Fox News host Brian Kilmeade told the leader of a violent nationalist hate group that targets British Muslims, "We got your back" and "it's great what you're doing."
Kilmeade offered his endorsement to the English Defence League (EDL) and co-founder Tommy Robinson, who appeared as a guest on the June 10 edition of Kilmeade's Fox News Radio program. Kilmeade's support followed an interview in which Robinson railed against the immigration of Muslims into the United Kingdom, and warned of Muslims "forcefully putting us under Sharia" Law and planning a "silent takeover" to "implement Sharia" in his country and across the world.
Robinson (whose real name is Stephen Lennon) also said he didn't regret his recent conviction for using a false identity document to enter the United States to attend an anti-Islam event with anti-Islam blogger Pamela Geller. Robinson pleaded guilty and was jailed in January and released in February. Robinson's offense was not his first brush with the law.
Fox News has previously reported on the violent and fringe nature of the EDL. On August 28, 2010, America's News HQ anchor Gregg Jarrett noted there were "hundreds of extreme right-wing protesters rioting in northern England. Members of the so-called English Defence League tossing bottles and rocks at police in the city of Bradford. There's the map. Police penned the group in, keeping them away from a separate rally headed by a leftist group. The English Defence League opposes what it calls the spread of Sharia Law and Islamic extremism in England. Police arrested five people, but there are no reports of any injuries."
Several other news outlets have similarly described the EDL as a violent and extreme anti-Muslim group:
Geraldo Rivera announced on Fox News that he's not running for the U.S. Senate. Rivera had previously used his Fox News platform to test the waters for his potential Republican candidacy.
In January, Rivera said on his Cumulus radio program that he was "truly contemplating" running for the U.S. Senate. He then used platforms on Fox News and Fox News Latino to, in his words, "hone a message" for his possible campaign until "it's no longer legal" to do so (a move that drew criticism from media ethicists). Rivera appeared on Fox & Friends and wrote columns for Fox News Latino (see here, and here) to outline his campaign's message and deliver, in the words of Fox host Steve Doocy, his "stump speech."
Speaking on Fox & Friends this morning, Rivera said that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's special election announcement effectively ended the possibility of him running, and said he'll "stay right here" on Fox. Rivera expanded on his decision in a Fox News Latino column, in which he invoked the The Lord of the Rings and Don Quixote.
Had Rivera run for office, he likely would have met the same unsuccessful fate as several other recent Fox News employees-turned-candidates. Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich won publicity, but not the Republican presidential nomination, in 2012. Angela McGlowan finished a distant third in a 2010 Republican primary for a congressional seat. And Pete Snyder lost his bid to be the 2013 Republican nominee for Virginia Lt. Governor.
Fox News contributor Allen West agreed with radio host Michael Savage's assertion that "Khmer Rouge feminists" are attempting a "coup" against the military by proposing to change the military chain of command in sexual assault cases. West also used the sexual assault issue to criticize liberals for wanting to "put women into combat arms units" "so they can meet some sort of socially engineering goal or egalitarian goal."
Savage, who hosts Cumulus Media Networks' Savage Nation, began the June 4 segment by playing audio of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) talking about changing the military chain of command in sexual assault cases. After saying Gillibrand "sounds like a college chick at a dorm," Savage told guest West: "When I watch these Khmer Rouge feminists try to take over the military, this looked like an attempted coup to me, Colonel West."
West replied: "Nah, you're absolutely right and that's a big concern that I have because when you start to get -- you know, I understand civilian oversight of the military. We all understand that as all officers who served in uniform. But when you start to have this interjection of, you know, political, you know, will against, you know, the military, good order and discipline, where you start to try to usurp the commanders' authority and I guess replace it with some type of political, legal officers, and things of that nature. Then the next thing you know, it goes from just dealing with this, you know, sexual assault thing to, you know, making decisions on the battlefield."
Savage and West went on to discuss whether sexual assaults in the military are actually a problem. When West said that "there may be a problem, without a doubt, with sexual assault," Savage interrupted by claiming that sexual assault claims can include men asking women out for "a beer." He then asked West, "how many of them are fraudulent claims? We don't know, do we?"
"No we don't," West answered. "And furthermore, Dr. Savage, we don't know how many of them are female against male, you know, sexual assaults, or same-sex sexual assaults. So we don't have those numbers either."
The Department of Defense recently released its "Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military" and found that up to 26,000 service members may have been the victim of some form of sexual assault. The Army Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Program has stated that "[s]exual assault is defined as intentional sexual contact, characterized by use of force, physical threat or abuse of authority, or when the victim does not or cannot consent."
Savage proceeded to launch into a screed about how military sexual assaults are "such trivial nonsense" and wondered why the U.S. Senate is having a hearing on "this rubbish."
West responded by claiming that it's because Democrats control the U.S. Senate, while Republicans control the "House Armed Services Committee, where you would have more poignant questions. You know, you have the hearings about Benghazi."
Fox News host Andrea Tantaros theorized on her radio show that President Barack Obama went "to the Jersey Shore" for Memorial Day because he "doesn't want to stand with actual veterans" since it might draw attention to "scandals" like Benghazi. But Tantaros' theory is nonsense. President Obama spent Memorial Day with veterans at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery and not at the Jersey Shore. The Five's post-Memorial Day program, which Tantaros co-hosted, even noted that Obama spent Memorial Day honoring veterans.
On her June 3 radio program, Tantaros said of Obama: "He doesn't want to stand with actual veterans, military veterans, to celebrate Memorial Day, two weekends ago. He goes to the Jersey Shore. What does the Jersey Shore have to do with Memorial Day, somebody tell me? Memorial Day is to honor the fallen, and don't you think the fallen in Benghazi would be a more appropriate tribute, but he doesn't want to talk about the scandals."
On Memorial Day, President Obama visited Arlington National Cemetery and placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. He also delivered an address thanking members of the military, and asking the country "to honor the strength and the resolve and the love these brave Americans felt for each other and for our country. Let us never forget to always remember and to be worthy of the sacrifice they make in our name." President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama also held a breakfast for Gold Star families of fallen service members.
Even if Tantaros can't be bothered to look up where the president spent Memorial Day, perhaps she could have remembered her own Fox News show reporting it accurately a week ago.
Fox News has announced it's hired former Rep. Allen West as a contributor. The far-right Republican and the conservative news network are a match made in heaven: West's incendiary rhetoric against progressives and Democrats closely mirrors Fox News' own smears and attacks. Media Matters looks at eight reasons why West is a perfect fit for Fox News.
Allen West served in congress for one term as a Republican before being booted out by voters. By signing with Fox News, he'll join an oasis of former Republicans candidates, officeholders, and administration officials including: John Bolton, Scott Brown, Herman Cain, Liz Cheney, Al D'Amato, Mike Huckabee, William Kristol, Jon Kyl, Angela McGlowan, Oliver North, Dana Perino, and Karl Rove.
If West decides to run again for office, he'll have plenty of company. Scott Brown, Liz Cheney and Geraldo Rivera are considering runs for office as Republicans, and Fox News has a track record of helping former Republican politicians stay in the public eye until they reenter politics.
West told reporters in December 2011: "If Joseph Goebbels was around, he'd be very proud of the Democrat Party, because they have an incredible propaganda machine ... Let's be honest, you know, some of the people in the media are complicit with this and enabling them to get that type of message out."
Fox News has also frequently compared Democrats and their policies to Nazis. Bill O'Reilly has repeatedly portrayed his opponents as Nazis, and once claimed that Media Matters founder David Brock employs "Joseph Goebbels Nazi stuff."
Fox News chairman Roger Ailes once responded to NPR firing analyst Juan Williams by claiming of NPR executives: "They are, of course, Nazis. They have a kind of Nazi attitude. They are the left wing of Nazism." (Ailes later apologized.)
Fox News figures are using newly released internal emails to falsely suggest that the intelligence community never connected the attack in Benghazi, Libya to protests against an anti-Islam video. In fact, every version of the talking points, including the CIA's original draft, linked the attack to protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, which were part of a series of global riots and protests that were partly in response to increased awareness of the video.
On May 15, the White House released more than 100 pages of emails about the September 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya. The Los Angeles Times noted of the emails: "Even the very first version of the talking points suggests that the attack was inspired by the protests in Cairo over the anti-Muslim video, a perfectly plausible supposition at the time. That undermines the Republican claim that administration officials concocted the notion of a Benghazi protest to protect the president from a perception that Al Qaeda was ascendant again." Indeed, the original version of the talking points produced by the CIA's Office of Terrorism Analysis stated:
The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. diplomatic post and subsequently its annex. There are indications that extremists participated in the violent demonstrations.
But Fox News figures have ignored this to predictably use the emails to criticize the Obama administration for misleading Americans when officials publicly linked the Benghazi attacks to the anti-Islam video.
CNN is challenging the accuracy of reporting on a supposed email from a White House aide that seemed to suggest an effort to provide political cover for the administration following the September attacks in Benghazi, Libya. The new revelations regarding the email comes after the allegedly flawed reporting has spread through the media.
CNN host Jake Tapper reported today that a newly obtained email from White House aide Ben Rhodes about Benghazi "differs from how sources inaccurately quoted and paraphrased it in previous accounts to different media organizations." Tapper writes that the email shows that someone provided outlets like ABC News and The Weekly Standard with "inaccurate information" to make it appear that the White House was "more interested in the State Department's desire to remove mentions of specific terrorist groups and warnings about these groups so as to not bring criticism to the State Department than Rhodes' email actually stated."
From Tapper's report:
In the email sent on Friday, September 14, 2012, at 9:34 p.m., obtained by CNN from a U.S. government source, Rhodes wrote:
"Sorry to be late to this discussion. We need to resolve this in a way that respects all of the relevant equities, particularly the investigation.
"There is a ton of wrong information getting out into the public domain from Congress and people who are not particularly informed. Insofar as we have firmed up assessments that don't compromise intel or the investigation, we need to have the capability to correct the record, as there are significant policy and messaging ramifications that would flow from a hardened mis-impression.
"We can take this up tomorrow morning at deputies."
You can read the email HERE.
ABC News reported that Rhodes wrote: "We must make sure that the talking points reflect all agency equities, including those of the State Department, and we don't want to undermine the FBI investigation. We thus will work through the talking points tomorrow morning at the Deputies Committee meeting." The Weekly Standard reported that Rhodes "responded to the group, explaining that Nuland had raised valid concerns and advising that the issues would be resolved at a meeting of the National Security Council's Deputies Committee the following morning."
Whoever provided those quotes seemingly invented the notion that Rhodes wanted the concerns of the State Department specifically addressed. While Nuland, particularly, had expressed a desire to remove mentions of specific terrorist groups and CIA warnings about the increasingly dangerous assignment, Rhodes put no emphasis at all in his email on the State Department's concerns.
The allegedly inaccurate characterizations of the Rhodes email by ABC News and The Weekly Standard were repeated in numerous media outlets, and a Republican research document.
UPDATE: Slate's David Weigel reports that Jason Richwine has resigned from Heritage.
The Heritage Foundation is reportedly considering hiring a public relations firm to manage the fallout over the disastrous launch of its shoddy, heavily criticized immigration report. Compounding problems for the right-wing think tank was the revelation that the co-author of its report has argued that Hispanic immigrants are undesirable because they allegedly have lower IQs than white Americans. The media shouldn't be fooled: no amount of PR money can hide that one of Heritage's lead immigration analysts holds deeply offensive racial views, and has also tied himself and Heritage to a network of extremist and nativist anti-immigrant groups.
The Washington Post's Dylan Matthews reported this week that Jason Richwine, who co-authored Heritage's recently released immigration report, wrote in a 2009 dissertation that Hispanic immigrants have a lower IQ than white Americans, and the "prediction that new Hispanic immigrants will have low-IQ children and grandchildren is difficult to argue against."
Richwine's offensive remarks about IQ and immigrants are part of a troubling anti-Hispanic immigrant pattern throughout his relatively short think tank career.
CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson is reportedly "in talks to leave CBS ahead" of her contract in the midst of disagreements with executives over her "wading dangerously close to advocacy" on Benghazi. Attkisson, who has a history of producing shoddy reporting, is getting support from Fox News personalities, with one calling for the conservative network to hire her as an investigative reporter.
Conservatives see a crusader and truth-teller. Tim Graham of the conservative Media Research Center calls Attkisson "an outlier" among TV reporters -- a hard-nosed investigator of "how our public officials behave and misbehave." Liberals see a partisan tool. "I think Attkisson has completely given herself over to the right and is very happy to be their champion," says Eric Boehlert, a senior fellow at the liberal Media Matters for America organization.
Politico reported that CBS News "has grown increasingly frustrated with Attkisson's Benghazi campaign" and executives "see Attkisson wading dangerously close to advocacy on the issue, network sources have told POLITICO. Attkisson can't get some of her stories on the air, and is thus left feeling marginalized and underutilized. That, in part, is why Attkisson is in talks to leave CBS ahead of contract." (The Post wrote of the contract situation: "Despite reports of internal conflicts with her superiors, Attkisson says she has no immediate plans to leave CBS. 'I am currently under contract,' she says flatly, declining to say when her agreement lapses or what might follow.")
Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich tweeted today: "Fox News should launch a new investigative unit featuring: @sharylattkisson, @jamesrosenfnc, @JenGriffinFNCand Catherine Herridge." All the reporters referenced except for Attkisson currently work for Fox News. Fox News contributor Jonah Goldberg replied: "Fox Untouchables." Reporter James Rosen retweeted Pavlich.
Right-wing media are using a congressional hearing to push new myths about the Obama administration's response to the September 11, 2012 attacks on a U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya. In fact, these myths are discredited by previous congressional reports and testimony, which show that the politicized nature of the hearings come from right-wing media and Congressional Republicans, that the military could not have rescued personnel from the second attack, that the administration was in constant communication at all levels during the attacks, and that the intelligence community believed there was a link to an anti-Islam video at the time of the attacks.