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Tag: fox news lies

Kremlin Promotes Tucker Carlson’s Lies About Ukraine Biolabs

The Kremlin is once again using Fox News host Tucker Carlson to justify Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, this time promoting his recent segment pushing the Ukrainian biolabs conspiracy theory.

Fox News personalities have repeatedly defended Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and pushed pro-Kremlin talking points. The Kremlin has amplified Carlson and Fox Nation host Lara Logan, and Mother Jones recently reported that a leaked Kremlin memo said “it is essential to use as much as possible fragments of broadcasts” of Carlson.

On March 29, Carlson used his Fox News program to once again push the false claim about biolabs in Ukraine.

The Kremlin was clearly pleased with the segment and has been promoting it online through its various media channels.

The Russian Embassy in Turkey tweeted the segment on March 31:

Russian Embassy in Turkey promotes Tucker Carlson

The Russian state-owned RT promoted the segment on its website with the headline: “Fox News: The Pentagon has funded biolabs in Ukraine for at least 14 years.”

And the Russian state-owned Sputnik Brasil also promoted the segment on its website:

Sputnik Brasil promotes Tucker Carlson segment

Further, the BBC’s Francis Scarr noted that Vyacheslav Nikonov, a member of the Russian Parliament, promoted Carlson:

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Fox News Host Katie Pavlich To Headline Ohio GOP Fundraiser

Katie Pavlich, a Fox News host and contributor who appears on Fox News’ signature “news”-side program, is scheduled to speak at a Republican fundraiser in Ohio next month. Pavlich’s fundraiser is yet another example of how Fox News openly helps the Republican Party both on and off the air.

Pavlich is a co-host for the midday Fox News program Outnumbered and a “news editor” for the right-wing site She also regularly appears as an “All-Star” panelist for Special Report with Bret Baier, Fox’s flagship “news” program.

Pavlich is scheduled to do a campaign event in Warren, Ohio, that’s being presented by the Trumbull County Republican Party. Ohio state Rep. Michael Loychik (R) posted on his campaign Facebook page that “we are having a few great speakers including Katie Pavlich as the keynote speaker from Fox News for the Financial Reception by the Trumbull County Republican Party.” Text on a flyer posted by Loychik states that it is paid for by his campaign. Tickets for the event are $150 (“General Reception”) or $300 (“VIP Meet & Greet”).

Katie Pavlich campaign event Facebook post

Fox News claimed in November 2018 that it “does not condone any talent participating in campaign events,” and The Washington Post reported in December 2019 that a Fox News “spokeswoman said the network has addressed the issue with its contributors and hosts, as well as third-party agents who book events.”

Media Matters has exhaustively documented instances of Fox News employees doing campaign events for Republicans over the years despite that alleged prohibition.

Fox News host Mark Levin recently keynoted a fundraiser at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida that benefited the Republican Party of Palm Beach County (and padded Trump’s pockets). Levin essentially confirmed the pliability of Fox’s supposed policy, stating on his radio show: “I did run this by Fox and they said they prefer if I didn't, but it's obviously up to me given the circumstances. And I said, 'Of course I will.'”

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Even Fox News Is Calling BS On Rick Scott

Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), has drawn a great deal of criticism from Democrats for his proposal to raise taxes on half of Americans — specifically, those with lower incomes. But some Republicans are calling Scott out as well, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. And Scott got some pushback from Fox News’ John Roberts as well during a March 27 appearance on “Fox News Sunday.”

In his 11-point Rescue America Plan, Scott proposes, “All Americans should pay some income tax to have skin in the game, even if a small amount. Currently, over half of Americans pay no income tax.”

Roberts, not to be confused with the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative chief justice, quoted Scott’s plan directly and told the NRSC chairman, “That would raise taxes on half of Americans and potentially sunset programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Why would you propose something like that in an election year?”

Scott disingenuously responded, “That’s, of course, the Democrat talking points” — and Roberts told him, “No, no, it’s in the plan…. Senator, it’s not a Democratic talking point. It’s in the plan.”

HuffPost’s Josephine Harvey notes that during a recent appearance on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show, Scott “got away with making false claims” about what’s in his Rescue America Plan. But Roberts clearly had no intention of letting Scott lie about what’s in his own plan.

McConnell recently said of Scott’s Rescue America Plan, “We will not have as part of our agenda a bill that raises taxes on half the American people and sunsets Social Security and Medicare within five years.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Fox News Staff Keep Quitting — And Accusing Network Of ‘Propaganda’

Chris Wallace, the longtime host of Fox News Sunday, is the latest example of a curious phenomenon: Fox News veterans leaving the network and then telling the public that their former employer is a right-wing propaganda outlet.

“I’m fine with opinion: conservative opinion, liberal opinion,” Wallace told The New York Times in an interview published Sunday. “But when people start to question the truth — Who won the 2020 election? Was January 6 an insurrection? — I found that unsustainable.”

“Some people might have drawn the line earlier, or at a different point,” he added. “I think Fox has changed over the course of the last year and a half. But I can certainly understand where somebody would say, ‘Gee, you were a slow learner, Chris.’”

Indeed, Wallace learned more slowly than several of his former colleagues, who left Fox in recent years as its right-wing stars became more volatile, its “news side” atrophied, and the network as a whole remade itself as President Donald Trump’s propaganda channel. They all say more or less the same thing about their previous employer.

Carl Cameron, Fox’s chief political correspondent, left in 2017, explaining that “over the years, the right-wing hosts drowned out straight journalism with partisan misinformation.” Ralph Peters said after quitting his post as a strategic analyst in 2018 that “with the rise of Donald Trump, Fox did become a destructive propaganda machine.” Network anchor Shepard Smith, who abruptly resigned in 2019, said “that his presence on Fox became untenable as opinion shows on the network spread falsehoods that hosts knew were lies,” as CNN put it. Politics editor Chris Stirewalt said after he was fired in early 2021 that during the Trump years, Fox became “an arm of a political party.” The list goes on.

Patterns like this are atypical. Journalists and commentators do not routinely leave and decry their former employers as partisan hacks via other news outlets. On the rare instances when something like that does happen – when the likes of Lara Logan leave CBS News, claiming the network is biased – it becomes apparent that the problem was with the employee, not the employer.

But this keeps happening at Fox because its “news side” journalists have always been cogs in a right-wing propaganda machine. People like Wallace make a lot of money leasing their reputations to Fox, and they tell themselves that they make its coverage better than it would have been otherwise. But Fox’s executives and PR staff use their presence as evidence the network is a legitimate news source, boosting its standing with the public, politicians, other journalists, and advertisers.

These cogs are finding their breaking points as Fox gets more openly propagandistic, corrupt, dishonest, and dangerous. Wallace’s final straw came last December after the airing of Fox star Tucker Carlson’s Patriot Purge special, an obscene defense of the January 6 insurrectionists.

But morally abhorrent Fox content like that exists because it is exactly what Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch and the rest of the brass want from the network’s stars.

Cogs can be replaced, and Wallace surely will be. He says working at Fox became “unsustainable” for him after Patriot Purge. That means that while many of his longtime colleagues quit over previous Fox malfeasance, he was willing to bear everything up to that point. In the same way, whoever takes over Wallace’s Sunday show slot will, by definition, be someone who finds it sustainable to work at the network that produced Carlson’s conspiracy theory magnum opus.

That person will remain at their post until they make enough money, Fox reaches new depths of depravity, or both. And then they’ll be the ones dishing to reporters about how they regret that Fox’s standards recently became unacceptable.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Fox News Slimes Green Groups With Bogus ‘Kremlin Gold’ Attack

As Russia’s foreign minister praises Fox News coverage of war in Ukraine, the network has exploited the crisis to villainize the environmental movement, capitalizing on the global economic sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s invasion to recycle previously debunked claims that Russia is secretly funding “green campaigns” against oil drilling and fracking in the U.S.

Fox hosts and personalities took their cues from a March 10 letter from Republican members of the House Energy Committee asking three environmental groups – the League of Conservation Voters, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Sierra Club – to provide evidence of any financial support from Russia. Yet, as the Washington Post Fact Checker explains, the “bogus” allegations in the letter are remnants of a 2017 scandal concocted by Republicans to distract from an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Here are some examples of Fox pushing this lie:

  • Fox host Jesse Watters suggested green energy campaigns “are taking dirty Russian money” in order “to scare Americans out of fracking and energy exploration.” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 3/3/22]
  • Watters, and co-host Greg Gutfeld pushed this evidence-free claim again, saying that green energy campaigns in America are funded by Russia to increase dependence on foreign oil. [Fox News, The Five, 3/4/22]
  • Fox’s Carley Shimkus stated that “a lot of Republicans are calling for an investigation into whether Russia was funding climate change groups in the U.S.” Co-host Rachel Campos-Duffy followed up, “Of course they were.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/16/22]
  • Gutfeld spent his monologue ranting that “the left are in lockstep with what Putin wants, for us to be dependent on other countries like his for energy,” saying “Russia duped Europe into depending on their energy by funding rabid environmental groups” and spread “disinformation within green groups to steer countries away from fracking and shale gas.” [Fox News, Gutfeld!, 3/16/22]
  • Later in the episode, Gutfeld suggested that opposition to fracking in the U.S. had been “driven” by Russian propaganda efforts: “The past 10 years, all this stuff – all the documentaries, all the Hollywood celebrities, all the stuff about fracking – might have all been driven by Russia, or at least paying for that.” [Fox News, Gutfeld!, 3/16/22]
  • Gutfeld repeated the claim yet again the next day, saying the Democrats should be thanking Putin for rising gas prices “because after all, it was Russia who infiltrated the green groups to get us off our domestic oil and buy their foreign oil.” [Fox News, The Five, 3/17/22]

Fox personalities have been criticized for pro-Kremlin commentary – and the Kremlin itself has noticed, as exposed by minister Sergey Lavrov's remarks about Fox and a recently reported memo from the Russian government that directed the country’s media outlets to promote as many clips of Fox News star Tucker Carlson as possible. (The Kremlin’s propaganda and Carlson’s own rhetoric have remarkable similarities.) The narratives parroted by Fox to earn this praise – from blaming Joe Biden for rising gas prices to suggestions the war in Ukraine is pushed by elitist self-interests – are baseless and incendiary. Their recent push of easily debunked anti-environmental conspiracies is no different.

The allegations stem from whether the aforementioned environmental groups received donations from the Sea Change Foundation, an environmental philanthropy group run by billionaire Nat Simons. In 2015, a baseless report from the GOP lobbyist-led front group Environmental Policy Alliance accused the law firm that set up a Bermuda-based company financing Sea Change of having extremely vague ties to an adviser to Putin. The firm refuted these allegations as “completely false and irresponsible,” saying, “We can state categorically that at no point did this philanthropic organization receive or expend funds from Russian sources or Russian-connected sources.” In fact, the sole source of the foundation’s funding is the Simons family. Despite the appearance of Kremlin-linked donations being obliterated, that did not stop 2017 House GOP members from requesting an investigation, and now recycling the debunked claims.

The network’s hosts and guests – primarily recently promoted prime-time stars Jesse Watters and Greg Gutfeld – are also conflating a separate online article from Fox that quotes “experts” like the Heritage Foundation’s James Carafano noting that “Russians actually fund some of the most rabid environmental groups in Europe.” (Carafano has been a vocal critic of climate science and recently co-authored a piece describing the Biden administration’s climate policies as a “titanic disaster in waiting.”) The article’s so-called “experts” also included right-wing media’s favorite climate contrarian, Michael Shellenberger, a notorious natural gas advocate who’s pushed lies about the cost and efficiency of renewable energy.

The Republicans point to a 2017 national intelligence report that highlighted a Russian state news channel, RT America, that ran “anti-fracking programming,” and was trying to expand its U.S. audience. Not only did the report not provide any evidence that the channel had been successful, but as of March 4, RT America announced it was “ceasing production.” It is simply preposterous to believe that over a decade of fracking commentary was driven by the network prior to its dissolution.

Some efforts against European drilling and fracking have been linked to Kremlin propaganda designed to increase dependency on Russian oil exports, but with each reshaping of the conspiracy theory, there has been no evidence of any similarly funded successful campaign in the United States.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

#Endorse This: Schwarzenegger Delivers Beautiful Message To Russians

So we now live in a world where members of one major political party (ahem, Republicans) are feckless, disgraceful attention-whores siding with Vladimir Putin -- and former action stars are thoughtful, empathetic, and patriotic leaders.

While Fox News is pumping a steady stream of Kremlin propaganda , renowned actor and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has appealed directly to the people of Russia as he seeks to “debunk mistruths” surrounding the invasion of Ukraine.

Schwarzenegger, claiming to be a “longtime friend of the Russian people”, told them bluntly that “Ukraine did not start the war”.

“Those in power in the Kremlin started this war. This is not the Russian people’s war,” the actor said -- and they “are not being told the truth about consequences.”

New CNN Boss Seeking ‘Ceasefire’ With Fox News

CNN hosts haven’t been shy about bashing Fox News, which has given them plenty of material to work with — whether it’s Laura Ingraham promoting the nonsense conspiracy theory that Antifa leftists attacked the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021 or Tucker Carlson praising authoritarians like Russian President Vladimir Putin and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. But according to Daily Beast reporters Lachlan Cartwright, Justin Baragona and Zachary Petrizzo, CNN is seeking a “truce with Fox News” under its new president, Chris Licht.

In a Source Material column published on March 8, the Beast reporters explain, “In recent years, CNN has become known for its forceful coverage of Fox News and its partisan talking heads who’ve played enormous roles in influencing former President Donald Trump and the right-wing media ecosystem that supports him. In turn, Fox News has returned the favor, often attacking CNN stars — sometimes with potshots about their physical appearances.”

But Licht, according to Cartwright, Baragona and Petrizzo, is seeking more reporting and less commentary at CNN — and less commentary means less Fox News-bashing.

“New CNN honcho Chris Licht doesn’t actually start until May, but ever the savvy ‘operator,’ he has already begun backchanneling with key figures, including agents and reporters, and, according to two insiders familiar with the matter, making it known to Fox News that he is working towards a cease-fire on his network’s aggressive coverage of them,” the Beast journalists report. “On Sunday, (March 6), there were notably no mentions of Fox News on CNN’s marquee media show, ‘Reliable Sources,’ hosted by Brian Stelter, who last year, penned a New York Times Best Seller titled ‘Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth.’”

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to according to Cartwright, Baragona and Petrizzo, has underscored CNN’s expertise when it comes to hard news reporting — and Licht wants CNN to move more in that direction.

“According to two people familiar with the situation, the former ‘Late Show’ boss — who has been described to Source Material as an intense ‘social climber’ by several people who’ve watched his star rise over the years — will work to tone down the often opinionated and emotional reporting from stars like Jim Acosta, Brianna Keilar, and especially Don Lemon, who currently hosts the network’s ratings-deficient 10 p.m. to midnight programming. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has demonstrated CNN’s prowess — rivaled only by that of the BBC — for hard-news-gathering during major news events. Under Licht, expect to see more boots-on-the-ground reporting and fewer partisan panels with talking heads like former Trump staffer Alyssa Farah.”

Indeed, Clarissa Ward’s hard news reporting for CNN from Ukrainian cities during the Ukraine/Russia conflict has been stellar.

Since his departure from Fox News, Chris Wallace has been part of the CNN+ team — and the Beast journalists report that Wallace’s name is “being floated internally” at CNN “to take the key 9 p.m. slot” formerly occupied by Chris Cuomo.

“Licht may look externally to make a splashy new hire,” according to Cartwright, Baragona and Petrizzo. “One name that continues to pop up is Brian Williams, who revived his career at MSNBC before exiting last year and is looking for one final act, according to two people familiar with his thinking. It would be quite the comeback for Williams, who has always had his sights set on a nighttime talk show — and who better to orchestrate such a move than Licht, who reworked Stephen Colbert’s show and took it to first place in the late-night ratings.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Carlson Scapegoats Harris To Justify Craven Flip-Flop On Ukraine

Fox News host Tucker Carlson previously defended Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin’s aggression against Ukraine, and his work has been promoted by Kremlin-backed media as he’s opposed economic sanctions and denigrated Ukraine. But amid continued Russian atrocities, such as the attack on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Carlson is now trying to find a scapegoat for his having gotten the entire situation completely wrong.

It should come with little surprise that he picked out a woman of color to be that scapegoat: Vice President Kamala Harris.

Carlson has a long history of making disgusting sexist comments – while claiming that criticism of his misogyny is evidence of the decline of civilization. He is also the single biggest champion of white nationalism in the media landscape today. When it comes to his attacks on Harris, Carlson’s penchant for racism and misogyny often become intertwined.

Carlson declared Thursday night that Harris’ involvement in rallying America’s allies ahead of the Russian invasion of Ukraine “appeared to be proof this could not really be a big deal,” as “if things were dire, serious people would be involved in fixing them.” Carlson continued, “If the future of Europe and the world hung in the balance as now, so obviously, it does, of course, the Biden administration would not have sent Kamala Harris to fix it.” Apparently, Carlson seems to think the vice president of the United States is capable of engaging only in frivolities.

In the real world, two weeks ago, Harris had in fact warned Russia that the global community would “impose far-reaching financial sanctions” if it invaded Ukraine as she worked to rally America’s partners and allies to deter Russian aggression. She also informed the public in no uncertain terms about the seriousness of the situation, bluntly stating that it involved “the real possibility of war in Europe.” In the time since, the United States has led the global effort to impose economic sanctions against Russia and hold the line in defense of NATO allies.

Over the course of his ranting monologue, Carlson denigrated Harris’ efforts at diplomacy in starkly misogynistic terms. “Imagine being first in line for a shoe sale on Black Friday. Kamala Harris had that look: She knew what she wanted and she knew where to find it.” He also returned to his ongoing obsession with Harris’ love life, proclaiming “So if you're looking for someone to date Montel Williams, well, maybe she’s the person you would choose. She could be a solid choice for that, she has done it before. Dating Montel Williams, you know, is something that’s within her range of experience” then adding that he could not say whether or not she was “good at it.”

Carlson also told a blatant lie based on a selectively edited quote, claiming that Harris had “explicitly encouraged Ukraine to join NATO. Quote, ‘I appreciate and admire President Zelensky's desire to join NATO.’ She said that at a press event.”

Carlson went on to falsely allege that “the idea that Ukraine might join NATO obviously caused this crisis in the first place, whatever you think of it. … So obviously, no sane person would say something like that with Russian troops massed on the Ukrainian border. You'd have to want an invasion of Ukraine to say something like that.” (Russia caused this crisis, not NATO, and not Ukraine.)

Carlson quoted Harris saying, “I appreciate and admire President Zelensky's desire to join NATO,” while leaving out everything else she said while speaking to reporters in Munich, Germany, on February 20. Harris acknowledged Ukraine’s publicly established desire to join NATO’s alliance of democracies — in contrast to Russia’s attempt to dictate domestic and foreign policy to Ukraine — while also balancing that desire with NATO’s established processes of determining new membership. From the White House (emphasis added):

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Let me start by saying I appreciate and admire President Zelenskyy’s desire to join NATO. And one of, again, the founding principles of NATO is that each country must have the ability — unimpaired, unimpeded — to determine their own future, both in terms of their form of government and, in this case, whether they desire to be a member of NATO.
And I’ll put that in context, because the obvious is also the point, which is that: and therefore no other country can tell anyone whether they should or should not join NATO. That should be their independent choice. That is the point of sovereignty. So I respect President Zelenskyy’s desire to be a member of NATO.
NATO is a membership. It is about nations coming together as a group, making decisions collectively around, again, principles and what will be, then, the conditions and — and the standards of membership. And so that is the process.
It doesn’t happen overnight. No one country can say “I want to be, and therefore I will be.” And no one country can say “You can’t be.” And isn’t that at the heart of the very issue we’re presented with in terms of Russia’s aggression, or stated aggression, toward Ukraine?

Of course, acknowledging Harris’ full statement would not only have run completely counter to what Carlson was trying to allege she had said — it would also demonstrate the extent of her knowledge and involvement with the complex policies involved, thus disproving his entire attempt to turn her into a scapegoat for his own propaganda campaign in favor of Russian dictatorship.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters