Last week, Fox Business announced that it would begin airing senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano's FoxNews.com show Freedom Watch. Given the show's history, the move raises questions about whether the channel will allow Napolitano to mainstream and promote fringe guests and radical anti-government conspiracy theories.
In contrast to his Fox News colleagues, Napolitano has used his FoxNews.com show to praise and promote two of the most visible leaders of the 9-11 Truth movement, Alex Jones and Jesse Ventura. On Freedom Watch last month, Napolitano called guest Ventura a "champion of exposing government fraud and lies," and promoted Ventura's belief that the government either "participate[d]" in 9-11 or "knew it was going to happen and didn't do very much to stop it."
Napolitano also hosted "the great" Jones to push anti-government conspiracy theories about one-world government and his DVD The Obama Deception, which describes Obama as a "hoax" by the New World Order to impose "forced National Service, domestic civilian spies, warrantless wiretaps, the destruction of the Second Amendment, FEMA camps and Martial Law."
Napolitano is a regular guest on Jones' radio program. Napolitano has called the self-described 9-11 Truth "founding father" a "dear friend" who "we go to" because of "your zeal and your courage and your fearlessness in exposing" the government. Napolitano does not discuss 9-11 Truth conspiracies with Jones in available online videos, and Napolitano indicates in his book Lies the Government Told You that he does not believe the government carried out the 9-11 attacks. However, the Fox News analyst has pushed other anti-government conspiracies about "one world government," seizure of firearms, the suspension of elections, and the creation of a "war" or "crisis" to help President Obama. Napolitano even told Jones' anti-government listeners that if the Founding Fathers were alive today, they'd "probably want to take up arms against" the government.
Napolitano's mainstreaming and praise of the 9-11 Truth leaders is in direct opposition to his Fox News colleagues. While Glenn Beck has promoted numerous anti-government conspiracy theories, he's opposed the 9-11 Truth movement. Beck criticized Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) for associating with Ventura because he is a "9/11 Truther" and "off the deep end." Beck heavily criticized former Obama administration official Van Jones and those associating with him after his name appeared on a 9-11 Truth petition (Van Jones has stated that he believes Al-Qaida caused the attacks and that he was lied to about the petition, which was "something that I never saw and never signed onto"). Despite Beck's denunciations of 9-11 Truthers and those associated with them, Napolitano is a frequent guest host for his Fox News program.
In September 2007, Alex Jones and his "9-11 was an inside job" followers protested Geraldo Rivera's live Fox News program; Geraldo in-turn told the "anarchist" and "nut job" protestors to "get a life." In May 2007, Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin criticized Paul for appearing "on radio shows like 9/11 conspiracy nut Alex Jones." Just last month, FoxNews.com reported that the "government is investigating dozens of death threats to IRS employees" that "were posted in response to an incendiary story on infowars.com, the radical far-right Web site owned by radio host Alex Jones."
Following reports that the FDA is considering regulating the amount of salt in processed foods, media conservatives have falsely claimed that the Obama administration is "seizing our salt shakers." In fact, the FDA review has nothing to do with consumers' use of table salt and instead invovles examining warnings about high sodium content in processed foods and restaurant meals, the sources of 77 percent of sodium intake.
Three weeks ago, Media Matters reported that Fox host John Stossel is scheduled to keynote an upcoming fundraising luncheon for a "research" organization with heavy ties to the energy industry and whose research and representatives have repeatedly appeared on Fox.
The organization, the Institute for Energy Research (IER), says on the event's website that Stossel will keynote the June 4 luncheon in Houston. IER confirmed to Media Matters today that Stossel will still be speaking at the event. IER said it had arranged Stossel's appearance through a speaker's bureau and had not been in touch with Fox. Last fall, The New York Times reported that "a Fox spokesperson said all speeches given by employees require approval from the network."
From the 12pm hour of Fox Business on April 15:
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Daily Finance, an AOL Finance and Money site, is taking FoxBusiness.com to task for a slanted health care reform poll.
Noting that "Fox News has been roundly criticized for selectively citing poll data to make it look like Americans are overwhelmingly opposed" to Democratic health care reform efforts, Zac Bissonnette reports:
The question itself, posted on foxbusiness.com, is straightforward enough: "Will the passage of the health-care reform bill impact your vote in the mid-term elections?"
Notice anything missing? How about the lack of any option for respondents to say passage of the bill will influence them to vote in favor of those who supported it? That option might come in handy, seeing as, according to a Gallup Poll last week, "Nearly half of Americans give a thumbs-up to Congress' passage of a healthcare reform bill last weekend, with 49% calling it 'a good thing.'"
With no available choice reflecting that position, an apparently commanding 73% of poll-takers elected to criticize the bill. "Not a scientific poll" indeed.
Taking polls, reporting on polls... heck polling in general really confuses the Fox News family.
It was just two weeks ago that numerous Fox News figures were playing fast and loose with a "survey" of doctors on the impact of health care reform on doctor retention, falsely claiming it was published by the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). Of course it wasn't true. The NEJM set the record straight saying that the 3-month-old email "survey" was not published in or conducted by NEJM.
Earlier today we posted a clip of Fox's Don Imus and Chris Wallace attempting to explain away their February exchange in which Wallace responded to Imus' question of whether Sarah Palin would be "sitting on [his] lap" during an interview saying "one can only hope."
The pair found themselves back on the subject following criticism from NPR contributor Cokie Roberts during an interesting discussion about women in public office. Huffington Posts' Jason Linkins reports:
Roberts played this clip from the Don Imus show, in which Wallace and Imus joked about whether or not Sarah Palin would be sitting on Wallace's lap during her "Fox News Sunday" interview. Roberts responded:
"It's appalling. It's just appalling. It really is. You know, it's the last place that men feel that they can just make jokes. They would never make such jokes about a minority, you'd be in terrible trouble. But you can still make sexist jokes about women and get away with it."
"Terrible trouble" indeed and if anyone should know the consequences of such commentary it should be Don Imus who was fired from his CBS radio program and MSNBC morning show after calling the Rutgers University women's basketball team "nappy-headed hos."
Then again, maybe Imus and Wallace know that in the Fox News family they can say nearly anything they want -- be it homophobic, racially charged, misogynistic -- with absolute impunity.
It's as if Fox News and Fox Business have a strictly enforced blind eye, deaf ear policy.
On the bright side, it's nice to know Fox is enforcing some sort of policy on a consistent basis. After all, we already know the network cares little about enforcing its much publicized accuracy policy.
Fox host John Stossel is scheduled to keynote an upcoming fundraising luncheon for a "research" organization with heavy ties to the energy industry and whose representative appeared on Fox News twice yesterday.
The organization, the Institute for Energy Research, says on the event's website that Stossel will keynote the June 4 luncheon at the "Hilton Americas Hotel" in Houston. The institute lists several levels of "sponsorship" for the event. For $2,500, a "Silver Sponsor" and two guests get to attend a private reception with Stossel, while a "Gold Sponsor" pays $5,000 and can attend the reception with four guests. For $7,500, a "Platinum Sponsor" gets a "[c]onference call with John Stossel leading up to event, Private reception with John Stossel, and photo op for you and your guests":
A promotional video on the luncheon's site features footage of Stossel's program on the Fox Business Network. The description of the event says that "Mr. Stossel is an important partner in our battle for increased liberty in American energy markets" and highlights Stossel's roles on Fox Business and Fox News:
Mr. Stossel joined Fox Business Network (FBN) in October of 2009. He is the host of "Stossel," a weekly program that uses a libertarian viewpoint to highlight current consumer issues. He also appears regularly on Fox News Channel (FNC), where he provides his signature on-point analysis.
The site doesn't say whether Stossel is being paid for his appearance. However, after The New York Times published an article about Stossel making a paid speech to a group opposed to health care reform last fall, Stossel told the Baltimore Sun that he frequently makes speeches and donates the money to charity:
"I have always made speeches, and I have always given the money to charity," he says. "Some of the groups are controversial or involved in political debates. And the Times never wrote an article about it until I got to Fox. So I think it says more about the Times than it does about me."
IER says that it "maintains that freely-functioning energy markets provide the most efficient and effective solutions to today's global energy and environmental challenges." According to Media Matters' partner organization, the Media Matters Action Network, IER received $337,000 from ExxonMobil between 2002 and 2007. IER's president is Thomas Pyle, who previously lobbied for Koch Industries, a large private company with heavy interests in the oil industry. A report by Greenpeace recently detailed the Koch empire's extensive donations to organizations skeptical of global warming; it said that IER received $175,000 from Koch foundations between 2005 and 2008.
Twice on March 31, IER spokesman Patrick Creighton appeared on Fox to assail the Obama administration's environmental policies. On Special Report, one of Fox News' "straight news" programs, Creighton said the administration's policy amounted to the "Tonya Harding approach" -- that is, "you break your opponents' kneecaps to get ahead." Earlier in the day on Happening Now, Creighton argued that the administration's plan to open new stretches of coastline to oil and gas exploration didn't go far enough:
From the April 1 edition of Fox Business' Imus in the Morning:
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From the March 29 edition of Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard:
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From the March 26 edition of Fox Business' Bulls & Bears:
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On yesterday's broadcast of Fox Business Network's Cavuto, Fox Business VP and host Neil Cavuto hosted "advertising legend" Jerry Della Femina, who complained that our "slick," "socialist" president got health care passed because he "made some great deals with" members of Congress:
FEMINA: I think he is a leftist. I think he's a socialist. I think he wants to change our world. And he's, and he's very slick and he has got -- let's face it, he got - he made some great deals with these people, who is getting an airport, who is getting this, who's -- a sister is now going to be a judge. Whatever he's done, he has got a weak Congress. And, also, I think Republicans are foolish for rejoicing and saying we're going to get him. We're -- November 2nd, we'll take over. What do they gain? The horse is out of the barn.
CAVUTO: Well, it's very hard to put back. You're very right about that. Jerry Della Femina, I'm going to watch this very, very closely. [Video in extended post]
I'm going to assume that when Femina is talking about someone's "sister" getting a judgeship, he's referring to the smear that Rep. Jim Matheson's (D-UT) brother got a judicial appointment in exchange for the congressman's health care vote. In reality, both Democrats and Republicans have debunked the smear; indeed, former Bush-appointed Judge Michael McConnell definitively debunked it. And Matheson has consistently voted "No" on health care, both before and after his brother's nomination was announced.
Femina's purported airport payoff is also baseless. He's referring to the smear that Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) traded his vote for airport funding in his district; however, the grants in question were part of an FAA program that approved grants in 47 states -- not just Stupak's district.
Neil Cavuto, of course, did nothing to correct his guest's misinformation. And why would he? Fox Business Network and the Fox News Channel regularly push these smears. Indeed, Femina probably picked them up from watching Fox.
From a March 26 Fox Business network promotion for Stossel:
From the March 25 edition of Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard:
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From the March 25 edition of Fox Business' Happy Hour:
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From Fox Business Network "reporter/anchor" Tracy Byrnes' Twitter account: