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.
Fox News contributor Erick Erickson attacked transgender military members as "mentally ill" in response to the Pentagon's landmark announcement that the Department of Defense will create a working group to review "policy and readiness implications of welcoming transgender persons to serve openly."
On July 13, a press release from Secretary of Defense Carter Ash stated that the military's current ban on transgender service members is outdated and going forward, "must treat all our people with the dignity and respect they deserve":
The Defense Department's current regulations regarding transgender service members are outdated and are causing uncertainty that distracts commanders from our core missions. At a time when our troops have learned from experience that the most important qualification for service members should be whether they're able and willing to do their job, our officers and enlisted personnel are faced with certain rules that tell them the opposite. Moreover, we have transgender soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines - real, patriotic Americans - who I know are being hurt by an outdated, confusing, inconsistent approach that's contrary to our value of service and individual merit.
Today, I am issuing two directives to deal with this matter. First, DoD will create a working group to study over the next six months the policy and readiness implications of welcoming transgender persons to serve openly. Led by (Acting) Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Brad Carson, and composed of military and civilian personnel representing all the military services and the Joint Staff, this working group will report to Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work. At my direction, the working group will start with the presumption that transgender persons can serve openly without adverse impact on military effectiveness and readiness, unless and except where objective, practical impediments are identified. Second, I am directing that decision authority in all administrative discharges for those diagnosed with gender dysphoria or who identify themselves as transgender be elevated to Under Secretary Carson, who will make determinations on all potential separations.
After this announcement, Erickson responded on Twitter that transgender individuals, specifically those serving in the military, are "mentally ill":
It is very kind of the Obama administration to allow the mentally ill to serve openly in the military.-- Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) July 14, 2015
In its report on this news, Time cited a report from the Williams Institute at UCLA that estimated 15,500 transgender individuals currently serve in the U.S. military.
Note: This post has been updated for clarity.
Conservative pundit and Fox News contributor Erick Erickson questioned the reality of climate change by comparing it to the second coming of Jesus Christ, saying the difference is that "Jesus will return." But mounting evidence shows that climate change has already taken hold and will worsen if left unchecked, a fact accepted by many in the Christian community.
On January 2, Erickson sparked controversy on Twitter after he tweeted that "[t]he difference between people who believe in the 2nd coming of Jesus and those who believe in global warming is that Jesus will return":
Erickson's claim contradicts the position put forward by ranking members of the Christian community. In his inaugural mass on March 19, Pope Francis called upon "all men and women of goodwill" to be "protectors [...] of the environment":
Please, I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of good will: let us be 'protectors' of creation, protectors of God's plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.
Catholic leaders have explicitly linked this need to be stewards of the environment with the fight against global climate change. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced in 2001 that it accepts the scientific consensus and "the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change":
As Catholic bishops, we make no independent judgment on the plausibility of "global warming." Rather, we accept the consensus findings of so many scientists and the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as a basis for continued research and prudent action (see the sidebar: The Science of Global Climate Change). Scientists engaged in this research consistently acknowledge the difficulties of accurate measurement and forecasting. Models of measurement evolve and vary in reliability. Researchers and advocates on all sides of the issue often have stakes in policy outcomes, as do advocates of various courses of public policy. News reports can oversimplify findings or focus on controversy rather than areas of consensus. Accordingly, interpretation of scientific data and conclusions in public discussion can be difficult and contentious matters.
Catholic bishops are not alone in calling on Christians to accept the science that speaks to the urgent need for action against manmade climate change. A number of Christian institutions have called upon members to take action against climate change. In 2006, the Evangelical Climate Initiative, a group that includes more than 300 evangelical Christian leaders from across the United States, urged members of the evangelical Christian faith to fight climate change because it "hit[s] the poor the hardest":
Poor nations and poor individuals have fewer resources available to cope with major challenges and threats. The consequences of global warming will therefore hit the poor the hardest, in part because those areas likely to be significantly affected first are in the poorest regions of the world. Millions of people could die in this century because of climate change, most of them our poorest global neighbors.
