Right-Wing Media Are Incessantly Promoting RFK Jr. Campaign
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has gained support for his campaign for president on the Democratic ticket from right-wing media personalities, who are touting his polling and suggesting the Democrats and media are trying to shut him down.
Kennedy has long fostered friendly relationships with prominent right-wing media personalities and outlets. He began his campaign by appearing on former Fox News show Tucker Carlson Tonight, where he was greeted with a glowing monologue from the host. When Tucker Carlson left Fox News, Kennedy sent out a message of support for the host and hinted that his ousting was related to his anti-big pharma message from that episode.
Before Kennedy announced his campaign, podcaster Steve Bannon reportedly spent months trying to convince him to run against President Joe Biden. Additionally, Kennedy appeared on Fox News to push COVID-19 vaccine misinformation.
RealClearPolitics places Kennedy’s aggregate polling at 17 percent behind Biden’s 59 percent. Despite the slim chances, right-wing media are pushing the idea that Kennedy can be a force against Biden and giving him plenty of airtime to make his case. They are highlighting support for his campaign while arguing the Democratic Party and/or mainstream media are rigging the election against him.
Praise for RFK Jr.
- Fox & Friends co-host Rachel Campos-Duffy said Kennedy is “making a lot of moves here, getting stronger, and you see President Biden falling as the Democrats are trying to rally everyone around him and kick everyone else out of the race.”
- Faulkner Focus anchor Harris Faulkner claimed that all primary challengers to Biden are getting “iced out,” before pointing to Kennedy’s polling: “Kennedy now has 20 percent support among Democratic voters. … That number, by the way, has ticked up for Kennedy in just the last few days.”
- America’s Newsroom co-anchor Bill Hemmer described Kennedy as an “old school Democrat,” adding that while he talks about pollution, he “doesn’t mention the Green New Deal. He doesn't talk about solar panels or electric vehicles or batteries.” His co-anchor Dana Perino added, “If you are a Democrat and you’re looking for an alternative, they are turning to him.”
- Fox News co-host Geraldo Rivera claimed Kennedy would “do circles” around Biden in a debate.
- Political consultant Doug Schoen predicted on Fox News’ Special Report that Kennedy would keep rising in the polls, saying, “I think Robert F. Kennedy Jr., based on his name, his message, and alienation from the incumbent, could get as much as 30 percent, which would be calamitous for the incumbent.”
- Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowskitold Newsmax’s Eric Bolling: “I think, Eric, the big upset that's coming is that RFK Jr. may just win this nomination yet.”
- Fox News host Greg Gutfeld suggested he would be willing to vote for Kennedy, saying that if he “turns his past into a plus, and fights the fentanyl war, he could get a lot of votes, including mine.”
- Fox News host Laura Ingraham praised Kennedy’s ideas, asking if the Democrats are afraid of him or his ideas, “since all this information is now becoming accepted about the mRNA shot and of course all the suppression of dissenting medical views.”
- Fox News host Jesse Watters praised Kennedy’s campaign so far, saying of Biden, “19 percent of Democrats are already siding with his primary opponent, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. He's pulling the same numbers in the polls as DeSantis. So he's nothing to sneeze at. And if anybody deserves to debate Joe, it's him.”
- Kennedy’s former publisher Tony Lyons appeared on One America News to defend Kennedy from anti-vaxxer allegations: “He's certainly not an anti-vaxxer. He is an anti-corruption person who wants to find real science, who wants to have a government that will really look at the science, that we're really look at our policies and start to do things that are not good for a handful of billionaires but are good for the American public.”
- Former Fox News producer Kyle Becker tweeted, “RFK Jr. can run independent and save the country.”
Claims that the system is rigged against RFK Jr.
- Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade noted, “Other networks don't have any interest in interviewing him. They just kind of leave him alone. I mean, he comes on here all the time. He’s always welcome.” His co-host Ainsley Earhardt commented, “I think if the DNC is saying that Biden is the candidate, that’s who the media is going to focus on.”
- Fox News political analyst Gianno Caldwell claimed: “Just like in 2016, the Democratic Party is trying to rig the election in favor of Joe Biden.”
- On Hannity, Fox News contributor Charlie Hurt claimed, “The establishment of the Democrat Party is not going to let Robert Kennedy Jr. get the nomination because he doesn't do what they say.”
- Watters attacked ABC News for its interview with Kennedy, claiming that “the Democrats and the media are rigging another primary,” and referred to Kennedy as a “real threat.”
- Far-right blog Breitbartpublished a story headlined “Zuck Loves Biden: Facebook Prevents RFK Jr. from Launching Instagram Campaign Account.”
- Former Newsmax and OAN host Emerald Robinson tweeted, “RFK Jr will not be allowed to run against Joe Biden — but you still think you live in a free country? Wake up: the hour is very late.”
Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.