Fox News host Andrea Tantaros claimed that Susan Rice was appointed National Security Advisor only because she is a woman and could be used as a "human shield" by President Obama, continuing her pattern of launching sexist attacks against progressive and other women with whom she disagrees.
President Obama's decision to appoint Susan Rice as his national security advisor set off a day's worth of high-voltage caterwauling at Fox News on Wednesday. Still angry about Rice's uncontroversial role in using the intelligence community's talking points during interviews in the wake of the terrorist attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya last year, Fox talkers guests were apoplectic about the appointment.
One of the most demeaning, gender-based reactions from the Fox community came from Andrea Tantaros and Sean Hannity, both of whom suggested the president selected Rice to the prestigious national security position as a way to inoculate himself. That he specifically selected a woman in order to protect himself politically.
So no, the sexist attacks weren't even camouflaged yesterday. And yes, it came in the wake of the recent Fox decision to host a panel discussion about women's earning power and only invite male guests, many of whom launched sexist volleys against working mothers. And yes, it came in the wake of Fox's decision this week to dramatically downplay the importance of Congressional hearings on the topic of sexual assault in the military.
That mindset ran through much of the Rice denunciations. On his radio show, Hannity claimed Obama made the Rice choice "with the hopes that Republicans will now be beating up - in the public eye - a woman."
And on Fox's The Five, Tantaros stressed that Rice only got the job because she was a woman being used by the president [emphasis added]:
This administration uses women as human shields. And the last time he nominated her, or her name was floated he didn't officially nominate her, he came out and he said, 'You want to go after somebody, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, come after me. She had nothing to do with Benghazi.'
I think they nominate her to set up a trap for Republicans to go after women. They're nominating Samantha Power. Hillary Clinton was Obama's human shield on Benghazi.
First, a human shield -- the act of using civilians to fend off a military or law enforcement attack -- is a tactic often used by cowards who are possibly also criminals. The claim Obama implements "human shields" conjures up deadly, violent imagery and is wildly inappropriate when discussing the President of the United States and one of his most senior advisers.
Secondly, that's an odious double shot of gender politics from Hannity and Tantaros, suggesting Obama isn't man enough to fend for himself so he has to hide behind women. At the same time it denigrates an extraordinary achiever like Rice by assigning her the subservient role of puppet and political pawn.
And in this case, the central claim makes no sense.
From the June 4 edition of Talk Radio Network's The Andrea Tantaros Show:
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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 personalities have seized on the brutal killing of a soldier in London to rail against immigration, claiming that immigration policies are partly to blame for the attacks. Conservative media figures similarly used the Boston bombing to condemn immigration and undermine immigration reform.
From the May 23 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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From the May 23 edition of Talk Radio Network's The Andrea Tantaros Show:
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From the May 21 edition of Talk Radio Network's The Andrea Tantaros Show:
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Fox News and Fox Business previously portrayed electric carmaker Tesla Motors as another "failure" of the Obama administration's green energy investments. But since it is now clear that the company is doing well, both networks have developed amnesia about its federal loan, with Tucker Carlson claiming that "they don't take any government subsidies at all."
Tesla recently reiterated its plans to repay a loan granted through the Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program ahead of schedule. This followed a series of positive developments, including the company's first quarterly profits and a shining review of the Model S sedan by Consumer Reports. Financial services firm Morgan Stanley recently told Raw Story that "Many funds approach an investment opportunity by first asking: does the company do something better or cheaper than anybody else? Tesla is beginning to convince the market it may do both."
But no matter how Tesla fares in the coming years, it seems likely that Fox News will change its reporting to follow suit. In 2012, Fox News' claim that Tesla was a "failed" company was eventually adopted by the campaign of then-presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Later, Fox News admitted Tesla was a "success", eventually forgetting its federal loan in the process.
Video created by Max Greenberg and John Kerr.
Right-wing media are increasingly and uniformly pushing the "personhood" position in their anti-choice attacks, an absolutist argument that equates fetuses with persons and goes beyond repealing Roe v. Wade to banning all abortions.
As recently as the 2012 presidential campaign, the GOP standard bearer claimed that although he opposed Roe v. Wade, he supported standard exceptions to abortion restrictions, and overturning 40 years of reproductive rights precedent would merely "return to the people and their elected representatives the decisions with regards to this important issue." This so-called moderate Republican position on "limits on abortion" was endorsed by prominent right-wing media figures such as Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post, who assured her readers that "the GOP isn't waging a 'war on women'; it is waging a war on abortion on demand."
Now that the election is over, Rubin is following the lead of right-wing media and using convicted murderer Kermit Gosnell to attack extremely rare and mostly prohibited late-term abortions, by arguing a "baby is far more than a fetus" or a "a clump of cells" because "there's a lot of science out there that...allows us to save these children." From Rubin's appearance on the May 13 edition of Fox News' America Live:
We're talking about infants that if they would be operated on, for example, by a surgeon at 24 weeks, would likely survive. As you say, you can take sonogram, you can see them sucking their thumb, they respond to music, there's all sorts of indications that that baby is far more than a fetus, which is the way the pro-abortion lobby likes to refer to it. And I think this makes Americans confront that. The president doesn't want to talk about it. He goes out and talks to Planned Parenthood, and says I'm all with you folks, and those are the people who want abortion on demand for any reason, any place, any time.
I think one of the problems that the abortion lobby is having is the science. They say conservatives don't like science. Well, there's a lot of science out there that not only allows us to save these children but also allows you to see them. And to obtain an indication that this is something far more than just a clump of cells.
In falsely comparing Gosnell's killing of newborns with legal abortion, Rubin is making an important rhetorical shift that is being repeated elsewhere on Fox News. On May 14, Fox News co-host of The Five, Andrea Tantaros, did the same:
[Gosnell's conviction] gives the pro-life movement an argument against the pro-abortion movement, which is they continue to argue, argue, argue in favor of abortion. However, this court just said, you kill a baby outside the womb, it's murder. But what about a baby inside of the womb? That question has to be answered. And I think that this does give the pro-life movement some fuel for their fight.
From the May 14 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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Eugene Robinson's Friday Washington Post column that throws buckets of cold water on the Benghazi "cover-up" is well worth a read, but it touches only briefly on one aspect of the Benghazi story that emerged this week that merits further exploration: the degree to which "whistleblower" Gregory Hicks was "muzzled."
Since testifying at the House Oversight Committee hearing on May 8, a media narrative has emerged that Hicks, after speaking to Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) in Libya following the attacks, faced intimidation at the hands of the State Department, beginning with a phone call from Cheryl Mills, the chief of staff to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Depending on which conservative media figure is talking, Mills is said to have "excoriated," "reprimanded," "punished," and even "demoted" Hicks right then and there. Going by Hicks' own testimony, none of that is true.
To recap: following the attacks on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Rep. Chaffetz traveled to Libya to interview witnesses and survivors. Hicks, who had become chief of mission following the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens, was one of the people Chaffetz sought to interview. Right-wingers like Guy Benson, writing at Townhall.com, have alleged "US Ambassador Chris Stevens' second in command, Gregory Hicks, was instructed not to speak with a Congressional investigator by Sec. Hillary Clinton's chief of staff, Cheryl Mills."
This is not true. Hicks testified that the State Department had instructed him not to speak to Chaffetz without a State attorney present -- a condition Hicks says was unusual, but which the State Department says is standard procedure. In any event, Hicks ended up speaking to Chaffetz without the attorney present because, according to his testimony, the lawyer lacked the proper security clearance. Also, Hicks testified that he spoke with Mills only after speaking with Chaffetz.
From the May 3 edition of Talk Radio Network's The Andrea Tantaros Show:
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Fox News defended a billboard that uses images of Native Americans to push a pro-gun agenda, claiming the message is not offensive despite widespread reporting of condemnation from Native American groups.
Fox's The Five defended a billboard purchased in Greely, Colorado by an anonymous group that depicted three Native Americans with the message "Turn in your arms, the government will take care of you":
After guest host Juan Williams claimed Native Americans found the billboard insensitive, Eric Bolling replied "I can't find what's insensitive... others think it was accurate." Bolling added that if you read the Denver Post article "the comments by Native Americans were hey I'm not offended by this." Co-host Dana Perino agreed, saying "I am not offended by this at all, I think it's effective advertising":
But reporting on the billboard has highlighted the concerns of several Native Americans from the area. FoxNews.com reported on the billboards in an article titled "Native Americans incensed over pro-gun rights billboard in Colorado." The article included statements from three Native Americans from the area who expressed anger over the billboard. One resident, Maureen Brucker felt "the billboards are making light of atrocities the federal government committed against Native Americans. Kerri Salazar, also a Native American said she was "livid when she learned about it." The article continued:
Fox News host Andrea Tantaros stepped into well-debunked territory about President Obama purportedly having once been a Muslim. Tantaros said on her radio program that Muslims view ex-Muslims poorly, and "some have said that's President Obama, who even writes in his own book that he went to a Muslim school, he had a Muslim stepfather, he was educated in the Muslim faith, and now we have an effort by so many on the left and many in the media to ignore radical Islam."
In reality, as his website notes, President Obama "has never been a Muslim, was not raised as a Muslim, and is a committed Christian." Conservative media have spent years promoting the claim that Obama is or was a Muslim to attack him and his policies. Fox News and its commentators have repeatedly questioned the president's faith and promoted falsehoods about Obama's religious background, including the false claim that he attended a "madrassa."
From the April 25 edition of Talk Radio Network's The Andrea Tantaros Show:
BILL MAHER (CLIP): There's only one faith that kills you, or wants to kill you if you renounce the faith. An ex-Muslim is a very dangerous thing. Talk to Salman Rushdie after the show about Christian versus Islam. So, you know, I'm just saying, let's keep it real.
TANTAROS: "An ex-Muslim is a very dangerous thing." Well, because they can give you an inside look. And actually in the Muslim faith, that is worse, being an ex-Muslim because you've turned on the religion. They talk about war on the infidel, but what about the war on the apostate, the person who knows the Muslim faith and then turns from it. Is Bill Maher right? Some have said that's President Obama, who even writes in his own book that he went to a Muslim school, he had a Muslim stepfather, he was educated in the Muslim faith, and now we have an effort by so many on the left and so many in the media to ignore radical Islam, let alone -- I mean they try not to offend them, god forbid we teach about Islam in our schools so people know the history of it and our kids don't tolerate things like terrorista license plates. But now they're ignoring the ties to radical Islam. You know, George Carlin famously used to joke, the comedian, about the seven words you can't say on air? Well now Islam and Muslim are two of those words that you can add to the list.