Fox has blasted civil rights leaders and organizations as "race hustlers" for taking action in response to George Zimmerman being found not guilty of murder in the killing of 17-year-old African-American teenager Trayvon Martin.
Fox News Sunday panelists ignored a poll showing a majority of Texans oppose a proposed abortion ban bill, instead pushing the baseless claim that the bill is supported by that state's public.
Republicans in Texas recently attempted to pass a bill during a special legislative session that would ban abortions after 20 weeks, which is unconstitutional under Supreme Court precedent, with lower courts recently striking down similar bans in two other states. The bill did not include exemptions for rape or incest and contained other restrictions that would force all but five clinics that provide abortions in the state to close. The bill was defeated after Texas Senator Wendy Davis filibustered the bill for 11 hours, causing the special session to expire before the bill was passed. But Governor Rick Perry said he would convene another special session on July 1 to pass the bill.
When discussing the second attempt to pass the bill, the June 30 Fox News Sunday panel focused solely on the bill's 20 week ban provision to baselessly claim that the bill would pass because it has the support of the Texas public. Washington Post conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin said Gov. Perry "is completely in tune with public opinion" on the bill. Fox News contributor Juan Williams backed Rubin, saying that polling shows "abortions after 20 weeks are not popular with anybody." Wall Street Journal editorial board member Kimberley Strassel said that the ban is "something that Americans actually have a great deal of unanimity on."
But a mid-June poll of Texas residents showed that a majority of Texans oppose the abortion ban bill. The poll, conducted by the Democratic polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, found that 51 percent of Texans opposed the bill. Sixty-three percent of respondents said that Texas has enough abortion restrictions already, and 52 percent said they think that abortion should be legal in most or all cases. Seventy-four percent, including a majority of Republicans and Independents, felt that private medical decisions about abortion should not be made by politicians.
Fox News' America's Newsroom criticized a Hannity segment for "cross[ing] the line" of "civil society" after a frequent Hannity guest yelled for his female debate opponent to "know your role and shut your mouth." The daytime program wondered if this type of behavior -- not far from standard fare on Hannity and other Fox primetime programming -- damages the nation's ability to have serious discussions.
Radio host and frequent Hannity guest Bill Cunningham appeared on the June 20 edition of Hannity to debate Fox contributor Tamara Holder on the merits of claims that Attorney General Eric Holder mislead Congress while under oath. Out of the gate, Cunningham told Tamara Holder she was "one of the stooges of the left," pointing his finger at her while loudly shouting, "Sign the petition, Tamara! To call for the resignation of the chief law enforcement officer of this nation because he lied under oath when he criminalized journalism. And you know he did it but you refuse to do what's right." Holder replied that, "your finger does not prove your point," pointing back at Cunningham:
CUNNINGHAM: Whose finger's in my face right now?
HOLDER: Mine, because I'm telling you to shut up.
CUNNINGHAM: Wait a minute. You shut up. Know your role and shut your mouth.
HOLDER: My role as a woman?
CUNNINGHAM: Yeah. Yeah.
HOLDER: What is your obsession with stooges? Aren't stooges like little elves?
CUNNINGHAM: I'm sitting next to you. I'm sitting next to you. And you're a liberal stooge and an excuse-monger for the Obama administration.
HOLDER: Never mind. I --
CUNNINGHAM: What are you going to cry?
HOLDER: No! I'm not going to cry.
CUNNINGHAM: You're not going to cry?
The next morning, America's Newsroom dedicated a segment to whether Cunningham's behavior "crossed the line," concluding that conduct like this on Hannity stifled important public debate on national issues. Host Martha MacCallum appeared speechless after playing an excerpt of Cunningham's comments, asking, "Is this what we've come to? Is this civil society?"
Fox contributors Juan Williams and Mary Katherine Ham agreed that Cunningham's conduct was unacceptable, as Williams asserted, "He not only crossed the line, he obliterated the line ... I think it shut down the conversation. That doesn't help."
MacCallum shared the concern that personal attacks like Cunningham's damage the nation's ability to communicate, wondering, "What does this say, sort of, about our ability to communicate and you know, have a serious, respectful discussion on these things these days?" Williams replied, "What it does is, it makes it very difficult then to cross lines to have reasoned conversation."
Bill Cunningham has been crossing the line for years, and yet Fox continues to host him during primetime. Among his most egregious claims, Cunningham has declared President Obama "to be the beast. Six-six-six," and said that under the Obama administration "women are going to sell their bodies for pennies." He claimed the poor are in poverty "because they lack values, ethics, and morals" and advocated "beat[ing]" the hell outta" the homeless. Still, a Nexis transcript search finds Hannity has hosted Cunningham eight times so far in 2013.
The Equal Pay Act was signed into law on June 10, 1963, by President Kennedy to prohibit wage discrimination based on sex. Fifty years later, as the issue of gender income inequality continues to affect America, conservative media figures have consistently tried to downplay and minimize these concerns.
Fox host Lou Dobbs and several Fox contributors -- all men -- lamented news that a record number of women are now the economic breadwinners of their families. The Fox figures worried about the dissolution of American society and nature.
Pew Research released a study on May 29 which found mothers are the primary or sole breadwinner in a record 40 percent of all American households with minor children. Pew's report considered both single mothers and married mothers who earned a higher income than their husbands.
On his Fox business program, Dobbs described the Pew study as "showing that women have become the breadwinners in this country, and a lot of other concerning and troubling statistics." He went on to call the report suggestive of "society dissolv[ing] around us."
Fox contributor Juan Williams agreed, calling record female breadwinners indicative of "something going terribly wrong in American society":
What we're seeing with four out of 10 families, now the woman is the primary breadwinner. You're seeing the disintegration of marriage, you're seeing men who were hard hit by the economic recession in ways that women weren't. But you're seeing, I think, systemically, larger than the political stories that we follow every day, something going terribly wrong in American society, and it's hurting our children, and it's going to have impact for generations to come.
Erick Erickson, one of Fox's newest contributors, was troubled by female breadwinners and claimed that people who defend them are "anti-science." Erickson told viewers:
When you look at biology, look at the natural world, the roles of a male and female in society, and the other animals, the male typically is the dominant role. The female, it's not antithesis, or it's not competing, it's a complimentary role. We as people in a smart society have lost the ability to have complimentary relationships in nuclear families, and it's tearing us apart.
Fox News host Jon Scott looped the opposition to marriage equality into the fight against gun violence, claiming that conservatives are lined up in front of the Supreme Court "trying to defend traditional marriage" in part because gun violence is exacerbated by the institution's decline.
On the March 27 edition of Happening Now, Scott hosted Fox News contributor Juan Williams to discuss the nexus between race, gun violence, and the family unit. Scott then tied the discussion to the debate over the Defense Of Marriage Act, saying that a rise in gun and gang violence and drug use was "why so many hundreds of conservatives are lined up outside the Supreme Court right now trying to defend traditional marriage, because they say marriage is an important building block to the society."
According to the Los Angeles Times, the vast majority of protestors outside of the Supreme Court were supporters of marriage equality. The Times described the conservative DOMA protestors Scott cited, noting they "waved signs reading 'Kids do best with a mom and dad' and 'Appeal to Heaven'."
But science contradicts Scott's implication that children raised in same-sex parent households are prone to violence or drug addiction. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published a 25-year study in 2004 that concluded there is no link between parents' sexual orientation and the emotional health of their children, and the American Psychological Association came to a similar conclusion in a 2004 compilation of research concerning same-sex parenting:
Overall, results of research suggest that the development, adjustment, and well-being of children with lesbian and gay parents do not differ markedly from that of children with heterosexual parents.
Media figures have smeared President Obama's nominee for secretary of defense, former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), by misrepresenting Hagel's support for sanctions against Iran and his support for Israel. The media have also cast doubt on the bipartisan support for Hagel's nomination.
In a blow to his own network, Fox News host Juan Williams debunked false narratives that Fox News has frequently pushed since the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
In an opinion piece for The Hill, Williams offered three "corrections" for what he describes as "deliberate misinformation" from Republicans (and their conservative media mouthpieces) about the Benghazi attack.
Misinformation #1: "U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice lied to the American people in the days after the attack" when she suggested that a viral anti-Islam video sparked violence and wide-spread protests. Fox News has repeatedly pushed this narrative to make it seem like the administration was deliberately misleading the American people.
Correction: Williams debunked this false narrative, pointing to the "simple fact" that James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, "confirmed that Rice told the truth in describing the assessment of the intelligence community at the time of her remarks." Williams went on to explain that CIA Director David Petraeus briefed the House Intelligence Committee with the same intel Rice used, as did Undersecretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy in testimony before Congress earlier in October. Furthermore, as Media Matters has previously exposed, Williams noted that Rice "stressed that there was an ongoing investigation where conclusions were subject to change." Indeed, Rice appeared on all major networks and repeatedly stressed that there was an ongoing investigation into the attacks.
Misinformation #2: "[R]equests for extra security in Benghazi were denied by the administration," coupled with the suggestion that the "attack would have been stopped, and the ambassador still alive, if the requests had been granted." Fox News pushed this myth on multiple occasions.
Correction: Williams pointed out that requests for extra security were focused on the embassy in Tripoli, not Benghazi, and State Department officials believe that even if the requests had been granted, they would likely not have changed what happened in Benghazi because the consulate would have been ill-equipped to respond to such a large-scale assault (again echoing a previous report by Media Matters):
From the October 18 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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From the October 5 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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From the October 2 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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Fox News host Eric Bolling complained today that members of the Obama White House have not appeared on any of his shows -- despite the fact that he has been responsible for several vicious, racially charged, and evidence-free attacks on President Obama.
On the August 22 edition of Fox News' The Five, co-host Eric Bolling complained that he has tried to book "anybody from the White House" on his shows to "explain the economic numbers" but has never been successful. Perhaps Bolling shouldn't be surprised: He has consistently been at the forefront of Fox's most vicious attacks on the president.
On May 2011, Bolling claimed President Obama was "chugging a few 40's" instead of responding to a tornado that had devastated Joplin, Missouri. Bolling's attack echoed one he made the day before on Twitter when he accused the president of "chugging 40's in IRE while tornadoes ravage MO":
On the June 11, 2011, edition of his former Fox Business show, Bolling teased a segment about a White House visit by the president of Gabon, Ali Bongo, by saying "Guess who's coming to dinner? A dictator. Mr. Obama shares a laugh with one of Africa's kleptocrats. It's not the first time he's had a hoodlum in the hizzouse." Bolling later asked, "So what's with all the hoods in the hizzy?" referring to a visit the month before by rapper Common.
Bolling was also at the forefront of Fox News' birther obsession. In April 2011, Bolling hosted anti-Muslim blogger Pamela Geller on his Fox Business show and attempted to find flaws with the long-form birth certificate Obama had recently released. During the segment, Bolling claimed "there is a legitimate question as to whether or not the president of the United States is allowed to be president of the United States."
Bolling has peddled other Obama conspiracy theories, suggesting that Obama is trying to "bring people closer to the cities" so the government can keep an eye on them and pondering whether Obama let an oil rig leak so he "could renege on his promise" to "allow some offshore drilling."
From the August 22 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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From the August 2 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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From the June 11 edition of Fox's The O'Reilly Factor:
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