Christians must care about climate change because we are called to love our neighbors, to do unto others as we would have them do unto us, and to protect and care for the least of these as though each was Jesus Christ himself (Mt. 22:34-40; Mt. 7:12; Mt. 25:31-46).
Christians, noting the fact that most of the climate change problem is human induced, are reminded that when God made humanity he commissioned us to exercise stewardship over the earth and its creatures. Climate change is the latest evidence of our failure to exercise proper stewardship, and constitutes a critical opportunity for us to do better (Gen. 1:26-28).
Beyond leaders within the Christian community, a rough majority of Christians in the United States said that increasingly extreme natural disasters are evidence that the planet already feels the effects of climate change, recent polling data found.
Six out of 10 Catholics and half of all white evangelical Protestants agree that the growing trend in extreme weather events and natural disasters support the scientific consensus about climate change, according to a December 2012 survey from the Public Religion Research Institute:
Nearly 7-in-10 (69%) religiously unaffiliated Americans, 6-in-10 (60%) Catholics, and half (50%) of white evangelical Protestants agree that the severity of recent natural disasters is evidence of global climate change.
Erickson's rhetoric emulates Rush Limbaugh's claim earlier this year when he informed his listeners, "If you believe in God, then intellectually you cannot believe in manmade global warming.You must be either agnostic or atheistic to believe that man controls something he can't create." In response, the Evangelical Environmental Network published an open letter asking him to "refrain from your harmful rhetoric on climate change":
As a lifelong Republican and an evangelical pro-life clergyman who pastored a local congregation for almost 20 years, spent fourteen years working in the coal industry, and now leads one of the oldest creation care ministries, I ask you to refrain from your harmful rhetoric on climate change. It is simply wrong.
Recently, you stated that "If you believe in God, then intellectually you cannot believe in man-made global warming." Nothing could be further from truth.
Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of Fox News parent company 21st Century Fox, broke from Fox News hosts and contributors by tweeting support for the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform bill.
In a July 14 tweet, Murdoch called on House Speaker John Boehner to allow for his chamber to vote on the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform package. Boehner has previously committed not to bring the package up for a vote in the House:
A number of host and contributors of 21st Century Fox's subsidiary Fox News have expressed a view opposite of Murdoch's, either denouncing the Senate plan or calling for House Republican obstruction of any comprehensive immigration reform effort.
On the July 10 edition of his Fox News show, Sean Hannity praised Boehner for not allowing the Senate bill to be voted on in the House, saying, "the decision by the leadership not to take the Senate bill is a good first step" to fixing the immigration system. He also advised that they take their time to get it right.
During the Hannity segment, Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin offered her "qualified applause and praise" of Boehner's commitment to not bring the Senate bill up for a vote.
Additionally, Fox News contributors Laura Ingraham and Bill Kristol have both endorsed Republican obstruction of immigration reform efforts, claiming that any reconciliation of a potential House immigration reform bill and the Senate bill would be disastrous.
Other Fox News figures have staked out a different position, articulating support for the Senate's immigration reform effort. During the July 10 edition of his Fox News show, Bill O'Reilly explained that House Republicans killing the Senate immigration reform bill would "mean the chaotic status quo would remain and the Southern border would not be made more secure." And Fox News contributor Karl Rove said on Fox News Radio that while he doesn't think the Senate immigration reform bill is perfect, he wanted "the process to continue."
Fox News contributor Erick Erickson wrote a FoxNews.com piece on the Boston bombings that attacked Islam as a religion that "cannot ... peacefully coexist with other religions" and suggested "multiculturalism" helped lead to the bombings.
In his piece, Erickson wrote, "In the past decade we have seen that not all Muslims are terrorists, but just about every terrorist has been a Muslim." He also claimed that "contrary to the political correct," "[c]ompared to all other religions in the Twentieth and Twenty-first century, only Islam seems to generate people willing to kill for their religion."
