Fox News has an enemy in the education debate, and that enemy is teachers unions.
In the weeks since New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he would block three charter schools from using public school space rent-free, conservative media have sent themselves into a tizzy distorting the mayor's record, accusing him of waging a "war on children" and calling him "Comrade Bill." Perhaps no outlet was more indignant about de Blasio's decision than Fox News, whose hosts and pundits seemed incapable of discussing the story without blaming teachers unions, devoid of any evidence or support.
Watch below for Fox's "All Speculation, No Corroboration" approach to blaming teachers:
Fox's misguided outrage is unsurprising given the network's track record on unions. Its hosts and commentators have previously asked if "teachers unions [are] ruining your kids' education" and referred to labor unions as "parasites" that are "not doing anything" for workers. Fox host Dana Perino even suggested earlier this year that instead of making an "anti-NRA" film, filmmaker Harvey Weinstein could better "tackle gun violence if he would take on the teachers unions."
Fox News displayed a striking double standard on politicians appearing on comedy shows, questioning the appropriateness of President Obama's comedic interview, and ten minutes later praising Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) Letterman appearance
On America's Newsroom, Fox co-hosts Bill Hemmer and Martha MacCallum questioned the appropriateness of Obama's interview with comedian Zach Galfianakis on his Funny or Die show "Between Two Ferns." Ten minutes later, the same Fox hosts lauded McCain's appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman, laughing at a joke he had made and declaring that McCain had "knocked it out of the park":
According to a New York Times report about Gabriel Sherman's upcoming biography of Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, Ailes proclaimed to fellow Fox executives before the 2012 election that he wanted "to elect the next president." Here's a quick look at how he tried to do so:
Right-wing media figures have repeatedly accused Obama administration officials of using "scare tactics" for correctly pointing out that the U.S. will default if the debt ceiling is not raised by October 17. Economists, however, have echoed the administration's warnings, saying such claims that the U.S. will not default is "crazy talk."
Here's a look at some of the right-wing media's worst accusations:
Fox continued to prove itself a safe haven for conservatives as former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld enjoyed an easy interview on Fox & Friends. Fox News chose to ignore Rumsfeld's role in the Iraq war while other outlets questioned him about manipulated intelligence and the role the war played in America's standing in the international community.
The softball questions lobbed by hosts Steve Doocy, Gretchen Carlson, and Brian Kilmeade stood in stark contrast to the challenging questions asked by Chris Cuomo of CNN's New Day and Savannah Guthrie of NBC's Today. The Fox interview comes on the heels of a new report detailing the cozy relationship between Fox News and Republicans and the friendly forum Fox presents to their conservative guests.
While Cuomo and Guthrie asked Rumsfeld questions about the lingering effects of the Iraq war and Rumsfeld's role in the intelligence failures leading up to it, the hosts of Fox & Friends chose to avoid any mention of Iraq. Hosts Gretchen Carlson, Brian Kilmeade, and Steve Doocy made no mention of the botched intelligence and instead asked leading questions that gave Rumsfeld an opportunity to criticize President Obama's handling of the developing situation in Syria.
Fox's treatment of the former Defense Secretary, and Republicans in general, has become a noticeable pattern. The Rumsfeld interview comes after a recent report by Harvard University's Shorenstein Center detailing Fox's unique role as a safe haven for conservative candidates.
On August 12, a federal court judge ruled that the New York Police Department (NYPD) was improperly performing the common police tactic of "stop and frisk" by unconstitutionally targeting persons of color without reasonable suspicion. The New York City Council agreed, and passed legislation over a mayor's veto on August 23 to safeguard against future unconstitutional applications of this long-standing enforcement tactic. Right-wing media responded by ignoring the constitutional violations and instead defended the NYPD's actions for "establishing a sense of order."
Fox News' Stuart Varney renewed his attacks on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as food stamps, to hype an upcoming special on that government assistance program and to promote a new Fox News poll that paints SNAP in a negative light. Fox has repeatedly shamed, mocked, and decried the lack of stigma directed at those on government assistance programs, and Varney's segment continued that campaign.
On the August 8 edition of America's Newsroom, Fox Business Network's Stuart Varney discussed a new opinion poll Fox conducted regarding SNAP benefits. During the segment, host Bill Hemmer lamented that we are "a nation on the dole" while Varney complained that SNAP benefits are too easily accessible and criticized efforts to raise awareness of SNAP in underserved communities They ignored the fact that SNAP spending and enrollment is projected to decline as the economy continues to recover. This segment was offered as a preview of an upcoming Fox report titled "The Great Food Stamp Binge."
Varney, who once said that many low-income Americans "have things -- what they lack is the richness of spirit," is commonly the spokesperson for Fox's campaign to 'mock the poor,' and he merely continued Fox's ongoing campaign against government assistance programs and on the recipients of those programs themselves -- a campaign that has even gained influence in Congress. Varney is infamous for his repeated efforts to dismiss and demonize those people who require government assistance. As Varney himself has admitted, "I am being mean to poor people. Frankly, I am."
As President Obama addressed reactions surrounding the acquittal of George Zimmerman, right-wing media took to Twitter and attacked the president's remarks:
House Republicans reportedly plan to remove food stamp funding from the federal farm bill, a move that stands to further jeopardize the survival of the critical anti-poverty program. This move comes after years of right-wing media figures demonizing food stamp recipients as lazy or dependent, with Rush Limbaugh going so far as to propose dumpster diving as an alternative.
Here's a look back at some of the most egregious right-wing attacks on food stamps:
Rush Limbaugh claimed on his radio show that, unlike liberals, he doesn't view people as "members of groups." But Limbaugh has a history of isolating groups of people who disagree with him and demonizing them: