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On the November 26 edition of Fox News Sunday, Fox News correspondent Lucas Tomlinson declared, “The oldest president in U.S. history also continues to face questions about his age, even here in Nantucket,” followed by video of President Joe Biden reacting to a yelled question — “Mr. President, are you too old to be running for reelection?” — which was clearly Tomlinson’s own voice. In reporting the story to his Fox audience, however, Tomlinson did not make it clear that he was the one who asked the question.
Fox News anchor Shannon Bream soon concluded the segment, “All right, Lucas, on the road with the president in Nantucket, thank you very much,” again confirming that Tomlinson was the reporter following Biden around for the Fox team.
Tomlinson had previously appeared Saturday night on Fox’s The Big Weekend Show, in which he and the co-hosts discussed that he had asked Biden those questions. But by Sunday morning, Tomlinson’s depiction of the event on Fox’s flagship “straight news” show had become that Biden “continues to face questions” that Tomlinson himself had been asking.
Numerous commentators and media critics on X (formerly known as Twitter) called out Tomlinson’s report from Sunday morning, including describing it as the “epitome of astroturfing a political attack.” The ridicule piled on further against Tomlinson:
- Washington Post media reporter Paul Farhi wrote: “It’s kind of a perpetual motion machine: 1. Report that X ‘continues to face questions;’ 2. Continue to ask those questions; 3. Report that the questions continue; 4. Repeat…”
- The Poynter Institute’s Tom Jones wrote that Tomlinson’s behavior was “deceitful and disingenuous.”
- The conservative media outlet Newsweekran with an understated and deadpan headline, “Fox News Reporter Appears to Leave Out Key Point in Attack on Biden's Age.”
- Tomlinson’s tweet now features a community note on X itself: “This post lacks context. The reporter that asked the question is this reporter, Lucas Tomlinson.”
On Monday, Fox anchor Dana Perino briefly played the clips of Tomlinson’s questions to Biden, with Perino declaring that Biden was “finding no escape from his dismal polling during his Nantucket getaway” — again, with Perino failing to acknowledge that the clip was of a Fox reporter.
Fox anchor Harris Faulkner later played the video clip again, presenting a seemingly new spin from the network on what had just happened by declaring that “the president was not happy about some of the questions from our very own Lucas Tomlinson.” (In fact, people are mocking Tomlinson for the dishonest manner in which he’d presented his question to viewers.)
Tomlinson’s actions over the holiday weekend (followed by Perino and Faulkner’s public obfuscation) should serve as a reminder that Fox is not a news organization at all, but is instead a partisan propaganda organ that exists to spread the network’s chosen political narratives.
Tomlinson’s conduct also needs to be placed in the context of double standards by Fox News — and indeed, a lot of mainstream media outlets, as well — which have sought to portray Biden as too old while simultaneously downplaying or ignoring former president and likely 2024 Republican nominee Donald Trump’s numerous misstatements. Moreover, the two men are nearly the same age, a fact that news outlets also tend to ignore.
Reprinted with permission from Media Matters
- Biden May Have Lost A Step -- But Trump Is Dazed, Confused And Kooky (VIDEO) ›
- Study: National TV And Cable Networks Mostly Ignore Trump's Gaffes ›
- Is The New York Times Doing To Biden What It Did To Hillary In 2016? ›
- Yes, Biden Is Old -- But Let's Compare Him To The Alternative ›
- What Makes Age An Asset For Joe Biden And Me -- And The Nation ›
Many liberal and progressive pundits have been predicting a "brain drain" from red states — skillful, college-educated doctors, university professors and teachers leaving because of oppressive MAGA policies. OB-GYNs are worried about draconian anti-abortion laws; teachers and librarians are under attack from the far-right Moms for Liberty.
The New Republic's Timothy Noah, in an article published on November 22, emphasizes that the "brain drain" from red states isn't something that may or may not happen in the future — it's already underway.
"Republican-dominated states are pushing out young professionals by enacting extremist conservative policies," Noah reports. "Abortion restrictions are the most sweeping example, but state laws restricting everything from academic tenure to transgender health care to the teaching of 'divisive concepts' about race are making these states uncongenial to knowledge workers."
Noah continues, "The precise effect of all this on the brain drain is hard to tease out from migration statistics because the Dobbs decision is still fairly new, and because red states were bleeding college graduates even before the culture war heated up. The only red state that brings in more college graduates than it sends elsewhere is Texas, but the evidence is everywhere that hard-right social policies in red states are making this dynamic worse."
Noah cites specific examples, including doctors Kate Arnold and Caroline Flint — a same-sex married couple who left deep red Oklahoma and moved to Washington, D.C. to get away from Republican anti-abortion and anti-contraception activities as well as book bans in their former state
"Kate Arnold and Caroline Flint are two bright, energetic, professionally trained, and public-spirited women whom Washington is happy to welcome — they both quickly found jobs —even though it doesn't particularly need them," Noah explains. "The places that need Kate and Caroline are Oklahoma and Mississippi and Idaho and various other conservative states where similar stories are playing out daily. These two fortyish doctors have joined an out-migration of young professionals — accelerated by the culture wars of recent years and pushed to warp speed by Dobbs — that's known as the Red State Brain Drain."
School teacher Tyler Hallstedt, according to Noah, left Tennessee for Michigan because of GOP education policies. And teachers in Texas, Noah notes, have been "quitting at a rate that's 25 percent above the national average," while South Carolina has "teacher shortages in 17 subject areas this school year, more than any other state."
"With the sole exception of Texas," Noah explains, "red states are bleeding college graduates. It's happening even in relatively prosperous Florida. And much as Republicans may scorn Joe and Jane College, they need them to deliver their babies, to teach their children, to pay taxes — college grads pay more than twice as much in taxes — and to provide a host of other services that only people with undergraduate or graduate degrees are able to provide. Red states should be welcoming Kate and Caroline and Tyler and Delana. Instead, they're driving them away, and that's already costing them dearly."
Reprinted with permission from Alternet.