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Top Right-Wing Media Figures Rally Around Trump's ‘Demon Sperm’ Doctor

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

Here's how the right-wing media's obsession with conspiracy theories and the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine resulted in "demon sperm" trending on Twitter.

On Monday afternoon, Breitbart published a video featuring Houston-based pediatrician Dr. Stella Immanuel and other members of the conservative "America's Frontline Doctors" group making false and dubious claims about the novel coronavirus at a press conference organized by the right-wing political nonprofit Tea Party Patriots. Notably, during the event, Immanuel claimed hydroxychloroquine is "a cure" for COVID-19 and the numerous studies showing the drug is ineffective are "fake science." The video went hyper-viral and was repeatedly shared by President Donald Trump on Twitter before being removed by Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

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QAnon, Plandemic, And Right-Wing Media’s Conspiracy Spiral

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

The rot runs deep in the right-wing media. Just look at what happened over the last week.

On Wednesday, Sinclair Broadcast Group released a segment featuring coronavirus conspiracy theorist Judy Mikovits, who alleged that top U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci had "manufactured" the virus. The pro-Trump cable news network OAN aired a segment Thursday defending as "widely accepted" and "the new mainstream" the QAnon movement, whose adherents claim President Donald Trump is fighting a cabal of Satan-worshiping politicians and celebrities who control the world and run a child sex trafficking ring.

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Fox News Falsehoods About Virus Masks Are A Public Health Menace

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

Surgeon General Jerome Adams implored the American public to wear cloth masks to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 on Monday, saying that "this whole administration is now supportive of masks" because they are "one of the most effective ways to open our country." But wearing them "relies on the individual people of America doing the right thing," he told the hosts of Fox & Friends. "That's why I'm pleading with your viewers, I'm begging you, please understand that we are not trying to take away your freedoms when we say 'wear a face covering.'"

Fox News was the correct venue for Adams' appeal. Mounting evidence shows that mask use is a vitally important tool to curtail the spread of the pandemic that has caused more than 140,000 U.S. recorded deaths. But major Fox figures helped politicize face coverings, turning their usage into a culture war issue, and continue to blatantly misrepresent scientific findings to dispute their effectiveness.

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Racist Writer Neff Took The Fall For Tucker Carlson

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

Fox News' top executives are shocked and appalled to discover that Tucker Carlson Tonight has been harboring a bigot. No, not that one.

CEO Suzanne Scott and President Jay Wallace announced that they had accepted the resignation of the program's head writer, Blake Neff, and condemned him in a memo sent over the weekend to the network's staff. The pair cited Neff's authorship of "horrendous and deeply offensive racist, sexist and homophobic comments under a pseudonym on the forum AutoAdmit," as detailed by CNN's Oliver Darcy in an investigation published Friday. Claiming they had been unaware of his comments, the executives promised that Carlson himself would address the issue.

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Trump Campaign, Fox News Fabricate Lie To Smear Biden

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

President Donald Trump's media allies are distorting a quote from presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden in order to falsely claim that Biden called police "the enemy." The lie followed a now well-trod path from Trump's campaign to his propagandists in Fox News prime time.

Biden has called for police reform following the brutal killing of George Floyd by officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota. While describing some of his campaign's proposals during an interview with progressive activist Ady Barkan published by NowThis News on Wednesday morning, Biden highlighted the problem of police militarization and how it impacts public perceptions of law enforcement.

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How Tucker Carlson Became Trump’s Favorite Fox News Host

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

President Donald Trump frequently tweets video clips of Fox News segments that capture his fancy. But the one he sent Tuesday morning stood out nonetheless.

Trump tweeted a clip of Fox host Tucker Carlson praising the president for a speech in which Trump had echoed the divisive culture war narratives the host himself has repeatedly promoted on his program. The tweet displayed in dizzying fashion the unprecedented synergy that has developed between the president of the United States and the right-wing TV star.

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How Fox News Made Masks Another Culture War Flashpoint

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

Novel coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are once again soaring in the United States, with new epicenters in Republican-led states like Arizona, Texas, and Florida. In response, numerous Republican leaders have finally started urging Americans to wear masks in public spaces to slow the spread of the virus. But those GOP officials are fighting against figures with at least as strong a hold on their supporters as they have -- Fox News stars like Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham.

Carlson, Ingraham, and several of their colleagues have denounced masks and those who promote them, even as evidence has accumulated that masks are one of the most effective countermeasures against the coronavirus. The network's viewers have been told that mask usage is not only ineffective, but part of a conspiracy by Democrats and the media to keep Americans living in fear and under their control.

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As Biden’s Lead Widens, Hysteria Seizes Fox News Channel

President Donald Trump's reelection bid is faltering. Former Vice President Joe Biden has led in virtually every national poll of the campaign, he has a double-digit advantage in several recent polls, he has the edge in key battleground states, and he's catching up to Trump's once-dominant fundraising position. Trump's supporters can't make up ground by pointing to his record with the nation pummeled by a deadly pandemic and economic devastation under his leadership. And their efforts to tarnish Biden have been contradictory and ineffective -- in part because the right's culture war playbook has proven less convincing against a white male target, and in part because the president would rather talk about West Point's treacherous ramps than his opponent.

With both positive and negative messages failing, Trump's right-wing media allies at Fox News and elsewhere have decided to raise the stakes. They have started claiming that this fall's election isn't really about the relative merits of Trump and Biden. Instead, they have turned Biden -- the septuagenarian center-left liberal who capped four decades in public service as Barack Obama's vice president and speaks movingly about loss, grief, and the need for reconciliation on the campaign trail -- into a stand-in for dark forces poised to shatter civilization.

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How Right-Wing Spinmeisters Snip And Smear Joe Biden

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

George Floyd's killing by Minneapolis police triggered global protests against racism and police brutality and a seismic shift in U.S. public opinion. Former vice president and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden discussed this phenomenon at a Thursday event, saying that because technological advances allowed millions of Americans to see Floyd's killing on their phones, his death had a greater worldwide impact than that of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Over the hours that followed, Biden's comment was ripped from its context and spun with fake outrage by pro-Trump right-wing activists and trolls, leading to a Fox & Friends segment Friday in which a Fox contributor falsely claimed that Biden had said Floyd "may have been a greater civil rights leader" than King.

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Fox News Ignores Vote Fraud Violations By Trump And McEnany

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

Fox News, which is traditionally obsessed with purported cases of "voter fraud," has yet to mention last week's reports that President Donald Trump and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany each apparently violated election laws, according to a Media Matters review.

Fox promotes a steady stream of false or exaggerated reports of "voter fraud," which in reality is incredibly rare. The network's commentators fill its airwaves with conspiracy theories about elections stolen through widespread irregularities to promote policies that make it harder for people to cast ballots -- particularly Black, brown, and younger voters who are more likely to support Democrats.

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Fox News Promotes Lies About Lafayette Park Assault

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

Fox News is defending and cheering on President Donald Trump after he had peaceful protesters outside the White House cleared with tear gas so that he could hold a photo-op on Monday, with some network personalities blaming the protesters themselves and offering nonsensical semantic quibbles over whether gas that caused tears was actually tear gas.

There is no line the network will not cross and no limit whatsoever on Fox's willingness to serve as eager propagandists for the president.

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Amid National Crisis, Trump Is Still Taking Cues From Fox News

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

You can't disaggregate President Donald Trump's unnervingly aggressive tweets over the past few days in response to nationwide protests from the context of the cable news coverage he's been watching. American cities are burning, and Fox News is encouraging Trump to pour fuel on the fire.

Protests are ongoing in cities across the country in response to police violence and racism, sparked by the recent police killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky. Those overwhelmingly peaceful protests have spurred an eruption of police violence toward protesters and journalists alike, as well as rioting, arson, looting, and vandalism from a small minority acting out of anger or opportunism.

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With Attack On Scarborough, Trump Sends A ‘Mob Boss’ Message

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

President Donald Trump has taken time out in recent days from hyping false allegations about vague crimes purportedly committed by his predecessor, Barack Obama, to hype false allegations about a very specific crime purportedly committed by one of his critics in the media, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough.

In a series of vile, unhinged Twitter rants, Trump has repeatedly promoted the conspiracy theory that Scarborough murdered Lori Kaye Klausutis, his former staffer, calling for new investigations by law enforcement and by online "forensic geniuses."

"Psycho Joe Scarborough is rattled, not only by his bad ratings but all of the things and facts that are coming out on the internet about opening a Cold Case," the president wrote this morning. "He knows what is happening!"

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Fresh Evidence That Fox News ‘Miracle Drug’ Is Ineffective — And Dangerous

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

It would have been nice if the drug Fox News had promoted to President Donald Trump's attention as a miracle cure for COVID-19 had actually worked. But that doesn't seem to be the case.

"A study of 96,000 hospitalized coronavirus patients on six continents found that those who received an antimalarial drug promoted by President Trump as a 'game changer' in the fight against the virus had a significantly higher risk of death compared with those who did not," The Washington Post reported Friday. "People treated with hydroxychloroquine, or the closely related drug chloroquine, were also more likely to develop a type of irregular heart rhythm, or arrhythmia, that can lead to sudden cardiac death, it concluded."

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Trump Is Upset Because Fox News Isn’t Pure Enough Propaganda

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

President Donald Trump recognizes that Fox News' purpose is to help elect Republicans, and he is dissatisfied with the right-wing network's strategy for accomplishing that goal.

Trump lashed out Thursday after something he saw while watching his favorite network during his flight to Michigan apparently upset him. On Twitter, he criticized Fox for "doing nothing to help Republicans, and me, get re-elected on November 3rd," particularly criticizing the network for hosting Democratic strategists and anchors who "repeat the worst of the Democrat speaking points, and lies."

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Sen. Graham Using Judiciary Committee To Enact Partisan Vengeance

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

Journalists should treat Sen. Lindsey Graham's (R-SC) pending Judiciary Committee hearings into the origins of the FBI's Russia probe as an abuse of power intended as political payback. After all, Graham has explicitly said that would be why he would conduct such an inquiry.

Graham issued a startling threat during an appearance on Sean Hannity's Fox News show on November 14, 2018. House Democrats had just won a majority in the midterm elections, and their incoming committee chairs were proposing rigorous investigations of the Trump administration. But Republicans held the Senate, putting Graham in line to become chairperson of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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How Fox’s Tucker Carlson Manipulates Trump

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

President Donald Trump apparently changed his mind about whether the United States should fund the World Health Organization in response to a monologue from Fox News host Tucker Carlson. It's at least the third time this year that Carlson's program has triggered major changes in U.S. policy, an indication of just how effective the Fox prime-time star is at manipulating the president.

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