslims -- even though those are far less common” than terror attacks committed by non-Muslims. The finding debunks President Donald Trump’s suggestion that the media underreport terror attacks by Muslim perpetrators.
On February 6, Trump baselessly claimed that terror attacks are “not even reported, and in many cases the very, very dishonest press doesn't even want to report it." The White House then released a list of “78 major terrorist attacks targeting the West that were executed or inspired by ISIS since September 2014.” The administration primarily listed attacks committed by Muslims, omitted any mention of right-wing terrorism, and included several attacks that were in fact reported extensively. Trump and White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway also both have referenced terror attacks allegedly committed by Muslims that actually never happened.
Trump’s false claim is just one facet of his ongoing campaign to demonize and fearmonger about Muslims; he has also on several occasions stated his intent to ban Muslims from the United States. But in fact, Muslims (and others mistaken for Muslims) in the United States are often the target of violence from white supremacists, and their voices are underrepresented in the news media, both generally and also in discussions of issues that directly and disproportionately impact them.
The authors of the report published in the Post on March 13 found that of the 89 terror attacks identified by the Global Terrorism Database between 2011 and 2015 in the U.S., 12.4 percent were committed by Muslims and 88 percent by non-Muslims, but that attacks by Muslims received 44 percent of news coverage about terror attacks. The disparity was even more extreme in cases where the attacker was a foreign-born Muslim. Even after they controlled for a “host of factors,” attacks by Muslims perpetrators received an average of 4 ½ times more coverage. “In other words,” the researchers wrote, “whether intentional or not, U.S. media outlets disproportionately emphasize the smaller number of terrorist attacks by Muslims — leading Americans to have an exaggerated sense of that threat.” From the March 13 report:
Of the 89 attacks, 24 did not receive any media coverage from the sources we examined. The small proportion of attacks that were by Muslims — remember, only 12 percent — received 44 percent of the news coverage. In only 5 percent of all the terrorist attacks, the perpetrator was both Muslim and foreign-born — but those four attacks got 32 percent of all the media coverage.
In real numbers, the average attack with a Muslim perpetrator is covered in 90.8 articles. Attacks with a Muslim, foreign-born perpetrator are covered in 192.8 articles on average. Compare this with other attacks, which received an average of 18.1 articles.
But even controlling for [a host of factors], attacks by a Muslim perpetrator get, on average, about 4½ times more coverage. In other words, whether intentional or not, U.S. media outlets disproportionately emphasize the smaller number of terrorist attacks by Muslims — leading Americans to have an exaggerated sense of that threat.
Our own research, and that of our colleagues, shows that people are more likely to consider an attack to be terrorism when the perpetrator is Muslim. That’s true, even though the chance of an American being killed by an foreign-born terrorist, measured over the past 40 years, is 1 in 3.6 million each year, as a recent Cato Institute report noted.
But since the news media focus so disproportionately on attacks by Muslims, particularly foreign-born Muslims, it’s no wonder that so many Americans think that these groups make our country less secure.