During the July 21 White House press conference, Al-Jazeera reporter Kimberly Halkett finished a round of questions with Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany by saying “ok, you don’t want to engage.”
Several right-wing commentators falsely claimed that Halkett called McEnany a “lying bitch.” Halkett herself immediately clarified that she did not say that, and even The White House later released a transcript of the press conference confirming Halkett did not, in fact, curse McEnany.
Ignoring established facts and the clear reality of what Halkett said, Fox News host Tucker Carlson said that “we don’t know” whether Halkett did or did not use the slur in regards to McEnany but “you can kind of see both sides.”
Later that same night, Fox News host Sean Hannity addressed this manufactured controversy and said, though he gave “the benefit of the doubt” to Halkett, he would “let you decide.”
A similar approach happened at The New York Post, which ran a story wondering what was said even though the story noted that the Post's own reporter “seated in front of Halkett at the morning press briefing, heard her say McEnany didn’t want to engage and did not hear her curse.”
This fake controversy swamped Twitter (and now Fox News) immediately after a report that a Republican member of the House used the same slur in regards to frequent Fox News target Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).
Neither Carlson nor Hannity found time to mention that report on their shows.