Fox News se ha destacado esta semana con ejemplos de cómo no debería cubrirse un caso de disturbios urbanos. La cobertura de Fox News de las protestas en Baltimore desencadenadas por la muerte de Freddie Gray mientras se encontraba bajo custodia de la policía, han resaltado por sus rasgos de prejuicio racial, negación de la realidad, y aspectos de doble victimización. Media Matters destacó diferentes instancias en las que la cadena Fox News falló al reportar sobre esta noticia:
Descartando el rol que la brutalidad policial ha jugado en desencadenar las protestas, Fox News decidió culpar un rango de factores que incluyeron desde la "negligencia parental" hasta la "cultura del hip hop". En el programa Happening Now, el analista Juan Williams contestó a la pregunta de qué había ocasionado los disturbios diciendo:
WILLIAMS: Lo que tenemos aquí es una situación donde, yo creo, tienes gente pobre, que sienten que han sido agraviados -- una situación difícil a lo largo de nuestro país en lo que respecta a cómo la policía trata con la disfuncionalidad existente en este vecindario, pero tratan con ella en todas las comunidades de Estados Unidos. Estamos pidiéndole a nuestros policías a que entren y traten con personas que son extremadamente violentas, desorganizadas, con familias en caos, y le decimos a la policía, ustedes son nuestras líneas al frente. Y cuando la policía falla en el manejo de la situación, decimos, es una cuestión de brutalidad policial. Creo que es una cuestión de que la sociedad, a menudo, le pide a la policía que haga cosas para las que no están entrenados.
Lo anterior ignora la marcada historia de brutalidad policial reinante en Baltimore, tal y como ha sido reportada por el periódico Baltimore Sun.
Como si la muerte de la víctima a manos de la policía fuera justificable, el colaborador de Fox News Bo Dietl fue más allá en el programa Fox & Friends al especular -- sin ningún fundamento -- que Freddie Gray se encontraba bajo los efectos de drogas.
Tres figuras de Fox News aprovecharon la coyuntura para sugerir en el programa Special Report with Bret Baier que la política pública de la "opción escolar" -- que implica la entrega de cupones a las familias para que escojan matricular a sus hijos entre escuelas privadas o públicas -- era una solución apropiada a las protestas de Baltimore, de las que culparon a las escuelas. Calificaron al sistema escolar de "horrible" y de ser "el peor de la tierra", ignorando datos que demuestran que los alumnos del sistema público de Baltimore han avanzado significativamente en su desempeño en los últimos años:
El presentador Larry Wilmore, del programa de Comedy Central The Nightly Show, señaló a Fox News por hacer uso de estereotipos raciales para cubrir las protestas de Baltimore. Como ejemplo, Wilmore señaló varias comparaciones que Fox hizo de que la apariencia de las protestas era propia del "tercer mundo":
From the April 30 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Conservative media figures responded to riots following the funeral of Freddie Gray -- an unarmed man who died of severe, unexplained spinal cord injuries while in police custody -- by recommending that participants in the riots be shot, and blaming the outbreak of violence on Democratic leadership, President Obama, public schools, welfare, and single-parent families.
Conservative media are reacting to a terrorist threat against Mall of America by calling for people to be allowed to carry concealed guns in more places even though no evidence exists that civilians with concealed carry permits stop mass attacks.
During a February 22 appearance on CNN, Department of Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson told visitors to Minnesota's Mall of America to be "particularly careful," citing a video released by Somalia-based terror group Al-Shabaab that called for an attack on the shopping center. Local law enforcement say there is "no credible threat" to the mall, but that Mall of America has "implemented extra security precautions."
Shoppers visiting Mall of America are not allowed to carry firearms, although one local lawmaker is attempting to change that policy in light of Al-Shabaab's threat. As a reaction to the September 11 terror attacks, Mall of America created its own 150-member counterterrorism security force that is "modeled after similar units in Israel." Local police also have a unit dedicated to the mall.
Conservatives have used the threat to question the mall's no guns policy for shoppers and to push the myth that places where guns are not allowed are particularly dangerous.
On February 24, Outnumbered co-hosts Andrea Tantaros, Stacey Dash, and Kennedy along with guest and Fox News contributor Bo Dietl all endorsed carrying concealed guns in Mall of America. Kennedy suggested that Mall of America is a "gun-free zone" and argued that such an area "really is an invitation" for terrorists. Tantaros falsely suggested that the gunman in the 2007 Virginia Tech mass shooting was "taken down" with a firearm to advance the carrying of guns. In fact, the shooter in that incident committed suicide.
The Islamophobic rhetoric spewed by right-wing media in response to the deadly attack on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris is just the most recent in a long history of conservative anti-Islam vitriol.
Right-wing media rushed to exploit the deadly attack on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris. But this is just the latest in right-wing media's long history of politicizing tragedy to push political objectives.
Following a series of attacks in North America carried out by suspects with reported beliefs in religious extremism, Fox News figures have called for more aggressive stop-and-frisk policies, profiling of Muslims, and the surveillance of mosques.
Conservative media praised the failed theory of trickle-down economics in response to Hillary Clinton's remark that the middle class, not tax cuts for corporations, spurs economic growth, a position backed by economists.
From the October 24 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show:
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A new report from the New York Civil Liberties Union that offers a "complete factual record of stop-and-frisk activity" in New York City between 2002 and 2013 has found that this unconstitutionally performed policing tactic was largely ineffective at reducing violent crime, a clear rebuttal to right-wing media's frequent justifications for the practice.
Right-wing media have long supported stop-and-frisk policies that allow police officers to stop, question, and pat down "suspicious" pedestrians. Although stop-and-frisk when correctly practiced is generally legal, the racially discriminatory version employed by the New York Police Department was determined to be unconstitutional by a federal judge in 2013. The judge in that case determined that "at least 200,000 stops were made without reasonable suspicion," which "resulted in the disproportionate and discriminatory stopping of blacks and Hispanics in violation of the Equal Protection Clause."
Nevertheless, right-wing media complained loudly about the decision, accusing the judge of "substitut[ing] her own view of the world, her own utopian view of how the world should be for the way the real life is, for the people who are trying to get by, not get killed, not get robbed, not get raped on the streets of New York."
Fox News has been particularly vocal in their support for stop-and-frisk, with Bill O'Reilly continually insisting that stops reduce crime because "the police take the guns and they pat down people" and that without it, "more black Americans and more Hispanic Americans are going to die." O'Reilly has also stated that stop-and-frisk "is racial profiling, but it's really criminal profiling." Most recently, frequent Fox guest Bo Dietl, a former New York police officer, argued that scaling back stop-and-frisk was "ridiculous," because, he claimed, it made the streets less safe for law enforcement. Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy agreed, and suggested that the police were "demoralized" after Mayor Bill de Blasio announced reforms to address unconstitutional policing tactics. Other Fox hosts have erroneously claimed that stop-and-frisk is responsible for New York City's declining murder rate.
But the NYCLU's comprehensive report, which analyzes 12 years of stop-and-frisk data from NYPD records, debunks right-wing media's claims that this controversial law enforcement tool was essential for public safety. From the report:
The NYPD often sought to justify the large number of stops on the grounds that the stop-and-frisk program was critically important to recovering guns and thus reducing shootings and murders. The NYPD's data contradict this argument.
Between 2003 and 2011, annual stops increased dramatically, but gun recoveries, which were always a tiny percentage of stops, moved up and down and any increases were quite small. During that same time, the number of shooting victims remained largely flat and murders moved up and down. By contrast, in 2012 and 2013, recorded stops dropped dramatically. At the same time shootings and murders dropped dramatically.
As The Washington Post explained, "to the extent that supporters have argued that stop-and-frisk makes cities safer, the above chart is a fair rebuttal."
Fox News host Steve Doocy and guest Bo Dietl exploited the death of a Staten Island man at the hands of the New York Police Department (NYPD) to attack Mayor Bill de Blasio and push for increased use of aggressive police tactics like stop-and-frisk and chokeholds. Dietl went as far as to suggest the autopsy of the man's death was fraudulent, calling for an "independent" medical examiner to inspect the event.
Eric Garner, 43, died in July after a confrontation with police turned physical. One officer put Garner into a chokehold, which an autopsy later pegged as the primary cause of the man's death. The medical examiner ruled the event a homicide.
On August 6, Fox & Friends aired footage of Garner's deadly confrontation with police while co-host Steve Doocy cited "critics" who say the streets of New York "are much less safe" under De Blasio because of his "plans to stop, or at least scale back, stop-and-frisk." Meanwhile, an on-air graphic decried the supposed "anti-cop mentality" in New York.
Doocy invited former NYPD officer and racial profiling advocate Bo Dietl to discuss the incident and whether "the guys on the street are demoralized" by New York's move away from aggressive policing. Dietl claimed that officers are "disgusted" by the change and bragged that he had used the chokehold seen in the video "dozens of times." He went on to suggest the medical examiner's report was erroneous, saying, "I want to see an autopsy report where there is a crushed windpipe ... I'm going to hire an independent medical examiner to look at that autopsy report."
Dietl followed up, saying it's "bad enough that they took the stop-and-frisk away, which is ridiculous."
Back in September, National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre drew ridicule after claiming the existence of a "massive Obama conspiracy" to take no action on gun control in his first term, get reelected, and then "erase the Second Amendment from the Bill of Rights."
What the "Obama not coming after your guns is really evidence of his desire to come after your guns" thesis lacks in accuracy or logic it makes up for in convenience. The NRA's "massive Obama conspiracy" justifies the need to help them raise contributions and encourage people to buy more guns.
It's no surprise the NRA's election year message is starting to spread to their faithful allies at Fox.
During a segment last night on Fox Business' Follow the Money, guests Bo Dietl and Lars Larson agreed that the reason gun sales have supposedly seen a "dramatic increase" is because of this fear that if Obama is re-elected "they're going to go after your guns." Of course, since gun manufacturers heavily contribute to the NRA, this fear helps the organization as well.
From the December 13 edition of Fox Business' Follow the Money:
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From the December 5 edition of Fox Business' Follow the Money:
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From the October 14 edition of Fox News' Your World:
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