In a July Washington Post profile, Howard Kurtz wrote that Fox "straight news" anchor Bill Hemmer "sees himself as the straightest of straight arrows when it comes to news" and quoted the anchor as claiming "opinion" isn't his "comfort zone."
"The opinion-makers on our channel have enormous talent," Hemmer was quoted as stating. "I deal in facts. I deal in evidence. And opinion, frankly, is not my comfort zone. Opinion news is something I'm not good at. It is in the DNA of certain individuals. I'm not one of them."
You wouldn't have guessed that "opinion" isn't in Hemmer's "comfort zone" today when he unloaded on California for electing Democrats like Jerry Brown. Appearing on Fox News Radio's Kilmeade & Friends, Hemmer admonished California voters, stating, "I can't understand California. I can't figure it out. I mean you're tens of billions of dollars in debt and you're electing not just the same people, but people who helped get you into the mess 25 years ago." (Brown previously served as governor from 1975-1983.) Hemmer added, "It defies me and I don't - you know, become your own country."
Hemmer's America's Newsroom co-host Martha MacCallum responded to Hemmer by opining, "We need to say [to California] you're on your own, like we should have said to the car companies and we should have said to the insurance - I mean, that mentality is part of what was driving these 63 House seats last night."
Hemmer himself noted that he probably shouldn't be offering such opinions, prefacing his remarks by stating, "I probably shouldn't say this, but since we're on the radio, I will."
From the November 3 edition of Fox News Radio's Kilmeade & Friends:
HEMMER: Man, I want to know, I tell you -- I probably shouldn't say this, but since we're on the radio, I will. I can't understand California. I can't figure it out.
MACCALLUM: Go figure.
HEMMER: I mean you're tens of billions of dollars in debt and you're electing not just the same people, but people who helped get you into the mess 25 years ago.
MACCALLUM: I feel like I've known Jerry Brown my whole life. He's been in office our whole lives.
HEMMER: It defies me and I don't -- you know, become your own country. Because California is not going to bail California out.
KILMEADE: I guess we are.
HEMMER: Yeah, you're damn right we are!
KILMEADE: The government is going to do that. And how wrong is that? How can we afford to write a check to a state that's not even trying to get its house in order?
HEMMER: We can't. We can't.
MACCALLUM: We need to say you're on your own, like we should have said to the car companies and we should have said to the insurance - I mean, that mentality is part of what was driving these 63 House seats last night. You know, 'no more.'
From the November 1 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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Yesterday, Fox News host Bill Hemmer brought on Father Jonathan Morris -- a Catholic priest and Fox News contributor -- to analyze President Obama's statements about why he became a Christian. And the discussion was not pretty. Morris claimed that while Obama's answer was "pretty good" if "charitably interpreted," he added that "it was not how the average Christian in the United States would answer that question."
Later, Hemmer told a flat-out falsehood to purportedly explain why a large percentage of people incorrectly think Obama is a Muslim or don't know whether he is a Muslim or a Christian. Hemmer falsely claimed that "in modern-day politics, [Obama's] the first president that has chosen not to go to church every week," contrasting Obama with -- among others -- former President George W. Bush. In fact, Bush did not regularly attend church as president and never picked a church to attend in Washington. Neither, for that matter, did former President Ronald Reagan.
Here's Morris critique of Obama's comments:
MORRIS: You know, not too bad. Charitably interpreted, pretty good. But it's not how the average Christian in the United States would answer that question. "I'm a Christian by choice." "It was the precepts of Christianity -- of Jesus Christ that attracted me." The precepts. That's not how the average Christian would respond. Christianity for most Christians who have it as a big part of their life, it's a falling in love not with precepts. Who's going to fall in love with the Ten Commandments? It's the falling in love with -- or the getting to know personally -- a person named Jesus of Nazareth.
If this critique of Obama's statements about faith sounds familiar, recall that Glenn Beck has said: I think [Obama] is a Christian that Christians don't recognize."
As for Hemmer's comments, as we've pointed out, both Bush and Reagan reportedly did not attend church regularly as president.
But getting back to the larger picture, this segment shows one Fox contributor claiming that Obama's interpretation of his faith is "not how the average Christian in the United States" would put it. But later in the segment Hemmer attacked Obama for not being public enough about his faith. Obama just can't win.
From the September 28 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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Right-wing media have seized on a recent Los Angeles audit of some stimulus funds the city has received to falsely claim that each stimulus-funded job in LA cost the taxpayer an average of $2 million per job. In fact, the controller's office noted that not all of the funds have been spent yet, additional jobs are expected, and moreover, such cost-per-job estimates are "highly misleading," as they do not capture the full impact of the stimulus.
Fox News' Bill Hemmer uncritically repeated House Republican leader John Boehner's statement that he would repeal or block funding for health care reform before it "'bankrupts' the country." Hemmer ignored multiple Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports stating that health care reform will actually reduce the federal deficit.
As the nation prepares to mark the ninth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, numerous media figures have propagated anti-Muslim rhetoric, often smearing Muslims as "terrorists," "jihadists," and "extremists," and dismissing Islam altogether as a "militant" and "anti-Semitic" faith.
From the September 7 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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Conservative media falsely claimed that the state of Missouri overwhelmingly rejected "Obamacare" because 71 percent of those who voted in the August 3 election supported a ballot measure rejecting the individual mandate in health care reform. In fact, the results were skewed "by a heavily Republican turnout in a relatively low-turnout primary."
Today on Fox News, an Arizona sheriff's deputy, who will be enforcing Arizona's new immigration law starting tomorrow, revealed that he does not know what the law actually says.
When asked by America's Newsroom host Bill Hemmer about how the law will be enforced, deputy Steve Henry stated that "the crime is trespassing. And we book on state crimes. So if the crime is trespassing in the state of Arizona, then we're going to book you on that state charge. And eventually you'll go through the system and ICE will get involved and it will go through the deportation process after whatever the court decides to do for that person for that state crime."
But the crime isn't "trespassing." As the Arizona Capitol Times reported back in March, the Arizona legislature removed the trespass provisions from the bill:
In its original form, the bill would have allowed trespassing charges to be brought against anyone on any public or private land in Arizona who is in violation of their federal immigration status. The amendment, though, changes the language so that illegal immigrants could be charged with "willful failure to complete or carry an alien registration document," rather than trespassing. It also removes the part about being on any public or private property.
Hemmer did not correct Henry, who is the chief deputy at the Pinal County Sheriff's Office.
Throughout the debate over the Arizona law, Fox News has attached itself to the Pinal County Sheriff's Office, which supports the new law, and privileged its views over other Arizona law enforcement representatives who oppose it. In fact, last week Fox correspondent William La Jeunesse worked with PCSO to produce a role playing bit purporting to show how the law will be enforced without racial profiling. And this week, La Jeunesse tagged along with Pinal deputies on patrol and reported that Pinal Sheriff Paul Babeu "says the Obama Administration needs to help the state of Arizona, not sue it." We noted on July 15 that Fox News had hosted Babeu for 18 separate live interviews since mid-April while ignoring Arizona Sheriffs Tony Estrada and Ralph Ogden, who have raised concerns about the new law.
When a news outlet doesn't do their research, it's easy to get duped. And that's just what happened yesterday, when the Center for Immigration Studies got Fox News to repeatedly promote its "mini-documentary," "Hidden Cameras on the Arizona Border 2: Drugs, Guns, and 850 Illegal Aliens."
The video features footage from hidden cameras placed in the Tucson sector of Arizona, along trails frequently used by people who entered the country illegally. According to the video, the cameras captured "about 850 illegal aliens" in "60 days between February and March 2010." CIS says of its production: "At minimum, the inescapable conclusion is that hidden cameras reveal a reality that illegal-alien activity is escalating."
Well if CIS says such a conclusion is, "at minimum," "inescapable," Fox News shouldn't waste their time verifying the claim, right? How I wish it weren't so.
From the June 29 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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Fox News falsely claimed that new ICE official Harold Hurtt is "a sanctuary city supporter" who doesn't "believe in immigration enforcement," since he has expressed concerns about local police "in the field" enforcing immigration law, concerns that are widely held among law enforcement leaders. In fact, Houston under Chief Hurtt was not a "sanctuary city," according Fox's own definition, and he has reportedly said that in his role at ICE, "he will support local law enforcement agencies' decision to participate in any ICE program of their choosing, even if it involves questioning suspects on the street about their status."
From the June 25 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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In February, Angela McGlowan left Fox News as a "contributor" after her contract expired to officially run for Congress. The implication, of course, is that having a media contract while running for office would be a conflict. Yet today, Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer hosted McGlowan and identified her -- presumably incorrectly -- as a current "Fox News contributor," and turned to her for political analysis about the Gulf of Mexico oil crisis.
McGlowan appeared alongside Democratic strategist and current Fox News contributor Joe Trippi. While McGlowan offered analysis about the Gulf spill, which included that it could be "Obama's Katrina" and "Obama's Watergate," Fox News text identified her as a congressional candidate. At the end of the segment, Hemmer said: "Angela, I know you're running for Congress in Mississippi, in the interest of full disclosure, we mention that, and thank you for coming on today." At the start of the segment, Hemmer simply stated: "Angela McGlowan's a Fox News contributor."
When defeated Kentucky Senate candidate Trey Grayson (R) complained that opponent Rand Paul is on Fox "all of the time," Fox News host Neil Cavuto responded by claiming they invited Grayson on "every time" they hosted Paul. Did Bill Hemmer adhere to Cavuto and Fox News' "fair and balanced" standards and extend invitations to McGlowan's Republican opponents -- both of whom have raised more money than McGlowan -- to appear on the show to offer political analysis? And what about Rep. Travis Childers (D), the incumbent those Mississippi Republicans are vying to unseat?