Erickson suggested that societal emphasis on "multiculturalism" led the Boston bombing suspects to turn to radical Islam because immigrants aren't expected to "assimilate into American society." In a tweet linking to his piece, Erickson said:
Erickson has a long history of inflammatory remarks: he has endorsed white-men-only scholarships, defended Rep. Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" comments, and has said "violence" is "extremely common ... within much of Islam."
Fox News and CNBC regular and "birther" conspiracy proponent Donald Trump reacted to a conservative group's unsubstantiated report that President Obama's campaign may be receiving illegal donations from foreign donors by calling him a "Foreign candidate getting foreign donations."
In fact, the report, from conservative group the Government Accountability Institute, did not assert that the Obama campaign is receiving unlawful contributions, and the group's founders have admitted that fraudulent and foreign donations are just a "concern."
From Trump's twitter feed:
Michelle Malkin and the team at Twitchy.com, a website she founded, are attacking Meghan McCain and Sandra Fluke for showing solidarity with each other over the sexist attacks both have endured.
Yesterday, McCain tweeted a picture of herself and Fluke at an after-party following the White House Correspondents Dinner. McCain said "My fav meeting of the night" and referred to Fluke as "very brave and badass."
McCain later tweeted: "Everyone calm down. I'm a proud pro-life republican but standing up to publicly being called a slut is brave. I've been through it." Fluke tweeted a response to McCain: "thanx 4 support/advice re: public attacks! We girls have each others' backs despite polit differences."
McCain and Fluke have indeed been subjected to sexist attacks for speaking out publicly: Fluke was infamously called a "slut" and a "prostitute" and subjected to a barrage of other sexist attacks by Rush Limbaugh after speaking out about insurance coverage for contraception, and McCain has been subjected to repeated sexist comments after speaking publicly.
Malkin's Twitchy.com was outraged that McCain and Fluke would compare notes on sexism. The website collected some of the tweets on the subject by McCain, Fluke, and others under the headline "Groan: When Meggie Met Fluke-y" and called McCain a "GOP embarrassment" and referred to Fluke as a "Democratic embarrassment."
In a post on his Twitter feed, Adam Levine, lead singer of pop rock band Maroon 5, commanded Fox News to stop playing its music on air, writing: "Dear Fox News, don't play our music on your evil f****** channel ever again. Thank you." From the post:
Indeed, on the October 17 edition of Fox News' early morning show, Fox & Friends, Fox played an excerpt from the 2004 Maroon 5 hit "She Will Be Loved" from the band's album Songs About Jane. The song can be heard playing as co-host Steve Doocy teases a story about a cheerleader who fell into a swimming pool at the Pan Am Games in Mexico. As the song is playing, text on the top-left corner of the screen reads: " 'She Will Be Loved' Maroon 5." The show then went to commercial.
Rolling Stone reported today that "[w]hen reached by Rolling Stone, Levine's representative declined to comment."
In a January 18 post on Twitter, CNN's Erick Erickson linked to an Associated Press article titled "Atlanta public school system put on probation" and asked "Does Atlanta need its own version of Katrina to get its schools fixed?" From Erickson's Twitter feed:
From Fox & Friends' twitter feed, accessed October 26:
On June 10, The Cato Institute's Michael F. Cannon responded to a story about "illegal immigrants helping to clean up the oil" by joking "I hear they're very absorbent" on his Twitter page. The post appears to have since been deleted:
H/T Think Progress
Update: The Washington Post's Dave Weigel writes that Cannon was "joking about what he sees as craziness in Louisiana," in response to "a local Louisiana sheriff fretting that undocumented workers might bring a 'criminal element' to the gulf if brought in for oil spill cleanup."
From Newt Gingrich's Twitter feed, accessed April 25:
From a March 2 post on Andrew Breitbart's Twitter feed:
From James O'Keefe's Twitter feed on January 27, 2010: