Liz Harrington

Trump Spokeswoman Says Murdoch And Fox Aim To 'Damage' Him (VIDEO)

Fox News is hosting the first Republican presidential debate on August 23, and former President Donald Trump has yet to agree to participate, defying the Fox hosts who are pushing him to. This follows Trump telling Reuters recently that Fox is a “hostile network” and that he is considering offers to counterprogram the debate. This comes as reports indicate that the Murdochs have soured on Flordia Gov. Ron DeSantis and instead are turning their attention to Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin; mentions of Youngkin have spiked on Fox lately as hosts have touted Youngkin and encouraged him to jump in the race. Additionally, mentions of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. are crowding out opportunities for others on the network.

Meanwhile, Newsmax personalities are urging the former president to appear on their network instead; others in right-wing media are broadly understanding of Trump's inclination to skip the debate. Gabriel Sherman has also reported that Tucker Carlson may book Trump to counterprogram the debate.

Amid this, Trump spokesperson Liz Harrington appeared on Steve Bannon's War Room and agreed with Bannon that the Murdochs and Fox were trying to take out Trump; she additionally called Fox a “fake news network” and noted that viewers are “fleeing” in favor of independent outlets.

STEVE BANNON (HOST): He just put out a tweet about, or Truth Social, about the debate. And he took a poll at the debate at the time that was happening. Now he's saying he may watch for VP candidates. I want to make sure President Trump knows that Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and Kari Lake will not be on that stage. I don't know if it's – I don't know if it's going to be a really productive thing to watch if it is for VPs.

But is President Trump now coming? Do you agree that Murdoch's trying to set a trap for Trump over at Fox and all he cares about is whether it's Tim Scott or Youngkin or – or you pick them. All they want to do is damage President Trump. Maam?

LIZ HARRINGTON (TRUMP SPOKESPERSON): It's obvious, but it's not working. And it didn't work in 2016. And the people have learned a heck of a lot since then. They know what's going on. And look, he poured, what, over a million dollars into Ron DeSantis pockets for his book deal. How's that working out for him?

I mean, they've already moved on basically over there at that fake news network. So, look, it's not working and people are fleeing that station. They've gone to alternative media. They go directly to the source. They go to the truth. That's why they're thousands of people breaking records in Erie, Pennsylvania. They're watching directly on our livestreams, RSBN, Real America's voice, all of these different outlets. That's what they're going to. So they think that it's still business as usual. They think that they still have the power. They don't. The people have the power. And the people are fully behind President Trump.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Jesse Watters

In Wake Of New Trump Indictment, Fox News Mounts Frantic Defense

A federal grand jury indicted Donald Trump on Tuesday on criminal charges sought by special counsel Jack Smith in his examination of the January 6 insurrection. Of the three indictments filed this year against the former president, this latest set of alleged crimes includes the ones Fox News’ propagandists were most involved in enabling — and they quickly moved to denounce the charges in the hours after they were reported.

Trump is charged with four criminal counts: conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding; obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding; and conspiracy against rights. The charges stemmed from his efforts to subvert the 2020 presidential election.

Trump’s efforts, in turn, depended on the complicity of right-wing media outlets like Fox to participate in his lies that the election had been rigged through massive voter fraud, which served as the pretextual justification for his scheme. This is particularly true for the fake elector scheme, which was widely promoted on Fox at the time.

Fox hosts don’t want Trump to face accountability. They support his bid to return to the White House, and they surely recognize that they bear some responsibility for his corrupt plot to retain power.

As news of the indictment broke, the co-hosts of The Five immediately set to work running cover for the former president, including absurdly claiming that the charges were an attempt to criminalize speech.

Jesse Watters, the network’s newly minted Tucker Carlson replacement at 8 p.m., argued that the charges were “overkill” and akin to “political war crimes.” He added a warning to Democrats, saying, “Payback is going to be a you know what. And you guys started it.”

JESSE WATTERS (CO-HOST): You have another thing. Greg said it. This is like lawfare, they call it. Legal warfare. If this was political, this would be, like, a political war crime. This is overkill. This is political germ warfare. These are political war crimes. It's an atrocity. It's, like, not just dropping one atomic bomb, you drop 15 dozen, Jessica. Enough is enough.

This is the establishment terrified of Donald Trump's reelection because of all the money that's going to dry up and all the influence. And you know what? They're terrified of the payback. And that's what this is about.

And what happens if you trigger a reelection by Donald Trump and he gets in there? You think he's not going to go after the Bidens? He might go after Dr. Jill at this point, after you've been rummaging through Melania's underwear drawer, turning his life upside down. Payback is going to be a you know what. And you guys started it.

The Five co-host Greg Gutfeld claimed Trump -- whom he described as “probably one of the most consequential leaders of our lifetime” -- was being targeted by nefarious forces for “payback” due to his being an “outsider” who was “outside the box.”

GREG GUTFELD (CO-HOST): You know, I look at this stuff -- I, honestly, I just see again -- it's war -- it's lawfare. That's all there is -- we're not supposed to understand this. This is supposed to be out of our hands, out of our control.

Donald Trump is probably one of the most consequential leaders of our lifetime. He was outside the box. He didn't play well with others -- others being insiders. This is the payback. He's not one of the kids that -- he's not one of them. He's the outsider. So, this is just payback and it's going to elevate him even more.

Gutfeld also said that charging Trump for his attempt to overturn an election was effectively “criminalizing thoughts and it's criminalizing speech.” (The indictment makes clear that falsely claiming an election was stolen is not a crime; it’s the elaborate scheme to overturn the election results based on those lies that is at issue.)

Fox offered similarly unhinged demagoguery following both Trump’s first indictment, over his alleged participation in a scheme to pay off a porn star during the final days of the 2016 campaign to keep her from publicly claiming to have had an affair with him, and his second indictment, regarding his retention of government documents after leaving the White House.

Contrary to the frequent argument from the network’s hosts that prosecuting a former president is the sign of a “banana republic” in which the justice system is politicized, many other democracies have charged and convicted former leaders with crimes.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.


Murdoch Media Push Fake Story Blaming Migrants For Eviction Of 'Homeless Vets'

Right-wing media figures uncritically amplified a now-debunked New York Post story to demonize immigrants and attack Democratic lawmakers.

On May 13, the New York Post published a story alleging that a group of 20 homeless military veterans had been “evicted” from two upstate New York hotels to make room for immigrants who had settled in New York City. The Post claimed the supposed migrants were part of New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ plans to secure temporary housing for immigrants entering the city.

After the Post published its story, the local outlet Mid Hudson News spoke with hotel management and service providers the Post claimed were involved in the removals. On May 18, the paper reported that not only had no homeless veterans been removed, but they were never there to begin with — one hotel manager “had never heard of” the veteran's group supposedly involved, while another said it “had not put any veterans in the hotel for ‘a long time.’”

The report also discredited a receipt presented by State Assemblyman Brian Maher as supposed evidence that the group representing the homeless veterans had paid for the rooms. The Post later reported that the group’s longtime advocate had lied to the newspaper about the entire situation, and on Friday the Mid Hudson News revealed that 15 homeless men were paid to pretend they were veterans who had been staying at the hotel.

By the time the story fell apart, right-wing media had already latched onto the now-debunked narrative and immediately weaponized the shoddily reported story as part of their ongoing fear campaign over a so-called “invasion” of migrants coming across the southern border.

  • Fox & Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt said it was “astonishing that some of these hotels are getting migrants” and having to cancel other reservations, adding, “There are two couples that booked rooms for their wedding … and 20 vets also were in that hotel, they all had to move out because these migrants moved in.”
  • Later on Fox & Friends, guest co-host Will Cain claimed that a “flood of illegal immigrants” are taking up hotel rooms and other resources in New York. Cain went on to remind viewers “about homeless veterans booted from a hotel so that rooms could be given to illegal immigrants,” with Earhardt adding that “Eric Adams says they’re gonna stay there for four months, so 20 veterans had to move to another hotel.”
  • Fox anchor Harris Faulkner claimed the story showed “the disgraceful treatment of our military veterans played out in Orange County, New York,” as the nonexistent group of “at least 20 homeless veterans, some reportedly suffering from PTSD, had to give up their hotel rooms for illegals.” Fox contributor Johnny “Joey” Jones added a jab at the Biden administration, stating, “A president that would leave Americans stranded in Afghanistan probably doesn't see the onus to take care of 20 veterans in a hotel. And I hate to say it, but that's just the absolute truth of it.”
  • Outnumbered co-hosts Emily Compagno and Kayleigh McEnany expressed outrage over the New York Post story, with Compagno claiming “America's heroes are now paying the price” for the “Southern border crisis.” McEnany lamented, “I can't help but notice the contrast when you have a 24-year-old — a veteran, had been in Afghanistan — kicked out of his hotel room as an Afghan national on the terror watch list is crossing the border in San Diego.”
  • Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum complained, “You’ve got the hotels in New York that are having to take folks in. You had one in Newburgh, New York, where they had to cancel a wedding and kick out some homeless veterans to make room for incoming migrants.”
  • Conservative moving company owner John Rourke appeared on One America News and ranted, “It just drives me nuts when we have veterans sleeping on the streets of this country and committing suicide in record numbers … and here we are filling up hotel rooms with illegal aliens, giving them cell phones, giving them medical attention, giving them food and water, and then putting them on planes.”
  • On Twitter, Donald Trump Jr. used the story to attack Democrats, stating, “Honestly, this is just infuriating! Homeless vets are being booted from New York hotels to make room for migrants. Fuck Democrats & their bullshit policies! America last isn’t hyperbole it’s their goal.”
  • Students for Trump founder Ryan Fournier tweeted, “Unacceptable. Nearly two dozen struggling homeless vets have been booted from NY hotels… So illegal immigrants can have space. WHAT?!”
  • Conservative radio host Bo Snerdley tweeted, “This is about as ruthless, coldblooded, and incredibly heinous as anything Biden and Democrats have ever done. Kicking American veterans out of their lodging to make way for illegal immigrants? What country IS this?”
  • Newsmax contributor Tony Shaffer later tweeted, “This tells you everything you need to understand about the progressive left cult - they are out to expand political power and a permanent underclass that will vote for them even if it means sacrificing veterans.”
  • Fox News contributor and former Trump Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted, “What could be more backwards than putting illegal immigrants ahead of American veterans? An insult to American sovereignty.”
  • 2024 Republican presidential candidate and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley tweeted a link to the New York Post’s story, adding, “Liberal insanity at work.”

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.


Far-Right Figures Celebrate Presidential Bid By QAnon-Tied RFK Jr.

Several prominent QAnon adherents, COVID-19 misinformers, and other extremists celebrated the announcement of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s upcoming presidential campaign, with some right-wing media personalities also touting the anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist as a courageous candidate.

Kennedy, commonly known as RFK Jr., filed paperwork on April 4 to run for president on the Democratic ticket. While he has yet to formally announce his campaign platform, it is reported that former Trump adviser Steve Bannon had pushed Kennedy to run for president in 2024 as a “chaos agent.”

RFK Jr.’s History of Extremism 

Through a number of nonprofit advocacy groups, chiefly Children's Health Defense, and an active social media presence, Kennedy has spent decades pushing anti-vaccine conspiracy theories and misinformation. Through Children’s Health Defense, Kennedy has frequently attacked Dr. Anthony Fauci, Bill Gates, and the pharmaceutical industry with unfounded claims about so-called vaccine injury, global surveillance through microchips, and censorship of vaccine misinformation.

Kennedy has frequently evoked the Nazis in criticizing the government’s response to COVID-19, and he has spoken alongside white supremacists to boot. At an anti-vaccine rally last January, Kennedy stated, “Even in Hitler’s Germany, you could cross the Alps into Switzerland. You could hide in an attic, like Anne Frank did,” before going on to claim that Gates and the government would use satellites and 5G cell phone technology for surveillance over “every square inch of the planet, 24 hours a day.”

With Kennedy as its spokesperson, Children’s Health Defense was a prolific producer of anti-vaccine content on social media, leading to both the organization and Kennedy being banned from Instagram in 2022.

Kennedy has also engaged with QAnon figures and events. In January, the Children’s Health Defense website published an article from QAnon influencer Kanekoa. Kennedy was also a featured speaker for an event hosted by Scott McKay, who has promoted a number of antisemitic and QAnon-related conspiracy theories, and at a rally organized by the German QAnon group Querdenken 711. Kennedy has also peddled claims that the government plans to use digital currency to control the population.

Despite earning him rebukes from public health experts and his own family, Kennedy’s views have gotten a warm response from Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham and endorsements from other prominent conservative pundits, including Rush Limbaugh and Dennis Prager. Now, news of Kennedy’s prospective campaign is receiving a similarly warm welcome.

Right-wing and Fringe Figures Celebrate RFK Jr.’s 2024 campaign

  • On Gettr, Steve Bannoncheered Kennedy’s history of anti-vaccine activism, posting, “RFKjr is the leader in the country of the movement to hold Big Pharma accountable… The Leader.”
  • Infowars conspiracy theorist Alex Jonescalled Kennedy’s campaign “a good thing,” adding, “He's got a lot of guts, and I really support him [for] the Democratic nomination.”
  • Turning Point USA leader Charlie Kirkdeclared on his podcast, “I would vote for Robert F Kennedy Jr. for president over Mitt Romney any day.”
  • Blaze Media host Steve Deaceposted an image on Twitter of himself with Kennedy, captioning it: “As long as he doesn’t go trans, a man with high character and courage like RFK Jr will be tempting.”
  • Right-wing dirty trickster Roger Stonecelebrated Kennedy as “a great American. He's a man of enormous courage.” He went on to speculate that his campaign “will help in the end soften Joe Biden up for his defeat by Donald Trump in the general election.”
  • On the conspiracy theory website Gateway Pundit, founder Jim Hoftcelebrated Kennedy’s potential as a candidate, claiming he “distinguishes himself from many modern Democrats in that he still believes in free speech, the Bill of Rights, the US Constitution, and standing up against government corruption.”
  • QAnon influencer Jordan Saltherposted to Truth Social, “Can't wait to watch the Democrat primary debates. Imagine RFK Jr. redpilling the hell out of libs on the vaccine.”
  • Fox News host Jesse Watterscelebrated Kennedy’s campaign announcement, stating, “So RFK Jr. has a vision. I mean, at least he has one. Biden has none.”

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Tucker Carlson lies

Fox News' Tucker Carlson Thinks Democracy Needs To End

TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): The larger a bureaucracy becomes, the more impersonal it gets. Past a certain size, organizations of any kind lose their regard for people. As they get bigger, they get blunter, more soulless and cruel. The people in charge no longer care what you think. They don't have to worry about how their policies will affect you or your family. And that's the inevitable product of population growth. If you had five children, you would bathe them all in love and attention. If you had 5,000 children, you wouldn't know their names.

So, in case you're wondering why our leaders no longer seem especially interested in your health or happiness or prosperity, that's the reason. They don't have to be interested. Our population is too big. Why should your opinion matter? You're one of many. Previous generations of Americans didn't live in a country like this and they would be stunned by the attitudes that are so common now -- attitudes we take for granted. "Arresting people for walking through the US Capitol building? How is that a crime?" nineteenth century Americans would wonder.

For most of our history, Americans believed they owned the Capitol. They thought it was theirs because they assumed this was their country, political leaders told them that it was. After the 1904 presidential election, Teddy Roosevelt greeted voters in person on the lawn of the White House. It was his home, he lived there, but it belonged to them. Attitudes like that are long gone. They're the victim of population growth. The Athenians invented democratic government, but at its peak, Athens only had about 8,000 voters. So, past a certain scale, democracy can't function very well. The concept of the citizen becomes too abstract.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

400 Toxic Moments That Defined Fox News Over 25 Years

400 Toxic Moments That Defined Fox News Over 25 Years

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

Fox News is turning 25. As the organization that watches more Fox News than anyone, we wanted to share some moments that defined the network.

  • 1996

  • A Fox News anchor endorsed Bob Dole for president in the Republican National Committee's official magazine.
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Alex Jones, left, and Tucker Carlson

Alex Jones Claims Government Is Listening To His Chats With Tucker Carlson

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

ALEX JONES (INFOWARS HOST): Tucker Carlson has basically the highest ethics I've seen in journalism. He's incredibly smart, he's grown up, he's woken up to things being very sinister and he's come a long way, and he's surpassed really the work I've done. And Tucker understands what's happening and Tucker has the text messages from scores of people that are not in communication with each other, given to him in a file going back years, and it's because Tucker is smarter than them and he's laid the trap, and he knows about the FBI informants and the, quote, "unindicted co-conspirators" just like they did with Julian Assange setting him up.


JONES: We know that they spy on my text messages, my email, everything, and it's all given to Democrats, law firms, universities, think tanks. I mean, this is a major criminal operation, and that's exactly what Carlson talked about. That's exactly what Carlson talked about is how they are passing his information around, trying to find something he said unethical or racist, and of course, they can't. And that means they're reading my text messages to Tucker Carlson and our conversations and they're listening to conversations. And I'm gonna stop right there. And we already know that.
Zynep Tufekci

WATCH Turkish Coup Survivor Zeynep Tufekci Name What Trump Is Trying To Do

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

ZEYNEP TUFEKCI (GUEST): And more importantly, and I think this is the part where the smoke kind of needs to clear, is that the Republican leadership has not come out and said, "You have to stop this right now."

And that's really important, because this is not a child whose tantrum we're watching. This the man who is the President of the United States, with whom we trust with the nuclear codes, who has executive power, and he is blatantly trying to -- yes, very clumsily, very buffoonish, it's clownish, it's not going to work, the lawsuits are incoherent -- but it's still an attempt to overturn a legitimate election --


TUFEKCI: Not through legal means but through extra legal means. And I -- you know, I'm an academic. I can argue forever is this an oligarch, which is technically a little more correct.

There's words like constitutional coup, there's democratic backsliding, which this country seen over the past few decades.

So, I can get even more and more precise and detailed about the technical term. But if you just kind of step back and look at it --

HAYES: Right.

TUFEKCI: It doesn't really matter what the exact term is unless we're contesting our grades here. You know, if I'm marking a paper, yes. But the reason people say coup is that it captures the spirit of what's being attempted.

HAYES: That's right.

TUFEKCI: And the fact that it's ridiculous does not make it unserious or not dangerous especially because the Republican lack of concern, fury, anything about it when there's already so much minority rule entrenched in this country is something really worrisome.

Steve Bannon

Watch: Bannon Calls For Beheading Of Fauci And FBI Director

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

STEVE BANNON (HOST): Second term kicks off with firing Wray, firing Fauci.

Now I actually want to go a step farther but I realize the president is a kind-hearted man and a good man. I'd actually like to go back to the old times of Tudor England, I'd put the heads on pikes, right, I'd put them at the two corners of the White House as a warning to federal bureaucrats. You either get with the program or you're gone -- time to stop playing games. blow it all up, put Ric Grenell today as the interim head of the FBI, that'll light them up, right.

JACK MAXEY (CO-HOST): You know what Steve, just yesterday there was the anniversary of the hanging of two Tories in Philadelphia, these were Quaker businessmen who had cohabitated if you will with the British while they were occupying Philadelphia. These people were hung. This is what we used to do to traitors.

BANNON: That's how you won the revolution. No one wants to talk about it. The revolution wasn't some sort of garden party, right? It was a civil war. It was a civil war.

Update: The transcript has been updated for clarity

Limbaugh Opposes Testing Because It Means ‘More Cases’

Limbaugh Opposes Testing Because It Means ‘More Cases’

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

From the May 14, 2020, edition of Premiere Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show

RUSH LIMBAUGH (HOST): It seems like every day we get some new scare tactic from some supposedly credible source. And what generally happens is, after some reporting of what everybody would consider good news, in less than a day, a couple of stories come along, maybe three, that try to throw cold water on the good news and make it sound even worse than it was the day before.

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One America News Network

One America Network Pushes ‘Plandemic’ Paranoia

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

From One America News on May 7, 2020

KRISTIAN ROUZ (ONE AMERICA NEWS): The U.S. intelligence agencies are continuing a probe into the origins of COVID-19 amid mounting evidence of a globalist conspiracy to establish sweeping population control. The virus has treated devastating lockdowns across the advanced economies and in this situation, experts say whoever controls the cure may control the future of humanity.
And while the media, Democrats, and the deep state continue to dismiss hydroxychloroquine as a likely cure, they are pushing for a failed Ebola drug remdesivir instead.


JUDY MIKOVITS: When you take away a medicine -- and not just the WHO, not just the WHO -- the FDA, the CDC, Tony Fauci closed everything ... because we can take all that money they're making on their patents and we can give it to the victims of this plague of corruption.


ROUZ: Recent reports claim the remdesivir patent is controlled by mainland China, Bill Gates, and the WHO, while the Clintons may have a stake in its as well.
The entire cover-up is allegedly backed by globalist billionaire George Soros. Such allegations have been dismissed by the mainstream media and China as a conspiracy theory, saying California-based Gilead owns the patent for remdesivir. But, Gilead itself was reported as saying if it uses its own drug, it's would get into legal trouble with China.
ROUZ: China reportedly holds part of the remdesivir patent through the UN agency Unitaid, whose main donor since 2006 is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Separately, the Clinton Foundation also worked with Unitaid on the $100 million dollar project to study HIV/AIDS in the past. Unitaid also has offices near the Chinese bio-weapons lab in Wuhan, which top Republicans suspect was funded by none other than Dr, Anthony Fauci and the NIH.


RUDY GIULIANI: That was fooling around with this virus. .... Despite that, Dr. Fauci gave $3.7 million to the Wuhan laboratory. We paid for it. We paid for the damn virus that's killing us.


ROUZ: The coronavirus conspiracy gained further evidence when Democratic Party officials openly sided with the Chinese Communist Party to denounce hydroxychloroquine as a likely cure. Chloroquine was developed in Germany in the 1930s and most of it is made by German drugmaker Bayer, which recently gave the U. S. millions of pills for free to battle COVID-19.
Some say Democrats attack the drug only because President Trump spoke in support of it, but others point to a foreign trade aspect of it, saying Democrats want to get the COVID cure from China, not Germany or the EU.


ANTI-SOCIAL DISTANCING DEMONSTRATOR: This is not about COVID or about a virus. This is about gaining control over the human race and limiting population. Limited population with a virus that was created in a lab, and funded by the United States of America, by several people in the United States of America, along with other countries.


ROUZ: The U.S. and its Five Eyes intel partners point out COVID-19 broke out shortly after President Trump forced China into s phase-one trade deal to reduce Chinese control of the U.S. economy. Now that China may be striking back, there is concern that the deep state, Democrat cabal, and the Big Pharma are working to derail President Trump's reelection and force the American people into total submission and control. Kristian Rouz, One America News.
Sean Hannity

Hannity Complains Americans ‘Have Had It’ With Stay-Home Orders

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Well I'm looking at -- you're right, Kentucky they had protesters. I mean the dopey governor there wanted to take down people's license plates if they showed up to drive-up services for Easter Sunday. What a dope. Ralph Northam is announcing in Virginia -- mister 'well first we'll deliver the baby, and then we'll make sure the baby is comfortable, and then we'll let the mother decide if the baby lives or dies' -- that idiot, anyway. And then Michigan you had the protesters at the state capitol a ton of people there. Now more's happening. You had House and Senate voting to overturn the governor's lockdown order there.

And I'm telling you, people have had it. I think this is now -- the American people have hit their maximum, you know, stay at home orders. And I think they're saying, well alright, we'll wear masks, we'll use Purell, we'll wear gloves, but leave us alone.
Fox News Worried About Legal Action After Misleading Viewers On Virus

Fox News Worried About Legal Action After Misleading Viewers On Virus

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

From the March 29, 2020, edition of MSNBC’s AM Joy

JOY REID (HOST): People who are watching cable news are a lot more, you know, in the “news junkie” category right?

And then in the case of that, your choices are MSNBC or CNN or, if you’re choosing Fox, it’s because it favors the Republicans. It’s because it’s news that favors your world view. That’s why you’re watching it. So, I think that people assume that everyone knows the failures of the Trump administration in dealing with this. They’ll find out eventually when it hits them. But just in watching — depending on what you’re watching, you know more or you know less. 

GABE SHERMAN (SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT, VANITY FAIR): Oh, without question, I think that has been a fixture of this presidency from day one. If you look at polls that show Republicans’ views on certain issues, it’s a completely different reality than people who gather their news from a wide array of sources.

And I think what’s really interesting, I think unique about the Coronavirus story is that Fox News tried to do their original playbook, which was dismiss it as a hoax, say that this is another partisan attempt by Democrats to hurt Donald Trump, and this was the case where they could not prevent reality. Fox News is a very powerful media organization, but it cannot stop people from dropping dead. And what happened is that people did start dying. We did see hot spots in New York, on the West Coast and now we’re seeing one in the deep South, which is getting closer to Trump country, and Fox News has had to pivot to actually cover this as a real story.

And so, you know, the president’s handling of this is going to be viewed ultimately by how we get out of it, but this is a case where at least on the macro story of us understanding of what is happening in America, Fox viewers are now confronting what the rest of us have known since February and early March, is that this is a global pandemic that is unprecedented in American history. 

REID: Yeah, and I mean, to stay you with for a moment Gabe, I mean the irony is Fox News is in New York. It’s literally across the street from MSNBC. It’s in Rockefeller Plaza. It’s not in — They are in the middle of it with all of the other New Yorkers. We saw Trish Regan, who had a show on Fox Business, come out and essentially just label it all a fraud. She’s now no longer there. I don’t know what happened with her show but I guess it’s not airing anymore. You’ve had Fox anchors who are going, or as likely as anyone who is on this panel to know someone who gets sick with COVID-19. It’s interesting to have to watch them have to confront reality, that as you say, is deadly reality, that they can’t cover for Trump on this. There’s no way they can keep doing it. I wonder if the same sort of dynamic is going to happen with Sinclair, which is ten times — it’s Fox times ten  — and in your traffic and weather together and they’ve tried to also spin things in his favor. They do add commentary from people like former Trump officials. How are they handling it? 

SHERMAN: Yea. I mean, this is the question, what’s more pernicious or deceptive about Sinclair is that their local newscasts are not labeled as a Sinclair channel. You don’t know that it has a right-wing ideology behind the owners of the local news station, so you’re absorbing it as if it’s just straight network news. I just want to get back to the Fox of it all real quick. When I’ve been talking to Fox insiders over the last few days, there’s a real concern inside the network that their early downplaying of the coronavirus actually exposes Fox News to potential legal action by viewers who maybe were misled and actually have died from this. I’ve heard Trish Regan’s being taken off the air is, you know, reflective of this concern that Fox News is in big trouble by downplaying this virus and The New York Times reported days ago that the Murdoch family was privately taking the coronavirus seriously. The Murdochs, of course, own Fox News. So, they were taken personal steps to protect themselves while anchors like Trish Regan and Sean Hannity were telling viewers that it’s a hoax and putting themselves in potentially mortal danger. So I think this is a case where Fox’s coverage, if it actually winds up being proved that people died because of it, this is a new terrain in terms of Fox being possibly held liable for their actions. 

REID: Interesting. It will be interesting to see how long they let Dr. Oz keep going on and on and on with the things that he’s been saying on that network given what you just said.

Media Matters has extensively documented the failures of Fox News regarding the novel coronavirus / COVID-19.

Limbaugh Urges Audience To Ignore ‘Deep State’ Health Experts

Limbaugh Urges Audience To Ignore ‘Deep State’ Health Experts

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

After dismissing COVID-19 as “the common cold,” Limbaugh says, “We didn’t elect a president to defer to a bunch of health experts that we don’t know.”

From the March 27, 2020, edition of Premiere Networks’ The Rush Limbaugh Show

RUSH LIMBAUGH (HOST): It’s a fascinating case study to me, and it’s worrisome and it’s troublesome. And then the other side of it is, through all of this, I’ve never had any doubt we’re going to come out of it. I’ve never had any doubt we’re going to come out of it stronger, and we’re going to come out of it healthy. And I think it’s imperative that we have somebody like Donald Trump, who is outside the establishment, expert class, who has a history of solving problems, to actually lead the country through this.

You know, we’ve talked about the “Deep State” all these years since Trump was elected — the Trump-Russia collusion, the FBI — well, the Deep State extends very deeply. And the American people did not elect a bunch of health experts that we don’t know. We didn’t elect a president to defer to a bunch of health experts that we don’t know. And how do we know they’re even health experts? Well, they wear white lab coats, and they’ve been in the job for a while, and they’re at the CDC and they’re at the NIH, and they’re up, well — yeah, they’ve been there, and they are there. But has there been any job assessment for them? They’re just assumed to be the best because they’re in government. But, these are all kinds of things that I’ve been questioning.

And I’ve been watching people routinely accept whatever the authorities say. Where I live, the local town government is driving around town, trying to spot people violating the social distancing ordinances. And when they see it, they publish it on their web site, “This is very troublesome. We at the town are very troubled by groups of people congregating, violating the social distancing.” Well, what do you think people are going to do? People are not just going to sit around here and stop living.

Anyway, most of this is for next week, I’m just kind of setting the table. Because once I get going, the time starts flying here, and I’m going to be out of here before I know it.

Complaining About COVID-19 Coverage, Grisham Says Trump “Didn’t Have A Crystal Ball”

Complaining About COVID-19 Coverage, Grisham Says Trump “Didn’t Have A Crystal Ball”

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

From the March 22, 2020, edition of Fox News’ MediaBuzz

HOWARD KURTZ (HOST): Before we interrupted for Gov. Cuomo, you were about to make a point about the press focusing on various things the president had to say in January, February and much of March, which they say didn’t match the coming crisis even though there weren’t that many cases in the U.S.

You want to pick up that point?

STEPHANIE GRISHAM (WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY): Yeah. I would just want to say the president didn’t have a crystal ball there, and he has acted appropriately.

I don’t think it’s appropriate right now for the press to be going backwards. There’s no reason to go backwards and figure out tick-tocks of what happened when. We’ve got a crisis on our hands, we’ve got a coronavirus in this country, and the press should — they’ve got a real opportunity, if you ask me, to also spread great information to this public and give information that our task force is trying to get out there.

KURTZ: The president the other day really got into it with NBC’s White House correspondent Peter Alexander, as you know. He had asked a question about, the president was talking about a couple of malaria drugs, he doesn’t know whether they would be effective against coronavirus but was willing to support further research. He said are you giving false hope to people over these drugs, and then Alexander said that what do you have to say to millions of scared Americans. The president said Peter Alexander had asked a nasty question and he was a terrible reporter. What was nasty about those questions?

GRISHAM: Well, I want to point out before I answer that question, the president just the day before, I believe it was or prior to the day before to that had said that he felt the media coverage was actually pretty fair. So he has given credit where it’s due. In that instance, the fact that he, a reporter is asking if he’s giving false hope to the American people, I think that was inappropriate. He’s the commander in chief. He is at the helm of this country. And it is his job as president to try and comfort this country and make sure that they know that they’re — we’re working towards options that will help people. It is his job to show not only leadership but try to calm the American people. So to come after him and say he’s giving false hope, I think, was wildly inappropriate, and I believe that’s how he reacted the way he did.

KURTZ: Well it was a question now. CNN’s John King reacted by calling the president’s response to Peter Alexander B.S., he used the actual word on the air, and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow said cable news shouldn’t even carry these various briefings live because she says the president is spreading misinformation. Your response.

GRISHAM: Well, the irony there about now they shouldn’t have briefings is not lost on me, certainly. But it doesn’t surprise me that either of those networks or that cable channel would attack him. And that’s not the point. Right now they need to set aside their bias against this president, and they need to do what this White House is doing and show leadership and try to get information to the American public. That is your job as journalists.

KURTZ: At another briefing, the president responded to a question from One America News about whether some of the media was supposedly siding with Chinese Communist Party propaganda by ripping into the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and saying they are siding with China. What did he mean?

GRISHAM: There have been many, many outlets that have printed that the Chinese government is doing all that they can and that they are showing leadership towards this virus, and that’s not the case. There’s also, you know, there have been reporters who have jumped to calling it the Chinese virus racist. He was talking about that. Again, this is the media outlets ripping into the president because they can. This is why earlier he called it a hoax. He didn’t call the virus a hoax, he called the way the Democrats and media are treating it as just another hoax in that they’re trying to take him down. This president is focused on the American people, so should the media, period.

Graham Promises Senate Probe Of Bidens

Graham Promises Senate Probe Of Bidens

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

From the February 2 edition of Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo:

MARIA BARTIROMO (ANCHOR): Schumer this morning signaling that the Democrats will not accept an acquittal as legitimate. Nancy Pelosi hinting that she is going to call Bolton in the House. John Bolton. What’s the dems next move? And how are you going to get anything done, Senator, if you actually got the other side constantly pushing to find out dirt on Donald Trump?

LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Well, the president has been successful in spite of all of this. I hope we can turn the page as a nation and focus on issues important. But as Nancy Pelosi calls Bolton, here is what I would say. They’re impeaching the president for suspension of aid that was eventually received, trying to leverage an investigation that never happened. This is ridiculous. Mueller broke their heart. They won’t let it go. They hate this man. Pelosi is no longer Speaker of the House. Just in name only. I don’t know if they will ever let it go. Here is what I’m going to do. If they talk to Bolton, I will bring in State Department officials, and ask them why didn’t you do something about the obvious conflict of interest Joe Biden had? Joe Biden’s effort to combat corruption in the Ukraine became a joke, when Joe Biden got before the Ukrainian parliament talking about sweetheart deals, and reforming the energy sector, I can only imagine how they were laughing under their breath. What about your son, Vice President Biden, sitting on the most corrupt board in Ukraine, Burisma, receiving $3 million dollars. I can only imagine if a Republican done what Biden had done. But we’re going to get to the bottom of this. And I can prove beyond any doubt that Joe Biden’s effort in the Ukraine to root out corruption was undercut because he let his son sit on the board of the most corrupt company in the Ukraine and we’ll not give him a pass on that.

BARTIROMO: So you’re not going to give him a pass. How are you going to get to the bottom of it? Should we expect your committee to call to testify Hunter Biden, whistle employer, Adam Schiff, all of those names you’ve been talking about. Is this going to happen this upcoming week, then?

GRAHAM: It’s going to happen in the coming weeks. Jim Risch is the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. Jim, if you’re watching the show, I hope you are, we need to call chief of staff to John Kerry who was told about the conflict of interest with Hunter Biden being on Burisma’s board early on. Heinz, the stepson of John Kerry was a business partner of Hunter Biden and Devon Archer. And he told the State Department, I’m not part of this deal. I don’t think it is right. George Kent told the State Department it would be a conflict for Hunter Biden to be on the Burisma board. Let’s start there. Let’s call these people in. Eventually, we’ll get to Hunter Biden. And I want to know why the Obama administration did nothing about this obvious conflict of interest. Joe Biden should have given up the Ukrainian portfolio or Hunter Biden should have been taken off the board. Because they ruined America’s ability to effectively deal with corruption in the Ukraine by having Hunter Biden on the board of Burisma. That is just a fact. And we’re going to get to the bottom of it.

On Fox News, A Year Of Climate Denial And Conspiracy Theories

On Fox News, A Year Of Climate Denial And Conspiracy Theories

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

In 2019, Fox took climate change denial to insane new levels even as global temperatures reached record heightsnatural disasters wreaked havoc, and youth environmental activism led millions of people in protests around the world. Even if you just look at news of the past few weeks, Australia is on firethe oceans are running out of oxygen, and the Amazon rainforest is at a “tipping point.”

The climate denial narratives on Fox run the gamut from claims that “there’s science on both sides of this issue” to dismissals of the climate crisis as “medieval witchcraft.” Naturally, the hosts and guests also pushed a number of right-wing agenda items like government deregulation and protecting the wealthy

Of course, Fox host Tucker Carlson managed to bring discussion of the issue back to his own racist agenda, noting in one segment that “more people were killed last year in the United States by illegal aliens than were killed by climate change.”