Tag: laura ingraham
Rupert Murdoch

Amid Fox Election Scandal, Rising Calls On Twitter To Deport Rupert Murdoch

Days after a newly filed court brief unveiled, in painstaking detail, the duplicity of the Fox News network's coverage of the 2020 presidential election, calls have grown for its billionaire owner, Rupert Murdoch, to be deported.

Twitter users blasted Murdoch over the weekend after Dominion Voting Systems' bombshell brief Thursday showed the media mogul, along with his star hosts and executives at the right-wing network, broadcast baseless election fraud allegations they privately acknowledged weren't true.

According to Dominion, Fox News hosts Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, and Sean Hannity repeatedly ridiculed then-President Donald Trump and his allies for alleging without evidence that the 2020 election was stolen — false charges the hosts simultaneously peddled on air at the time.

As of Sunday, neither Fox nor the New York Post — two arms of Murdoch's media empire — had reported on the damning revelation. On Friday, the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal branded Dominion's $1.6 billion lawsuit a "case [that] primarily centers on false theories pushed on Fox programs by associates of [Trump]." The report named Carlson and Ingraham twice and glossed over Hannity altogether.

What all three news outlets have done incopiousamounts since President Joe Biden took office, however, is rail against his administration's immigration policies.

Anti-Immigration Trio

Fox, for example, has published over 40 reports on "border security" since Monday, February 13, a search on its website for the keyword showed.

In one of his late-night shows last July, Carlson blasted the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. This decades-old federal law eliminated a quota system limiting the number of people from a nation who could migrate to the United States.

Ranting about a George Soros-linked organization he said was "helping young border crossers avoid deportation," Carlson asked, "Why is some foreign-born billionaire allowed to change our country fundamentally?"

"Actually, Tucker, the bigger question is whether or not you remember who signs your paychecks," Rolling Stone's Kat Bouza wrote at the time.

Carlson's boss, Murdoch, is an Australian-born entrepreneur. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1985 to bypass an American law that barred foreign nationals from owning more than 20 percent of an American broadcasting license.

Murdoch and Carlson secretly ridiculed Trump's voter fraud claims, which hit the airwaves even before election night was over, the New York Times reported Thursday.

Ratings Over Facts

In private communications, Carlson called Trump, the peddler-in-chief of the Big Lie, a "demonic force who excels at "destroying things."

"He’s the undisputed world champion of that. He could easily destroy us if we play it wrong," Carlson wrote, according to TheGuardian.

“Terrible stuff damaging everybody, I fear, ” Murdoch wrote to Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott after watching an unhinged press conference by Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell on November 19, 2020.

Murdoch, text messages in Dominion's filing further showed, thought the fraud allegations were "really crazy stuff" and that it would be “very hard to credibly claim foul everywhere," reported the Washington Post.

Ingraham called Powell "a complete nut," while Carlson branded the "Kraken" attorney an “unguided missile” and “dangerous as hell.”

Other top executives of the network shared Murdoch's view of the false fraud claims but, like their colleagues, kept mum about the truth for fear of losing viewers to nascent far-right news channels publicly endorsing the baseless claims of fraud.

Bill Sammon, the network's Washington bureau chief at the time, privately remarked on Fox's 2020 election coverage, writing, “It’s remarkable how weak ratings make good journalists do bad things.”

In a brief filed Thursday, Fox said Dominion had “cherry-picked quotes stripped of key context" to buttress what it said was the voting machine maker's flawed view of defamation law.

“There will be a lot of noise and confusion generated by Dominion and their opportunistic private equity owners, but the core of this case remains about freedom of the press and freedom of speech," the network said.

'Denaturalize And Forcibly Deport'

The revelation has, nevertheless, spurred calls for the U.S. government to deal Murdoch the same hand that his news organizations have advocated for other less-powerful immigrants.

"Denaturalize and forcibly deport: [Rupert Murdoch]. §1481.(7) ...violating section 2384 of title 18 by engaging in a conspiracy to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States," a Twitter user wrote on Friday.

Several others in the Twitterverse had echoed the call.

Lachlan Murdoch

They Knew It Was A Lie: Fox News Purposely Pushed Deception On 2020 Voting

A recent filing in the Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit against Fox News reveals how much the network knew it was pushing false claims to its viewers in the aftermath of the 2020 election by suggesting that Dominion’s voting machines were involved in voter fraud.

In March 2021, Dominion filed a defamation suit against Fox for the false claims the network pushed after the election. Those false claims were extensive: In the two-week period after Fox News declared Joe Biden the president-elect, the network questioned the results of the election or pushed conspiracy theories about it almost 800 times, including by using Dominion as a scapegoat. Fox became an outlet that aired Trump campaign lies about Dominion voting machines getting hacked without any evidence.

For Dominion to prove defamation, the company must show that Fox acted with “actual malice,” meaning that Fox knew the allegations made about Dominion were false or that Fox acted in reckless disregard for the truth. On February 16, Dominion’s brief calling for a summary judgment in its favor was released to the public. As Dominion detailed in the filing, “literally dozens of people with editorial responsibility—from the top of the organization to the producers of specific shows to the hosts themselves—acted with actual malice.” Indeed, the filing shows “lies in twenty accused statements across six different shows with the active involvement of numerous Fox Executives.”

Here are some of the damning quotes from the filing showing how much Fox’s executives and employees knew they were lying about Dominion or the election at the time:

  • Fox star Tucker Carlson to his producer Alex Pfeiffer about Sidney Powell, one of Trump's campaign lawyers: “Powell is lying.” [11/16/20]
  • Host Laura Ingraham to Carlson and fellow host Sean Hannity: “Sidney Powell is a bit nuts. Sorry but she is.” [11/15/20]
  • Carlson to Ingraham: “Sidney Powell is lying by the way. I caught her. It’s insane.” Ingraham replied: “Sidney is a complete nut. No one will work with her. Ditto with Rudy.” Carlson replied: “It’s unbelievably offensive to me. Our viewers are good people and they believe it.” [11/19/20]
  • Fox Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch: “Really crazy stuff.” [11/19/20]
  • Murdoch after watching Giuliani and Powell on November 19, 2020: “Terrible stuff damaging everybody, I fear.” Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott replied, “Yes Sean [Hannity] and even [Jeanine] Pirro agrees.” [11/19/20]
  • Fox reporter Lucas Tomlinson to anchor Bret Baier: “It’s dangerously insane these conspiracy theories.” [12/1/2020]
  • Fox Politics Editor Chris Stirewalt on whether the allegation that Dominion rigged the election was true: “No reasonable person would have thought that.”
  • Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott responded “Yes, I believe that,” to the question “You believe, since at least the time that Fox News called the election on November 7th, that Joe Biden was legitimately elected the President of the United States, correct?”
  • As the filing outlined, Carlson texted a redacted name “that it was ‘shockingly reckless’ to claim that Dominion rigged the election ‘[i]f there’s no one inside the company willing to talk, or internal Dominion documents or copies of the software showing that they did it’ and ‘as you know there isn’t.’” [11/21/20]
  • Fox’s internal “fact checks” about Dominion allegations reported they were “incorrect” and “not evidence of widespread fraud.” [11/13/20; 11/20/20]
  • After canceling Pirro’s November 7 show, Fox executive David Clark told Executive Vice President of Primetime Programming Meade Cooper: “Her guests are all going to say the election is being stolen and if she pushes back at all it will just be token.”
  • Ingraham’s producer Tommy Firth texted Fox executive Ron Mitchell: “This dominion shit is going to give me a fucking aneurysm—as many times as I’ve told Laura it’s bs, she sees shit posters and trump tweeting about it.” [11/8/20]
  • Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott to Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch: “Viewers going through the 5 stages of grief. It’s a question of trust—the AZ [call] was damaging but we will highlight our stars and plant flags letting the viewers know we hear them and respect them.” Murdoch replied: “Yes. But needs constant rebuilding without any missteps.” Scott responded: “Yes today is day one and it’s a process.” [11/9/20]
  • Fox News Washington, D.C., Managing Editor Bill Sammon to Fox Political Editor Chris Stirewalt on the network’s coverage of “supposed election fraud”: “It’s remarkable how weak ratings make[] good journalists do bad things.” [12/2/20]
  • Carlson to Ingraham: Powell’s “a nut, as you said at the outset. It totally wrecked my weekend. Wow... I had to try to make the WH disavow her, which they obviously should have done long before.” Ingraham responded to Carlson: “No serious lawyer could believe what they were saying.” [11/22/20]
  • Rupert Murdoch told Scott to read a Wall Street Journal piece about Newsmax, telling her: “These people should be watched, if skeptically. Trump will concede eventually and we should concentrate on Georgia, helping any way we can. We don’t want to antagonize Trump further, but Giuliani taken with a large grain of salt. Everything at stake here.” [11/16/20]
  • Scott: “Privately, I had a number of conversations with Sean where he wanted the President to accept the results.”
  • After White House correspondent Kristen Fisher fact-checked Giuliani and Powell’s press conference, she received a call from her boss, Bryan Boughton, in which he “emphasized that higher-ups at Fox News were also unhappy with it,” and said that Fisher “needed to do a better job of…—this is a quote—‘respecting our audience.’” [11/19/20]
  • Fox Corp. Senior Vice President Raj Shah wrote: “shit is so crazy right now. so many people openly denying the obvious that Powell is clearly full of it.” Carlson’s producer Alex Pfeiffer replied: “She is a fucking nutcase.” [11/22/20]
  • Rupert Murdoch told Suzanne Scott, “It’s been suggested our prime time three should independently or together say something like ‘the election is over and Joe Biden won,’” and that such a statement “would go a long way to stop the Trump myth that the election [was] stolen.” [1/5/21]
  • Carlson complained to Hannity about Fox News reporter Jacqui Heinrich, who “was ‘fact checking’ a tweet by Trump that mentioned Dominion—and specifically mentioned Hannity’s and Dobbs’ broadcasts that evening discussing Dominion” Carlson reportedly wrote: “Please get her fired. Seriously....What the fuck? I’m actually shocked...It needs to stop immediately, like tonight. It’s measurably hurting the company. The stock price is down. Not a joke.” [11/12/20]
  • According to the filing, “Ingraham herself testified that she has no basis to believe Dominion committed election fraud by rigging the 2020 Presidential Election or that it is owned by a company founded in Venezuela to rig elections for Hugo Chavez (and agreed its ownership is ‘readily ascertainable’).”
  • Anchor Dana Perino also called the voter fraud allegations “total bs,” “insane,” and “nonsense.”
  • Powell sent an email to Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo about voter fraud claims that “Powell had received from a ‘source’ which the author herself describes as ‘pretty wackadoodle.’” According to the filing, “Bartiromo agreed at her deposition that this email was ‘nonsense’ … and inherently unreliable.”
  • As the filing laid out:
Each circumstantial factor cuts strongly in Dominion’s favor. But here, the words of multiple Fox employees provide overwhelming direct evidence of actual malice. In addition to the evidence cited above, the excerpts below feature just some of the additional examples showing Fox employees knew at the time that these claims—and the guests promoting them—were:
  • “ludicrous” –Tucker Carlson [11/20/20]
  • “totally off the rails” –Tucker Carlson [12/24/20]
  • “F’ing lunatics” –Sean Hannity [12/22/20]
  • “nuts” –Dana Perino [11/16/20]
  • “complete bs” –Producer John Fawcett to Lou Dobbs [11/27/20]
  • “kooky” –Maria Bartiromo, regarding email received from Powell [11/07/20]
  • “MIND BLOWINGLY NUTS” –Raj Shah, Fox Corporation SVP [11/21/20]

Fox knew that it was pushing lies about Dominion and the election, and the network continued to smear the company and spread conspiracy theories anyway.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Tucker Carlson Gaslighting His Sudden ‘Pivot’ On Ukraine

Tucker Carlson Gaslighting His Sudden ‘Pivot’ On Ukraine

Tucker Carlson is utterly baffled that people would think he is rooting for Vladimir Putin and Russia in its war on Ukraine. “You know, it’s such an awful thing to say,” he said on his Fox News show Monday, after playing a clip of Congressman Eric Swalwell saying he and other Republicans were on Putin’s side. “We hesitated to play that, even—it’s very common, you hear it every day. The question is: Why are they saying that? It doesn’t make any sense.”

Gaslighting, of course, has become Carlson’s specialty. In reality, Carlson spent most of the month prior to the invasion praising Putin and echoing Russian propaganda: running down Ukraine, deriding it as a “State Department client state”—not a democracy, but “a tyranny”—and claiming that Russia just wants to keep its borders secure, everything the fault of Joe Biden. So much so that he became the hero of Russian state television, where his rants were translated and replayed, and he was praised as an astute American.

Now that the horror is hitting home, Carlson suddenly has realized that he backed the wrong horse and is scurrying hard to dig his way out. The first step in that, of course, is gaslighting his audience about what he had been saying just the week before, and blaming the war on Putin now—yet somehow it’s still all Joe Biden’s fault. Those clips have yet to appear on Russian TV.

The major tone shift occurred Friday, a day after the invasion: “It’s a tragedy, because war always is a tragedy, and the closer you get to it, the more horrifying it seems,” he said. He also squarely put the onus on Russia and Putin: “He is to blame for what we’re seeing tonight in Ukraine.”

“Vladimir Putin started this war, so whatever the context of the decision that he made, he did it,” he said. “He fired the first shots.”

It’s a sharp and complete reversal of his previous arguments. On Feb. 17, he spouted Russian propaganda in claiming that Ukraine is not a legitimate nation. He also attacked U.S. officials who provided military aid to Ukraine.

“These people are so ghoulish,” Carlson said. “Of course they’re promoting war, not to maintain the democracy that is Ukraine. Ukraine is not a democracy. It has never been a democracy in its history, and it’s not now. It’s a client state of the Biden administration.”

This narrative became a staple of Carlson’s defense of Russia’s war. On his Feb. 22 show, he again spouted Putin’s propaganda: “The point here is to defend democracy. Not that Ukraine is a democracy. It’s not a democracy. Ukraine’s president has arrested his main political opponent, he has shut down newspapers and television stations that have dared to criticize him. So in American terms, you would call Ukraine a tyranny. But Joe Biden likes Ukraine, so Putin bad, war good.”

The next day, he again dismissed Ukraine as “a State Department client state,” claiming that Democrats wanted Americans to “wholeheartedly support jumping with both feet into a highly complicated conflict in a part of Eastern Europe where we have no national interests.”

The most noteworthy part of that Feb. 22 episode, however, was how Carlson defended Putin against his “haters” by comparing him to American liberals, who he clearly saw as far more nefarious:

It might be worth asking yourself, since it is getting pretty serious, ‘What is this really about? Why do I hate Putin so much? Has Putin ever called me a racist? Has he threatened to get me fired for disagreeing with him? Has he shipped every middle class job in my town to Russia? Did he manufacture a worldwide pandemic that wrecked my business and kept me indoors for two years? Is he teaching my kids to embrace racial discrimination? Is he making fentanyl? Is he trying to snuff out Christianity? Does he eat dogs?’ These are fair questions, and the answer to all of them is no. Vladimir Putin didn’t do any of that. So do why does permanent Washington hate him so much?

The day after the invasion began, on Feb. 24, it was more of the same. The invasion, he claimed, demonstrated that Biden was a foreign-policy failure who had promised he would keep it from happening, making Putin’s war a “humiliating defeat for Joe Biden.”

Russian state media promptly began re-airing Carlson’s rants with translated subtitles, particularly the Putin-didn’t-call-me-a-racist episode. His attacks on Ukraine’s legitimacy also received heavy play. They also replayed Carlson’s Feb. 24 interview with ex-Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who told him: "Sanctions don't work. This is the whole problem with the Biden administration: They are so focused on how do we punish Putin."

The clips became the topic of Russian TV news talk shows, where Carlson was uniformly praised. “Excellent performance,” the editor of a Russian national defense journal commented. “We can only have solidarity with this view.”

Of course, Carlson is hardly alone in spreading pro-Russian propaganda on Fox News. On Feb. 24, just before bombs began falling on Ukraine, host Laura Ingraham interviewed ex-president Donald Trump by phone, who praised Putin—“I do know him very well. We’ve had many, uh, times together. I got along with him fantastically”—and ranted at length that the invasion was Biden’s fault, and the war never would have happened if the election hadn’t been stolen from him.

Near the end of the interview, Ingraham asked Trump about the speech given earlier that day by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, describing it as “a kind of really pathetic display” and described Ukraine’s United Nations ambassador as “looking like a defeated man.”

And despite the seeming change in tone, Carlson’s “pivot” still found him ardently defending Russian propaganda, and serving as its useful tool. Angry that authorities and platform owners in the U.S., Canada, and in Europe are taking action against the Kremlin-owned American news outlet Russia Today and other agitprop producers like Sputnik—both of whom also heavily replayed his pro-Russia rants—Carlson fumed that it all constituted “moral blackmail,” gaslighting away his previous remarks: “No one in America takes pride at the sight, feels anything but revulsion at the sight, of Russian troops within Ukraine.”

Sure enough, RT promptly retweeted Carlson’s clip: “Tucker Carlson defends media freedom as Senators use their power to shut down free speech on social media—especially so-called ‘Russian propaganda.’”

As Lis Wahl, a former anchor at Russia Today, explained to The Daily Beast, the distinction between a propaganda operation like RT and what’s aired on Fox News has essentially vanished:

While the American voices Russian media uses to influence Western audiences hail from the far-left and the far-right, the poison of disinformation asymmetrically originates on the ideological right. Research has demonstrated that followers of the former president stick to hyper-partisan and conspiracy-laden sources such as Breitbart, Info Wars, and Fox News. During Trump’s election and throughout his presidency, the rightwing ecosystem grew more conspiratorial, extreme, and anti-democratic. It is during this time that Russian media and right-wing media became indistinguishable.
Today, the chief purveyors of pro-Russian disinformation in the U.S. are now on Fox News. I have warned that quite often the pro-Putin claims on Fox and RT essentially mimic each other. But much of the American public, and even many in the mainstream media, fail to realize the extent to which this disinformation has become part of the fabric of the new media landscape, and therefore, American political discourse.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Why Journalists Must Disclose Conflicts Of Interest -- Before They're Exposed

Why Journalists Must Disclose Conflicts Of Interest -- Before They're Exposed

News Literacy Week 2022, an annual awareness event started by the News Literacy Project, a nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to making everyone “smart, active consumers of news and information and equal and engaged participants in a democracy” has closed out. From January 24 to 28, classes, webinars, and Twitter chats taught students and adults how to root out misinformation when consuming news media.
There’s no downplaying the importance of understanding what is accurate in the media. These days, news literacy is a survival tactic. One study estimated that at least 800 people died because they embraced a COVID falsehood — and that inquiry was conducted in the earliest months of the pandemic. About 67 percent of the unvaccinated believe at least one COVID-19 myth, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
It’s not that accurate information isn’t available; people are rejecting reports of vaccine efficacy and safety because they distrust the news media. A third of Americans polled by Gallup said they have no trust at all in mass media; another 27 percent don’t have much at all.
Getting people to believe information presented to them depends more on trust than it does on the actual data being shared. That is, improving trust isn’t an issue of improving reporting. It’s an issue of improving relationships with one’s audience.
And that’s the real news problem right now; some celebrity anchors at cable news outlets are doing little to strengthen their relationships with their audiences and a lot to strengthen their relationships with government officials.
The most obvious example is how CNN terminated Prime Time anchor Chris Cuomo last month for his failure to disclose the entirety of his role in advising his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, on the sexual harassment accusation that unfolded in Albany, a scandal that eventually led to Andrew Cuomo’s resignation.
But there are others. Just this month, the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol revealed that another anchor on another cable news network, Laura Ingraham of Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle, texted then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows last January, advising Meadows how Trump should react to reports of possible armed protests at state capitols around the country. This revelation followed the story that Sean Hannity, host of the eponymous news hour at Fox News, also texted Meadows with advice last year.
And while he didn't advise a government official, CNN anchor Don Lemon revealed information not available to the public when he texted embattled Empire actor Jussie Smollett to tip him off about the Chicago Police Department’s wavering faith in his story about an assault. That’s from Smollett’s own sworn testimony.
When English philosopher Edmund Burke joked about the press being the Fourth Estate — in addition to the First, Second and Third (the clergy, nobility and commoners, respectively) — his point was that, despite their influence on each other, these “estates” — bastions of power — are supposed to be separate.
The Fourth Estate will always be an essential counterweight to government. But, since Donald Trump was elected in 2016, we’ve been so focused on stopping an executive branch from pressing the press to support an administration's agenda — either by belittling journalists or threatening to arrest them for doing their jobs — that we’ve ignored the ways that it affects and influences other Estates, and not necessarily through its reporting.
That is, we have news personalities-cum-reporters who are influencing government policy — and not telling us about it until it’s too late.
The United States has fostered an incredible closeness between the Second Estate — which in 2021 and 2022 would be political leaders — and the Fourth Estate. About a year ago, an Axios reporter had to be reassigned because she was dating one of President Biden’s press secretaries. Last year, James Bennet, the former editorial page editor of the New York Times and brother of Colorado Senator and 2020 Presidential candidate Michael Bennet, had to recuse himself publicly from the Gray Lady’s endorsement process. In 2013, the Washington Post reported at least eight marriages between Obama officials and established journalists.
To be clear, there aren’t any accusations that anyone just mentioned engaged in anything other than ethical behavior. But I, for one, don’t believe that James and Michael Bennet didn’t discuss Michael’s campaign. I don’t think the Axios reporter and her West Wing-employed boyfriend — or any journalists and their federally employed spouses, for that matter — didn’t share facts that the public will never know. Such is the nature of family and intimacy.
And as long as those conversations don’t affect the coverage of any news events, there’s nothing specifically, technically wrong with them. But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t damaging.
As these stories show, when we don’t know about these advisor roles, at least not until someone other than the journalist in question exposes them, it causes a further erosion of trust in news media.
What’s foolish about the Cuomo, Ingraham, Hannity, and Lemon improprieties is that they don't necessarily need to be the problem they’ve become. Cuomo’s show contained opinion content like 46 percent of CNN’s programming. An active debate rages on as to whether Fox News is all opinion and whether or not it can rightly even be called opinion journalism since its shows are so studded with inaccuracies and lies.
What that means is that Cuomo, Ingraham, Hannity, and Lemon are allowed to take a stand as opinion journalists; Cuomo and Lemon never really worked under a mandate of objectivity and Ingraham and Hannity likely wouldn’t honor it if they did. Indeed, a certain subjectivity — and explaining how it developed for the journalist — is part of an opinion journalist’s craft. To me, little of these consulting roles would be problematic if any of these anchors had just disclosed them and the ways they advised the people they cover.
But they didn’t. Instead, the advice they dispensed to government employees and celebrities was disclosed by a third party and news of it contributes to the public’s distrust in the media. While personal PR advisory connections between journalists and politicians haven’t been pinpointed as a source of distrust, they may have an effect. Almost two-thirds of respondents in a Pew Research poll said they attributed what they deemed unfair coverage to a political agenda on the part of the news organization. No one has rigorously examined the ways in which individual journalists can swing institutional opinion so it may be part of the reason why consumers are suspicious of news.
Cleaning up ex post facto is both a violation of journalistic ethics and ineffective. Apologies and corrections after the fact don't always improve media trust. In other credibility contests, like courtroom battles, statements against one’s interests enhance a person’s believability. But that’s not necessarily true of news; a 2015 study found that corrections don’t automatically enhance a news outlet’s credibility.
It’s a new adage for the 21st century: It’s not the consulting; it’s the cover-up. Journalists need to disclose their connections to government officials — up front — to help maintain trust in news media. Lives depend on it.

Chandra Bozelko did time in a maximum-security facility in Connecticut. While inside she became the first incarcerated person with a regular byline in a publication outside of the facility. Her “Prison Diaries" column ran in The New Haven Independent, and she later established a blog under the same name that earned several professional awards. Her columns now appear regularly in The National Memo.