Fox News -- home of outrageous smears, falsehoods -- promotes "tea parties" protesting "journalistic malpractice"

››› ››› ADAM SHAH

Fox News has promoted what it has referred to as October 17 "tea part[y]" protests by "Operation: Can You Hear Us Now," an organization that plans "to show the MSM [mainstream media] that we as the American Public are absolutely fed up with their journalistic malpractice." However, Fox News has committed acts of "journalistic malpractice" including outrageous smears against Obama administration officials, passing off Republican press releases as its own research, deceptively editing videos and quotes, and invoking the Nazis to smear President Obama.

Fox News promotes October 17 "tea parties" protesting "journalistic malpractice"

Fox News website The Fox Nation has promoted October 17 "tea parties marching on media outlets." Linking to the website, a post on The Fox Nation stated:

Operation: Can You Hear Us Now? organizing October 17 protests against "journalistic malpractice." According to the Frequently Asked Questions page of the Operation: Can You Hear Us Now? website, the protests are a "nationwide event meant to show the MSM that we as the American Public are absolutely fed up with their journalistic malpractice."

Fox News has repeatedly promoted other "tea party" protests. Fox News aggressively promoted and covered what it labeled "FNC Tax Day Tea Parties" that took place on April 15. It has since promoted and covered numerous follow-up protests.

Fox News has run with numerous outrageous smears against individuals and organizations

Beck: Obama is a "racist" and "has a deep-seated hatred for white people, or the white culture." Glenn Beck has said: "This president, I think, has exposed himself as a guy -- over and over and over again -- who has a deep-seated hatred for white people, or the white culture -- I don't know what it is. But you can't sit in a pew with Jeremiah Wright for 20 years and not hear some of that stuff and not have it wash over." He later added, "I'm not saying that he doesn't like white people. I'm saying he has a problem. He has a -- this guy is, I believe, a racist. Look at the way -- look at the things he has been surrounded by." [Fox & Friends, 7/28/09]

Fox hosts falsely claimed that Kevin Jennings covered up sexual assault. Sean Hannity repeatedly ignored evidence to falsely claim that Jennings, director of the Department of Education's Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, ignored the statutory rape of a 15-year-old student, even advancing the falsehood after the claim had been widely debunked. Fox News hosts Bill Hemmer and Bret Baier also advanced this smear. Additionally, Hannity and Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers also smeared Jennings -- who counseled someone who was of age at the time and who has said he did not have a sexual relationship -- with the outrageous suggestion that he is comparable to film director Roman Polanski, who was charged with rape and pleaded guilty to having sex with a girl who was 13 at the time after allegedly plying her with drugs and alcohol.

Hannity falsely claimed that State Department official Koh wanted Sharia law in the United States. Hannity has also claimed that Harold Koh, the State Department's legal adviser, "advocates the use of Sharia law in America" and that Koh has said "Sharia law can be applied in American courts." The claim has been denied by Koh himself during Senate testimony, Koh's spokesman, and the organizer of the event at which Koh supposedly made the remarks about Sharia law. In addition, University of California-Davis law professor Anupam Chander wrote in an April 2 blog post that "[i]n the 71 articles penned by Harold Koh that appear in the Westlaw law review database, there is but one article that mentions Sharia," and in that article, Koh "denounces the government of Iran for 'impos[ing] a strict form of Sharia law that denies basic rights to women and minorities.' "

Fox News promoted fake murder story from ACORN video. On September 15 and 16, Fox News devoted significant programming to conservative filmmaker James O'Keefe and columnist Hannah Giles' video of their interactions with a San Bernardino, California, ACORN worker who claimed that she had murdered her ex-husband and gave advice on how to run a brothel. The ACORN employee stated after the video was released that she had merely been attempting to "shock them as much as they were shocking me." In running with the video, Fox News hosts frequently promoted the fake claim that the ACORN employee killed her ex-husband without fact-checking the allegation or indicating that they had contacted ACORN for a response. [Media Matters for America, 9/16/09]

Fox personalities falsely claimed White House official opposed rat elimination, supported forced organ donations. Beck falsely claimed that Cass Sunstein, head of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, "believes that everyone must be an organ donor." Beck also falsely claimed on September 9 that Sunstein said "you should not be able to remove rats from your home if it causes them any pain." Similarly, Fox News reporter James Rosen claimed: "Rats could attack us in the sewers and court systems if all of Cass Sunstein's writings became law."

Beck claimed Van Jones was a "convicted felon." On August 11, Beck accused Van Jones, whom he described as Obama's "green jobs czar," of being a "convicted felon ... who spent, I think, six months in prison after the Rodney King beating." In fact, as Eva Paterson, president and founder of the Equal Justice Society, has explained, "Van [Jones] has never served time in any prison. He has never been convicted of any crime."

Beck falsely claimed Anita Dunn "worships" "her hero" Mao Zedong. Throughout most of his October 15 Fox News program, Beck falsely claimed that White House communications director Anita Dunn "worships" and "idolizes" "her hero" Mao Zedong. In fact, in the video that Beck aired as evidence to support his claims, Dunn offered no endorsement of Mao's ideology or atrocities -- rather, she commented that Mao and Mother Teresa were two of her "favorite political philosophers," and based on short quotes from them, she offered the advice that "you don't have to follow other people's choices and paths" or "let external definition define how good you are internally

Fox trumpets CAIR conspiracy theory charges made by author with anti-Islam history. Repeated Fox News segments reported that, in Bret Baier's words, "Republican lawmakers say the Council on American-Islamic Relations, CAIR, is trying to infiltrate Capitol Hill by placing interns in key positions," an allegation stemming from a right-wing book whose author has a history of making outrageous and anti-Islamic assertions and is published by WorldNetDaily, which has its own history of making outrageous allegations and inflammatory remarks. Moreover, the document that Republican Reps. Sue Myrick (NC), John Shadegg (AZ), Paul Broun (GA), and Trent Franks (AZ) cited as evidence of CAIR's alleged activities is stolen and does not support their claims.

Fox News guilty of doctoring quotes

Fox News doctors Biden quote to falsely claim he was praising economy in March. On March 16, Live Desk co-host Martha MacCallum claimed that "after weeks of economic doom and gloom, the Obama administration is now singing a slightly different tune. Take a look at what was said in recent interviews this weekend." Live Desk then aired clips of administration officials purportedly giving an optimistic view of the economy, which included video of Vice President Joe Biden stating, "The fundamentals of the economy are strong." However, Biden did not make those remarks during an "interview" that weekend; he made them at a September 2008 campaign event in which he criticized statements by Sen. John McCain. MacCallum apologized the next day.

Fox News reporter distorts Obama comments on health care. On April 24, White House correspondent Wendell Goler cropped a comment by Obama and took it out of context -- effectively reversing the statement's meaning -- to falsely suggest that Obama supports creating a health care system "like the European countries."

Happening Now crops clips of Obama to promote "another apology tour." On June 2, Happening Now co-host Jon Scott asked if "the president's upcoming trip [to Europe and the Middle East will] be what conservatives might call another apology tour," and both Scott and co-host Jane Skinner aired cropped clips of Obama's remarks from an April 3 speech in France to falsely suggest that Obama only criticized the United States. In doing so, Happening Now joined conservative commentators and Fox News hosts who have cropped or misrepresented Obama's overseas remarks to falsely suggest, in the words of Hannity, that Obama was "blam[ing] America first" and, more broadly, that Obama's earlier overseas trip constituted an "apology tour."

Fox News passes off GOP research as its own

Fox News' Hemmer "keeping track of the stimulus money" -- by lifting research from GOP website. On April 23, Hemmer repeatedly suggested information about four "interesting" projects reportedly funded by the economic recovery act was obtained through Fox News' own research, even though nearly all of the information Hemmer mentioned, as well as that included in on-screen text and graphics, first appeared on Rep. Eric Cantor's Republican Whip website.

America's Newsroom pushes discredited GOP calculation of Obama's cap-and-trade proposal. On April 2, guest host Alisyn Camerota asserted that the cost of Obama's cap-and-trade proposal "would be $3,100 per U.S. household." The claim was advanced by the House Republican Conference in a March 23 "Talking Points" press release, and the Republicans reportedly purported to back up the claim by pointing to a 2007 study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). But MIT professor John Reilly, one of the authors of the study, has disputed the GOP's calculation, stating that his study "has been misrepresented" and that the Republicans' claim of an average household cost of $3,128 was significantly higher than the correct figure. rated the $3,100 figure a "pants on fire" falsehood.

Happening Now passes off GOP press release as its own research -- typo and all. During the February 10 edition of Happening Now, Scott purported to "take a look back" at how the economic recovery plan "grew, and grew, and grew." In doing so, Scott referenced seven dates, as on-screen graphics cited various news sources from those time periods -- all of which came directly from a Senate Republican Communications Center press release. A Fox News on-screen graphic even reproduced a typo contained in the Republican press release. The following day, Scott apologized -- for running the typo. Scott's apology was criticized by Washington Post media critic and CNN host Howard Kurtz, who said: "We sometimes jab at the pundits for using talking points, but in the case of Fox News anchor Jon Scott, it was literally true this week. ... You should be apologizing for using partisan propaganda from the GOP without telling your viewers where it came from. Talk about missing the point."

Happening Now posts "FOXfact[s]" about GOP budget nearly identical to GOP Rep. Ryan's op-ed. Two segments on the April 1 Happening Now aired "FOXfact[s]" purporting to describe facts about the House Republican budget. However, all seven of the "FOXfact[s]" displayed on-screen were nearly identical to portions of an op-ed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) published in that day's Wall Street Journal.

Fox News' Beck repeatedly compares Obama administration people, policies to Nazis

Beck compared auto bailouts to the actions of German companies "in the early days of Adolf Hitler." On April 1, after stating, "I am not saying that Barack Obama is a fascist," Beck said, "If I'm not mistaken, in the early days of Adolf Hitler, they were very happy to line up for help there as well. I mean, the companies were like, 'Hey, wait a minute. We can get, you know, we can get out of trouble here. They can help, et cetera, et cetera.' "

Beck compared TARP to "what happened to the lead-up with Hitler." On the April 21 edition of Fox Business' Money for Breakfast, Beck said of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, "This is not comparing these people to the people in Germany, but this is exactly what happened to the lead-up with Hitler. Hitler opened up the door and said, 'Hey, companies, I can help you.' They all ran through the door. And then in the end, they all saw, 'Uh-oh. I'm in bed with the devil.' They started to take their foot out, and Hitler said, 'Absolutely not. Sorry, gang. This is good for the country. We've got to do these things.' And it was too late."

Beck said "the Germans" during Hitler's rise "were an awful lot like we are now." On the June 10 edition of his Fox News program, Beck stated: "I think the Germans, however, were an awful lot like we are now. We're kind of living in a denial, like, 'No, no, that can't really be happening. No, that really -- I' -- you don't want to believe some things, but you have to. You have to actually think about them."

Beck airs photos of Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, asks, "Is this where we're headed?" On the April 2 edition of his Fox News program, while teasing the next day's show, Beck asked, "Is this where we're headed?" while airing photos of Hitler, Josef Stalin, and Vladimir Lenin.

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