In their coverage of gun violence in Chicago over the Fourth of July weekend, conservative media outlets advanced their longstanding narrative that Chicago's strict gun laws are not effective. But that view ignores what's happening in cities that have weak gun laws and astronomical rates of gun violence like New Orleans, as well as cities with strong gun laws and low rates of violence, like New York City.
Fox's Megyn Kelly leaned on Ann Coulter's new racist, anti-immigration book to defend presidential candidate Donald Trump's disparaging comments about Hispanic immigrants.
During his June 16 campaign launch, Republican candidate Donald Trump characterized Mexican immigrants as criminals and "rapists," saying, "When Mexico sends its people ... they're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists." Trump claimed that "the U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else's problems."
In an attempt to explain his remarks, which have incited widespread backlash among Hispanic activists and Trump's business associates, Fox host Megyn Kelly turned to Ann Coulter, whose new book, Adios America!, echoes white nationalist and anti-immigrant extremist talking points.
On the June 29 edition of The Kelly File, the host cited Coulter's statistics during an exchange with Fox's Howard Kurtz and Geraldo Rivera, in an attempt to rebut criticism of Trump's racist comments:
KURTZ: What a lot of people hear -- even when Trump goes over the top -- they like the fact that he doesn't apologize. They like the fact that he doesn't parse his words like most politicians. The average politician would have backed off and clarified many times by now. But Trump gets away with it because he strikes a chord.
KELLY: Well, I mean, Ann Coulter has got a whole book out right now that makes this point. Now granted, she's not running for president. But she --
RIVERA: Nor would she ever be elected with that point of view --
KELLY: But she cites data that does support the fact that some, obvious, immigrants who come across the borders do turn out to be criminals, and that's --
RIVERA: I researched it tonight --
KELLY: None? No immigrants turn out to be criminals?
RIVERA: I never said that. Undocumented immigrants commit crimes at a lower rate than the citizen population of the United States.
And on July 1, Kelly hosted Coulter to debate Rivera on the merits of Trump's comments. Coulter argued that the "most important point is these are not people who have a right to be here, so I don't care if they are two rapists," claiming, "It's a fact that only about a third of California prisoners are white."
In her book, Coulter calls immigrants "criminal[s]" and argues that immigration is a "war technique" to change America. In the past, Coulter has described immigrants as "people from backward, primitive cultures," and said that immigrants are a bigger threat to America than ISIS.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Coulter's new book cites a long list of racist and white nationalist extremists, repeatedly referencing the conservative anti-immigration think tank Center for Immigration Studies. Coulter's other sources include Peter Brimelow, the English white nationalist who founded the racist blog VDARE and Robert Spencer, co-founder of the anti-Muslim hate group Stop Islamization of America. In fact, Coulter has credited Brimelow with inspiring her anti-immigration views.
Though NBC severed ties with Trump following his remarks, Fox has continued to rally around the candidate and regular network guest -- Bill O'Reilly even suggested that Trump was "actually highlighting a problem ... that is harming the nation."
Mainstream media consistently fail to question GOP presidential candidate Chris Christie's self-promotion as a "straight talking" "truth-teller," but he consistently lies and misrepresents his record in interviews and speeches.
Fox News hosts are rallying to defend Donald Trump after NBC severed business ties with the GOP presidential hopeful following his offensive campaign announcement speech in which he referred to Mexican immigrants as criminals and "rapists."
Media outlets have repeatedly turned to an extreme anti-gay hate group to comment on the Supreme Court's recent marriage equality decision, needlessly exposing audiences to misinformation while failing to hold the group accountable for its track record of dishonesty.
Following the Supreme Court's June 26 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges -- which found that bans on same-sex marriage violate the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution - several media outlets invited representatives from the Family Research Council (FRC) to offer their reactions to the decision.
FRC has been labeled an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) because it propagates "known falsehoods" about the LGBT community, including linking homosexuality to pedophilia and accusing gay people of trying to "recruit" children. The group has a long track record of making wildly inaccurate policy predictions about the consequences of basic protections for LGBT people.
Spokespersons from FRC were also invited to react to the decision on national television. ABC's This Week invited FRC's Ken Blackwell - who previously blamed same-sex marriage for a mass murder - to discuss the court's decision. On Fox News' The Kelly File, Megyn Kelly offered a platform FRC president and frequent guest Tony Perkins, who has called pedophilia a "homosexual problem." As usual, none of these outlets identified FRC as a hate group or informed their audiences about the organization's history of misinformation.
And during the June 29 edition of CNN's New Day, host Chris Cuomo invited FRC's Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies, to discuss the decision in Obergefell. Sprigg, whoseprofessional experience before FRC includes serving as a Baptist minister and 10 years as a "professional actor," has previously suggested he'd prefer to "export homosexuals from the United States." But despite his extremism and lack of expertise, Sprigg was given a platform to fearmonger about the consequences of country-wide marriage equality:
Megyn Kelly invited anti-LGBT hate group leader Tony Perkins to respond to the Supreme Court's ruling in favor of marriage equality. Kelly's insistence on inviting Perkins highlights the host's cozy relationship with the ardent anti-gay group.
In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court found that the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees the right of same-sex couples to marry. Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy contended that "Under the Constitution, same-sex couples seek in marriage the same legal treatment as opposite-sex couples, and it would disparage their choices and diminish their personhood to deny them this right."
On the June 26 edition of her Fox News show, Megyn Kelly invited Family Research Council (FRC) president Tony Perkins to discuss the Court's ruling. Perkins claimed that the "freedom to live your life according to your beliefs" is at stake, specifically for Christians who oppose marriage equality. Perkins later stoked fears that "there will be an effort to force people to conform" by threatening religious institutions like colleges with the loss of their tax-exempt status, unless they fully embrace equality.
From the June 25 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File:
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Right-wing media outlets are attacking a new rule from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) designed to increase diversity in American neighborhoods, calling it an attempt by President Obama to dictate where people live. But the program merely provides grant money to encourage communities to provide affordable housing and greater access to community resources.
From the June 11 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File:
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Conservative media and the National Rifle Association (NRA) are fearmongering over a supposed "new" Obama administration regulation to limit the ability of convicted domestic abusers to buy firearms.
In reality, the regulation would simply implement a 1998 law and has been under consideration for the past 17 years, including during the entire eight years of George W. Bush's administration.
The conservative opposition campaign to what is in fact a long-standing proposal began with a flawed May 30 article in The Hill headlined, 'Administration preps new gun regulations," that claimed, "The Justice Department plans to move forward this year with more than a dozen new gun-related regulations, according to [a] list of rules the agency has proposed to enact before the end of the Obama administration." The article described the regulations listed in the Department of Justice's semi-annual Unified Agenda (a periodic list of proposed or recently completed rules) as "new," when in fact several of them date back to prior administrations.
Fox News host Megyn Kelly lashed out at "the left wing press" for highlighting comments she made about a viral video showing police officer Eric Casebolt manhandling a teenage girl at a pool party in McKinney, Texas. But Media Matters correctly described Kelly's June 8 comments where she claimed that the teenage girl attacked in the video shared some of the fault for the actions of the officer, arguing that the girl was "no saint either" because she didn't follow the officer's instructions. Kelly's remarks sparked widespread outrage in liberal and conservative media.
On the June 10 edition of her show Kelly said that "some of the left-wing press continue to use this incident to dishonestly push their own agenda." She claimed that Salon.com "repeat[ed] a Media Matters lie" that Kelly leapt to Casebolt's defense "by saying that this teen was, quote, 'no saint either.'"
But Media Matters included the full context of Kelly's comments in a June 8 post detailing Fox News personalities' reaction to the controversial video:
Fox News host Megyn Kelly responded to the brutal video showing a teen girl being manhandled by a Texas police officer by commenting that "the girl was no saint either. He had told her to leave, and she continued to linger. And when the cop tells you to leave, get out." She followed this by saying "I'm not defending his actions, let me make that clear."
Conservative media outlets also criticized Kelly's coverage. The Washington Examiner reported that "Megyn Kelly defends Texas cop's aggressive response to McKinney teenagers," noting that "Kelly claimed that while she was not defending Casebolt, [the girl] was not completely blameless either." Reason.com also criticized Kelly in a post, writing:
Some conservatives, unfortunately, are falling over themselves to defend the police--the one kind of public employee who can do no wrong in the eyes of all-too many people on the right. Media Matters compiled a disheartening list of Fox News personalities raising baseless hypotheticals that could (maybe) justify Casebolt's rash actions.
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 8 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File:
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Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly defended the Family Research Council (FRC), the anti-gay hate group that previously employed Josh Duggar, claiming that the group advocates for "strong Christian values." Kelly is one of the group's principal allies on Fox.
On the June 4 broadcast of The Kelly File, Kelly interviewed Democratic National Committee (DNC) committee member Robert Zimmerman about the media reaction to the revelation that Josh Duggar of TLC's 19 Kids and Counting had molested five girls, including his younger sisters, when he was a teenager. Before resigning in the wake of the controversy, Duggar was executive director of FRC Action, the political arm of FRC, which has been labeled an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for its promotion of known falsehoods about LGBT people.
During the segment, in response to Zimmerman's criticism of FRC's extreme attacks on LGBT people, Kelly defended the group and its president, Tony Perkins, as supporters of "strong Christian values":
Kelly's comments are the latest in Fox News' ongoing effort to conflate anti-LGBT extremism with Christian beliefs.
FRC has repeatedly peddled extreme and damaging myths about the LGBT community, including calling pedophilia a "homosexual problem" and claiming that gay activists want to "recruit" children into a "lifestyle" of "perversion."
Kelly has a history of whitewashing FRC's extremism and providing the organization with a welcoming platform on Fox News, despite knowing about their "hate group" designation. According to a recent study, she has hosted the group on her show more frequently than every other Fox News program combined.