Fox & Friends host Gretchen Carlson and Fox News contributor Keith Ablow distorted research findings to warn of a "terrifying link" between video games and mass shootings while dismissing the role of high powered firearms in those incidents.
During the September 10 edition of Fox & Friends, Carlson claimed, "brand new research suggests there is a terrifying link between video games and violent behavior," before showing images of recent mass shooters who purportedly "were big gamers." Ablow -- claiming that all of the shooters were "addicted to violent video games" -- said that a recent study that found "watching violent video games increases aggression and decreases empathy" to support his claim that video games are linked to mass shootings.
Carlson concluded the segment by saying, "This whole is issue is so much more complicated than just gun control, there are so many other factors, mental illness [and] video games are just two of them":
In fact, the author of the research cited by Carlson and Ablow -- which was actually published in 2010 -- has stated that video games cannot be the sole cause of mass shooting incidents, despite being a proponent of the claim that a relationship exists between video games and real world violence. Ohio State University professor Brad Bushman published the survey of other studies that found a link between playing video games and aggressive thoughts cited by Ablow during his Fox & Friends appearance.
However, in explaining his research on video games in a March 20 New York Daily News op-ed, Bushman wrote, "It is crucial to understand there is no single cause of a crime like [Sandy Hook shooter Adam] Lanza's, and no responsible scholar could claim that violent video games cause murder."
Furthermore, other research disputes the link between violent video games and real world violence.
Fox Sports fired football analyst Craig James after one appearance on the network, citing homophobic comments James made as a candidate for the U.S. Senate from Texas. Fox Sports' handling of James' remarks differs markedly from how its corporate sibling, Fox News, deals with anti-LGBT commentary from its employees.
During his unsuccessful bid for the Republican Party's Senate nomination in 2012, James called homosexuality "a choice" and stated that gays "are going to have to answer to the Lord for their actions." A Fox Sports spokesman explained the network's decision to sever its ties with James, telling The Dallas Morning News, "We just asked ourselves how Craig's statements would play in our human resources department. He couldn't say those things here."
James' comments got him fired from Fox Sports, but they would have been wholly unremarkable if he was at Fox News, where rabidly anti-LGBT talking heads are regularly given a platform to spout their bigoted views with impunity.
A self-styled "bitter" culture warrior, one of Starnes' trademark specialties is delivering hateful commentary about LGBT people. Besides offering standard right-wing boilerplate language about how marriage equality will inevitably lead to bestiality, Starnes has also called the gay-inclusive, post-Don't Ask Don't Tell military a sign of "the end of days," mocked transgender women as "big burly men in dresses," and defended anti-LGBT discrimination by businesses. After NBA player Jason Collins came out as gay, Starnes tweeted, "The NBA is turning into GLEE."
Starnes has no use for LGBT allies, either. After President Barack Obama condemned Russia's draconian crackdown on gays, Starnes promoted a conspiracy theory that he has long been obsessed with - that perhaps Obama is secretly gay.
While The O'Reilly Factor host received widespread attention following his concession that the LGBT movement has the stronger marriage equality argument, O'Reilly continues to deliver a steady stream of anti-LGBT remarks. In 2012, he warned that pro-LGBT shows like "Glee" would encourage youthful "experimentation" with homosexuality and transgender identities. He has depicted gay rights supporters as protectors of child molesters, called students "fascist[s]" for protesting an anti-gay cleric, advised parents to shame boys who like the color pink, and denounced a new California law protecting transgender students as "anarchy and madness" and "the biggest con in the world."
Fox News contributor Keith Ablow is serving as a "spokesperson" and infomercial host for a diet company called GOLO. Fox said in 2009 that the network "prohibits any on-air talent from endorsing products or serving as a product spokesperson."
Ablow is "a psychiatrist and member of the Fox News Medical A-Team." Though he purports to offer sound medical advice, Ablow's Fox News appearances often devolve into cheap political smears and "pop-psychology nonsense." Ablow once blamed the rise of birthers on President Barack Obama supposedly "sever[ing] himself from all core emotion." He claimed that Vice President Joe Biden may be suffering from dementia. And Ablow was named Media Matters' 2011 Misinformer of the Year on LGBT Issues for regularly launching anti-LGBT attacks that, in the words of an American Psychiatric Association fellow, "have little basis in current clinical practices." Earlier this year, Ablow decided against running for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts as a Republican.
GOLO describes itself as "a complete lifestyle solution that creates safe, sustainable weight loss and is effective in reversing obesity, diabetes and heart disease risk factors." Its corporate material states that "Ablow has teamed up with GOLO as their spokesperson."
GOLO's marketing campaign features Ablow and his Fox News credentials. The front of the company's website touts Ablow's endorsement and identifies him as a "FOX NEWS psychiatry expert."
Fox News' Keith Ablow wrote that serial killer Ted Kaczynski's crimes were "reprehensible" but promoted claims made in Kaczynski's manifesto that liberals are "psychologically disordered."
In a June 26 FoxNews.com column, Ablow claimed that while Kaczynski, also known as the Unabomber, committed "reprehensible" crimes, he was "precisely correct in many of his ideas." Ablow went on to claim that Kaczynski "must wonder what it will take for Americans to wake up" after "what constitutes the core of a human life" was being threatened by "technology and leftist political leaders." Ablow concluded by promoting Kaczynski's manifesto, claiming "it is time for people to read 'Industrial Society and its Future,' by convicted serial killer Ted Kaczynski" [emphasis original]:
He saw the political "left" as embracing these technologies with special fervor, because they were in keeping with the "leftist" ideology that centralized power was the way to govern men.
He saw these "leftists" as psychologically disordered--seeking to compensate for deep feelings of personal disempowerment by banding together and seeking extraordinary means of control in society.
Well, Kaczynski, while reprehensible for murdering and maiming people, was precisely correct in many of his ideas.
And having seen Barack Obama elected, in part, by mastering the use of the Internet as a campaign tool, then watching his administration preside over eavesdropping on the American public, monitoring their emails and tapping their phones, denying them their due process and privacy, and making a play to disarm them, Kaczynski, must wonder what it will take for Americans to wake up to the fact that their individuality and autonomy--indeed, what constitutes the core of a human life--is under siege (by the very forces he predicted--technology and leftist political leaders).
What the Unabomber did was reprehensible. And he was wrong: Killing people to bring attention to his ideas ended up making most people lock up his ideas, along with him. They became unmentionable, for politically correct folks.
Well, I would rather be correct, than politically correct. And it is time for people to read "Industrial Society and its Future," by convicted serial killer Ted Kaczynski. His work, despite his deeds, deserves a place alongside "Brave New World," by Aldous Huxley, and "1984," by George Orwell.
A new poll showing that more than four in ten registered Republican voters believe an "armed revolution" may be necessary in the next few years echoes rhetoric employed by Fox News personalities.
The poll, released on May 1 by Fairleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind, found that 29 percent of Americans, including 44 percent of Republicans, agreed with the statement, "In the next few years, an armed revolution might be necessary in order to protect our liberties." From Talking Points Memo:
The survey, aimed at measuring public attitudes toward gun issues, found that 29 percent of Americans agree with the statement, "In the next few years, an armed revolution might be necessary in order to protect our liberties." An additional five percent were unsure.
Eighteen percent of Democrats said an armed revolt "might be necessary," as compared to 27 percent of independents and 44 percent of Republicans. Support levels were similar among males and females but higher among less educated voters.
The belief that armed rebellion may be necessary is reminiscent of rhetoric heard from Fox figures, who have agitated for and invoked revolution over President Obama and his administration's policies.
Fox News contributor Dr. Keith Ablow told a Tea Party rally that they're like "slaves" who have become "enslaved by the notion of ever-increasing taxes," health care reform, and gun laws. Ablow told the crowd that those grievances "can't stand, because slaves always revolt."
Ablow spoke at an April 13 Tax Day Tea Party Rally in Boston. In a video of the speech posted to YouTube, Ablow, who was billed as a "FOX NEWS expert on psychiatry," attacked President Obama as someone who is psychologically damaged because he was "abandoned" as a child (a frequent critique by Ablow).
Near the end of his remarks, Ablow invoked slavery:
ABLOW: Dependency on anything, a drug or the government, does not last. It can't last because deep in our souls, we know that only independence works. Not far from here, my mentor, Ted Nadelson, once told me, "You know, the thing with slaves is you can't keep them, they always revolt." And that's what's going to happen here. Enslaved by the notion of ever-increasing taxes; told that we can't spend our money, even the money we do take home, the way we want to; told that adulthood starts at 25 [a reference to the Affordable Care Act allowing dependents to stay insured until age 26], if ever; told that nobody really should be able to hold a firearm and know that he can, or she, can defend his family or her family, if push comes to shove. That can't stand, because slaves always revolt.
Ablow has a long history of launching incendiary attacks against progressives and dispensing "pop-psychology nonsense" as a member of Fox's purported "Medical A-Team." Ablow once blamed the rise of conspiracies about President Obama's birth certificate on Obama supposedly "sever[ing] himself from all core emotion." Following the 2012 vice presidential debate, Ablow claimed that Vice President Joe Biden may be suffering from dementia. And Ablow regularly launches anti-LGBT attacks that, in the words of an American Psychiatric Association fellow, "have little basis in current clinical practices."
Fox News is trying to shift the national conversation on public safety laws, pointing to recent mass shootings to question the effectiveness of expanding background checks on gun purchases. But Fox's criticism ignores several other mass shootings committed by people who bought weapons without undergoing background checks, as well as the significant gun violence that experts say background checks will prevent.
On Thursday, the Senate defeated a Republican filibuster threat against tougher gun laws on a vote of 68-31. The vote cleared the way for a full debate on gun safety measures, including expanded background checks, next week.
In response, Fox News ran a segment premised on the idea that background checks are largely unnecessary because they would not have prevented Adam Lanza and other recent mass shooters from acquiring the guns they used.
In fact, the loophole in federal law that allows prohibited persons to buy firearms without undergoing a background check has resulted in mass shootings. In October 2012, a shooting at a Wisconsin spa left three dead and four wounded. The Associated Press reported that the alleged shooter purchased a handgun from a private seller without a background check, and obtained the weapon two days after becoming the subject of a restraining order that required him to turn over all weapons to a county sheriff.
Other mass shootings in which shooters obtained their weapons from private individuals rather than licensed firearm dealers include the September 2011 shooting at a Nevada IHOP, which left 4 dead and 7 wounded, and the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School, which left 13 dead and 21 wounded.
Moreover, this criticism misses the point; while background checks will not prevent all gun violence, they will prevent a significant amount.
Fox News psychiatrist Keith Ablow erroneously claimed that recently enacted state legislation failed to address firearm access for individuals with mental health problems who have been deemed a danger to themselves or others. Ablow also fearmongered that proponents of gun violence prevention legislation would like to "disarm the whole population."
In fact, legislative packages enacted in New York and Connecticut specifically address mental health and the U.S. Senate gun violence prevention legislative package has a provision to improve records of individuals with mental health problems who have been deemed a danger to themselves or others. Furthermore, no state proposals involve disarming gun owners; instead new state-level gun laws have included bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines as well as expanded background checks.
During the April 5 edition of America's Newsroom on Fox News, Ablow seriously mischaracterized gun violence prevention legislation when he told host Bill Hemmer that recently enacted gun violence prevention packages did not address mental health:
HEMMER: Whether it's Colorado, whether it's the push for gun laws in New York or Connecticut that we saw this week, with Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook, or the national gun push that we're seeing. Is there anything in those laws that would prevent a future [James] Holmes or Adam Lanza when it comes to mental health that you see?
ABLOW: So let me be exactly clear. Zero. Zero. Our shattered shoddy slipshod mental health care system is the thing that needs attention. The folks who are piggybacking on these tragedies and saying it's guns are simply exercising a political agenda getting nothing done.
Ablow - who heavily criticized the alleged failure of Holmes' psychiatrist to notify the proper authorities of her patient's dangerousness - is wrong.
From the March 13 edition of Fox News Radio's Kilmeade & Friends:
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From the March 6 edition of Fox News Radio's Kilmeade & Friends:
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Fox News psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow attacked President Obama's State of the Union address as the "psychological projection of an abandoned boy's vision" and claimed Obama has a message of distrusting initiative that is "remarkably toxic" to young people's "psychological well-being."
In a February 13 FoxNews.com op-ed, Ablow continued his campaign of attacking Obama's policy proposals by highlighting his non-traditional upbringing. Ablow claimed Obama's State of the Union address was "psychologically predictable" because he was "abandoned as a boy by his father, and then his mother." He also attacked Obama's policy proposals on stronger gun laws and health care, asserting his core message was toxic to the "psychological well-being" of young Americans:
The president is psychologically predictable. He does not surprise. Having been abandoned as a boy by his father, and then his mother, only to then learn that his grandmother feared people of his race, he seems inherently to distrust individual initiative and intention and to place his trust only in the collective--i.e. the state. What benefits a burgeoning central authority is good for all. When a child's guardians keep letting him down in profound ways, that child can grow up to want a lot of power himself and distrust the idea of giving anyone else very much.
Many millions of young Americans listened to Barack Obama on Tuesday night, as they have listened to his core message for nearly five long years. And his message has remained remarkably consistent and remarkably toxic to their psychological well-being: Do not rely on yourself. Entitlement Nation will parent you, until you forget about growing up, period. Stay on your parents' health insurance, even if you are 18 and in great health and would rather -- wisely or not -- use that money to start an Internet company in your basement. It's okay to blame rich people if you can't earn money.
Welcome to the psychological projection of an abandoned boy's vision of how much you can rely on other individuals and on yourself. The less, the better. When your mother and father take off on you as a kid, when your white grandmother seems to fear people of color, you probably figure putting any trust in individuals is crazy.
Fox News contributor Keith Ablow has reportedly told Boston's FOX 25 that he will not run for Secretary of State John Kerry's former U.S. Senate seat and will back the candidacy of Republican State Rep. Dan Winslow. Ablow reportedly gave the station the following statement:
"As I made clear, with the sprint to the Special Election in June, a primary fight was not in my blood. I have conferred with my chief advisor Roger Stone, who agreed with my assessment of a primary as an unwise choice for me. I am, therefore, very excited to lend my full support to Dan Winslow in the 2013 race for U.S. Senate from Massachusetts. Dan is a man of great intellect, creativity and compassion. I will join Dan's Exploratory Committee and work hard on his behalf.
Ablow previously claimed he would be open to "seriously" considering a run if neither former Sen. Scott Brown nor former Gov. William Weld sought the seat. When both decided not to run, Ablow then claimed he would run "If all the leaders of the Party united around me - to preclude a primary."
Since he won't run for office, Ablow can continue to push "pop-psychology nonsense" on Fox News. Ablow, a member of Fox's "Medical A-Team," has drawn widespread criticism and mockery for his Fox News analysis. Ablow once blamed the rise of birthers on President Barack Obama supposedly "sever[ing] himself from all core emotion." He claimed that Vice President Joe Biden may be suffering from dementia. And Ablow regularly launches anti-LGBT attacks that, in the words of an American Psychiatric Association fellow, "have little basis in current clinical practices."
In recent years several Republicans have used their Fox News employment to launch bids for office. Fox News host Geraldo Rivera said today that he's "leaning" toward a run for U.S. Senate from New Jersey and will be on the network "until five minutes before" he files.
Fox News contributor Keith Ablow said today in a press release that he "would run" for Massachusetts' U.S. Senate seat if "all the leaders of the [Republican] Party united around me - to preclude a primary ... Such unity looks improbable at this time." Ablow's statement:
"We face an unprecedented assault on the Constitution and our individual liberties. If the Republican Party in Massachusetts and the Republican National Committee ask me to run at this time, and offer their support in that effort, I will run. If they support another candidate, I will work hard to elect that candidate. If that candidate should lose, I will, in all likelihood, again offer to be a candidate for Senate from Massachusetts in 2014, under the same conditions. The Party can't afford to spend precious resources on a divisive primary. If all the leaders of the Party united around me - to preclude a primary, I would run. Such unity looks improbable at this time."
Ablow is one of several Republicans, including most recently Geraldo Rivera, who have attempted to use their Fox News platform as a potential springboard into political office.
From the January 22 edition of Fox Business' Lou Dobbs Tonight:
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From the January 17 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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