Five years ago, Fox News expanded its online presence with "Fox Nation." Early promos for the site told viewers that it's "time to say 'no' to biased media and 'yes' to fair play and free speech," while promising that Fox fans had finally found "a place to call home." Similarly, the "Statement of Purpose" on the site announces that it is dedicated to "the core principles of tolerance, open debate, civil discourse, and fair and balanced coverage of the news."
But after its launch, the site quickly turned into -- in the words of former Fox News producer Joe Muto -- the "seedy underbelly of the Fox News online empire." Fox Nation has for years openly cheered Republican politicians and policies, actively organized for the tea party, smeared Democrats and progressives, engaged in blatant race-baiting on a near-daily basis, and routinely elevated nonsense from the conservative fringe.
So while Fox Nation is celebrating its fifth birthday and its self-proclaimed role as a "defender of the Constitution and the home of hot debates," Media Matters looks back at some (but nowhere near all) of the lowlights from the site's first five years.
Obama's "War On Marriage"
After President Obama declared support for marriage equality in 2012, Fox Nation attacked him for declaring "WAR ON MARRIAGE" (the site later changed the headline):
Five Years Of Birtherism
Fox Nation has repeatedly trafficked in conspiracies about the president's birth certificate, highlighting numerous stories promoting the nonsensical theory. More than once in 2009, Fox Nation attached an image of Obama wearing Somali clothes to stories promoting birther claptrap:
The Impending Apocalypse
In February 2011, Fox Nation promoted what Fox & Friends Saturday co-host Clayton Morris described as an "incredible piece of video" showing a "greenish figure" in a crowd of Egyptian protesters. The site quoted fellow conspiracy website WND explaining that the green figure "resembles an erect rider atop a horse in Medieval-like barding." The headline, which was pulled from Clayton Morris' blog, asked:
A Vicious Smear Of Planned Parenthood
In 2012, Fox Nation proved how low they were willing to sink to smear their enemies. That December, a British charity for victims of domestic abuse released a video urging women not to conceal the effects of domestic violence. After Planned Parenthood posted the video to its Facebook page, Fox Nation highlighted a since-deleted article from LifeNews.com that completely inverted the message of the ad, posting it under this headline:
"Fox Nation Victory!"
Fox Nation's open campaigning for Republican and conservative causes has led the site to repeatedly declare things like a 2009 congressional delay of health care reform (which the site called the "health care rationing bill") a "Fox Nation Victory!" This 2011 headline and image about the House voting to repeal Obamacare perhaps best captures the tone of the site's health care reform politicking:
Obama Handing Land To Mexico
In 2010, Fox News show America Live embarrassed itself with a "ludicrous" story about how the Obama administration was responsible for a "massive stretch" of Arizona land being closed, with host Shannon Bream telling viewers, "Critics say the administration is, in effect, giving a major strip of the Southwest back to Mexico." (The entire story was painfully misleading.) Fox Nation ramped things up by posting a link to the America Live segment with a headline informing readers that Obama "Gives Back Major Strip of AZ to Mexico."
"JOIN YOUR LOCAL TEA PARTY"
Shortly after its launch, Fox Nation morphed into both a cheering section and a staging area for the tea party. The site even hosted a "virtual tea party" in 2009 for people who "can't get to a tea party." To give an idea of what Fox Nation's early tea party coverage looked like, here's a headline from March 2010:
Hillary's "Communist" Clothing, "Macho" Putin, The "Nuzzling" President, And Other Lowlights
Other headlines that have appeared on Fox Nation throughout the years. May 2010: