In recent months, Fox News has pushed a series of unrelenting narratives blaming the current energy crisis solely on the Biden administration, while absolving the fossil fuel industry from any wrongdoing, despite the industry’s anti-consumerist practices. As gas prices continue to break records, reaching $5 per gallon nationally for the first time on June 11, Fox has been escalating its cynical and disingenuous attacks on the Biden administration.
One of the most pervasive narratives that Fox hosts and guests have been increasingly advancing is the idea that the Biden administration is deliberately harming the American energy sector to usher in a transition to renewable energy. Although this line of attack was floated as early as April, it is being deployed by Fox at an increasing pace on both its so-called “news” side and opinion side.
The narrative seems to serve a nefarious purpose. It allows Fox to continue running cover for the fossil fuel industry by pretending the conversation about energy prices has been settled. Instead of recognizing the complex economic factors that determine the price at the pump, Fox has repeatedly accused the Biden administration of intentionally harming energy producers and consumers, which allows the network to leapfrog over causation directly to intent. In Fox’s telling, Biden is no longer incompetent; he’s an evil mastermind unleashing the power of the federal government against the noble fossil fuel industry and working-class Americans to crash the economy and unilaterally enact the Green New Deal.
Despite Fox’s claims to the contrary, Biden has pivoted away from aggressive actions to reduce carbon emissions and toward the fossil fuel industry’s demands for a regulatory environment that favors increased production of oil and gas. But rather than presenting this reality to its viewers, the network is content to repeat and amplify harmful narratives. From hearings about fossil fuel industry price gouging, to Biden’s “incredible transition” comment, to Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s (D-MI) remarks about electric vehicles and gas prices, Fox finds a way to blame the Biden administration and claim that the economic pain millions of Americans are experiencing is deliberate.
Below is a nonexhaustive catalog of Fox News personalities and guests advancing this false and cynical narrative.
Host Tucker Carlson: “How would you go about taking full control over an economy built on fossil fuels? Well you'd first have to break the existing economy.”Host Tucker Carlson outlined an elaborate conspiracy theory in which the Biden administration worked to deliberately “make fossil fuels unaffordable for the average person” in order to push his green agenda. Carlson said: “You wouldn’t want to think that your government would intentionally exacerbate the suffering of millions of Ukrainian civilians in order to take over America's energy grid, but that seems to be exactly what is happening right now. And we know this because the administration essentially told us so.” [Tucker Carlson Tonight, 4/1/22]
Guest host Tammy Bruce: “It’s almost as though they’re moving us deliberately into, like, a Venezuela kind of thing.”Hannity guest host Tammy Bruce questioned whether the Biden administration was deliberately harming the fossil fuel industry. Her guest, fossil fuel shill Daniel Turner, said that even before Russia invaded Ukraine, the Biden administration had a “deliberate” strategy to “make fossil fuels unattractive” in order to sell its green agenda. He continued, “They purposefully made fossil fuels expensive, and we’re feeling the consequence of that right now.” [Hannity, 4/15/22]
Guest Quill Robinson: “This is the result of deliberate policy on the part of the Democrats.”Quill Robinson, vice president of governmental affairs for a right-wing think tank with Koch network connections, appeared on Fox News Live and claimed that the Democratic Party was “more focused on shutting down the fossil fuel industry than keeping gas affordable for everyday Americans.” [Fox News Live, 4/24/22]
Host Will Cain: “When it comes to gas prices, … what we’re seeing is the effect of an intentional policy.”During a segment about gas prices on The Faulkner Focus, anchor Harris Faulkner read from a Daily Caller op-ed that accused the Biden administration of harming the fossil fuel industry to force consumers toward renewable energy. Fox & Friends Weekend co-host Will Cain agreed, saying, “Rising prices is the goal of the policy. … The problems are by design.” [The Faulkner Focus, 4/28/22]
Contributor Sean Duffy: “They get to accomplish their agenda of the Green New Deal.”Fox contributor Sean Duffy appeared on The Faulkner Focus and claimed that he overheard Democratic lawmakers “talk about the desire to have the cost of gas go up so people would make a transition to green energy.” He then asserted, “So this is all part of the plan. And yes, the politics are tough. But they see a light at the end of the tunnel that they get to accomplish their agenda of the Green New Deal.” [The Faulkner Focus, 5/17/22]
Contributor Marc Thiessen: “It seems to a lot of Americans like this is intentional."
