Fox Business host Lou Dobbs reported a baseless claim that someone from Hillary Clinton's campaign demanded that the Laugh Factory comedy club founder take down a video compilation of Clinton jokes from his website. The claim was based on an anonymous phone call from an unidentified caller, but reported as fact by conservative media outlets.
In a November 19 piece, Slate's Michelle Goldberg debunked the right-wing claim that a Clinton staffer contacted Jamie Masada, founder of the Laugh Factory Comedy clubs, and demanded he take the videos insulting Clinton down from the club's website. Goldberg called the founder of the Laugh Factory comedy clubs, who admitted that he could not identify the caller, adding "maybe it was a prank, I have no idea."
Goldberg also explained how Clinton smears spread in right-wing media, noting that the stories get "reported in one outlet and amplified on Twitter ... Maybe Fox News follows. Eventually the story achieves a sort of ubiquity in the right-wing media ecosystem, which makes it seem like it's been confirmed."
Even after Masada walked back his accusations against Clinton's campaign, Fox Business' Lou Dobbs repeated the dubious claim on the November 19 edition of Lou Dobbs Tonight:
LOU DOBBS (HOST): This is the video the Clinton campaign took issue with demanding it be scrubbed from the internet by the Laugh Factory in Hollywood.
DOBBS: Are you offended? Hurt?
JUAN WILLIAMS: No! I was amused. But I just -- I tell you what offends me is, why would you say shut up to anybody? A comedy? I mean, alright, so we're all going to be mocked. She went on Saturday Night Live and she made fun of herself and her husband. I think she should have some sense of humor. What's going on here?
DOBBS: Yeah, it's peculiar.
TOM SHILLUE: It's a little shadowy. I don't want to doubt Jamie Masada, the owner of the Laugh Factory. It's a great club, but he does have a flair for self-promotion. I will say that.
DOBBS: Well he's done pretty well here. Now although even Salon noted is they tried to rationalize what was happening here, perhaps correctly -- I don't know. They tried to point out that he, you know, he does not have an ideological ax in all of this. I like the way I sort of clashed those clichés together. Keeps me fresh. The idea that the left is now becoming though, I mean it really is becoming oppressive in language.
Conservative media are attacking the prospect of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) running for Speaker of the House, claiming Ryan supports "open borders," compromised with Democrats on spending, and supported President Obama's trade deal.
Fox News pundits repeatedly pushed -- and then walked back -- a false narrative propagated by an anti-Islam blogger that an "ISIS-linked" Twitter account warned of the Tennessee shooting prior to the attack.
Pope Francis' encyclical on climate change reveals his belief that there is a moral obligation to act swiftly on climate change, which disproportionately harms the world's poor. But conservative media are relentlessly attacking the pope over the encyclical, calling it "insipid" and "blasphemous," and fearmongering that the Catholic leader is a "Marxist" pushing for "a new world order," among other things.
Fox hosts and guests rushed to the defense of a police officer suspended after video surfaced of his brutal treatment of teenagers outside a pool party in McKinney, Texas. The video showed the officer pulling his gun on two teenage boys, then slamming a girl down onto her face.
From the June 1 edition of Fox Business' Lou Dobbs Tonight:
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Right-wing media figures blamed violence in Baltimore on the Department of Justice's (DOJ) recommended limits on the use of force implemented by the Cleveland Police Department, suggesting the Obama administration is causing increased violence by investigating local police departments and "cracking down on the police."
Fox personalities criticized President Obama for calling climate change "an immediate risk to our national security" during his U.S. Coast Guard Academy commencement address. But security experts agree with the president that global climate change does threaten U.S. national security.
Fox Business host Lou Dobbs and Fox News contributor Keith Ablow blamed President Obama and his administration for violence in the wake of the mysterious death of Freddie Gray, who died a week after suffering an unexplained injury while in the custody of Baltimore police officers.
On April 19, 25-year-old Freddie Gray died of a reported spinal cord injury that he mysteriously suffered after being arrested on April 12 by police officers. After Gray's funeral on April 27, the governor of Maryland declared a state of emergency in Baltimore and activated the National Guard to respond to violence and looting in the city that resulted in injury to at least 15 police officers.
On the April 27 edition of Lou Dobbs Tonight, Fox host Lou Dobbs responded to the events by blaming the violence against the police on Obama, asserting that "there is a war on law enforcement" that is being "corroborated if not condoned by this administration."
Later during the show, Dobbs invited Fox contributor Keith Ablow to comment, and he also blamed Obama for the violence, adding that people who want to tear down the system like the people in Baltimore "might be taking [their] cues from this president" (emphasis added):
DOBBS: I'd like to begin with what drives, in your judgment, a police department and a mayor, who basically have given a free pass to those who are tearing up property, and injuring others, including law enforcement?
ABLOW: What drives them is a lack of respect for the foundation of governing and foundation of law upon which this nation rests. Contempt for such things and a kind of tacit acceptance, that protests can be violent because people are so frustrated. But the bottom line Lou, is that if you want to change things, you work within the system, that is the way it has always been. If you want to tear down the system, you might be taking your cues, by the way, from a president who has given the appearance that there is every justification for any level of anger at our country because we're such despicable people.
While reporting on the protests earlier in the day, Fox News' Shep Smith urged his colleagues to report on the protests objectively by "for now, just covering what happens," instead of indicting the community.
Conservative pundits are attacking Hillary Clinton as "anathema to feminists" because she "married up," never achieved anything aside from being "the president's wife," and "has only ever gotten anywhere in politics because of who she's married to."
Erika Falk, an executive director at Georgetown's McCourt School of Public Policy, wrote in Women for President: Media Bias in Nine Campaigns that during the 2008 campaign, media "conveyed disrespect for Clinton ... by implying that she has no personal accomplishments and all her success was due to her husband." University of Maryland professor Shawn J. Parry-Giles similarly noted in Hillary Clinton in the News: Gender and Authenticity in American Politics that pundits "complained that Clinton's accomplishments derived from her opportunistic marriage rather than her own credentials, further eroding her feminist commitments and her political authenticity."
The refrain that Clinton "has only ever gotten anywhere in politics because of who she's married to" has resurfaced again regarding her 2016 presidential campaign.
Fox News is burying Republican policy positions that exacerbate income inequality in order to help the GOP rebrand itself as a party for the middle class. This effort follows years of Fox figures blasting Democratic policies designed to alleviate income inequality as "class warfare."
Right-wing media outlets are criticizing Loretta Lynch, the highly-qualified attorney that President Obama has nominated to replace outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder, by attacking her support of voting rights litigation and claiming her membership in one of the country's leading African-American sororities is "controversial."
On September 25, Holder announced that he would step down as attorney general, but would stay in office until his replacement was confirmed. The president nominated Lynch to the post on November 8, citing her extensive legal experience and stating that "it's pretty hard to be more qualified for this job than Loretta." Even conservative figures appear to agree, with Republican Senator Lindsay Graham calling her a "solid choice." News Corp Chairman Rupert Murdoch echoed Graham's sentiment, noting that the nominee has a "reputation for fairness and strict legality." Lynch is a Harvard Law graduate, has decades of experience as a successful and widely praised federal prosecutor, and has served as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York since 2010, when she was confirmed by unanimous consent.
But after Obama's announcement, conservative media ignored her qualifications and began to attack Lynch anyway, falsely accusing her of partisanship. Breitbart.com was so eager to find fault in her nomination that it went after the wrong Lynch, erroneously claiming that she was involved in former President Bill Clinton's defense during the Whitewater investigation in 1992. In reality, it was a different attorney named Loretta Lynch who defended the president during the probe that cleared the Clintons; the current nominee Lynch was serving in the U.S. attorney's office at the time.
The attacks have continued even after Breitbart.com issued a correction to its story. On the November 11 edition of Lou Dobbs Tonight, host Lou Dobbs claimed Lynch's membership in one of the country's leading African-American sororities was "controversial" because Holder's wife, a classmate of Lynch's, also pledged Delta Sigma Theta.
In The Wall Street Journal, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) disavowed the offensive narrative pushed by conservative media which labels needy Americans as "takers" versus more economically-prosperous "makers." However, Ryan's proposed anti-poverty policies still rely on the right-wing media myth that blames poverty on poor individuals' personal life choices.
Fox News pundits questioned President Obama's engagement in world affairs following a press conference in which the president announced historic investments in Africa and took questions from journalists on a wide range of pressing international and domestic issues.
From the August 6 edition of Fox Business' Lou Dobbs Tonight:
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