Katie Pavlich | Media Matters for America

Katie Pavlich

Tags ››› Katie Pavlich
  • Six weeks of Fox's Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez obsession: "Totalitarian," "ignorant," "scary," and waging a "war on cows"

    In these 42 days, Fox News and Fox Business talked about AOC every single day, mentioning her at least 3,181 times

    Blog ››› ››› COURTNEY HAGLE


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Fox News has always used certain prominent Democrats as boogeymen -- someone for hosts and guests to demonize, knock down, and refer to whenever grievances need to be aired against the Democratic Party. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Nancy Pelosi all have been put in this rhetorical role, but since June 2018, Fox personalities have set their sights on a new target: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

    Ocasio-Cortez, commonly referred to as AOC, is a 29-year-old freshman Democratic congresswoman from the Bronx. Since arriving in Washington, D.C., Ocasio-Cortez has drawn continued attention for championing progressive policies such as “Medicare for All,” expanding the national debate on climate change with the introduction of the Green New Deal, demonstrating a savvy use of social media, and pursuing sharp lines of questioning in high-profile congressional committee hearings. 

    She has also become an obsession on Fox News. In the six weeks from February 25 and April 7, her name was mentioned 3,181 times on Fox News and Fox Business; not a day went by in that time frame that she wasn't discussed on the networks. 

    Ocasio-Cortez is brought up constantly, even if the topic has nothing to do with her, as with the recent terror attacks in New Zealand. Hosts and guests smear and misrepresent Ocasio-Cortez’s agenda, caricaturing it while painting it as radical, dangerous, far-left socialism. They often draw bleak comparisons between her progressive vision and the turmoil in Venezuela or invoke murderous dictators to attack her policies. Fox figures go on extended, agressively angry rants about her. They've repeatedly attacked her intelligence, used her age to discredit her, and dismissed her as a “little girl,” (as when Brit Hume said she's “kind of adorable in sort of the way that a 5-year-old child can be adorable"). They cite national polls about her popularity, despite her being a first-term congresswoman representing one district in New York, and claim she has taken over the Democratic Party. They have accused Ocasio-Cortez, whose family hailed from Puerto Rico, of using “minority privilege” to criticize Fox personalities and trying to push “Latin American values” on the U.S. to “bring the kind of socialism that destroyed Venezuela.”

    Various Fox hosts, including Stuart Varney, Greg Gutfeld, and David Asman, have alluded to Fox's laser focus on Ocasio-Cortez. Varney, for example, once acknowledged, "We have an AOC segment every single day, almost every single hour. She's good for our ratings":

    Here is a (noncomprehensive) glimpse into what just six weeks of Fox News and Fox Business’ Ocasio-Cortez coverage looks like:

    Week 1Fox freaked out over Ocasio-Cortez wanting to ban children; pushed a partisan, since-debunked claim about the cost of the Green New Deal, and helped make her one of the stars of CPAC.

    Week 2Fox accused Ocasio-Cortez of being a hypocrite for using cars, relentlessly covered alleged ethics violations filed by conservative activist groups against her staff, and used her support of Rep. Ilhan Omar to accuse Democrats of having an anti-Semitism problem. 

    Week 3Fox melted down when Ocasio-Cortez said Ronald Reagan used racism to stoke divisions, attempted to pit her against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to claim major divisions in the Democratic Party, and attacked her education and intelligence. 

    Week 4Fox hyped a Gallup poll about Ocasio-Cortez's national approval ratings, covered more alleged ethics violations, and attacked Time magazine for a cover featuring her. 

    Week 5Fox continued to push the bogus Green New Deal cost claim and criticized her questioning during House committee hearings. 

    Week 6Fox attacked Ocasio-Cortez's (accurate) tweets about the 22nd Amendment and croissants, obsessed over another Instagram Live video while mocking her unfurnished apartment, and accused her of adopting a fake accent. 


    Week 1

    February 25

    Fox distorted Ocasio-Cortez’s comments about climate change, children, and the Green New Deal to paint them as both extreme and ridiculous, while pushing a bogus price tag for the Green New Deal. During a February 24 livestream video on Instagram, Ocasio-Cortez talked about the reality many young people face under the looming threat of climate change, including concerns about having children in a world that scientists predict will become increasingly uninhabitable due to climate change. The comments sparked a day of faux outrage at Fox News. Fox figures mocked and misrepresented Ocasio-Cortez’s climate agenda, implying that she is discouraging people from having children.

    Fox additionally smeared her climate agenda by pushing a discredited claim made by a conservative activist group that the Green New Deal could cost $93 trillion over 10 years. The network also criticized and mocked Ocasio-Cortez’s recent comments in which she pointed out that no one else has presented a climate agenda on the scale of the Green New Deal, making her the “boss” until someone else steps up.

    On his prime-time show, Sean Hannity claimed Ocasio-Cortez wanted to ban airplanes and cows, pushed the bogus Green New Deal price tag, and called her "radical, socialist views" on climate “insane” and “scary.” Fox News host Sean Hannity pushed the myth that Ocasio-Cortez is trying to ban “gas-powered cars, airplanes, … and even cows,” as well as the then-new (and quickly discredited) "study" that found the Green New Deal would cost $93 trillion. He also claimed that “like any good socialist,” Ocasio-Cortez “loves the heavy, oppressive hand of the federal government.” He added, it’s “scary” that many Democrats are “lining up to support Ocasio-Cortez and her radical, socialist views.” [Fox News, Hannity, 2/25/19

    Tucker Carlson called Ocasio-Cortez an “idiotic wind bag" who should be told "to be quiet and take a seat” and lashed out over her Instagram comments about having children. In a segment that lasted over nine minutes, Fox host Tucker Carlson claimed that the Green New Deal would “shut down the entire American economy.” Carlson also sarcastically berated her comments on having children, asking, “I don’t know, AIexandria, can we [still have children]? You’re the boss now. If you say we can't reproduce the species, of course we won't. It's your call." [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 2/25/19]

    Martha MacCallum called Ocasio-Cortez's Instagram comment about children "unoptimistic" and hosted Lara Trump, who suggested Ocasio-Cortez was "rambling" because she was drinking. Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum said Ocasio-Cortez was being “unoptimistic” because “Americans love to, you know, have your kids, create the next generation.” Lara Trump, daugher-in-law of President Donald Trump, also complained that children learning about climate science “are being indoctrinated with all this nonsense.” [Fox News, The Story with Martha MacCallum, 2/25/19]

    Katie Pavlich: Ocasio-Cortez's climate views are the result of “indoctrination.” Fox News co-host Katie Pavlich complained that educating children on climate science is “indoctrination,” pointing to a “recycling art contest” that she won when she was nine. Co-host Greg Gutfeld briefly acknowledged Fox’s obsession with Ocasio-Cortez, admitting that he tries to “keep our portions of AOC down to 5 percent,” but “at Fox they’re all like no, throw the AOC out there.” The co-hosts then proceeded to mock her concerns about having children in a world facing extreme climate change. [Fox News, The Five, 2/25/19]

    February 26

    Fox continued to mock and distort the Green New Deal resolution, compared her comments about having children to China's one-child policy, and pushed the bogus Green New Deal cost estimate. Figures at Fox continued to distort and misrepresent Ocasio-Cortez’s comments the following day, going as far as to call her “disturbingly authoritarian” and accusing her of advocating for “civilizational suicide” by suggesting that younger people have concerns about having children. Fox also repeatedly pushed the false figure that the Green New Deal would cost $93 trillion, using the number to paint Ocasio-Cortez’s platform as an unrealistic idea that would “bankrupt” and “hurt our country.”

    Carlson suggested Ocasio-Cortez's comment on having children was flawed because China's one-child policy didn't make that country "cleaner." He also pointed out that China is “the world’s largest polluter,” implying that a one-child rule -- which Ocasio-Cortez has never proposed -- is incompatible with her environmental goals. [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 2/26/19]

    Brian Kilmeade pushed the bogus $93 trillion Green New Deal price tag, while Pete Hegseth argued that Ocasio-Cortez is advocating for “civilizational suicide.” Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade continued to hype the supposed cost of the Green New Deal. Fellow co-host Pete Hegseth falsely claimed that “she's saying ‘don't have kids because it's going to hurt our country,’” and argued, “When you stop believing in your own country and your own values and free market economics, you give up what made you special in the first place.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/26/19]

    Steve Hilton said Ocasio-Cortez's “no-child policy” is “disturbingly authoritarian, even fascistic,” and Melissa Francis called her an "elitist" and pushed the myth that she wants to ban planes and cows. Fox Business host and Outnumbered guest host Steve Hilton also said that it seems like Ocasio-Cortez “would be much more comfortable, frankly, in China.” Co-host Melissa Francis claimed that Ocasio-Cortez’s platform is actually the “ultimate rich ideology” and that she is the “ultimate elitist.” Francis also falsely claimed that Ocasio-Cortez wants to “get rid of children, airplanes, and cows.” Co-host Lisa Kennedy Montgomery (Kennedy) chimed in that “dingbats who worry that the Earth is swallowing itself … shouldn’t have kids.” The segment also promoted the bogus $93 trillion figure for the Green New Deal. [Fox News, Outnumbered, 2/26/19]

    February 27

    Fox pushed a clip of Ivanka Trump criticizing Ocasio-Cortez’s calls for a job guarantee and a mandatory living wage. In a February 25 interview, Ivanka Trump claimed that most Americans did not, “in their heart, want to be given something,” referencing the Green New Deal's push for a job guarantee and a living wage. The next day, Ocasio-Cortez responded in a tweet that “as a person who actually worked for tips & hourly wages in my life, … I can tell you that most people want to be paid enough to live.” The narrative on Fox for the day turned into Ivanka vs. Ocasio-Cortez, with most hosts and guests cheerleading Ivanka while criticizing the idea of a higher minimum wage.

    Mike Huckabee responded to Ocasio-Cortez calling a living wage a right, saying it was "ridiculous to talk about a minimum wage." On The Story with Martha MacCallum, Fox contributor Mike Huckabee railed against the minimum wage in response to the exchange between Ivanka Trump and Ocasio-Cortez. MacCallum also praised Trump for choosing to work when "she doesn't have to work at all," while claiming there is a “scorn element” involved in criticizing her privilege. [Fox News, The Story with Martha MacCallum, 2/27/19]

    In response to Ocasio-Cortez’s comments, Fox Business host Stuart Varney asserted, “A living wage is not a right. It simply is not a right.” Fox Business correspondent Susan Li said, “Yes, people do want to earn money. Why be given something when you should go and earn it.” [Fox News, Varney & Co., 2/27/19]

    Dagen McDowell: Cardi B is "a lot smarter on economic points than AOC is." Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo argued that it’s wrong to attack Ivanka “after what she’s done her entire life.” After a nearly five-minute segment devoted to Ocasio-Cortez, Fox Business anchor Dagen McDowell quoted Grace-Marie Turner of the Galen Institute who said that “our attention to [Ocasio-Cortez] fuels her celebrity and therefore her ideas. Time to get over our fascination and move on.” [Fox Business, Mornings with Maria, 2/27/19]

    February 28

    During CPAC, Fox made it clear that Ocasio-Cortez was going to be a big topic for the conference. Ocasio-Cortez came up often on Fox amid discussions of the Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual convention for conservative politicians and activists. Additionally, Fox continued to smear Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal and painted the 2020 election as a referendum on socialism vs. capitalism.

    Ronna McDaniel repeated the bogus Green New Deal cost estimate and said it would "take away the American dream." On America's Newsroom, with a chyron reading "CPAC 2019 to focus on Democrats' growing socialist agenda," Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel parroted the inflated Green New Deal price tag, said the proposal would ruin the American dream, said “the Green New Deal is a path to bankruptcy for our country," and fearmongered that Ocasio-Cortez's agenda could turn the U.S. into Venezuela. The anchor, Sandra Smith, indicated her agreement throughout the segment. [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 2/28/19]

    Sebastian Gorka called the Green New Deal "communist" and claimed Ocasio-Cortez wants to “ban you from eating hamburgers and cheeseburgers.” Then-Fox contributor Sebastian Gorka touted his CPAC speech, in which he called Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal “a watermelon -- green on the outside, deep red communist on the inside.” Gorka also likened Ocasio-Cortez’s agenda to “communism” and claimed that the 2020 election will be a “choice between oppression and freedom.” [Fox News, Hannity, 2/28/19]

    March 1

    Fox hyped the claim that Ocasio-Cortez was compiling "a list" of Democrats to target. On Friday, a rumor circulated in right-wing publications that Ocasio-Cortez was putting moderate Democrats on a list and would support primary challengers against them in 2020. Fox ran with the rumor to advance the narrative that Ocasio-Cortez is the root cause of infighting among Democrats. In reality, the claim was a misrepresentation; in a meeting of House Democrats, Pelosi expressed frustration with moderate Democrats siding with Republicans on procedural votes, and Ocasio-Cortez reportedly indicated that she would support progressive activists in 2020. The "list" comment came from her spokesperson, and on Twitter, Ocasio-Cortez clarified, "I didn’t say that they were putting themselves on a list for primaries. I said that by Dems distinguishing themselves by breaking off on procedural MTR votes, they were inadvertently making a list of targets for the GOP and for progressive advocates on their pro-ICE vote."

    Varney dedicated a monologue to smearing Ocasio-Cortez’s role among fellow Democrats. Varney began by describing the Democratic Party as “pretty rough” and “open warfare,” adding that Ocasio-Cortez is “at the center of it.” He pushed the narrative that, according to Ocasio-Cortez, moderate Democrats are “putting themselves on a list. Presumably, that’s a list of Democrats who would face primary challenges from the socialists.” He described the Democrats in the House as a “fractured caucus” that is “split, and AOC is the main cause.” He concluded by saying that “for the next 20 months, the battle between moderates and socialists will rage on” but “the power and influence of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has yet to be rolled back.” [Fox Business, Varney & Co., 3/1/19]

    Later in the same show, Varney admitted, “We have an AOC segment every single day almost every single hour” because “she is good for our ratings.” [Fox Business, Varney & Co., 3/1/19]

    Jason Chaffetz claimed that Ocasio-Cortez “vowed to put anyone who votes with Republicans on a list.” While guest hosting Hannity, Fox's Jason Chaffetz pointed out, in an attempt at a “gotcha” moment, that Ocasio-Cortez has previously voted with Republicans, adding that “she should be on this list” and that he looks “forward to seeing who she recruits to primary herself.” [Fox News, Hannity, 3/1/19]

    Carlson: If you “ask too many questions or think too many independent thoughts … you will wind up on Commissar Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s list.” Carlson painted a bleak picture of Ocasio-Cortez’s rumored list, claiming that it’s “not politics” but a “cult.” He also claimed that “nuance is the enemy” and “accomodation is a sin.” He described her rumored list as “totalitarian,” “stupid and boring,” and “a replacement for thought.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 3/1/19]

    Jesse Watters: Ocasio-Cortez "wants to create a civil war” and is “the Steve Bannon of the left now.” Fox host Jesse Watters added that “Republicans are scoring so many points because of AOC.” Fox anchor and host Dana Perino also claimed that moderates are “now facing threats and political retribution if they work with Republicans." [Fox News, The Five, 3/1/19]

    Weekend (March 2-3)

    Jeanine Pirro hyped Trump’s CPAC comments about Ocasio-Cortez while she and her guests referred to her as "a bartender" and compared limiting meat consumption to a dictatorship. Fox host Jeanine Pirro and her guests repeatedly misrepresented Ocasio-Cortez’s climate agenda. Pirro said Ocasio-Cortez is now “the person that everybody is talking about” before asserting that she “threatens to put moderate Dems on a list and she threatens to primary them.” Pirro then asked her guests, “Does she think she is in charge, or is Pelosi in charge?” Guest Stephanie Hamill responded that Ocasio-Cortez “has the loud minority on her side right now” and “she does think she’s the boss, she’s in charge.” Pirro addressed Ocasio-Cortez’s comments about the effects of factory farming on environment and asked if her suggestion that we reconsider our consumption of factory-farmed meat is “somewhat of a dictatorship?” Pirro dismissed Ocasio-Cortez’s concerns and said, “She is a bartender -- should we be drinking and not eating hamburgers?” Hamill then claimed to be “petrified of the idea of somebody suggesting that the government should regulate when you eat cheeseburgers,” even though Ocasio-Cortez has proposed nothing of the sort. [Fox News, Justice with Judge Jeanine, 3/2/19]

    Watters also used the idea of a list to illustrate divisions within the Democratic Party. He claimed there is a “civil war” in the Democratic Party and “leading the way: none other than freshman firebrand Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.” Chaffetz agreed that Democrats are “eating their own.” A chyron later claimed “AOC keeps ‘naughty’ list.” [Fox News, Watters’ World, 3/2/19]

    Hegseth called Ocasio-Cortez “Comrade Cortez” while discussing her comments about ICE. Former acting ICE Director Tom Homan claimed that he cancelled his flight to respond to Ocasio-Cortez’s comments and said she “doesn’t know fact from fiction” and “doesn’t know how to tell the truth” before pushing back on her criticisms of ICE abuses. He added that he’s “never been this upset in my career” before asking, “How dare she?” Homan also called for “ethics investigations” into Ocasio-Cortez for her criticisms of ICE. Guest co-host Rachel Campos-Duffy thanked Homan for “clearing up the misinformation coming from AOC.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends Weekend, 3/2/19]

    Week 2

    March 4

    Fox claimed Ocasio-Cortez is a hypocrite for using cars while advocating for the Green New Deal. On March 4, Fox News’ predominant talking point regarding Ocasio-Cortez revolved around a New York Post report that she rode in a minivan when she was “a mere five-minute walk” from the nearest subway station, supposedly proving the hypocrisy of Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal. Ocasio-Cortez later responded that the minivan belonged to her aunt and that “If they saw how many goldfish snacks were in this thing they’d say I was killing the ocean too.”

    Fox & Friends First anchor Heather Childers highlighted the story on her show, framing it as “the congresswoman behind the Green New Deal ditches the subway for a gas-guzzling minivan.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends First, 3/4/19]

    Hannity: "Just like socialist comrade Bernie Sanders, Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez's rhetoric doesn't seem to match her actions.” Hannity described the “major exposé” by the New York Post before claiming that Ocasio-Cortez’s traveling habits are hypocritical because she has “called for abolishing airplanes." He then asked why “those who shout the loudest for the radical climate-shaming policies are always the last to make the personal sacrifices and lead by example.” [Fox News, Hannity, 3/4/19]

    Carlson amplified comments calling Ocasio-Cortez a "garden-variety hypocrite” and a “pompous little twit" for riding in the minivan. Carlson claimed Ocasio-Cortez thinks climate change is “so important we may have to stop having children," before pointing to her perceived hypocrisy for using cars and airplanes and claiming that “we always know what people believe by the way they live, not by what they say, but by how they act." Carlson finished by highlighting tweets that he said “correctly” called Ocasio-Cortez a “garden-variety hypocrite” and a “pompous little twit.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 3/4/19]

    March 5

    Fox distorted a reported campaign finance violation involving Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff, going as far as to suggest she could possibly go to jail. On March 4, Washington Examiner reported on a complaint filed with the FEC that Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff “funneled over $1 million in political donations into two of his own private companies.” While The Washington Post also reported on the story, any potential campaign finance violations and subsequent legal issues seem to have little to do with Ocasio-Cortez. Additionally, these reported violations pale in comparison to President Donald Trump’s possible campaign finance violations, which are often downplayed on Fox News. Still, Fox figures used this story to again paint Ocasio-Cortez as a hypocrite and even went as far as suggesting she herself could possibly go to jail.

    Fox also continued to push the rumored list that Ocasio-Cortez is compiling of her fellow Democrats, advancing the narrative that there are divisions between Ocasio-Cortez and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Fox figures also misrepresented parts of her agenda to appear more extreme.

    Laura Ingraham: “Could the Democrats shining new star be seeing some, well, shiny new prison bars?” Fox host Laura Ingraham then told her guest Brad Smith, former commissioner of Federal Election Commision that “it’s nice to see the tables turned on some of these Democrats who are on their high horses all the time, claiming to have the moral superiority over everybody else.” While Smith said that he doesn’t think she will go to prison, he said that the situation shows “the rank hypocrisy here.” He also added that Ocasio-Cortez’s “best defense is probably that she was too ignorant and she didn’t know what was going on.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 3/5/19]

    Carlson claimed that Ocasio-Cortez is hypocritical because “she described herself as an enemy of big money in politics.” He used the story to bring up the minivan scandal discussed earlier in the week, saying that Ocasio-Cortez is a “sworn enemy of carbon, but that didn’t stop her from taking hundreds of Uber rides when the subway was just a few feet away.” Carlson’s guest, Melissa Francis, later accused Ocasio-Cortez of elitism, describing her as “the ruling class” while Francis and Carlson are “just the serfs along the way.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 3/5/19]

    Fox’s Brit Hume said that “for all of her callowness and arguable shallowness,” she “makes news” because she’s “kind of adorable in sort of the way that a 5-year-old child can be adorable.” Carlson agreed, adding that while she is “brave,” she’s “also really arrogant.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 3/5/19]

    Hannity went all-in to advance the narrative that Ocasio-Cortez has taken control of the Democrats from Pelosi. He began his segment by claiming that Democrats are “imploding,” claiming that “radical, extreme far-left socialists have now taken over any and any Democrat who doesn't fall in line and support this radical extreme agenda.” He claimed, “Nancy Pelosi is afraid of all of those freshmen [representatives] ... led by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.” He then said that “political intimidation is always a key component of socialism” and railed against her agenda before detailing the Federal Election Commission complaint against her chief of staff. He pushed the narrative that Ocasio-Cortez is a hypocrite “who wants to ban all air travel, but she herself loves flying on airplanes between New York and D.C.” [Fox News, Hannity, 3/5/19]

    March 6

    Fox used Ocasio-Cortez’s support of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) to push the idea that there is rising anti-Semitism in the Democratic Party and attacked her position on Amazon's headquarters. On March 6, Fox figures used Ocasio-Cortez’s support of Omar during the continuing controversy surrounding Omar’s comments as a reason why Pelosi wasn’t punishing Omar and said that it was a sign that she has lost control of her caucus to Ocasio-Cortez. When they weren’t discussing the Omar controversy, Fox figures talked about the issues surrounding Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff, condescendingly berated her immigration position, or just talked about her general popularity. Some also used Amazon’s decision to withdraw its plans to build a second headquarters in New York to blame Ocasio-Cortez and promote billboards in New York City attacking her.

    Hannity claimed that “it's pretty safe to say that the real speaker of the House for the Democrats is Ocasio-Cortez, not Nancy Pelosi.” He asserted that “instead of taking punitive action” against Omar, Pelosi “is making excuses” for her “because Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez is publicly supporting Omar.” Hannity went on to claim that “Pelosi is terrified” of “being overthrown by even more radicals within her own party.” [Fox News, Hannity, 3/6/19]

    Carlson: Ocasio-Cortez is “completely out of touch” and “has no idea what America is like.” Carlson also condescendingly said that her “tiny little world of fair trade coffee shops is thriving.” Carlson added, “Ocasio-Cortez and the rest of the morons say” people are “racist” if they're bothered by the number of overdose deaths from fentanyl coming across the border. [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 3/6/19]

    Steve Doocy called out Ocasio-Cortez’s supposed “hypocrisy” because “when she was running, she was all about transparency.” While discussing her chief of staff’s alleged campaign violation, Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy painted Ocasio-Cortez as a hypocrite. His guest, Mark Fitzgibbons, referenced her line of questioning in hearings on campaign finance, saying, “It's no irony that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez role-played the bad guy in hearings last month about regulating campaign finance even more.” Fitzgibbons also called Ocasio-Cortez “a socialist crusader” who “doesn’t know the rules.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/6/19]

    Fox Business panel claimed Ocasio-Cortez had backtracked on her position opposing Amazon’s plans to build a second headquarters in New York City after the online retail giant withdrew from the plan. Fox Business’ Bartiromo and Ashley Webster also highlighted billboards put up in the city smearing Ocasio-Cortez over the Green New Deal. [Fox Business, Mornings with Maria, 3/6/19]

    March 7

    Fox turned Ocasio-Cortez's boyfriend getting a House email address to access her work schedule and talking about throwing away plastic bags into pseudo-scandals. On March 7, right-wing publications reported another perceived ethics violation against Ocasio-Cortez after she reportedly attained a House email address for her boyfriend -- a common move among House members to grant their partners access to their House schedule. The stories attempted to smear her as hypocritical “for listing her live-in boyfriend as a staff member and getting him an official House email address.” Ocasio-Cortez denied accusations that he is a staff member in her office, but Fox still used the opportunity to claim Ocasio-Cortez was hypocritically giving her boyfriend special treatment.

    Fox also talked about a new Ocasio-Cortez scandal -- that she sometimes throws away her plastic bags from the grocery store -- after an interview in which Ocasio-Cortez said that patrons often get too many plastic bags they don’t know what to do with, pointing out that recycling programs can be inefficient, causing people to be wasteful. Fox jumped at the chance to use this comment to illustrate Ocasio-Cortez’s hypocrisy for introducing the Green New Deal. In addition to pushing these new scandals, Fox also continued to use Ocasio-Cortez’s support of Omar to attack Pelosi’s leadership.

    Hannity asserted that these complaints are “all extremely serious issues that could result in charges.” He added that “like every other good socialist, she appears to be pretty corrupt to the core.” He smeared Ocasio-Cortez as “everything that is wrong with this new radical extreme Democratic socialist party,” telling his viewers that Democrats are now a “party that is pushing the most radical socialist economic policies that will guarantee America spirals into a depression -- it’s that serious.” [Fox News, Hannity, 3/7/19]

    Carlson used what he called “a spasm of left-wing outrage” that led to plastic straws being banned to talk about Ocasio-Cortez’s comments on plastic bags. His guest Mark Steyn added that “what’s oddly revealing about all this” is Ocasio-Cortez sounds “strangely unwoke” compared to “some well-meaning, liberal progressive who eschews all the plastic bags and produces some smelly, disgusting permanent bag.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 3/7/19

    Allie Beth Stuckey asked who’s really in charge of the Democratic Party, “because I remember AOC saying that she was in charge.” Allie Beth Stuckey added that she thinks “Nancy Pelosi is just acquiescing to whatever Ilhan Omar or AOC says,” repeating, “I just want to know who’s actually leading?” [Fox News, Outnumbered, 3/7/19]

    Charles Payne brought up what he dubbed the “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez factor.” Fox Business host Charles Payne elaborated that he is referring to Ocasio-Cortez coming “to the aid of her fellow freshman [Omar] and has seen the turn of tide.” He added that “it just feels like within that party, the shifting tide is toward a new leader and it’s not Nancy Pelosi.” Fox chief national correspondent Ed Henry claimed that Payne was “right to mention Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez,” adding that her support of Omar adds to “pressure that is on Speaker Nancy Pelosi” because now Democrats are “dealing with their internal business like this.” [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 3/7/19]

    March 8

    On Friday, most discussions about Ocasio-Cortez focused on the House anti-hate resolution, passed the day before on March 7. Many on Fox continued to accuse Ocasio-Cortez, along with Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Omar, of hijacking the party from Pelosi. An additional narrative formed on Fox accusing Ocasio-Cortez of hypocrisy for “fundraising off of Omar’s anti-Semitism” when she is “one of the main drivers of this push for the government to take people's liberty and freedom.” Other Fox figures continued to push supposed scandals that had developed over the course of the week, such as her hypocrisy surrounding the Green New Deal.

    Hannity: "This should shock the conscience and alarm every single American” because Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, and Omar are “pulling the strings” as the “head of the entire Democratic Party.” Hannity repeated the sentiment that “Nancy Pelosi is just speaker in name only.” He also said that “as per usual, Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez [is[ leading the way.” He added that Ocasio-Cortez is “fundraising off of Omar’s anti-Semitism” and “begging for donations.” [Fox News, Hannity, 3/8/19]

    Kennedy described Ocasio-Cortez “fundraising off this controversy” as hypocritical. Kennedy implied that it is hypocritical to fundraise “because Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is, you know, one of the main drivers of this push for the government to take people’s liberty and freedom, yet she wants to tap into the private sector and raise money off this controversy.” [Fox News, Outnumbered, 3/8/19]

    Varney on Ocasio-Cortez’s fundraising email: “Didn’t she use to rail against big money in politics?” Fox contributor Tammy Bruce agreed, pointing to Ocasio-Cortez’s “own issues” with alleged ethics violations. Bruce also asserted that Ocasio-Cortez defending Omar creates a “team AOC” and that “it also shows you that no one’s afraid of Nancy Pelosi.” Varney and Bruce used the incident involving Omar to illustrate divisions among the Democrats, to criticize Pelosi’s leadership, and to accuse Democrats of anti-Semitism. [Fox Business, Varney & Co., 3/8/19

    The three Fox & Friends co-hosts also pushed the narrative that Ocasio-Cortez could be the new House speaker. Co-host Ainsley Earhardt asked, “After all the Democratic infighting this week, can you imagine a Speaker Ocasio-Cortez instead?” Doocy replied, “Interesting,” and Kilmeade said, “She might as well be the speaker.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/19/19]

    Weekend (March 9-10)

    Watters dramatically covered “possible ethics investigations” in his “Watters’ World exclusive investigation into Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.” He listed off potential violations before saying that Ocasio-Cortez “is accused of being a green hypocrite.” He suggested that Ocasio-Cortez may have committed a “possible felony” with a campaign finance violation. Guest Phil Kerpen asserted that she is “certainly in trouble. The question is how much trouble. We know at a minimum there are reporting violation.” Watters interrupted him, claiming that “that’s what they tried to impeach” Trump over, referring to payments made to adult actor Stormy Daniels. He also claimed Ocasio-Cortez is “in trouble, potentially, for her Twitter use” and is “breaking all sorts of rules as a member of Congress” by linking between her social media accounts, which he called “a big no-no.” Watters then pivoted to her perceived hypocrisy, saying, “She wants to get rid of air travel and cows and all sorts of fossil fuels and all that, it looks like though she’s not living too green, personally.” Watters said that “one of the Greenpeace guys called her a total joke” and added that she “doesn’t even recycle or use compost or -- she got caught throwing away a bunch of plastic bags.” [Fox News, Watters’ World, 3/9/19]

    Campos-Duffy claimed young people who have concerns about climate change, including Ocasio-Cortez, are indoctrinated. While discussing a high school walkout in protest inaction toward climate change, Campos-Duffy asserted that “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, these kids, they are products of an educational system that is indoctrinating instead of educating.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends Weekend, 3/9/19]

    Week 3

    March 11

    The primary Ocasio-Cortez narrative focused on comments she made at SXSW. While speaking at the 2019 SXSW Conference and Festival, Ocasio-Cortez criticized capitalism as “irredeemable.” According to Rolling Stone, “When addressing the scourge of racism in America, Ocasio-Cortez pointed to Ronald Reagan as an example of drumming up racial fears.” Her comments caused hysteria among Fox figures, with many accusing Ocasio-Cortez of ignorance about history and refusing to acknowledge the merits of her remarks. Others accused her of rewriting history and attacking “the DNA of conservatism.”

    Ingraham claimed that Ocasio-Cortez is trying to “knock off conservative heroes” by criticizing Reagan. [Fox News, Ingraham Angle, 3/11/19]

    Francis: Ocasio-Cortez "seems like she’s not terribly educated about some of the things that she talks about.” Kennedy accused Ocasio-Cortez of being hypocritical for fundraising because “she wants to win in this capitalist system” when she is generally critical of capitalism. Kennedy added, “The statist grab that she’s going for will bankrupt the country.” Francis also said that Ocasio-Cortez “literally doesn’t understand what the definition of capitalism is.” Kennedy added that Ocasio-Cortez “doesn’t give any historical evidence for claims against Ronald Reagan,” even though Ocasio-Cortez actually pointed to multiple examples during her speech. [Fox News, Outnumbered, 3/11/19]

    Varney called Ocasio-Cortez’s comments “simply ridiculous,” “plain false,” and “fantastical economic nonsense.” He also added that “AOC is good on television,” “very attractive,” and a “media star.” Varney commented, “AOC is so far out of line and so far from national policy that she must surely be a bubble, that is a phenom that rises super fast but which then collapses in the clear light of day.” He and his guest discussed her comments at length, with his guest saying that he sometimes doesn’t “even understand what she’s talking about. It’s unbelievable.” [Fox Business, Varney & Co., 3/11/19]

    Later in the show, Varney said it was "extreme" for Ocasio-Cortez to say some people without jobs in the U.S. are left to die. Varney mentioned that he “was watching a lot of AOC over the weekend, as many bites as I could take in” and that she is “very good television” and “a very appealing character.” Varney repeated that he had problems with Ocasio-Cortez’s assertion that “if you don’t have a job in America, we’ll leave you to die,” saying that that is “a little extreme.” [Fox Business, Varney & Co., 3/11/19]

    Huckabee: “Unfortunately, they didn’t teach history where she went to school, and therefore she doesn’t understand what the Cold War was like.” Huckabee added that when socialism is enacted, “the only way to keep people under it is to kill the ones who complain.” [Fox Business, Varney & Co., 3/11/19]

    Payne mocked Ocasio-Cortez’s comments as “more of the social justice, ‘let’s go back, rewrite the wrongs of yesterday.’” He also claimed, “AOC seems to be now the person making all of the major decisions or at least setting the tone for the Democratic Party.” [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 3/11/19]

    March 12

    Fox figures continued to attack Ocasio-Cortez’s remarks at SXSW, her policies, and her intelligence. Many Fox hosts and guests also used a report that Pelosi was currently against impeaching Trump to overstate Ocasio-Cortez’s role within the party and illustrate further divisions between Ocasio-Cortez and Pelosi. Shortly after the report, Ocasio-Cortez released a statement that she deferred to the party leadership on impeaching Trump.

    On Fox & Friends, guest Patrick Moore called Ocasio-Cortez a “pompous little twit” for introducing the Green New Deal. He also asserted that “the whole climate crisis” doesn’t exist and that it is “not only fake news, it’s fake science.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/12/19]

    Kennedy: Ocasio-Cortez's comments at SXSW reflect "just how little she understands about basic economics.” During her show, Kennedy argued that "the big shots in the [Democratic] party” are “risking mutiny” from freshman representatives like Ocasio-Cortez. She also claimed that Ocasio-Cortez is “one of the leaders of the faction giving Pelosi a headache” and characterized the Green New Deal as “a plan to completely remake and destroy the U.S. economy.” Kennedy said her comments from over the weekend reflect “just how little she understands about basic economics.” [Fox Business, Kennedy, 3/12/19]

    Later in the same show, Kennedy blamed education for Ocasio-Cortez’s views, saying, “That’s why we have people like AOC.” She added, “That mentality is the product of the college system.” [Fox Business, Kennedy, 3/12/19]

    March 13

    Fox attacked Ocasio-Cortez for her questioning of the Wells Fargo CEO during a House oversight committee hearing. Ocasio-Cortez accused Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan of “financing the caging of children,” asking him to explain why, as The Washington Post put it, “his company was financially supporting detention facilities where migrant children were held.” Fox again resorted to attacking Ocasio-Cortez’s intelligence. Fox also continued to smear and misrepresent Ocasio-Cortez’s policies like the Green New Deal.

    Hannity distorted Ocasio-Cortez’s entire agenda, claiming, “In addition to her new open borders agenda, the new green deal, no cows, planes, cars, oil, or gas, the new face of the left doesn't want you to worry about having to ever work again.” Fox contributor Newt Gingrich also claimed, “In a normal, healthy society, Alexandria would be seen as this interesting graduate student who … smoked a little grass, drank a little beer, … once read half of a book, knows nothing, and nobody would take her seriously. In a healthy society, she would be a joke. She doesn’t know anything; her views are based on whatever random thought comes in that morning and her proposals are beyond silly.” [Fox News, Hannity, 3/13/19

    Liz Peek: Ocasio-Cortez is “very confused.” On Varney & Co., Fox Business contributor Liz Peek also said, “If I were advising AOC, … I would tell her to slow down. I would tell her to get her facts in a row.” She added, “The scary thing about this woman is she has enormous influence.” [Fox Business, Varney & Co., 3/13/19]

    Payne called Ocasio-Cortez’s questioning “outright nuts” and “crazy.” He called her “crazy like a fox” and scoffed at a USA Today article that pointed out that air pollution disproportionately impacts minority communities, which he tied to Ocasio-Cortez’s points. [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 3/13/19]

    McDowell: Ocasio-Cortez is “not old enough to even run for president,” yet she proposed the Green New Deal, which seems to have a “complete, fundamental misunderstanding of our greatness and our strength because of the energy sector and its growth.” [Fox Business, Mornings with Maria, 3/13/19]

    March 14

    Fox used Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign announcement to attack Ocasio-Cortez. Fox used O’Rourke’s announcement for a 2020 presidential run and his promise of action regarding climate change to attack Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal and climate policy. Fox also used Ocasio-Cortez to claim O’Rourke was far to the left of the political spectrum. When she wasn’t mentioned in the context of O’Rourke, Fox figures continued to attack her line of questioning at public committee hearings.

    Hannity characterized O’Rourke’s agenda as “radical” and “far-left,” adding that he is “parroting Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, which will be a disaster.” He asserted that “Democrats have morphed into a total doomsday climate cult” before repeating the lie that Ocasio-Cortez wants to “get rid of oil, gas, planes, cars, and even cows.” [Fox News, Hannity, 3/14/19]

    On Outnumbered, Gingrich remarked that O’Rourke “actually trumped AOC because he now is worried that we are about on the end of extinction.” [Fox News, Outnumbered, 3/14/19]

    Carlson called Ocasio-Cortez a “fake revolutionary” and referred to her questioning as “bonkers.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 3/14/19]

    March 15

    Fox lashed out at Ocasio-Cortez for her tweet about gun violence after shootings at two mosques in New Zealand. Fox criticized Ocasio-Cortez after she tweeted in response to the Christchuch, New Zealand, shootings at two mosques, which left at least 50 people dead. Ocasio-Cortez wrote, “What good are your thoughts & prayers when they don’t even keep the pews safe?”

    Fox also celebrated Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) “baller move” to hold a vote on Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, claiming it would turn out poorly for her. When Fox figures didn’t bring up Ocasio-Cortez in these contexts, they resorted to the usual attacks on her intelligence, discussed her relationship with Pelosi, and fearmongered about socialism.

    Carlson claimed that Ocasio-Cortez “blamed the National Rifle Association somehow” for the mosque shootings while he fearmongered about “authoritarian forces within our country” that would like to “invalidate” the Second Amendment. He said that Ocasio-Cortez “doesn’t know” or “doesn’t care” that New Zealand has “far stricter gun laws than in the United States,” before turning to defending the NRA and the Second Amendment, claiming “the left would like to invalidate that amendment, along with other parts of the Bill of Rights that are in their way.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 3/15/19]

    Hannity referred to Ocasio-Cortez as “the new leader” and the “real speaker in Congress.” He brought up her declining national approval rating, speculating that it’s because of her “radical policies.” [Fox News, Hannity, 3/15/19]

    Harris Faulkner called McConnell’s decision to force a vote on the Green New Deal a “baller move.” Outnumbered and Outnumbered Overtime host Harris Faulkner's guest Chris Wilson agreed, adding that Ocasio-Cortez is “learning an important lesson of the policy process” that “you just can't throw out any sort of crazy idea without there being consequences.” He also said the Green New Deal would “essentially destroy the steel industry, destroy the auto industry, [and] destroy the coal industry.” [Fox News, Outnumbered, 3/15/19]

    Earhardt helped fearmonger about socialism, giving her guest the platform to explain why we should “be very afraid of socialism.” Wall Street Journal editor Dan Henninger answered that “you just look at what is happening with the Democratic Party -- suddenly freshman Democrat Ocasio-Cortez has become a superstar.” He characterized her questioning at a House oversight hearing earlier in the week as “beating up on the CEO of Wells Fargo,” and “basically incorporating the private sector into their agenda, saying, ‘We own you; we’re going to tell you what to do.’” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/15/19]

    Weekend (March 16-17)

    Fox & Friends Weekend discussed Ocasio-Cortez’s declining national poll numbers and, referring to the college admissions scandal, claimed that her "ignorance" is a sign of how admissions standards have fallen. Guest Michael Knowles claimed they are “pretty brutal numbers” but conceded that “her net favorables are up among Democrats” and have “remained positive and have basically held” among women and people of color. However, he claimed her numbers are “so brutal overall” because “she has demonstrated her own ignorance,” then he falsely claimed that the Green New Deal would “outlaw trains, planes, and automobiles.” He also said that she has “leaned heavily into racial identity politics.” Co-host Ed Henry brought up Knowles’ Fox News op-ed titled “Ocasio-Cortez’s ignorance proved admissions fraud is the symptom, not the cause of America’s education crisis,” which referred to the college admissions scandal in which wealthy parents illegally bribed their children’s way into college. Knowles connected the scandal to Ocasio-Cortez, commenting on “how the standards have fallen so much that Ocasio-Cortez could have a degree with honors in economics … and not be able to articulate basic economic concepts.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends Weekend, 3/16/19]

    Howard Kurtz also discussed Ocasio-Cortez’s declining poll numbers and admitted “conservative media love to cover and criticize her … often on policy, sometimes personal.” He also pointed out that Ocasio-Cortez referred to Fox as “AOC TMZ,” hitting back that her low approval rating among Republicans “can’t all be Fox’s fault.” [Fox News, MediaBuzz, 3/17/19]

    Week 4

    March 18

    Fox discussed Ocasio-Cortez’s new approval rating. On Monday, Fox’s primary attack focused a new poll showing national voters’ approval rating of Ocasio-Cortez. Though her approval rating is relatively low, that “over 70% of the public can form an opinion of a freshman member of Congress is statistically remarkable.” As pointed out by CNN, “just 53% of Americans had an opinion of then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama at the end of his first two years in Congress.” Still, Fox used the new poll numbers to smear Ocasio-Cortez. Fox also continued to use Ocasio-Cortez to fearmonger about socialism.

    Lou Dobbs attacked Ocasio-Cortez for joking about a "boring" hearing, saying she was "dealing with her apathy by doing pushups over a recess." Dobbs hosted the Washington Examiner’s Byron York to discuss Ocasio-Cortez’s performance during the hearing. Dobbs observed that Ocasio-Cortez can “commit every gaffe, every preposterous construct known to the language seemingly, and still get more ink. We are really committed to her, aren’t we.” York speculated that “a number of Democrats on Capitol Hill are at the least irritated by the idea that is being put out that Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are kind of the whole new freshman class when Democrats did pick up dozens and dozens of seats in this last election.” [Fox Business, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 3/18/19]

    In a segment fearmongering about Democratic policies, a Fox & Friends guest claimed Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal would lead to “class warfare.” Tom Del Beccaro, the former chairman of California Republican Party, presented ominous “nine steps to socialism,” painting a picture of the United States transforming into Venezuela if Democratic policies were passed. Del Beccaro tied the United States’ supposed downward spiral to Ocasio-Cortez, asserting, “If we kill off economic growth with AOC's Green New Deal, then you're going to have this class warfare.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/18/19]

    Kennedy panel labeled Ocasio-Cortez "the chief villain” in New York’s failed Amazon deal. Kennedy had a three-minute segment discussing a poll of Ocasio-Cortez’s national approval rating. She began by saying that Ocasio-Cortez has been “dominating news cycles lately, but Americans haven’t warmed up to her.” The panel speculated on the reasons her approval rating might have dropped, including her involvement “as the chief villain” in New York’s failed Amazon deal. Kennedy mocked and mimicked Ocasio-Cortez, saying, “Whenever you take on one of her positions, she says it’s racism and sexism.” [Fox Business, Kennedy, 3/18/19]

    Payne also discussed Ocasio-Cortez’s approval rating, concluding that “it seems like more and more Americans are starting to reject her.” Payne hosted “resident millennial” Allie Beth Stuckey, who pointed to Ocasio-Cortez’s “arrogance” and said that she “doesn’t know very much policy-wise.” Payne called Ocasio-Cortez “something of a bull in a China shop within her own party” and claimed that “many are saying she’s the de facto speaker of the House,” a sentiment expressed by many figures on Fox News and Fox Business. [Fox Business, Varney & Co., 3/18/19]

    March 19

    Fox continued to mock Ocasio-Cortez’s polling numbers to discredit her. On Tuesday, Fox continued to revel in Ocasio-Cortez’s low polling numbers. Fox figures also repeated tired attacks on socialism and the Green New Deal and mocked Ocasio-Cortez’s intelligence.

    Joe DiGenova mocked Ocasio-Cortez’s accent, saying she “does that Latina thing.” Laura Ingraham had asked Joe DiGenova, a Fox regular, if he noticed that when Ocasio-Cortez introduces herself, she takes on an “Obama put-on accent.” [Fox News, Ingraham Angle, 3/19/19]

    Carlson covered Ocasio-Cortez’s poll numbers in a segment that lasted more than seven minutes, calling her “self-involved and dumb.” He mocked Ocasio-Cortez for pointing to Fox News’ relentless coverage of her as impacting her poll numbers. He then provided a sarcastic “litmus test” for his viewers to compare themselves to Ocasio-Cortez. Referring to her February 25 comments on children and climate change, Carlson sarcastically said that someone who still wants children is “probably a white supremacist” according to Ocasio-Cortez. He also pushed the idea that Ocasio-Cortez wants to police how many hamburgers people are allowed to eat. Later, Fox contributor Lisa Boothe claimed, “Most Americans don’t look at cow farts as some sort of imminent problem that’s coming up here.” Carlson finished the segment by saying, “She’d be an interesting person if she wasn’t just so self-involved and dumb.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 3/19/18]

    March 20

    Fox continued hyping alleged ethics violations involving Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff, dubiously citing right-wing media reports to claim that they led to the Justice Democrats PAC removing them both from its board. After various right-wing media sites reported on a regulatory filing noting that Ocasio-Cortez and her chief of staff were removed from the Justice Democrats PAC board, Fox News claimed that their removal from the board was related to the alleged ethics violations against her chief of staff. In fact, both left in 2018. Fox used this story to promote the narrative that Ocasio-Cortez is an elitist and a hypocrite for claiming to be a self-made politician. Fox also continued to use old attacks, including overhyping divisions between her and Pelosi.

    Payne criticized Ocasio-Cortez because “her whole thing is, ‘I made this off of YouTube videos and … knocking door-to-door.’” He added, “They were engaged in the very things that she says she stands against.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 3/20/19]

    Hannity berated Ocasio-Cortez for being hypocritical, claiming that she “loves to take planes instead of the train … despite her calls to abolish air travel.” He also lied that “the left” is calling for “no planes, cows, cars, oil, or gas.” [Fox News, Hannity, 3/20/19]

    Jedediah Bila had Campus Reform’s Cabot Phillips on to share footage of Georgetown University students claiming Ocasio-Cortez is “the face of the Democratic Party.” The segment was introduced with a graphic that had photos of Pelosi and Ocasio-Cortez and read “Who’s the boss?” Every student who was shown in the clip answered Ocasio-Cortez, which Phillips used to argue younger people on college campuses “overwhelmingly” see Ocasio-Cortez as in charge of the Democratic Party. After discussing Phillips’ campus interviews, Bila and Phillips turned to discussing Ocasio-Cortez’s polling numbers. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/20/19]

    On Fox News @ Night, host Shannon Bream highlighted only Ocasio-Cortez’s opinion when discussing gun control legislation in New Zealand. Bream did not share any other Democratic or Republican member of Congress’ opinion. [Fox News, Fox News @ Night, 3/20/19]

    March 21

    Fox continued to attack Ocasio-Cortez’s ideas and hearing questioning, as well as a new Time magazine cover story featuring her. Fox’s Ocasio-Cortez attacks focused on smearing her as radical, questioning her merit for being featured on a Time cover, and discussing her lines of questioning at recent high-profile congressional hearings, which a Fox figure admitted were impressive.

    Mike Huckabee called Ocasio-Cortez a "Manchurian candidate” based on her questionings in high-profile congressional hearings. Kilmeade said that “somebody’s writing her questions” and “there is some forces behind her,” implying that she couldn’t have done it by herself. Huckabee commented, “It's amazing how big a deal she has become, to be a 29-year-old with no major accomplishments to her credit other than making some really bizarre policy pronouncements.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/21/19]

    Bartiromo and her panel discussed Ocasio-Cortez’s Time cover, with guest Mark Penn commenting that a “Time magazine cover isn’t what it used to be.” He added, “She’s become the de facto leader of the Democratic Party right now and that’s a problem.” Dagen McDowell said, “Nancy Pelosi most certainly, probably is irate over that notion.” McDowell also said that Ocasio-Cortez “constantly says things that are just idiotic and very often untrue.” The segment about Ocasio-Cortez lasted almost six minutes. [Fox Business, Mornings with Maria, 3/21/19]

    An America’s Newsroom panel discussed Ocasio-Cortez being featured in a Republican attack ad, where a congressional GOP candidate says, “She has the media, she has the followers, but bless her heart, she has some terrible ideas.” Co-anchor Sandra Smith observed that “less than three months after taking office and there she is, already starring in a congressional GOP ad.” Fox contributor Guy Benson pointed out that “AOC is underwater by double digits nationally” because “she has underdeveloped, economically ruinous ideas, and the media has amplified her and made her into a giant star.” Another guest, Brian Brenberg, elaborated that “she has got all these problems” and it’s “easy to use her as a punching bag,” but conceded that “the GOP needs its own ideas.” The panel also discussed Ocasio-Cortez’s Time cover, which Benson used to claim, “She’s not a right-wing phenomenon; the media has built her.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 3/21/19]

    March 22

    Ahead of the AIPAC conference, Fox blamed Ocasio-Cortez and Omar for pressuring Democrats not to attend. Fox used the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s weekend conference to push the narrative that anti-Semitism is rising in the Democratic Party. Fox also accused Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar of being the reason that several 2020 Democratic presidential candidates decided not to go, despite a prominent call to boycott the conference in solidarity with Palestinian sovereignty. Additionally, Fox continued to smear Ocasio-Cortez’s policies ahead of a planned Green New Deal vote in the Senate.

    Payne: The Green New Deal is a smoke screen” for “a socialist agenda.” Payne referred to the Green New Deal as “mumble jumble" and argued that aggressive climate action by the United States isn’t worth it because China and India are still large sources of pollution. [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 3/22/19]

    On America’s Newsroom, guest A.B. Stoddard claimed that Democrats skipping AIPAC are “letting Rashida Tlaib and AOC and Ilhan Omar determine the debate of Democrats and Israel.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 3/22/19]

    Jedediah Bila attacked Ocasio-Cortez’s comments in Time magazine that people her age “never saw American prosperity.” Bila suggested that Ocasio-Cortez is inadvertently criticizing Obama, while Ed Henry claimed that her family’s ability to move from the Bronx in New York to a wealthier county proves she benefitted from prosperity. Varney again commented on the Green New Deal, saying that it was “not good for America.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/22/19]

    Weekend (March 23-24)

    Ben Shapiro called the suggestion in Ocasio-Cortez' Time profile that millennials haven't experienced prosperity "ignorant." On Watters' World, Ben Shapiro said, "The argument of the left has been that America is fundamentally an unfair, terrible place. ... There's this profile of AOC in Time magazine, and the journalist, Charlotte Alter, suggested that millenials have not experienced prosperity. How ignorant do you have to be to believe that statement and then think that the system that has built American prosperity is inherently bad? Unfortunately, that sort of ignorance is prevailing." [Fox News, Watters' World, 3/23/19]

    Bartiromo pushed the false $94 trillion cost estimate for the Green New Deal. On Sunday Morning Futures, Bartiromo asked Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), "I know that sometimes you vote alongside Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Does it bother you that the idea that you can get rid of fossil fuels in ten years doesn't make sense and that it would cost upwards of $94 trillion?" [Fox News, Sunday Morning Futures, 3/24/19]

    Week 5

    March 25

    Ahead of McConnell’s Senate vote on the Green New Deal, Fox smeared the deal and Ocasio-Cortez. Fox hosts continued to push the idea that the Green New Deal will cost $93 trillion long after the claim had already been credibly debunked.

    Varney claimed the Green New Deal is an “embarrassment” and that Ocasio-Cortez “is a bubble that will burst on this spike of Green New Deal.” Fox Business host Elizabeth MacDonald said that Ocasio-Cortez is “underestimating the intelligence of the voter” before repeating the debunked $93 trillion figure. Fox’s Ashley Webster added that the deal is a “great gift to the GOP.” [Fox Business, Varney & Co., 3/25/19]

    Bartiromo pushed the $93 trillion figure while starting a discussion about the vote on Green New Deal. Fox guest Gianno Caldwell joked that we need to “get one of those seeing eye dogs for the Democrats on this deal because obviously they don’t clearly see the numbers,” pointing to the debunked statistic. McDowell called the Green New Deal “a big ball of you-know-what” and a “pamphlet of idiocy from AOC.” [Fox Business, Mornings with Maria, 3/25/19]

    Fox Business guest Jonathan Hoenig told Ocasio-Cortez to “put up or shut up” and “get on the record, raise your hand that you are pro-human extinction.” Hoenig added that “the irony of the environmentalists” is that “they love the environment but they hate people.” Guest Gary Kaltbaum noted that he “find[s] it interesting this young lady tweets about wasting time and wasting votes but not wasting $93 trillion of our money.” Host David Asman pointed out that $93 trillion is “more money than the United States government has spent in the entire history of the United States.” Fox guest Jack Hough said that the “lesson to be learnt here for everyone is don’t put your dumb ideas in writing.” [Fox Business, Bulls & Bears, 3/25/19]

    March 26

    Fox celebrated the Senate’s vote on the Green New Deal as Ocasio-Cortez’s defeat. On March 26, the Senate voted on the Green New Deal in a procedural move that Democrats called a “sham” and a ploy to foster an intraparty divide. As ABC News reported, “Democrats want members of the Republican leadership to schedule hearings rather than bringing the legislation straight to the floor for a vote.” The final tally was 0-57; Republicans and a few Democrats voted “nay” and 43 Democrats voted “present” in protest, though many Democrats have said that they “support the framework of the resolution.” Despite this, Fox covered the vote as a political failure for Ocasio-Cortez and continued to smear the Green New Deal.

    Ed Rollins called the Green New Deal an “idiotic bill that the young lady from Queens’ 14th Congressional District” introduced." Fox News political analyst Ed Rollins and host Lou Dobbs also pushed the debunked figure that the Green New Deal would cost $93 trillion. [Fox Business, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 3/26/19]

    Kennedy celebrated the vote, cheering, “Hurray, the Green New Deal is dead” after it “crashed and burned.” Hoenig mocked Ocasio-Cortez for emphasizing the seriousness of climate change and claimed that the Green New Deal is “not pro-environment” but “anti-man.” He berated Ocasio-Cortez and millenials for “this climate change hysteria” and asserted that Ocasio-Cortez’s concerns don’t “bear out in reality” because “the air and water is cleaner than it ever has been before.” [Fox Business, Kennedy, 3/26/19]

    Asman also continued to push the debunked $93 trillion figure, while his guest called the Green New Deal a "war on cows." Fox News contributor Deneen Borelli said that the Senate vote proves that “even the Democrats know the Green New Deal is a sheer disaster,” adding that it would be a “war on cows.” Borelli also said that Democrats are “on the wrong side of everything” and “all of their policies are just absolutely outrageous.” [Fox News, Trish Regan Primetime, 3/26/19]

    March 27

    Fox figures criticized another line of questioning by Ocasio-Cortez during a Senate hearing, where she berated Republicans for claiming the issue of climate change is an “elitist” cause. After Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) asserted that addressing climate change is a problem that “sounds great” if you’re a “rich liberal from maybe New York or California,” Ocasio-Cortez argued that climate change will impact the most vulnerable and impoverished American communities. In addition to discussing her line of questioning during the hearing, Fox figures continued to celebrate the Green New Deal’s lack of “yea” votes in the procedural Senate vote.

    Payne accused Ocasio-Cortez of being “very disingenuous” because she is “conflating” the asthma problems in Harlem and Bronx with climate change. In response to Ocasio-Cortez’s line of questioning, Payne pointed to other contributing factors to higher asthma rates and claimed that it “has zero to do with CO2 emissions, per se, or this climate change debate.” He claimed Ocasio-Cortez is “conflating the two” and used higher rates of asthma as “a way of also bringing race into the conversation.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 3/27/19]

    Fox & Friends celebrated the Senate vote against the Green New Deal as a hit on Ocasio-Cortez. Earhardt claimed that the vote went “down in flames” and “fell flat.” The co-hosts also mocked Democratic candidates for suggesting that a comprehensive climate plan is comparable to landing on the moon. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/27/19]

    Carlson mocked Ocasio-Cortez’s comments emphasizing the seriousness of the Green New Deal, claiming, “Nobody is dying from global warming in this country.” He characterized the Green New Deal as a “sham just like the Russia investigation before it and the next sham after it.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 3/27/19]

    On Fox Business, Trump campaign adviser Madison Gesiotto claimed Ocasio-Cortez’s questioning shows that she is “out of touch with what the people need.” Gesiotto added, “No one wants to drink bad water but that’s not what the Green New Deal was about and she knows better than that.” Varney characterized the Green New Deal as “radical environmental[ism] with socialism thrown over the top.” [Fox Business, Varney & Co., 3/27/19]

    March 28

    Fox figures continued to talk about the Senate vote on the Green New Deal and covered Trump’s comments on the proposal. At a rally in Grand Rapids, MI, Trump called the Green New Deal a “$100 trillion government takeover” and the crowd chanted “AOC sucks” during Donald Trump Jr.’s speech.

    Josh Holmes said that Democrats can’t be “particularly intrigued by the idea that [Ocasio-Cortez] is sort of Geppetto with the marionette, telling them what they can and can’t vote on.” Fox regular Josh Holmes, former chief of staff to Mitch McConnell, also claimed that Democrats are “pitted against a progressive base and the rest of America.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 3/28/19]

    On Hannity, Rush Limbaugh said that “it’s absurd” that “anybody can believe this intellectually.” He sarcastically added, “If we’ve only got 12 years, then we better just throw everything out the window and start doing everything we want to do every day because we’re going to be dead in 12 years if we don’t enact their stupid” Green New Deal. He also accused Democrats of “manipulating and misrepresenting their unfortunately sick base” who “wants to hear that we’re going to die; they want to hear the apocalypse is coming.” [Fox News, Hannity, 3/28/19]

    Carlson and Mark Steyn praised Trump’s campaign rally remarks. Steyn commented on the “relish” Trump had at his rally in attacking Ocasio-Cortez and the Green New Deal. He added that Trump’s “riffs on the news” are “actually funnier than late-night talk show hosts.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 3/28/19]

    March 29

    On Friday, Fox continued to celebrate Trump’s comments on Ocasio-Cortez and the Green New Deal he made during his campaign rally. Fox personalities loved the president's comments about Ocasio-Cortez’s policies, particularly his remarks that he “loves campaigning against the Green New Deal.” Fox amplified Trump’s lies about the Green New Deal, including that it means “no more airplanes, no more cows.” Some Fox figures said the Green New Deal will be a strong talking point for Trump going forward during the 2020 campaign.

    Mornings with Maria aired footage from Trump’s rally showing the crowd chanting “AOC sucks.” Bartiromo followed by pointing out that “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's poll numbers are dropping.” McDowell said, “As you know, I love to talk about AOC,” and later pivoted back to Ocasio-Cortez, asserting, “AOC is driving the bus for the Democrats in terms of policy ideas.” Guest James Freeman suggested that support for Ocasio-Cortez stems from “millennials that tend to be more socialistic because they feel like they weren’t bailed out in 2008.” [Fox Business, Mornings with Maria, 3/29/19]

    On The Five, the panel cheered Trump’s remarks at the rally, while Greg Gutfeld suggested that “‘Green New Deal’ is kind of now replacing his ‘lock her up’” refrain. [Fox News, The Five, 3/29/19]

    Varney: Trump has had a good week “beating up on the Green New Deal.” Varney repeated Trump’s rally claim that “he loves campaigning against it,” adding, “Of course he does. Even Democrats running for the presidency wouldn’t support it when it was up for a vote in the Senate.” [Fox Business, Varney & Co., 3/29/19]

    Weekend (March 30-31)

    Fox & Friends Weekend co-hosts berated Ocasio-Cortez’s comments regarding the history behind former President Franklin Roosevelt and the 22nd Amendment. During a town hall on MSNBC, Ocasio Cortez noted (correctly) that the 22nd Amendment, which created presidential term limits, was established to prevent Roosevelt from winning reelection. In fact, as explained by the nonpartisan National Constitution Center, the push for the 22nd Amendment was a major issue well before Roosevelt died, and it was a direct reaction to his campaign for a fourth term. However, the co-hosts claimed she was wrong because Roosevelt died two years before the 22nd Amendment was formally approved by Congress. Henry conceded that “she’s right that FDR being in there for consecutive terms in general got this movement going, but to say it prevented him from being reelected is not what happened.” Bila accused Ocasio-Cortez of being “so overconfident because she’s used to not being challenged” and advised her to “take some responsibility.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends Weekend, 3/31/19]

    On The Next Revolution, the panel discussed the Senate’s Green New Deal vote and Ocasio-Cortez’s Time magazine cover. Host Steve Hilton claimed that “she’s basically become the leader of the party” and “there seems to be nothing they can do about it.” Guest Charlie Kirk warned people against not taking Ocasio-Cortez seriously, mischaracterizing her agenda as a “$100 trillion takeover of the American economy.” Kirk also asked, “At what point is their party leadership going to take a stand against her?” [Fox News, The Next Revolution, 3/31/19]

    Week 6

    April 1

    Fox continued to smear Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal town hall, along with her comments about FDR and the origins of the 22nd Amendment. In addition to continuing to attack Ocasio-Cortez over her town hall comments about the 22nd Amendment, Fox News jumped at the opportunity to smear Ocasio-Cortez as lacking intelligence about basic historical events.

    Hannity accused Ocasio-Cortez of “rewriting history.” He added that “you would think … that somebody sworn to uphold and protect the U.S. Constitution would understand the context of the amendments to our U.S. Constitution.” He then pointed to past comments made by Ocasio-Cortez, saying, “Maybe that’s too much to expect.” [Fox News, Hannity, 4/1/19]

    Carlson attacked Ocasio-Cortez as “a 29-year-old former bartender” attempting “to teach you about science” and called her "a moron and nasty and more self-righteous than any televangelist." He claimed, “It’s official: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a moron and nasty and more self-righteous than any televangelist who ever preached a sermon on cable access. She’s not impressive; she’s awful.” Carlson rhetorically asked, “How does a member of Congress who hasn’t yet turned 30, someone who has never even raised children, get the right to lecture me about morality?” While he conceded that Ocasio-Cortez’s comments on the economy are “basically true,” he added that it “doesn’t mean she is right about anything else.” Carlson concluded that “taking power from the banks and giving it to Ocasio-Cortez” would be putting “an even dumber person in charge.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 4/1/19]

    Asman introduced the segment by characterizing Ocasio-Cortez’s comments as a “big history flub.” Asman explained to his viewers while guest hosting Trish Regan Primetime that “the problem with that, of course, is FDR died in 1945 and the amendment was not until 1947,” appearing to not understand that the campaign for presidential term limits began while Roosevelt was alive and in office. Asman then took a jab at Ocasio-Cortez’s alma mater, saying, “When you think of how many mistakes she makes, … you just wonder how she was educated in Boston University.” Hegseth responded, “She was not educated, David, she was indoctrinated.” The chyron during half of the segment read “Ocasio-Cortez’s hypocrisy exposed.” In a moment of self-awareness, Asman pointed out that “we are focusing on her” even though “she’s not running for president.” [Fox Business, Trish Regan Primetime, 4/1/19; National Constitution Center, 10/5/18]

    Varney calling the town hall “propaganda.” He conceded that the “media loves her, maybe it’s for ratings purposes,” added that “she is very good television,” and concluded, “It is just obvious that the media is biased towards socialism.” [Fox Business, Varney & Co., 4/1/19]

    April 2

    Fox extensively covered Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet about value of human labor. The tweet pointed out that croissants at LaGuardia airport are $7 a piece, but some people think that a $15 an hour minimum wage “for dedicated human labor” is too high. Fox misrepresented Ocasio-Cortez’s point to imply that she was saying wage prices are connected to pastry costs, even after she explained in a follow-up tweet that “it’s not an argument against the price of a croissant - it’s about the value of human worth.” But guests and hosts continued to distort, misrepresent, and dissect what she meant, using the tweet to conclude that she is ignorant about how the economy works and twisting her words to suggest she is upset over croissant prices.

    On Varney & Co., Varney’s guest Justin Haskins said that her argument is “totally ridiculous” and “the reality is” Ocasio-Cortez and Democrats such as Bernie Sanders “have no idea how markets work or they know how they work and they just don't care.” He added that she wants “to get rid of freedom in the economy so that she and people like her can decide what croissants cost.” Varney claimed Ocasio-Cortez wants “legislative wages.” [Fox Business, Varney & Co., 4/2/19]

    Bartiromo introduced the “controversy this morning over croissants.” Ignoring Ocasio-Cortez’s point about value of human labor, McDowell asked “why are you flying” when “it’s hard on the planet,” then concluded that croissants are expensive at the airport because of “the government and the port authority” charging high rent prices. [Fox Business, Mornings with Maria, 4/2/19]

    Asman: Ocasio-Cortez is "gearing up for her next battle: pastry prices.” Asman misrepresented her comments on croissants at LaGuardia and minimum wages, saying that she is “gearing up for her next battle: pastry prices.” He also referenced Fox's obsession with Ocasio-Cortez, saying, “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez -- what would a show be without mentioning her name?” [Fox Business, Bulls & Bears, 4/2/19]

    April 3

    Fox hyped report given exclusively to it about an alleged ethics violation against Ocasio-Cortez filed by a conservative attorney who founded the Stop the AOC PAC. The complaint “was given exclusively to Fox News in advance of its filing” by a conservative attorney who founded the Stop the AOC PAC, and it is still unclear if anything illegal actually transpired. Regardless, Fox used the opportunity to attack Ocasio-Cortez as disingenuous and a hypocrite. 

    Carlson talked about allegations facing “the world’s most famous 29-year-old.” Melissa Francis pointed out that her chief of staff is a “tech multimillionaire,” seeming to imply that Ocasio-Cortez is a hypocrite for hiring someone who is wealthy. Francis conceded that she doesn’t “know if it is illegal,” but “the main point is that she was supposed to be about getting money out of politics and about transparency.” Francis finished by saying, “I hate hypocrites.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 4/3/19]

    Hannity claimed that Ocasio-Cortez is caught up in “another FEC violation.” He sarcastically added, “So sorry to hear that. Sad.” Minutes later, he introduced the segment by saying, “Villain of the day: Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.” [Fox News, Hannity, 4/3/19]

    Ingraham and Hannity joked about Ocasio-Cortez, with Ingraham saying, “You’re picking on AOC again” and Hannity saying “she’s very sensitive” for responding on Twitter to critics. Ingraham responded, “No, she can’t handle it, but that’s OK. She’s young and they learn, you know, these kids these days.” Hannity suggested that “we need a safe zone … like college kids.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 4/3/19]

    April 4

    Fox attacked Ocasio-Cortez for saying opponents of climate action won't be able to scrub their records like opponents of civil rights did, and they mocked her for having an unfurnished apartment. In another Instagram livestream video, Ocasio-Cortez is seen on the floor of her unfurnished apartment building furniture and discussing the Green New Deal with her viewers. She urged viewers to consider the impact that climate change will have on their grandchildren and warned that the longevity of the internet means that those opposing climate solutions will not be able to hide their opposition decades from now. To make her point, she referenced to the civil rights movement and said that many people alive today “hide the fact that their families and their grandparents fought against the principles of equal rights in the United States.” She added that she pities climate deniers “for your role in history right now.”

    She also addressed those critical of the honest mistakes she’s made, saying that she is a 29-year-old member of Congress who has time to learn, but at least she bases her decisions on morality, unlike people who push for “deliberate polic[ies] to attack people based on their national origin.” Fox figures took great offense to her comments, suggesting she was comparing the morality of the civil rights movement to the seriousness of climate change and ignoring that her comparison was focused on the opposition to these two movements. Fox also criticized her for still living in an unfurnished apartment, in addition to attacking her intelligence and perceived hypocrisy.

    On Varney & Co., the panel mocked Ocasio-Cortez for having an unfurnished apartment and smeared her as a hypocrite for shopping at Whole Foods. Referring to Ocasio-Cortez’s outspoken criticism of Amazon, Webster pointed out that “there are no low income housing opportunities in her new building down in Washington, D.C. But there is a Whole Foods, which is owned by Amazon.” He added that she’s living “the kind of life she talks out about so much,” again attempting to smear her as a hypocrite. Varney said that his producer was “appalled” by Ocasio-Cortez’s apartment, asking “What is a congresswoman doing in an unfurnished apartment?” MacDonald brought up her recent croissant comments to also accuse Ocasio-Cortez of hypocrisy, asking, “What’s she doing flying a plane if she’s about the Green New Deal? What was she in the airport for?” [Fox Business, Varney & Co., 4/4/19]

    Carlson: "Like a lot of narcissistic children, Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t believe in honest disagreement."  Calrson began his rant by saying, "there’s at least one person who knows even less than your average cable news anchor,” and she’s the “loudest” member of Congress. He complained that she can “wade half-cocked into the country’s most important debates, prove yourself an idiot,” and “move on.” He claimed that 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are “endorsing some new policy that has pretty much zero public support, but sounds like something woke baristas in Brooklyn would be excited about,” referencing Ocasio-Cortez’s background. [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 4/4/19]

    Hannity ranted that Ocasio-Cortez is “hitting really new levels of strange, bizarre.” He gave her a “history lesson” listing prominent Democrats who opposed the civil rights movement, ignoring the historical context of party realignment. He purposefully misrepresented her February 25 comments about some young people’s concerns over having children to paint her as contradictory, saying, “You previously told us we may have to stop having kids altogether, but now we have to be worried about our grandkids.” He sarcastically added, “It appears that just like the unbuilt furniture in her apartment, the congresswoman’s ideas are far from being put together.” He then fearmongered that she has a “real influence” and “Nancy Pelosi’s scared to death of her,” before chiding people who “want to dismiss all of the alarmism and no oil, gas, combustion engine, planes, cows, and everything's free.” He stressed to his viewers that they “need to take it seriously as we expose this radical, socialist agenda for what it is.” Watters chimed in, saying, “Civil rights was a real fight. You can fight climate change with suntan lotion. It’s not that big of a deal.” Watters also attributed the “category-five catastrophe at the border” to Ocasio-Cortez’s “open border policies.” [Fox News, Hannity, 4/4/19; History.com, 8/18/17]

    April 5

    On Friday, Fox lashed out over Ocasio-Cortez' use of social media, including her calling out one of their own contributors, and created a fake controversy surrounding her perceived accent. On April 4, Fox News contributor Lawrence Jones was mocked online for tweeting a picture from the U.S.-Mexico border while wearing a bulletproof vest that appeared to offer very little protection and seemed to be for show -- the vest left vital organs exposed and did not appear to have any armor plates. Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that his vest looked like it is from “Party City” and asserted that “Fox is really out here doing the most on a budget to make the border look more dangerous than it is,” drawing immediate criticism from Fox News.

    Ocasio-Cortez also was accused by right-wing media of using what some perceived as an “accent that she never uses” while speaking to “a room of predominately (sic) black people” at the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network Conference. Ocasio-Cortez responded on Twitter, writing, “Any kid who grew up in a distinct linguistic culture & had to learn to navigate class enviros at school/work knows what’s up.” In a follow-up tweet, Ocasio-Cortez added, “As much as the right wants to distort & deflect, I am from the Bronx. I act & talk like it, *especially* when I’m fired up and especially when I’m home.” She also said, “It is so hurtful to see how every aspect of my life is weaponized against me, yet somehow asserted as false at the same time.” Some on Fox and in right-wing media still accused Ocasio-Cortez of inauthentically using a “blaccent” to appear more relatable to Black people.

    Ingraham and guest Raymond Arroyo covered Ocasio-Cortez’s “new accent.” Arroyo claimed that “AOC seems like she is trying out this new African-American, Southern-esque accent,” which Ingraham compared to an older speech by Hillary Clinton in which she was accused of faking a Southern accent. Commenting on Ocasio-Cortez’s response, Arroyo said “that doesn’t exactly sound like Queens to me” and added, “Somebody should remind these women all African-Americans are not beneath the Mason-Dixon line.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 4/5/19]

    Carlson: Ocasio-Cortez “didn’t just come to prostrate herself before Emperor Al. She was also there to test out a brand new accent.” He claimed, “We have played a lot of clips of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She didn’t talk like that in a single one of them. That’s fake.” Later in his show, his guest Dan Bongino asked “what is with Democrats and constantly changing how they talk” and urged Ocasio-Cortez to “be genuine.” Carlson asked “how patronized” Bongino would feel had he been there, and Bongino responded by drawing another comparison between Ocasio-Cortez and Clinton. [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 4/5/19]

    Trish Regan asked former acting ICE Director Tom Homan about Jones being “trolled by the likes of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who was online making all kinds of fun of him for wearing a vest.” Homan responded to Fox Business anchor Trish Regan by arguing that the border is “dangerous” and “that's why Border Patrol agents, ICE agents carry guns and wear bulletproof vests.” He said that Ocasio-Cortez “needs to look in the mirror” because she is a hypocrite for working on Capitol Hill with “hundreds of armed officers.” He also said that Ocasio-Cortez has been “a congresswoman for three months and everything she says is wrong,” adding that “she needs to educate herself” and “people have died defending this nation on that border.” Regan agreed that “she’s young, inexperienced, and not that smart” and said she has “a very big mouth.” [Fox Business, Trish Regan Primetime, 4/5/19]

    Varney discussed Ocasio-Cortez’s use of social media with Fox Nation host Tomi Lahren, who said Ocasio-Cortez was "better suited" for reality TV. Though she admitted that Ocasio-Cortez is media savvy, Lahren complained that “the policy is not there. The logic isn’t there. The common sense is not there, and the education really isn’t there.” Lahren added that she would “rather [Ocasio-Cortez] become an Instagram personality than represent anyone in Congress,” suggesting that she’d be “better suited” for reality television such as “The Bachelorette” or “The Real Housewives of somewhere.” [Fox Business, Varney & Co. 4/5/19]

    Weekend (April 6-7)

    Watters called Ocasio-Cortez a "scam artist" while his guest called her "morally bankrupt." The chyron displayed during the segment read, “Is AOC losing it?” Lynette Hardaway, also known as Diamond, asserted that Ocasio-Cortez “has to be morally bankrupt” to push for the “green new scam.” She also chided Ocasio-Cortez for wanting to “bankrupt our country and then you want to fearmonger and you want to bully us into going on. … We say no to the Green New Deal.” Silk, also known as Rochelle Richardson, added that “we also say no to dying in 12 years.” Watters concluded by comparing Ocasio-Cortez to a “scam artist.” [Fox News, Watters’ World, 4/6/19]

    Pirro referred to Ocasio-Cortez as a “young bartender” again falsely claiming the Green New Deal would cost $93 trillion and ban planes and hamburgers. Pirro misrepresented her climate agenda, falsely claiming that “you can’t fly in an airplane” and “you can’t eat a hamburger because the cows are passing too much gas,” adding, “The whole thing is absurd.” Guest Stephanie Hamill complained about criticism of Trump’s remarks by saying that everyone has “a big fit over anything President Trump says,” even though that is frequently how Fox covers Ocasio-Cortez. Hamill also falsely claimed the “green new scam” would cost $93 trillion and require “no cows, no planes.” [Fox News, Justice with Judge Jeanine, 4/7/19]

    MethodologyMedia Matters searched Grabien transcripts for "AOC" and "Ocasio" between February 25 and April 7.

  • Fox News is downplaying Trump’s comments absolving Kim of responsibility for death of US citizen

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Fox News is downplaying comments from President Donald Trump that he does not hold North Korean despot Kim Jong Un responsible for the death of an American college student who was detained in North Korea for 17 months. Trump’s public absolution of Kim comes after Trump sided with the Russian government in its repeated denials about interfering in American politics. Trump has also demonstrated an unexplained and unshakable loyalty to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman even though the U.S. intelligence community has determined that the crown prince ordered the assassination of Washington Post columnist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi.

    Following Trump’s second nuclear summit with the North Korean dictator, the president declared that he took Kim “at his word” when North Korea’s leader supposedly told him “he didn’t know” about the mistreatment of Otto Warmbier, an American college student who was imprisoned in North Korea in 2016 after being accused of attempting to steal a political banner from a hotel lobby. Trump added that he does not “believe [Kim] would have allowed” Warmbier to be mistreated, saying, “It just wasn't to his advantage to allow that to happen.” The North Korean government returned Warmbier to the United States in June 2017 in a “persistent vegetative state.” He passed away on June 19, 2017, six days after he was brought to the U.S.

    Trump’s defense of Kim echoes his confounding defenses of two other totalitarian and kleptocratic leaders, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, after U.S. intelligence agencies found that they were involved in actions that ran counter to American interests and values. Ever since the U.S. intelligence community publicly pointed the finger at the Russian government for directing the hacking and dumping of emails during the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump has steadfastly toed Russia’s line in denying its involvement, ultimately saying, “I don’t see any reason” why the Russian government would have hacked Democrats’ emails during the 2016 campaign. Similarly, after Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in a Saudi consulate in Turkey, Trump issued a series of non sequiturs and strange defenses of the crown prince before finally just disregarding the conclusions of his own intelligence community that Salman personally ordered Khashoggi’s murder and saying he will stand by Salman.

    According to a Media Matters review of Fox’s videos and transcripts, the network’s flagship morning show, Fox & Friends, never mentioned Trump absolving North Korea’s leader of responsibility for the mistreatment and apparent torture of a detained American citizen. Moreover, America’s Newsroom discussed the comments only briefly over the entire three-hour program, with Fox anchor Bret Baier suggesting that only “critics” will attack Trump over his defense of a murderous dictator. Outnumbered co-host Katie Pavlich also briefly discussed Trump’s defense of Kim. Later in the show, when Outnumbered co-host Marie Harf brought up Trump’s comments regarding Warmbier’s treatment and “about Kim Jong Un in general,” show co-host Melissa Francis interrupted her to defend Trump’s comments as being just “the way he talks,” and asked, “How do you know that’s what’s going on in his mind -- in the president’s mind?” On Fox's The Daily Briefing, Fox host Dana Perino asked a single question of Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) about Trump’s comments. Fox’s obvious attempt at downplaying Trump’s comments comes after the network echoed Trump in his evolving positions on Khashoggi’s assassination and after Fox made odd defenses of Trump for courting Putin.

  • How right-wing media tried to spin Michael Cohen’s testimony 

    Blog ››› ››› GRACE BENNETT


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    On February 27, longtime Trump lawyer and confidant Michael Cohen delivered damning testimony about President Donald Trump to the House oversight committee. Cohen alleged that Trump was aware of WikiLeaks’ plan to release hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee, that Trump lied during the campaign about his plans to build a Trump tower in Moscow, and that Trump directed Cohen to repeatedly pay off women to keep quiet about their sexual relationships with him. Cohen also called the president a “racist” and a “con man.” Despite the serious criminal allegations, right-wing media were quick to dismiss and reject Cohen’s testimony.

    Here are the ways they tried to spin the hearing:

    Cohen’s testimony wasn’t newsworthy

    Right-wing media figures argued that Cohen’s allegations weren’t newsworthy and aren’t worth discussing.

    • Fox’s Sean Hannity asserted that the hearing was “a Democratic party [and] a hyperventilating, hysterical media putting politics over country with a political charade designed to just embarrass and trash the president.”

    • Fox contributor Dan Bongino claimed that Cohen’s presentation of the reimbursement check he says he received from Trump for paying off adult film actor Stormy Daniels is irrelevant. “I don’t think it’s damaging at all,” he said. “This has all been baked into the cake. There’s no news here.”

    • After the Cohen testimony was over, Fox’s Greg Gutfeld asked, “Why did we endure this spectacle?” He claimed, “People here are acting like this is news. We need to believe that it's news because we are forced to cover this. I don't feel like this is news. I can't find the news.”

    • Right-wing radio host Mark Levin said on Twitter, “The Democrats are a farce. Their media handlers are as well. What was the legislative purpose of the Cohen hearing? There was none.”

    Cohen's testimony was a distraction, especially from Trump's North Korea summit

    Others in right-wing media branded the hearing a distraction, especially from Trump’s summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Some figures also argued that the Democrats shouldn’t have held the Cohen hearing while Trump was in negotiations with Kim.

    • Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk: “Democrats holding a hearing with convicted liar Michael Cohen while [Trump] is in Vietnam negotiating peace with North Korea tells you everything you need to know about the left. They would rather see America fail than see Donald Trump succeed.”

    • The Federalist’s Ben Domenech: “The Cohen circus is a perfect encapsulation of the 2016 Forever era: A bunch of salacious noise from which we learn very little, even as much greater concern should be focused on *what's actually happening* as a matter of policy.”

    • National Rifle Association spokesperson and radio host Dana Loesch said that Trump is de-escalating hostility with North Korea, “India and Pakistan are on the brink of war, but this Cohen guy tho that already undermined himself.”

    • Fox’s Ainsley Earhardt complained, “You’ve got this major news story that’s happening on the other side of the world, and then in D.C., they’re trying to put this guy who already lied to that very committee, ... and they’re putting him on the stand the very day that our president’s talking to Kim Jong Un.”

    • Fox’s Jason Chaffetz said, “This Cohen situation is such a distraction from what is going on that is actually going to matter in the world.”

    • Fox’s Andrew Napolitano argued, “The Democrats should be ashamed of themselves for doing this today. Politics is supposed to stop at the water's edge and whatever they have on the president, they ought to cut him a break and let him freely and without worrying about what’s going on in Washington, D.C., be in a position to negotiate with Kim Jong Un.”

    • Fox’s Geraldo Rivera: “I think it was pathetic, the timing. … They easily could have postponed it 48 hours, 72 hours to let the world focus on this profoundly significant event.”

    • Fox’s Sean Hannity complained that at the “very same moment” of a “historic summit with the president of the United States,” Democrats “purposely scheduled and hauled in Michael Cohen … just to embarrass the president.”

    • The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro questioned why Cohen was even testifying if he couldn’t provide “direct evidence” that Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia. He concluded, “Democrats want headlines so they can distract from their own incompetence and garbage legislation, and Cohen shifts the headlines.”

    • Fox’s Tucker Carlson claimed Cohen’s testimony “doesn't have anything to do with anything and that is the exactly the point of it,” and said, “This is a distraction, and we are falling for it.”

    Cohen’s allegations don’t hurt the president

    Some right-wing media figures claimed that Cohen’s testimony -- which included allegations that the president committed multiple felonies -- doesn’t hurt Trump, especially not legally.

    • Right-wing radio host Mark Simone claimed, “Michael Cohen’s testimony will be the 2019 version of the Michael Wolf gossip book. They’ll call it a ‘bombshell’ and two weeks later it’ll be forgotten about.”

    • Prior to Cohen’s testimony but after his opening statement was published by The New York Times, Fox’s Geraldo Rivera argued that the statement suggested that the “Cohen testimony will be dramatic, entertaining, embarrassing, nothing new & will not advance Collusion narrative.”

    • The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro said on Twitter: “Cohen's testimony falls into three buckets for Trump: (1) illegality; (2) embarrassing for Trump; (3) stupid hilarity. There's not much in bucket (1), there's a lot in bucket (2), and there's a fair amount in bucket (3).”

    • Shapiro also wrote: “So is Cohen's testimony damaging to Trump? In terms of public relations, sure. In terms of impeachment, meh. In terms of legal liability, not really.”

    • Fox’s Dan Bongino insisted that, even if it is true, “there's no there there" on Michael Cohen's claim Trump knew about WikiLeaks' plan to publish hacked DNC emails, saying, “None of this is great politically. The question is, is it criminally damaging? And the answer is no.”

    The testimony actually helps Trump’s legal case

    Other right-wing media figures suggested that far from hurting the president, Cohen’s testimony to Congress actually helps him.

    • The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh: “Remarkably Cohen's testimony exonerates Trump. He says Trump never directly told him to lie, he has no evidence of collusion, and Trump only worked on the Moscow project because he thought he wouldn't win, which means he wasn't trying to leverage the presidency for financial gain.”

    • Breitbart’s Joel Pollak: “Michael Cohen’s not saying anything new legally. His testimony exonerates Trump from telling him to lie to Congress. There’s nothing new about collusion. And his recollection of things Trump said is unclear by his own admission.”

    • Frequent Fox guest John Solomon claimed the hearing was “a good day for the president,” and “a good day for his legal defense.”

    Former Clinton lawyer Lanny Davis orchestrated the hearing

    Some right-wing media figures unsurprisingly tried to tie the Cohen’s testimony to the Clintons by noting that his lawyer has previously worked with them.

    • Fox’s Katie Pavlich: “Everything you need to know about Cohen’s testimony is sitting behind him: Lanny Davis. This is about revenge for Clinton’s 2016 loss in 2020.”

    • Breitbart’s Joel Pollak said that Cohen’s testimony was partly “Lanny Davis talking thru Cohen’s mouth.”

    • Fox’s Lisa Boothe: “How is this not ridiculously sketchy to everyone? Lanny Davis, a Clinton loyalist, is working for Michael Cohen for free. I wonder what is in it for Davis.”

    • Boothe: “Doesn’t Lanny Davis representing Michael Cohen and sitting behind him today tell you everything you need to know? Democrats still can’t get over the fact that Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump in 2016.”

    • Fox’s Sean Hannity said that the hearing was “highly orchestrated by, yes, the biggest Clinton supporter on the entire Earth, Lanny Davis, who is apparently representing Michael Cohen for free.”

  • Fox News has had a meltdown about a new law expanding abortion access in New York

    Blog ››› ››› SHARON KANN


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    On January 22, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Reproductive Health Act that protects abortion in case the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade and expands access to this essential form of health care. Despite the clear harm that New York’s previous law imposed on patients, right-wing and anti-abortion media have expressed outrage -- with Fox News leading the charge.

    The Reproductive Health Act comprises several provisions, including the removal of abortion from the state’s criminal code. The part of the law that has irked Fox News (and broader right-wing media) the most involves a provision decriminalizing abortions after 24 weeks “when the fetus is not viable or a woman’s health is at risk.” Permitting abortions after this point was necessary because previously, “the law made self-induced abortions a misdemeanor crime, and made providing one a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison.” Although right-wing media frequently scaremonger about later abortions, these procedures in reality are extremely rare and performed due to complicated personal and medical reasons. Before the Reproductive Health Act, New York patients needing medically necessary abortions after 24 weeks were forced to travel out of state, thus suffering both logistical and psychological burdens.

    Fox News is no stranger to inaccurate and stigmatizing coverage of abortion and reproductive rights. As Media Matters has previously documented, Fox News not only covers abortion-related issues more frequently than other cable networks but also covers it in a highly inaccurate way. Coverage of the Reproductive Health Act has been no exception. Between January 22 and 29, Fox News’ coverage has used discussions of the law to revive allegations about abortion providers engaging in misconduct, promote anti-choice junk science about abortion procedures, attack Democrats as “extreme,” and employ sensationalized and stigmatizing language to vilify those who have abortions.

    Fox invoked the case of Kermit Gosnell to revive allegations about abortion providers misconduct

    Fox News guests attacked the New York law as allowing misconduct by abortion providers, invoking and misleading about the case of former Philadelphia doctor Kermit Gosnell. For example, during the January 25 edition of Fox News’ morning program Fox & Friends, guest and actor Dean Cain not only spread misinformation about Gosnell but also promoted a movie (starring himself) sensationalizing the Gosnell case. Later the same day, Cain appeared on Fox News' The Story with Martha MacCallum, where host MacCallum asked Cain about his movie that she claimed “highlighted the horror of the reality of late-term abortion, and the doctor who carried out so many of them.” Cain responded by not only promoting his movie, but also connecting Gosnell’s actions to the New York law, arguing that his crimes “may very well be legal under this new New York law.”

    Gosnell is currently serving “three life terms in jail” for “first-degree murder in the deaths of three babies born alive at his rogue clinic, then stabbed with scissors.” There is no ambiguity about the illegality of Gosnell’s actions. But unlike right-wing and anti-abortion media’s allegations, Gosnell’s practices are in no way representative of abortion providers or abortion procedures in the United States. As MSNBC’s Irin Carmon wrote in 2013, Gosnell’s actions were not evidence of widespread malfeasance by abortion providers because it was his "willingness to break the law" that made many patients seek him out, believing “they had no alternative,” despite warnings from other reputable providers. Similarly, as Robin Marty explained in 2018, while there are a myriad distinctions between Gosnell and a “legitimate, trained abortion provider,” the restrictions imposed in the wake of his actions have very little to do with abortion safety. She wrote:

    His clinic was unsanitary and dangerous for patients generally, and he was further known to provide better care and cleaner rooms for his white and higher-income clients than those who were poor, immigrant, or brown or black. He did so apparently under the assumption that his more privileged clients would report him to the health department, whereas those from marginalized communities would either be afraid to do so or — even worse — think that what they were receiving was exactly what they deserved. (Even so, he was reported to authorities, and the governmental agencies that failed to act on the complaints from his patients that would have exposed his crimes far earlier should be held to account for their negligence.)

    ...

    Even with abortion legal in his state, Gosnell didn’t bother to operate by the rules; there’s little reason or history to believe that women would have been safer had abortion been illegal. Gosnell’s clinic was where patients went primarily when they thought they had no better options, or couldn’t afford a better clinic. They went there because he didn’t enforce the 24 hour wait mandated by the state. They went there because the anti-abortion protesters surrounding the reputable clinics in the city were so aggressive that they were afraid to enter.

    As Marty summarized, “unsafe and unsanitary conditions in an exam room in which abortions are performed are not normal, but anti-abortion activists are invested in making the public believe they are.” This was exactly the issue at play during oral arguments in the 2016 Supreme Court case Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, in which Texas’ Solicitor General Scott Keller defended an anti-choice law that imposed medically unnecessary and harmful restrictions under the guise of increasing patient safety, referencing the Gosnell case. Although the Supreme Court ultimately ruled against Texas, determining that there must be evidentiary support that a restriction is necessary to protect patient’s health, right-wing media -- and Fox News in particular -- were in lockstep with the state’s inaccurate talking points about Gosnell from the start. And if Fox News’ coverage of the New York law is any indication, little has changed since.

    Fox promoted anti-choice misinformation about abortion procedures

    Right-wing media frequently spread misinformation and junk science about alleged abortion procedures -- and Fox News’ coverage of New York’s abortion law was no exception. Fox News and broader right-wing and anti-abortion media outlets have spent years misleading about abortion procedures, in particular focusing on invented procedures like so-called “partial-birth” abortion or invoking the inaccurate idea of “abortion on demand.” In reality, so-called “partial-birth” abortions and Fox News’ various iterations of “abortion on demand” are inaccurate -- but both concepts are strategically deployed to spread misinformation about medically necessary later abortions. In particular, the phrase “partial-birth” abortion was invented by anti-choice advocates as a mechanism to vilify and shame individuals who have later abortions.

    But Fox News’ coverage of the Reproductive Health Act frequently used both of these terms to spread misinformation and shame about the law. For example, during the January 24 edition of The Story with Martha MacCallum, Fox News contributor Guy Benson argued that the New York law “permits abortion on demand, up to the seventh month of pregnancy, and really all the way up to the moment of birth, for virtually any reason whatsoever.” During the January 25 Fox & Friends interview with Dean Cain, guest co-host Ed Henry invoked the words of a conservative lawmaker about how “late-term abortion” is “partial-birth abortion” and akin to “infanticide,” implying that New York’s law could be characterized as such. In the same segment, co-host Ainsley Earhardt also claimed the law would legalize “abortion up until birth” -- a claim she repeated on January 28. On January 29, she claimed that the New York law allows her to be “nine months pregnant and [walk] into the hospital” and say, “I don’t want the child anymore.” In a similar segment on January 26, Fox & Friends Weekend guest co-host Katie Pavlich said that the “extreme” law would allow “abortions up until the due date.” Some, like Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy went even further, arguing inaccurately that “the baby can be born alive” under the New York law and a doctor could still “terminate it.”

    Given how often Fox News and its various contributors spread misinformation and vitriol about abortion, these segments are unsurprising in both their frequency and content. And as more states propose bills that are similar to New York’s law, Fox News viewers will only see more of the same.

    Fox attacked Democrats as “extreme” and out of step with the American public for supporting access to abortion care

    Unsurprisingly, Fox News has also used discussion of the New York law to attack Democrats for being too “extreme” in their positions on abortion. Some Fox News programs went even further by connecting the law to the machinations of a larger Democratic agenda. During the January 28 edition of Fox News’ Hannity, host Sean Hannity claimed the New York law was evidence that “every Democrat who wants to run for president is about to take that hard turn to appease what is now the radical, extreme, socialist Democratic party base.” He continued: “Viable lives can now be destroyed with the seal of New York -- and Andrew Cuomo and the New York legislature putting their seal of approval.”

    This isn’t the first time that media have attempted to paint support for basic reproductive rights as “extreme.” In early 2017, The New York Times published an op-ed titled “To Win Again, Democrats Must Stop Being the Abortion Party,” advocating for the dubious idea that Democrats must sacrifice protecting abortion and reproductive rights in order to win voters. During the December 2017 special election of Alabama Democratic Sen. Doug Jones, right-wing media frequently alleged that he supported so-called “partial-birth” abortions or abortions up to the moment of birth, in order to prove that he was too “extreme” for Alabama voters. Fox News was particularly active in spreading this inaccurate narrative, with hosts and contributors alike alleging that Jones’ stance on abortion included promoting “abortion on demand,” claiming that he was “a person who supports abortion at every level” and parroting the idea that he wanted abortions to be performed “through all nine months of pregnancy.” This inaccurate framing also influenced coverage outside of the right-wing media sphere -- a trend that has been repeated with coverage of other political fights.

    In 2018, media kept rehashing the allegation that support for abortion rights was harmful to the Democratic Party. Polling on abortion-related issues is notoriously complicated, requiring clear questions and language that accurately reflects the realities of abortion access and procedures. However, polling that takes such realities into account has demonstrated a wide degree of support for abortion rights and Roe v. Wade. Already in 2019, with candidates announcing their candidacy for president in 2020, this talking point is gaining steam -- with Fox News sure to be leading the charge.

    Fox used extreme and stigmatizing language to shame and villainize people having medically necessary later abortions

    During numerous Fox News segments about the Reproductive Health Act, the only thing more plentiful than the misinformation about the law was the stigmatizing language various hosts and guests used to describe abortion and those who have one.

    Abortion stigma refers to an idea that abortion is inherently wrong or socially unacceptable, and it is reinforced (both intentionally and unintentionally) through media coverage, popular culture, and by a lack of accurate information about the procedure itself. In particular, right-wing media have capitalized on a lack of accurate public knowledge about abortion to demonize abortion providers and patients, as well as spread misinformation about abortion more broadly.

    Fox News often uses stigmatizing language about abortions or about those who have them, but the network’s repeated commentary in the wake of the New York law demonstrated the rhetorical impact of this strategy. For example, Fox News host Sean Hannity on multiple occasions described the law as allowing “infanticide.” Other Fox News figures focused their indignation on the people who may need a later abortion, claiming that people are having “recreational” later abortions, or even inaccurately alleging that abortion is never “necessary for reproductive health.” Fox News host Laura Ingraham even went so far as to ask a guest on her program to explain how the law isn’t “Hitlerian” when, in her opinion, it would allow a baby to “be killed” when it “could be born.” In almost every segment about the New York law, a Fox News host or guest oscillated between outrage and disgust -- expressing disbelief and variations of the sentiment that they couldn’t “even believe that this is happening.”

    Later abortion procedures are an important part of comprehensive reproductive health care. And if any of these Fox News figures had bothered to talk to, or even read an account from someone who has had a medically necessary later abortion, they might understand the reality of these decisions: Later abortions are usually of wanted pregnancies and are either not viable or pose a direct risk to the life or health of the pregnant person. Rather than spreading rampant misinformation about later abortions, and those who need them, Fox News might want to do some actual reporting and figure out the facts before devoting so much time to sensationalized and stigmatizing coverage.

    Grace Bennett and Julie Tulbert contributed research for this piece. 

  • This misleading Fox segment prompted Trump's inaccurate voter fraud tweet

    Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    President Donald Trump tweeted false information about voter fraud after watching a misleading Fox & Friends segment about a Texas Department of State report that allegedly showed non-U.S. citizens registered to vote. However, as The Texas Tribune explained, the report does not actually shed much light on how much illegal voting may or may not have occurred. 

    On January 27, Fox & Friends Weekend ran a segment about the Texas report, which co-host Katie Pavlich misleadingly described as evidence of “95,000 non-U.S. citizens who are registered to vote in Texas.” Pavlich suggested that the report was proof against the arguments that “noncitizens aren’t voting in our elections, [and] people who say that there’s voter fraud are conspiracy theorists.” Her guest, discredited fabulist J. Christian Adams, claimed the Texas report shows “the real foreign influence in our elections” and said that other states, including Pennsylvania, are “hiding the same information” about “aliens getting on the rolls.” 

    The segment prompted President Trump to tweet that the Texas voter numbers are “just the tip of the iceberg,” claiming that we need “strong voter ID” laws because “voter fraud is rampant.”

    Prior to the Fox & Friends segment that prompted the president’s tweet, The Texas Tribune examined the Texas secretary of state’s report and found that it contains 95,000 names “who the state says counties should consider checking to see whether they are … legally eligible to vote,” and that of the 95,000, “about 58,000 individuals cast a ballot in one or more elections from 1996 to 2018.” The office advised counties that the names on the list “should be considered ‘WEAK’ matches, using all capital letters for emphasis.”

    However, as Chris Davis, the head of the Texas Association of Elections Administrators, said, “People get naturalized. It’s entirely too early to say that” this report is proof of voter fraud. As the Tribune noted, “It’s possible that individuals flagged by the state … could have become naturalized citizens since they obtained their driver's license or ID card,” and “It’s unclear exactly how many of those individuals are not actually U.S. citizens and whether that number will be available in the future.” From the January 25 article: 

    The Texas secretary of state's office announced Friday it would send local election officials a list of 95,000 registered voters who the state says counties should consider checking to see whether they are U.S. citizens and, therefore, legally eligible to vote.

    In an advisory released Friday afternoon, the office said it was flagging individuals who had provided the Texas Department of Public Safety with some form of documentation — including a work visa or a green card — that showed they were not a citizen when they were obtaining a driver’s license or an ID card. Among the individuals flagged, about 58,000 individuals cast a ballot in one or more elections from 1996 to 2018, the secretary of state's office said.

    It’s unclear exactly how many of those individuals are not actually U.S. citizens and whether that number will be available in the future. In its notice to counties, the secretary of state's office said the names should be considered "WEAK" matches, using all capital letters for emphasis.

    ...

    It's possible that individuals flagged by the state — who provided DPS with documentation that indicated they were authorized to be in the country — could have become naturalized citizens since they obtained their driver's license or ID card. A spokesman for the secretary of state said officials are "very confident" that the data received from DPS is "current."

    But without additional verification, you can't say these individuals all engaged in illegal voting, said Chris Davis, the head of the Texas Association of Elections Administrators.

    "People get naturalized," Davis said. "It's entirely too early to say that."

    But Beth Stevens, voting rights legal director for the Texas Civil Rights Project, said the announcement echoed efforts around the country to remove eligible voters from the rolls.

    "The secretary’s actions threaten to result in tens of thousands of eligible voters being removed from the rolls, including those with the least resources to comply with the demand to show papers," Stevens said.

    Rampant voter fraud has been a right-wing media meme for many years, and there has never been any evidence. Fox News particularly obsesses over the voter fraud conspiracy theory, yet the network has virtually ignored actual fraud in the electoral process. 

  • Fox & Friends contradicts itself on Florida vote count

    Guest co-host Katie Pavlich falsely states vote count deadline has passed minutes after reporter correctly says Florida law allows four days after election for vote tallies

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Fox & Friends contradicted itself within five minutes in a report on the ongoing process of tallying the votes from the 2018 Florida Senate race between incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson and Gov. Rick Scott. Guest co-host Katie Pavlich parroted Sen. Marco Rubio's (R-FL) debunked smear that “the early voting numbers that were in on Sunday were -- they’re all supposed to be … counted on Tuesday by Florida law standards,” suggesting election officials were circumventing the law in an attempt to change the results of the election. But, literally minutes prior to Pavlich’s spurious claim, Fox News correspondent Griff Jenkins correctly noted that Florida officials “have until noon” on Saturday, November 10, “to submit their unofficial vote totals.”

    From the November 9 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

    GRIFF JENKINS (FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT): Now, under Florida law, any race with a margin of half a percent or less automatically goes to a recount. Attorney Mark Elias, now representing [Sen. Bill] Nelson, said this, he says, “We’re doing this not just because it's automatic, but we are doing it to win.”

    And in the race for governor there, also in the razor-thin majority -- recount territory, rather, Republican Congressman Ron DeSantis leads Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum by more than 36,000 votes, or .4 percent -- .44 percent. Gillum, who conceded the race to DeSantis on Tuesday night, indicated through his lawyers that they're also gearing up for a fight.

    Now, Florida has 67 counties, they all have until noon tomorrow to submit their unofficial vote totals. One thing is for sure, It's good to be an attorney for election law in Florida in November.

    ...

    STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): Here’s the thing, and this is the reason that Rick Scott has sued Palm Beach and Broward County. Suddenly, mysteriously, apparently Broward County is finding more ballots. Now, how is that?

    KATIE PAVLICH (GUEST CO-HOST): All of a sudden.

    PAVLICH: The other issue here, in terms of legal problem, is the early voting numbers that were in on Sunday were -- they’re all supposed to be voted by Tuesday -- or counted on Tuesday by Florida law standards, and yet, here we are getting to the weekend, and those early totals are still being counted in Broward County.

    STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): They were busy.

    PAVLICH: Very busy.