- Washington Post columnist, fossil fuel shill, and Fox News contributor Marc Thiessen appeared on The Faulkner Focus during a segment about record gas prices and the Biden administration and stated, “It seems to a lot of Americans like this is intentional.” He continued, “They want the gas prices to go up so that we can stop using fossil fuels … . Their goal is to transform this economy and they care more about climate change than the climate in our personal economy.” [The Faulkner Focus, 5/20/22]
Host Rachel Campos-Duffy: “Well, those prices are intentional.”During a news rundown about record gas prices on Fox & Friends Saturday, host Rachel Campos-Duffy asserted that high gas prices are “intentional” and “are meant to have us make different choices like not have a truck.” [Fox and Friends Saturday, 5/21/22]
Host Laura Ingraham: “The greeniacs pulling Biden’s strings want [oil and gas] shut down."Fox host Laura Ingraham said Biden is being controlled by “greeniacs” who want to destroy American oil and gas production, and she mocked his “incredible transition” comment. [The Ingraham Angle, 5/23/22]
Host Ainsley Earhardt: “He doesn't care because we’re heading in the right direction.”After playing a clip of Biden’s “incredible transition” comment, Fox host Ainsley Earhardt asserted that the administration doesn’t care about record gas prices. Fox personality Stuart Varney responded that Biden is “being driven by the climate crowd. The climate crowd wants high gas prices so we drive less, emit less, and we all go into electric cars.” [Fox & Friends, 5/24/22]
Host Sean Hannity: “The suffering is intentional? Is that what you're telling us?”After Biden’s “incredible transition” comment, Fox host Sean Hannity went on an extended rant accusing the administration of inflicting deliberate suffering on the American people for the purpose of ushering in “a socialist eco-state hellhole, which would not be possible with low energy costs.” [Hannity, 5/23/22]
Guest Rep. Byron Donalds: “They want gas prices higher. They want the Green New Deal accomplished.”Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) appeared on Sunday Morning Futures and accused the Biden administration of advancing a “crazy agenda when it comes to oil and natural gas and gasoline.” He continued, “Joe Biden and the Democrats want gas prices higher. Let's stop playing games. They want gas prices higher. They want the Green New Deal accomplished.” When he was finished, guest host Sean Duffy added, “Congressman, I think you’re 100% right, and this is absolutely intentional.” [Sunday Morning Futures, 5/29/22]
Campos-Duffy: “We have to remember that all of this is intentional. The gas prices and the inflation is intentional.”Campos-Duffy claimed that “all of this is intentional. The gas prices and inflation is intentional.” She later reiterated, “And, again, intentional. This government is trying — this government is willing to make you poor in order to accomplish their green energy fetishes, really.” [Fox & Friends, 5/30/22]
Guest Monica Crowley: “They want to torpedo the U.S. economy. They want to bring Americans to their knees.”Conservative commentator Monica Crowley appeared on Jesse Waters Primetime and claimed that the Biden administration was waging a war on domestic energy, and “if he just turned that policy around literally tomorrow, you would start to see progress in terms of bringing down inflation and gas prices. But he won't do it … and what it tells us, Jesse, is that all of this is deliberate.” After she and host Jesse Watters mocked the idea of climate action to stave off global warming and sea-level rise, she added that Biden’s energy policies were a “lever” to move the economy toward “a more collectivist, Marxist kind of model where they’re in total control.” [Jesse Watters Primetime, 6/2/22]
Carlson: “Why is this happening? Well, because Joe Biden made it happen. ”During a monologue on record gas prices, Carlson accused Biden of deliberately slowing down domestic energy production. [Tucker Carlson Tonight, 6/3/22]
Guest Sen. Tom Cotton: “For Democrats, $5-a-gallon gas … the intended consequence.”Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) appeared on Special Report and accused the Democratic Party of enacting policies to deliberately spike gas prices because of “Green New Deal fantasies.” He continued, “They want gas to be high. Because they want you out of your pickup truck or your minivan and want you to get into electric vehicles or scooters or mass transit or whatever it is that they ride around town in Washington.” [Special Report, 6/6/22]
Kilmeade: “So, the question is, is this intentional? … a slow roll of a New Green Deal?”During a segment on record gas prices, Fox host Brian Kilmeade questioned whether the Biden administration was intentionally spiking energy prices, before stating, “The president hates fossil fuels, or he at least said that. Is he getting what he wants now as people are feeling repulsed by the price of gas and oil?” [Fox & Friends, 6/7/22]
Crowley: “This is like a modern version of Marie Antoinette. … and it is all intentional.”Conservative commentator Monica Crowley appeared on Hannity and claimed that the Biden administration was deliberately increasing gas prices. She compared Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), who touted the cost savings of electric vehicles during a hearing, to Marie Antoinette, stating, “Instead of let them eat cake, let them buy a Tesla. And all of this indicates that it is all intentional.” Crowley concluded by reiterating, “So what that tells you is this is all intentional as part of the fundamental transformation of the nation.” [Hannity, 6/7/22]
Campos-Duffy: “I definitely believe that these gas prices are directly related to the Green New Deal, and that couldn't be passed legislatively.”Campos-Duffy accused the Biden administration of purposefully harming the domestic energy industry because the Green New Deal could not be passed through Congress. She asserted, “They’ve done it through regulation, through, you know, cutting down American energy, making sure we’re not energy independent, making us dependent on dirty oil from Venezuela and so forth. … This is intentional, and that’s what it is about.” [Fox & Friends Saturday, 6/11/22]
Anchor Bret Baier: “Is pain at the pump part of that transition to a greener economy?”Hosting a debate between Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), anchor Bret Baier referenced Biden’s “incredible transition” comment before asking Sanders if high gas prices are part of a transition to renewable energy. [Special Report, 6/13/22]
Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.