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Tucker Carlson’s January 6 Counter-Programming Was A Dud

On Thursday night, as cable and broadcast networks switched their feeds to live coverage of the first public hearing by the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, Fox News host Tucker Carlson opened the hour with a declaration that his show was “the only hour on an American news channel that will not be carrying their propaganda live.”


As the January 6 committee released disturbing new footage and revelations of the attack and its planning, Carlson aired a commercial-free hour recapping more than a year's worth of his network's revisionist agitprop surrounding the 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Viewers were given what amounted to a stern reminder from Carlson that Fox had already told them what they needed to know about January 6, and he condemned the hearings as a show trial that ignored the real questions about the events.

Those “real” questions constitute a contradictory, easily-debunked, and outright laughable set of claims Fox has presented to viewers as an alternate reality. That version exonerates both the network and Republican officials from their role in promoting false claims about the 2020 election — false claims that would result in a mob attempting to prevent, and succeeding in disrupting, the certification of Joe Biden as president-elect.

Carlson and his guests claimed that the January 6 attack was “a forgettably minor” outbreak of violence. He hosted a white nationalist-affiliated conspiracy theorist who claimed January 6 was a “clear hoax.” Other guests, including right-wing pundit Ned Ryun, so-called “independent journalist” Michael Tracey, and former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, disparaged the hearings as illegitimate and a “show trial” while refusing to engage with the substance.

The committee revealed evidentiary texts between Fox host Sean Hannity and former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany coordinating a media strategy in response to the attack. During the discussion of the texts, the Fox broadcast zoomed in on the committee dais as Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) addressed the committee, while Carlson blasted other networks for airing “unfiltered propaganda.”


At its core, Fox's refusal to engage with the hearings is an act of self-preservation. The style of coverage fits a pattern for Carlson and the network, as I have previously written. Carlson has thrown a mess of misinformation — conspiracy-mongering, minimization, and obfuscation — at the insurrection in the hopes of delegitimizing any serious inquiry into the events of that day. In the 18 months since the attack, he has shifted from condemning the violence to downplaying the insurrection as nothing more than “elderly people [who] showed up with signs,” to producing a three-part torture-porn series calling the attack a “false flag.”

The network had a clear role in the propagation of President Donald Trump’s claims of election fraud. The Murdochs are no strangers to putting a blindfold on their viewers in favor of protecting their bottom line, and Fox understands that delegitimizing any attempt at inquiry into the factors that fomented the violent culmination of January 6 is also a mechanism for protecting the network itself from scrutiny.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

The Strange Evolution Of Tucker Carlson’s January 6 Lies

For a year now, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson has been the loudest voice in the right-wing media’s campaign to rewrite and reframe the January 6, 2021, riot in the U.S. Capitol. From virtually the day of the events, Carlson has thrown a mess of misinformation -- conspiracy-mongering, minimization, obfuscation — at the riot in the hopes of delegitimizing any serious inquiry into the events of that day. Over that period he has shifted from condemning the violent protest to describing the riot as nothing more than “elderly people who showed up with signs,” to producing a three-part torture-porn series calling the event a “false flag.”

Carlson’s current fixation on the false flag theory is not an earnest attempt to link outside actors, the FBI or the Department of Justice to the events of January 6; instead, it’s about creating as many sidebars as possible to avoid dealing with the responsibility of amplifying lies about a stolen election that led to an attack on the American seat of government. We’ve laid out the evolution of Carlson’s coverage of January 6 here, from his initial efforts to muddy the waters through his pivot toward conspiracy theory and the adoption of the false flag theory.

Carlson’s conspiracy-mongering about January 6 follows a clear pattern in his tenure at Fox: As he has done with vaccinations, immigration, education, and race, Carlson creates a terrifying narrative and then scrambles to fill in the gaps with cherry-picked stories devoid of context or reasonable interpretation. The push by Carlson and right-wing media to inject the false flag theory into the public consciousness is not a genuine attempt to hold those responsible for violence during the Capitol riot accountable. It is instead an intentional campaign to shift the understanding of the attack on President Joe Biden’s electoral ratification from an unacceptable violation of democratic norms and processes to a covert plot orchestrated by clandestine actors that absolves those who committed violence from their own agency.


  • Muddying the waters: Reshaping the narrative in the months after January 6

  • The night after the attack, Carlson told his viewers that the chaos in the Capitol, where staffers were forced to flee the Senate chamber with Electoral College certificates mid-vote, was not an attempted insurrection but rather a political protest that got “out of hand.”Days after the riot took place, Carlson joined his colleagues in the scramble to muddy the waters around the causes. They highlighted the arrest of John Sullivan, branding him as an antifascist radical and suggesting that Trump supporters themselves may not be responsible for the riot. Carlson repeatedly called allegations that white supremacist and militias groups had a hand in coordinating the assault “lies” despite clear evidence of their participation. On January 26, less than a month after the riot, Carlson lent his show to one of his largest advertisers, Mike Lindell of MyPillow, to broadcast ludicrous claims about a supposed conspiracy to silence him by Dominion Voting Systems. Lindell claimed that Dominion, a company that makes voting machines and was accused of coordinating election fraud in a QAnon-fueled conspiracy theory, “hired hit groups and bots and trolls” to target him and his advertisers, and he alleged that Twitter had been running his account “like they were me.”The interview was friendly, with Carlson lamenting that Lindell was being unfairly censored. In November of 2020, Carlson had criticized Trump lawyer Sydney Powell for pushing the same conspiracy theory about Dominion. Carlson’s coddling of Lindell, who was operating from the same sources as Powell, was a clear indication that Carlson’s coverage of baseless election fraud allegations and the violent riot they spurned was now turning to the conspiratorial. The Fox host would shift from condemning the actions of rioters to waging a full-fledged campaign for exoneration. Below are some of the notable claims and assertions Carlson made during this time period:
  • The night of the riot Carlson warned viewers that Democrats would strip Americans “of the rights you were born with” in response to the violent protest. [1/6/21]
  • Carlson defended pro-Trump insurrectionists from the “domestic terrorism” label. [1/7/21]
  • Carlson called protester John Sullivan a “professional agitator,” declaring that the media and government “lied” about solely Trump supporters being present. [1/14/21]
  • Carlson said January 6 “was not an insurrection. It wasn't an armed invasion by a brigade of dangerous white supremacists. It wasn't. Those are lies.” [1/14/21]
  • Carlson hosted election conspiracist and major sponsor Mike Lindell for a friendly interview regarding Lindell’s claims of electoral fraud by Dominion voting systems. [1/26/21]
  • Carlson responded to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) describing January 6 as a “white nationalist insurrection”by saying “It was awful. It was not that.” Carlson went on to warn viewers that Democrats were saying this to wage “a new war against our own population.” [2/3/21]
  • Carlson told viewers there was “no evidence that white supremacists were responsible” for January 6, despite being repeatedly disproved by law enforcement officials. [2/22/21]
  • Carlson claimed he and his team at Fox couldn’t find any evidence that the QAnon conspiracy theory exists. [2/23/21]
  • Pivot: Carlson’s turn to conspiracy-mongering

  • Carlson’s initial coverage of January 6 was generally focused on downplaying the severity of the riot itself and attempting to discredit claims that extremists were involved in its planning and execution. Next, he would take the plunge into full-fledged conspiracy theory.On June 15, Carlson hosted Darren Beattie, a former Trump White House staffer who was ousted from the administration after reporting emerged that he attended a white nationalist conference, to discuss a “report” published on far-right outfit Revolver that suggested the January 6 attack on the Capitol may have been orchestrated by FBI operatives. Carlson claimed, without offering any concrete evidence, that “in potentially every single case,” unindicted co-conspirators referenced in legal cases related to January 6 “were FBI operatives.”

  • Beattie’s work gave Carlson the framework he needed to embrace the conspiracy theory that has become the radioactive core of his January 6 coverage: The riot was a “setup” by government organizations put in place in order to justify a large-scale persecution of conservatives.The theory was tissue paper in water, principally because the government cannot legally name undercover agents as unindicted co-conspirators. Yet Carlson dedicated entire monologues to defending the theory, claiming that backlash and fact-checking of his claims was another instance of information suppression and alleging that the government was refusing to make public closed-circuit TV footage from within the Capitol complex because “people they know are on the tape.”In November, Carlson released his January 6 magnum opus, a three-part special titled Patriot Purge.” The series condensed months of Carlson’s Infowars-style conspiracy-mongering in a montage of torture porn set to a horror film soundscape. The message of Patriot Purge was clear: The January 6 Capitol riot was an intentional setup by one of various parties in order to justify the persecution of conservatives as domestic terrorists and as punishment for supporting Trump.Patriot Purge featured appearances by Beattie and former psychological operations officer Emily Rainey, who led a large group of people to the Stop the Steal rally. Rainey cited her experience in psychological operations to claim the attack could be a “false flag.” It also teased a fringe conspiracy that would come to dominate Carlson’s January 6 narrative: footage of a man named Ray Epps outside of the Capitol building, a voiceover declaring that “agents provocateurs” operated with “a sort of military-like precision in what was to become a storming of the Capitol.” Between June of 2021 and January of this year, Carlson steadily hammered the theory that the January 6 attack on the capitol was actually a government-orchestrated setup:
  • Carlson spouted a bizarre conspiracy theory that the January 6 insurrection was a false flag organized by the FBI. [6/15/21]
  • Carlson hosted Darren Beattie, a former Trump staffer who alleged that the January 6 attack on the Capitol may have been orchestrated by FBI operatives. [6/15/21]
  • Carlson said he believes that the FBI had foreknowledge of January 6 and was in contact with people who stormed the Capitol, “given the FBI’s long track record.” Carlson's guest added “we know for certain” that the FBI planted informants in the Proud Boys and the Three Percenters. [6/18/21]
  • Carlson asked, “Is it possible that some of the people there were actually reporting to the FBI and that they encouraged, as we said, others to commit crimes?” He added that he’s right to ask this question because a known FBI informant invited former Drug Enforcement Agency agent Mark Ibrahim to the January 6 riot and encouraged him to breach the Capitol. Carlson hosted Ibrahim, who said that he doesn’t believe that the informant “was malicious or trying to entrap [him].” [7/22/21]
  • J. Michael Waller of the Center for Security Policy, a far-right anti-Muslim, think tank, said that “January 6 was a political warfare operation” instigated by “cadres of agents provocateur and other troublemakers.” [11/1/21]
  • The Gateway Pundit’s Taylor Hansen said he “saw multiple agitators changing clothes,” adding that “in the initial phase it was changing from black bloc” — referring to antifa — “into Trump gear right before it all started.” [11/1/21]
  • Carlson claimed the January 6 riot was a “setup” to entrap protesters. [11/02/21]
  • Ray Epps

  • With his audience primed with months of allusions to false flags and undercover agents, Tucker then introduced a character who, despite a lack of evidence, would become the linchpin to the false flag conspiracy theory.Ray Epps, the former president of the Arizona chapter of the anti-government extremist group The Oath Keepers, was present around the Capitol building on January 5 and 6. Epps was filmed on January 5 telling a crowd, “I’ll say it. We need to go into the Capitol.” While Epps was filmed around the perimeter of the capitol on January 6, there is no evidence he entered the building. Epps’ encouragement of people to enter the building, and later on his removal from an FBI person of interest list in connection to the riot, have led to claims that Epps was an undercover agent and thus proof that January 6 was a false flag attack orchestrated by the U.S. government.Carlson’s first mention of Epps on his nighttime program came several days before the release of Patriot Purge, when he covered footage of Epps encouraging protesters to enter the Capitol. Carlson later interviewed Elijah Schaffer, a right-wing media personality who shot the footage of Epps. Schaffer declared that if he was a federal agent Epps would be “key suspect number one” in the investigation into the organizers and instigators of the riot. Epps would become the duct tape holding the January 6 false flag theory together, with Carlson hammering a consistent drumbeat of speculation and conjecture. While broadcasting to millions, the Fox host would go as far as describing Epps as “maybe the central figure” of January 6, declaring him the protest attendee that Democrats should be “the maddest at.”Despite the lack of evidence that Epps had any sort of tie to federal agencies, either as a direct employee or as an informant, Carlson chose to barrel ahead with the accusations. While he accused the federal agencies of a coverup, the FBI itself has not shied away from naming informants who were present, confirming to The New York Times that a member of the Proud Boys turned informant was present the day of the riot.The congressional January 6 committee disclosed that it had interviewed Epps in November. Details of the interview are sparse, but the committee stated that Epps informed the committee that “he was not employed by, working with or acting at the direction of any law enforcement agency on Jan. 5 or 6 or at any other time, and that he has never been an informant for the F.B.I. or any other law enforcement agency.” Carlson framed the announcement as further proof that the federal agencies were hiding something, and would say that the January 6 committee was “clearly lying about Ray Epps”

  • In the span of a few weeks, Epps became the central figure propping up Carlson and the right’s theorizing that federal agencies were involved in January 6:
  • Carlson aired footage of Epps in and around the capitol on January 5 and 6. [10/25/21]
  • Carlson’s guest, BlazeTV host Elijah Schaffer, said Epps should be “key suspect number one” in the investigation into the organizers and instigators of the riot. [11/1/21]
  • During an episode of his daytime show Tucker Carlson Today, Carlson interviewed Thomas Caldwell and his wife Sharon Caldwell. Thomas Caldwell was arrested in connection with the storming of the Capitol and would go on to be charged with seditious conspiracy on January 13 alongside Oath Keeper leader Stewart Rhodes and nine others. During the interview, Carlson tried to get Caldwell to endorse his Ray Epps conspiracy theory. [11/4/21]
  • Carlson asked, “Did Ray Epps have any contact with federal law enforcement agencies before the Capitol was stormed on January 6?” [12/14/21]
  • Carlson questioned why Epps’ photo has been taken off the FBI website without his having been charged with anything. [1/5/22]
  • Carlson goaded Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) into agreeing that the “obvious implication” was that Epps had been working with the FBI — though Cruz said it was also “not conclusive.” [1/6/22]
  • Carlson told viewers that Epps was possibly “the central figure" in the January 6 riot. [1/11/21]
  • Carlson claimed Epps “helped stage-manage the insurrection” and said that Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) thanking Epps for speaking to the committee indicated he is “withholding critical information from the public.” [1/12/22]
  • Carlson hosted alleged Oath Keeper Thomas Caldwell on the night he was charged with seditious conspiracy. Caldwell claimed innocence and said, “When they don't know what to charge you with, they charge you with conspiracy.” [1/13/22]
  • Carlson told viewers that nothing that took place on January 6 “came remotely close to threatening our constitutional order.” [1/14/221]
  • Carlson told viewers the January 6 committee is clearly “lying about Ray Epps.” [1/21/22]
  • Carlson insinuates that a pipe bomb found near Vice President Kamala Harris’s location on January 6th could have been placed there by the FBI or some similar type of government-aligned operative. [2/9/22]
Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

How Carlson Lied To Whitewash Oath Keepers’ Armed Conspiracy


Fox News’ Tucker Carlson has repeatedly hosted alleged Oath Keeper Thomas Caldwell, who was charged on January 13 with seditious conspiracy alongside Oath Keeper leader Stewart Rhodes and nine others in connection to the anti-government militia’s plot to violently overthrow the government on January 6, 2021. Carlson has interviewed Caldwell on both his Fox News show and his Fox Nation show. With Carlson’s help, Caldwell and his wife cast themselves as victims of overzealous prosecution for the events of January 6.

In their discussions Carlson and his guests overlooked some key details while portraying Caldwell, who was first arrested and indicted for his January 6 actions shortly after that day, merely as a “disabled veteran.

As noted in the indictment, Caldwell was stationed outside Washington, D.C., on January 5, standing ready to distribute weapons to his fellow militia members at the direction of Rhodes. He allegedly helped coordinate the Oath Keepers’ so-called “quick reaction force.” The indictment states that the militia had “amassed firearms on the outskirts of Washington, D.C., distributed them among ‘quick reaction force’ (‘QRF’) teams, and planned to use the firearms in support of their plot to stop the lawful transfer of presidential power.”

The indictment alleges, “The QRF teams were prepared to rapidly transport firearms and other weapons into Washington, D.C., in support of operations aimed at using force to stop the lawful transfer of presidential power. The QRF teams were coordinated, in part, by Thomas Caldwell and Edward Vallejo.”

Rhodes indictment 1rhodes indictment

The indictment also notes that Caldwell did march to the Capitol on January 6, which has been documented in previous media reports. Some of Caldwell’s involvement coordinating the “QRF” was released in a court filing in December and was reported on by local DC outlet WUSA.

The government’s case claims Caldwell sought boats to assist the QRF, saying he wrote in a message that they could have “heavy weapons standing by, quickly load them and ferry them across the river to our waiting arms.” It also alleges that “on January 5, 2021, Caldwell and others drove into Washington, D.C., around the Capitol, and back to their hotel in Virginia” where the Oath Keepers had stockpiled weapons. The indictment says that “Caldwell described the trip as ‘recce,’ or a reconnaissance mission.”

In his repeated interviews of Caldwell and his wife Sharon, Carlson hasn’t painted the full picture of the facts as laid out by the government or of the grave implications had the events of January 6 turned out even slightly differently.

Carlson first mentioned Caldwell in his monologue on June 15. Noting the reporting about the quick reaction force, Carlson flatly stated that because Caldwell’s two co-conspirators were not indicted at the time, they were “almost certainly working for the FBI.” The idiotic logic is breathtaking even today:

The government's indictments further indicate that Caldwell -- who by the way is a 65-year-old man -- was led to believe there would be a "quick reaction force" also participating in January 6. That quick reaction force, Caldwell was told, would be led by someone called "Person Three" -- who had a hotel room and an accomplice.
But wait. Here’s the interesting thing. "Person Two" and "Person Three" were organizers of the riot. The government knows who they are, but the government has not charged them. Why is that? You know why. They were almost certainly working for the FBI. So FBI operatives were organizing the attack on the Capitol on January 6, according to government documents. And those two are not alone.

As HuffPo’s Ryan Reilly has pointed out, court documents show that the person staying in a hotel room with Caldwell was his wife. In truth, Carlson was just ripping off a flimsy conspiracy theory from Darren Beattie, a frequent guest of his who has attended a white nationalist conference.

Caldwell first appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight on October 4, 2021. Carlson cited American Greatness blogger Julie Kelly’s coverage of Caldwell’s plight while introducing his guest. (At American Greatness, Kelly has repeatedly written about Caldwell in glowing terms. Just days ago she used Caldwell’s prior indictment as evidence that the federal government was behind the attack that day)

In the interview, Caldwell told Carlson the Oath Keepers “seem to be very nice people” but “I’m not part of that organization.” Carlson closed the segment by saying, “I hope you crush these people, and we’re going to follow your case, and I hope that you both will come back. It’s shocking this could happen in our country.”

Following that interview, right-wing figures like Kelly and New York Post columnist Miranda Devine raised money for Caldwell on social media.

Caldwell and his wife appeared again with Carlson on his Fox Nation show Tucker Carlson Today in November. During the 50-minute-long interview, Carlson described the circumstances of Caldwell’s arrest as “beyond belief” and said “there was no reason” for him to be arrested in the way he described. Carlson went so far as to ask that Caldwell publicly name the U.S. attorney prosecuting his case, which Caldwell declined to do. Carlson said, “I hope that he’s punished” for his handling of the case.

Carlson omitted key details from what the FBI found at Caldwell’s home that day. A February 2021 BuzzFeed News report says agents found “receipts for the purchase of ‘a concealed firearm intentionally built to look like a cell phone,’” live ammunition, and “a notepad with the legend ‘Death List,’ and below that the name of an elections official from another state, as well as a relative of that person.”

Prosecutors at the time also shared a text message from Caldwell about the plan, noted above, to ferry guns on January 6 into Washington, D.C., with boats. The judge in his case at the time found that Caldwell must be held in custody until his trial because he “represents not just a danger to the community but to the fabric of democracy.”

On Tucker Carlson Today, the eponymous host instead focused on whether Caldwell was an official member of the Oath Keepers, saying that “it is not a crime to belong to the Oath Keepers or any other organization in this country, no matter what Joe Biden thinks of it. Is that still true? I mean, you’re allowed to belong to any volunteer organization you want, right?”

Carlson asked Caldwell if he entered the Capitol building or did anything illegal; when Caldwell answered no, Carlson immediately took him at his word, saying that he “didn't get caught up in any of the illegal activities on that day, it doesn't sound like.”

In a 50-minute interview with someone indicted for their activities on January 6, that was essentially all the time Carlson spent trying to figure out what Caldwell did that day.

Carlson then proceeded to try to get Caldwell to endorse his Ray Epps conspiracy theory:

In that clip, Carlson goes on to suggest that there’s a federal government conspiracy because Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes had not (yet) been arrested.

The appearance was amplified by Pizzagate conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec.

In Caldwell’s third appearance with Carlson, on January 13, 2022, following the charges for seditious conspiracy, Carlson asked him about the text message and plans to ferry weapons across the Potomac. Caldwell denied that he had made those plans, and that exchange soon devolved into Carlson mockingly asking if Caldwell owned any howitzers. Most of the interview ended up just repeating the same notes – Caldwell denying he was in the Capitol building and talking about how much being prosecuted hurts his family.

Carlson didn’t mention why people may be skeptical of Caldwell’s denial: Messages made public by the Department of Justice show that Caldwell bragged to unnamed recipients about participating in the attack and that he told people to “storm the place and hang the traitors":

“Then we heard Pence f***** us. Wr [sic] had over a million oeople [sic] here. Then the lying media said Trump supporters were breaking through barricades so I said if we’re going to get blamed, might as well do it so I grabbed up my American flag and said let’s take the damn capitol,” Caldwell allegedly said. “So people started surging forward and climbing the scaffolding outside so I said lets storm the place and hang the traitors. Everybody thought that was a good idea so we did.”
“[W]e climbed the steps after breaking 2 rows of barricades, yhen [sic] got on the parapets and the people in front of me broke through the doors and started duking it out with the pigs who broke and ran,” Caldwell allegedly continued. “Then we started stealing the cops riot shields a d [sic] throwing fire extinguishers through windows. It was a great time.”

In addition to Carlson, One America News Network also hosted Caldwell for a friendly interview.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Many Thousands Saved, But Carlson Defames Vaccination Campaign As A 'Failure'

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

After spending the better part of a year discouraging viewers from getting vaccinated, Fox host Tucker Carlson took to the airwaves on November 29 to falsely claim that the U.S. has “achieved universal vaccination” and that continued high rates of coronavirus deaths mean the COVID-19 vaccination campaign is “the greatest public policy failure of all time.”


Carlson’s claim that the United States has “achieved universal vaccination” is categorically false. According to the Mayo Clinic Vaccine Tracker, 59.5 percent of the U.S. population was fully vaccinated as of November 28, with 70 percent of the population having received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Experts and medical professionals have battled an onslaught of vaccine hesitancy that has been driven partly by Carlson and his colleagues at Fox.

Deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. continue to far outpace those of other nations, and that is largely driven by deaths among the unvaccinated. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky, unvaccinated people are 14 times more likely to die from COVID-19-related complications than vaccinated people.

Carlson’s claim that the campaign to vaccinate Americans against COVID-19, and thus prevent deaths, is a “failure” is a conclusion that can be reached only if you ignore every shred of relevant information and consider instead just the fictionalized vision of the vaccine that exists on Fox News. Carlson has dedicated an extraordinary amount of airtime not just to lying about and undercutting COVID-19 vaccination efforts, but also to attacking vaccines as a whole. To name just a few recent examples:

Even though Fox has its own incredibly strict vaccination and testing policy for staff, the Murdoch family that owns the network has given Carlson’s reality-averse coverage of the pandemic its full backing. Across the network, vaccine misinformation has run rampant, with Fox throwing the health and safety of its viewers under multiple buses in exchange for imaginary culture war points.

Carlson And Fox Go Anti-Vax Wacko With Conspiracy Theorist RFK Jr.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Fox host Tucker Carlson hosted anti-vaxxer and conspiracy theorist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. for a fawning interview on his Fox Nation show Tucker Carlson Today. Kennedy is a well-known figure in anti-vaccine circles and one of the most prominent backers of baseless conspiracy theories attempting to link conditions such as autism to vaccines.

During the November 15 interview, Carlson urged viewers to purchase Kennedy's latest book, a screed accusing Dr. Anthony Fauci of intentionally bungling the pandemic, killing alternatives to the vaccine, and launching an assault on the First Amendment in order to silence critics. Kennedy walked Carlson's audience through a grab bag of his most notorious conspiracy theories, at one point asserting his belief that vaccines had to be one of the "key suspects" behind the rise in cases of autism.


Kennedy suggested that more than 17,000 Americans have died from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, a claim based on a misuse and misunderstanding of U.S. Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System data that Carlson has repeated on his prime-time show.


Poll: Fox’s Carlson Driving Republican Racial Agenda

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

A recent survey by Punchbowl News and Locust Street Group found that 87 percent of GOP congressional aides considered Fox prime-time host Tucker Carlson to be "the most influential Republican voice" outside of lawmakers and former presidents or vice presidents. The survey highlights the conservative star's meteoric rise in both right-wing media and Republican politics: The GOP has hitched its policy wagon to Tucker Carlson Tonight at the same time that Fox has gone all-in on branding Carlson as the face of the network. And the result is waves of culture war political posturing by Republicans that is informing everything from their tweets to legislation.

Fox has long been the communications arm for the GOP, and the revolving door between the Trump administration and the network laid bare the extent of the ties between the channel and Republican policymaking. With Donald Trump now out of office, the close relationship between Fox and the GOP continues -- with Tucker Carlson's monologues effectively becoming the party platform.

In April, the Republican Party released a memo outlining its intention to keep the party aligned with Trump and their mutual cheerleaders at Fox. The platform highlighted GOP priorities such as "anti-wokeness," the threat of China, and anti-conservative bias in Big Tech. The "traditional" issues of conservative politics -- taxes, deregulation, the national debt -- had disappeared, replaced by a list that reads more like a teaser for an hour of Fox News prime time.

Carlson has been curating the political priorities of his viewers for years. With an unofficial position as assignment editor to conservatism and a trademark "someone should do something" manner of presentation, Carlson has the ability to catapult virtually any topic to the top of the agenda. For instance, the recent panic over critical race theory that has seemingly possessed school districts overnight would have been impossible without Fox and Carlson. Notably, Carlson was responsible for platforming the harebrained drivel of Christopher Rufo, who served as director of the "initiative on critical race theory" at the Manhattan Institute and recently admitted that the goal of the hysterics is to turn the phrase into a dog whistle for myriad conservative grievances

In recent years, Rufo has made at least 15 appearances on Tucker Carlson Tonight -- the same show which has dedicated at least 71 segments to attacking critical race theory since June 5, 2020.

And it's not just Rufo using appearances on Carlson's show to get his message out; Republican politicians are also showing up to kiss the ring. In the last 18 months, they include GOP Sens. Josh Hawley (28 appearances), John Kennedy (13), Tom Cotton (8), and Marco Rubio (5), embattled Rep. Matt Gaetz (17), Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (8), and Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (6).

And Carlson has used their appearances to drive the manic coverage of a network that regularly sets the public agenda for GOP legislators. For example, a bill recently proposed by Republican state lawmakers sought to ban the teaching of critical race theory and enshrine "traditional history" in Texas' education system. Exactly what "traditional history" represents in this case, however, remains largely undefined. Instead, the bill and its components are a response to a fear manufactured by right-wing media. In other words, they echo long-standing tropes in the Fox cinematic universe: accusations that honest discussions about race are attempts at indoctrination or to rewrite history, suggestions that inclusive education is an attack on white students, and complaints that white people are the true victims of racism in America.

Curiously, the flurry of legislation in Texas and other states that would ban teaching "critical race theory" and other ideologies exists alongside ever-growing claims of anti-conservative censorship and repression that have swept Republicans over the course of the last year, with fearmongering from Fox News' Tucker Carlson Tonight at the center of both.

The contrived panic behind the Texas bill and others like it is emblematic of the legislative process of the modern GOP. In that process, Fox, led by frontman Carlson, latches onto an issue and carves it into the consciousness of viewers, leveraging their reach and influence to pull elected Republicans into the fold or drag them along if need be. Attacks on critical race theory are only the tip of the iceberg.

In just the first three months of this year, Fox News aired at least 72 segments on trans athletes, with Tucker Carlson Tonight once again setting the tone for the network's coverage. At the same time, a record-breaking number of anti-trans bills were also introduced in the United States this year, as at least 33states considered such measures and governors signed legislation against trans athletes into law in Arkansas,Mississippi, and Tennessee. Carlson himself gave cover to this extreme anti-trans legislation by lying about medical care for trans youth, and he even went so far as to describe the existence of trans people as "a challenge to the perpetuation of the species."

But the Fox host is also willing to attack Republican officials who didn't comply with his vision of the party platform. He savaged Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson in April for his initial veto of an anti-trans health care bill that the GOP leader described as a "step way too far." The month before, Carlson targeted South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem over "whether she was 'caving' to the NCAA by not signing a bill barring transgender women from competing in women's sports." Carlson followed up interviews with both Republican governors by continuing to criticize them in subsequent episodes, with right-wing media and anti-LGBTQ figures echoing his attacks.

Carlson has emerged as the unequivocal leader of the Republican Party's war on democracy. From his Fox perch, he often railed against the pandemic-led increase in mail-in voting throughout 2020, often getting facts blatantly wrong. Weeks before the election, he launched a conspiracy theory that a cabal of Democrats were planning to use such ballots to launch a coup, clearly setting the stage for what was to come.

When it turned out that Trump lost and Biden won, Carlson continued with the lies, only embarrassing himself further. He briefly criticized Sidney Powell's election conspiracy theories, only to later suck up toPowell associate, and Carlson's leading advertiser, Mike Lindell for pushing virtually identical lies about the election. Carlson was named in Dominion's lawsuit against Fox News. On January 4, Carlson claimed"virtually every power center on Earth" rigged the election for Biden.

And then the January 6 attack happened.

Carlson immediately set up his show as a spin room for a defense of the insurrectionists as people protecting their rights, declared that the attackers were not terrorists and it was not an insurrection, suggested that antifa was behind it, mocked people who feared for their life, launched a conspiracy theory about additional security after the attack, lied about white supremacist involvement, and demanded "answers" to his question while attacking efforts to establish an investigative commission.

Carlson then somehow hit a new nadir in recent days. Jumping off a blog post from a former Trump speechwriter fired after attending a white nationalist conference, Carlson claimed that the federal government was behind the January 6 attack on the Capitol building. Of course, he and his source were blatantly misreading charging documents, but Carlson was undeterred.

The claim was immediately picked up by some Republicans. Embattled congressional representatives Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greencalled for an investigation into the FBI, a stark contrast to the established anti-commission position of Republicans. As conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones jumped on board, Carlson is suddenly leading a "truther" movement about the attack.

The canary in the coal mine for this particular conspiracy theory was Carlson laughing about a plot during the height of the pandemic by right-wing extremists to kidnap Democractic governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer.

And perhaps no area has Carlson's influence over GOP posturing been more clear than the COVID-19 pandemic. Carlson took the stance that COVID-19 should be apolitical and addressed with seriousness at the very start of the public health crisis. But then he spent the next 15 months acting as the misinformer-in-chief. After declaring the pandemic over in April 2020, Carlson joined other Fox hosts to promote untested antimalarial drugs; championed protests against coronavirus mitigation efforts; ignored the climbing U.S. death toll and baselessly suggested it may have been exaggerated; mocked warnings of future casualties; accused Bill Gates of attempting to engineer "mass social control"; claimed the CDC's vaccine distribution plan was "eugenics" against white people; denounced public health measures and the scientists who supported them; and helped turn face masks into a culture war flashpoint.

Carlson's influence throughout the pandemic was key to turning public health and safety measures into high-stakes battles for the soul of the republic -- not only in the minds of his audience but also among prominentelected Republicans.

More recently, Carlson has insinuated that the vaccines may not be safe or effective and that scientists who say otherwise are lying. Clips of Carlson promoting anti-vaccine rhetoric have spread widely across social media, earning millions of views on Facebook. His recent claim that the COVID-19 vaccine was killing dozens of people a day was the culmination of months of speculation and fearmongering.

So what does it mean that the most influential voice in Republican politics trafficks in white nationalism, conspiracy theories, and outright falsehoods while at the same time wielding the power to shape public and legislative opinion? The GOP now largely has to deal with issues on Fox's terms, and Carlson's bad-faith hysterics over critical race theory, transgender people, the coronavirus pandemic, Black Lives Matter, anti-fascism, immigration, and myriad other issues have created a climate in which legislative priorities do not match the tangible needs of the American people. Instead, conservative politics has been consumed by a feverish race to the far-right on issues that appear in Fox News' prime time -- with Tucker Carlson setting the agenda and enforcing the new party orthodoxy.

Tucker Carlson’s Big Vaccine Lie Could Kill Thousands

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

On May 5, Fox News and Tucker Carlson added another entry to their laundry list of reckless and incendiary claims regarding COVID-19: "Official government data" indicates dozens of people a day are dying after receiving COVID-19 vaccinations.


Carlson inaccurately asserted that thousands of people have died after receiving the COVID-19 vaccination, claiming that "between late December of 2020 and last month, a total of 3,362 people apparently died after getting the COVID vaccine in the United States" and that even though the data was "not quite up to date," we "can assume that another 360 people at that rate have died in the 12 days since. You put it all together, and that is a total of 3,722 deaths. That's almost 4,000 people who died after getting the COVID vaccines. The actual number is almost certainly higher than that, perhaps vastly higher than that."

His monologue continued and included claims from an unnamed physician that we're currently living through the "single deadliest mass vaccination event in modern history":

In just the first four months of this year, the U.S. government has recorded more deaths after COVID vaccinations than from all other vaccines administered in the United States between mid-1997 and the end of 2013. That is a period of 15 and a half years. Again, more people, according to VAERS, have died after getting the shot in four months during a single vaccination campaign than from all other vaccines combined over more than a decade and a half. Chart that out. It's a stunning picture. Now, the debate is over what it means. Again, there is a lot of criticism of the reporting system. Some people say, well, it's just a coincidence if someone gets a shot and then dies, possibly from other causes. No one really knows, is the truth. We spoke to one physician today who actively treats COVID patients. He described what we are seeing now as the single deadliest mass vaccination event in modern history. Whatever is causing it, it is happening as we speak.

The sensational claims Carlson is parroting regarding a mass of unaddressed potentially COVID-19 vaccine-related deaths have been circulating online and on social media for months, and they are based on deeply unreliable data from the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). VAERS allows the public open access to report incidents of adverse reactions to vaccinations. As PolitiFact explained:

It's designed so that anyone — parents, patients and health care professionals — can freely report any health effects that occur after a vaccination, according to the CDC, whether or not those effects are believed to be caused by the vaccine. The reports are not verified before they're entered into the database. But anyone with a computer can search the data, download it, sort through the numbers and interpret them as they wish.
That makes VAERS fertile ground for vaccine misinformation that spreads widely on social media and elsewhere. Even though VAERS warns its users that reports should not be used on their own to determine whether a vaccine caused or contributed to a particular illness, many who tap into the system do that anyway, citing these government statistics to justify broader conclusions about what they consider the dangers of vaccines.

What Carlson brushed off as "criticism of the reporting system" actually relates to fundamental methodological decisions that are key to understanding what VAERS data actually measures, and they completely undercut Carlson's argument.

As radiologist Pradheep J. Shanker (incidentally, a contributor to the right-wing National Review) explained in a lengthy tweet thread, VAERS is intended to serve as a "catch all" system that allows for minor complications to be identified while also dealing with a significant amount of statistical "noise." VAERS' own data guide states that "a report to VAERS," including reports of death, "generally does not prove that the identified vaccine(s) caused the adverse event described. It only confirms that the reported event occurred sometime after vaccine was given. No proof that the event was caused by the vaccine is required in order for VAERS to accept the report."

A longer disclaimer on the VAERS website explicitly states that the data relies on self-reporting and should not be regarded as complete or authoritative: "While very important in monitoring vaccine safety, VAERS reports alone cannot be used to determine if a vaccine caused or contributed to an adverse event or illness. The reports may contain information that is incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental, or unverifiable. In large part, reports to VAERS are voluntary, which means they are subject to biases. This creates specific limitations on how the data can be used scientifically. Data from VAERS reports should always be interpreted with these limitations in mind."

VAERS screenshot disclaimer

VAERS disclaimer

VAERS requires people interested in exploring the dataset to acknowledge two separate disclaimers explaining the limitations of the data. When a person downloads VAERS data, they receive yet another disclaimer, stating that "the inclusion of events in VAERS data does not infer causality."

VAERS disclaimer warning

VAERS disclaimer warning

VAERS download disclaimer

In this instance, either Fox News, Carlson, and his team failed to even attempt to verify the numbers they were presenting viewers, or they knew of the VAERS methodological shortcomings, which users are required to acknowledge twice, and chose to brush them off in favor of a monologue designed to terrify their audience. And despite these clear limitations, Carlson repeated arguments, made by vaccine skeptic Toby Rogers no less, that the perceived under-reporting of adverse vaccine reactions to VAERS actually means that we have no way of knowing the true number of incidents, and that they're likely much higher. "Nobody [knows] and we are not going to speculate about it on the show," Carlson declared.

But that data does exist. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention oversees VAERS, it also runs the CDC's Vaccine Safety Datalink, which documents reports of adverse vaccine reactions through health care professionals and requires more rigorous standards of documentation and reporting. Despite Carlson's claims that "you are not allowed to" mention the nearly 4,000 deaths reported to VAERS for fear of being "pulled off the internet" if you do, the CDC itself addresses the reports on its website.

CDC VAERS

The CDC's comments about reports sent to VAERS were notably absent from Fox's broadcast. Carlson's assertion that the government won't "acknowledge" or investigate this alleged avalanche of mass death is even more starkly contradicted by the recent temporary removal of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine from circulation while the CDC investigated a half-dozen reports of blood clots in recipients.

What's clear is that Carlson has become the network's nexus of vaccine skepticism, spending months denouncing the effort to get the public vaccinated and insinuating that the drugs may not be safe or effective and that scientists who say otherwise are lying.

Fox News has abandoned all pretext of being a news and information channel in favor of unrestrained reactionary politics with Carlson as the centerpiece. Nearly half of Republicans now say they don't want a COVID-19 vaccine, and there is no doubt that Carlson and Fox played a part in creating that number. Advertisers and cable companies supporting Fox are propping up the nation's most prominent vaccine skeptic -- and they bear just as much responsibility for the consequences as the Murdochs and Carlson's enablers at Fox.

Meanwhile, Pfizer, which of course makes one of the COVID-19 vaccines that Carlson is scaremongering about, is currently one of Fox News' leading advertisers-- meaning that the company is essentially subsidizing baseless accusations against its wildly successful product.

Update (5/6/21 10 p.m. EDT): On his show the following evening, Carlson doubled down on his inaccurate segment, without engaging with any of the myriad criticisms that has been aimed at him in the ensuing 24 hours.

Carlson repeated his claim that "more deaths have been connected to the new COVID vaccines over the past four months and to all previous vaccines combined." Carlson again blatantly misinterpreted VAERS data, instead blaming the entire episode on the Biden administration (even as people across the political spectrum try to correct his lies), and finally sarcastically declaring that "anyone who asks" about the potential harms of the vaccine "is immoral."


Carlson blamed "partisans" for widespread criticism of his remarks, backlash comes from people across the political spectrum as well as fact-checkers. Prominent conservative figures, including Carlson's own colleagues, criticized the segment, notably off the air.

Dr. Nicole Saphier, Fox News medical contributor:

Jonah Goldberg, Fox News contributor:

Misinformer, Meet Liar: Correcting Maria Bartiromo’s Latest Trump Interview

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

On March 16, Fox News Primetime and Fox's Maria Bartiromo hosted former President and Celebrity Apprentice host Donald Trump for a friendly interview full of the kind of lies and misinformation for which both interviewer and interviewee are known.

Bartiromo spent most of the interview lobbing softball questions and letting blatant lies go unchecked while the former president rattled off a series of lies and delusions. In several instances, Bartiromo herself was a source of false information.

Below is a list of some of the lies and distortions uncritically aired by Fox.

Trump's Phone Calls To Georgia Officials Conflated

Bartiromo misrepresented a correction issued by The Washington Post regarding a conversation between Trump and Georgia election investigator Frances Watson, asserting that the correction was in regard to the now-infamous conversation between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

The Post reported that Watson had a conversation with Trump in which the then-president pressured Watson to "find the fraud" and said she would become a "national hero" if she did so. The statements turned out to be false, meriting correction, yet Trump and right-wing media have used the error to excuse and vindicate Trump's behavior during the 2020 election and the aftermath.

As explained by Vox:

According to a newly surfaced recording of the call with Watson, Trump did not in fact use those exact words. He did say she could find "dishonesty" in Fulton County, and that "when the right answer comes out, you'll be praised." But the language of the quotes the Post attributed to Trump were not accurate. As a result, the Post had to run a prominent correction. Trump and conservatives are now scorning the paper, and even some mainstream reporters are looking askance and wondering how it happened.
The correction was merited — it's important for reporters (and their sources) to be careful in attributing exact language in quotes. And it is unfortunate that these incorrect quotes spread so widely.
...
However, Trump has used the correction to claim in a statement that "the original story was a Hoax, right from the very beginning," which is untrue. The original story that got so much attention was Trump's call with Raffensperger, for which we had the full and accurate transcript all along. It has not been corrected. Furthermore, it remains the case that Trump did in fact call Watson to insist he won the state and that she should turn up evidence revealing fraud. "The country is counting on it," he said.

More Lies About The 2020 Election

Trump stated that "our Supreme Court and our courts didn't have the courage to overturn elections that should have been overturned." Courage had nothing to do with it; in fact, of the 62 lawsuits filed by Trump and his allies in a desperate and embarrassing attempt to delay the inevitable, all but one were rejected.

The Supreme Court itself declined to take up two Trump-supported lawsuits over the election, rejecting a major one from Texas as lacking standing and saying all other pending motions were "moot."

Lies About Voting Bights Bill HR-1

V

Trump echoed Fox News's drumbeat of misinformation around HR-1, or the For The People Act, which would expand voting rights and increase campaign finance transparency across the country. Trump echoed Fox's claim that the For The People Act is not constitutional, despite legal precedent and even though experts have affirmed that H.R. 1 is a constitutional exercise of Congress' power. In the interview, Baritomo gave Trump free reign to echo right-wing media attempts to falsely paint the legislation as a corrupt attempt to seize power from Republicans and state legislatures.

Lies About Immigration


Trump said immigrants coming through the southern border would "destroy our country if they don't do something about it." He also claimed that there was an influx of migrants arriving from the Middle East. The claim likely relates to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's recent statement that migrants at the border are "not just people from Mexico or Honduras or El Salvador. They're now finding people from Yemen, Iran, Turkey. People on the terrorist watch list they are catching, and they're rushing in all at once."

There is no concrete evidence backing this assertion. In fact, according to The Washington Post, Trump's own State Department debunked the claim:

The Trump administration first asserted this in the run-up to the 2018 midterm elections, offering a range of misleading statistics to buttress the claim that terrorists from the Middle East were filtering through the U.S.-Mexico border. But administration officials never offered any proof or identified a single terrorist.
In reports issued during the Trump administration, the State Department said that there was "no credible evidence indicating that international terrorist groups have established bases in Mexico, worked with Mexican drug cartels, or sent operatives via Mexico into the United States" and that "there have been no cases of terrorist groups exploiting these gaps to move operations through the region."

COVID-19 Vaccine


Trump claimed that he and his administration "came up with the vaccine, which is going to save the world." Of course, that's incorrect, and the COVID-19 vaccine went into development almost as soon as the coronovirus's genetic sequence was made public.

The claim also sits uncomfortably amid Fox News's reticence to encourage its viewers to actually get vaccinated. Hosts on the network are regularly sowing doubt and distrust in vaccinations, Tucker Carlson accused President Joe Biden of "vaccine coercion," and Laura Ingraham called Biden's COVID-19 relief speech "vaccine propaganda." The network is caught between indignation that Trump doesn't receive enough gratitude for the existence of the vaccine and assertions that the vaccine itself should not be trusted.

That being said, it is objectively good that Trump told his supporters to take the vaccine, especially given that others at Fox have been suggesting otherwise.

Fox Features White Nationalist Miller As Immigration ‘Expert’

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Former Trump senior adviser Stephen Miller finds himself a leech without a host, and Fox News is perfectly content to let him latch on. As the network scrambles, Fox has run back to more familiar territory: fearmongering about immigration. And Miller — who has a documented affinity for white nationalism and was a key figure behind the Trump administration's family separation policy — has fit in comfortably at Fox.

Miller has appeared on Fox weekday programming at least 10 times in 2021, according to a review by Media Matters, in almost every instance as part of segments fearmongering about President Joe Biden's immigration plans. Miller's near-weekly recent appearances on Fox have served as a regular drumbeat of lies and distortions about undocumented immigration in the United States, with an almost exclusive focus on attacking immigrants from Latin America.

Miller has claimed that the Biden administration is prioritizing the protection of "hardened criminals," defended the Trump administration's catastrophic child separation policy, claimed that undocumented immigrants are infiltrating American high schools and endangering American children, and accused the Biden administration of enabling human trafficking.

These are lies, and they have been repeatedly debunked by experts, who have pointed out that noncitizens do not commit crimes at higher rates than native-born citizens. A study by the Cato Institute examining 2015 arrest rates in Texas found that noncitizens were less likely to be perpetrators of criminal activity than native-born citizens. Fox News itself admitted in a 2017 op-ed that it was difficult to find evidence of an illegal immigrant crime wave. Immigration officials have also been explicit in their intent to continue investigating and prosecuting allegations of human trafficking and sexual abuse.

Miller's appearances on Fox have served the dual role of propagating distortions about the Biden administration's immigration policy and excusing the actions of Miller and the Trump administration. On the March 4 edition of The Ingraham Angle, Miller claimed that the Trump administration had created a "safe, secure, humane border" and that immigrants were apprehended and returned "safely" to their home countries. (Under the Trump administration, deaths of migrants in U.S. custody increased dramatically.)


In a January 21 appearance, Miller claimed that changes made by the Biden administration to Trump's immigration policy had relegated native-born Americans to the status of "second class citizens" and permitted immigrants to "do whatever [they] want, including committing crimes against U.S. citizens."



In a February 11 appearance on Fox & Friends, Miller accused the Biden administration of creating a public health crisis by releasing immigrants with COVID-19 into American communities. The claim that migrants are bringing diseases into the country, also made by Fox host Jeanine Pirro, is a common anti-immigrant trope among white nationalists that was previously cited by Miller during his time in the Trump administration as a pretext to close U.S. borders. A study by the Cato Institute found no correlation between COVID-19 infections and the immigrant share of a country's population, and a recent report by NBC News and Telemundo found a lower positivity rate among immigrants released from custody at the border in Brownsville, Texas, than in the overall county.


Appearing on the March 2 edition of Fox's Tucker Carlson Tonight, Miller fear-mongered that immigrants "pretending to be minors" are "just saying they're 17 to get into the country," and "some of those adults are going to end up in high schools around America. … This is a fundamental safety issue for America's children."


Fox's increasing reliance on Miller as "the most deeply informed person … on the question of immigration," as Carlson described him above, means the network's audience is being informed by Miller's well-documented fondness for white nationalist ideology, which was reported through leaked emails by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2019.

In a series of emails disclosed by the SPLC between Miller and former Breitbart editor Katie McHugh, Miller discussed conspiracy theories about immigration, including referencing the white nationalist "great replacement" conspiracy theory that white people are being systematically "replaced" by non-white immigrants. He suggested that evidence for the claim was being suppressed "because elites wanted to keep the country in the dark about immigration." The SPLC discussed the "source material that has influenced Miller's visions of policy":

That source material, as laid out in [Miller's] emails to Breitbart, includes white nationalist websites, a "white genocide"-themed novel in which Indian men rape white women, xenophobic conspiracy theories, and eugenics-era immigration laws that Adolf Hitler lauded in "Mein Kampf."
Miller's perspective on race and immigration across the emails is repetitious. When discussing crime, which he does scores of times, Miller focuses on offenses committed by nonwhites. On immigration, he touches solely on the perspective of severely limiting or ending nonwhite immigration to the United States. Hatewatch was unable to find any examples of Miller writing sympathetically or even in neutral tones about any person who is nonwhite or foreign-born.

The nativist ideology Miller so gleefully circulated to colleagues and news outlets meshes perfectly with Fox News' coverage of immigration. In one message to McHugh in September 2015, Miller praised a Tucker Carlson Tonight segment criticizing Republican senators who appeared too sympathetic to asylum seekers and refugees as "a good chance" to attack pro-immigration talking points. The network in turn celebrated Miller's immigration work attacking immigration under the Trump administration.


In his emails, Miller also shared content from white nationalist sites VDare and American Renaissance while previewing the rhetoric of some Fox News hosts who have avidly pushed the "great replacement" conspiracy theory and other racist talking points. Prime-time host Tucker Carlson, for example, has become Fox's most prominent mouthpiece for white nationalism by decrying immigration and diversity for "radically and permanently changing our country." And in 2019, Carlson's comments on Indigenous Peoples' Day and Columbus Day directly mirrored the language of American Renaissance's Jared Taylor, a well-known white supremacist.


Tucker Carlson's Indigenous Peoples Day talking points are White Supremacist talking points www.youtube.com

Enabled by Fox, Miller and the network's prime-time lineup have succeeded in creating a steady broadcast of racist tropes regarding undocumented immigration. By hosting the architect of Trump's family separation policy to fan the flames of xenophobia while its own hosts portray immigrants as criminals, gang members, child traffickers, and abusers, Fox is once again spreading white nationalist talking points and buttressing a climate that endangers migrants and the people around them.

Fox Canceled Lou Dobbs — And He Won’t Be Missed

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Lou Dobbs Tonight has been canceled at Fox Business. Host Dobbs, who had joined Fox after his birtherism led to him being forced out at CNN, became known at Fox for his over-the-top pro-Trump propaganda. Former President Donald Trump frequently tweeted about and made decisions based on Dobbs' program.

The news about his departure comes only a day after Dobbs and Fox News were named in a nearly 2.7 billion dollar lawsuit filed by voting technology company Smartmatic; there are indications that a similar suit from Dominion Voting Systems is forthcoming. The sudden schism is the culmination of an erratic, conspiratorial, and very bigoted career that became increasingly deranged throughout the Trump era. Here are some of the moments that defined what Dobbs' show had become during the Trump era.

Lou Dobbs defended insurrectionists at the U.S. Capitol: They "were walking between the rope lines" [MMFA, 1/6/21]

Lou Dobbs told Sidney Powell that "we will gladly put forward your evidence" that the 2020 election "was a cyber Pearl Harbor" [MMFA, 12/10/20]

Lou Dobbs suggested Republicans should just say "we're not going to accept the results of this election" [Twitter, 11/13/20]

The day after the 2020 election, Lou Dobbs demanded that Republicans "surround" Philadelphia and exert a "demanding presence" [MMFA, 11/4/21]

Lou Dobbs suggested that China is shipping fake IDs into the United States so that people can fraudulently vote [Twitter, 10/30/20]

Lou Dobbs: Elected Democrats are "quite simply, the enemies of the people" [MMFA, 10/27/20]

Lou Dobbs attacked Joe Biden for saying he won't debate Trump if he's contagious with COVID [MMFA, 10/7/20]

Lou Dobbs warned of a possible "civil war in this country," suggesting that Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) could be responsible for it [Twitter, 9/21/20]

Lou Dobbs said that the country may need to re-do the presidential election if mail-in voting is allowed [MMFA, 8/24/20]

Dobbs claimed that the arrest of Steve Bannon aboard his patron's yacht by Postal Service agents was a "deep state" plot [MMFA, 8/20/20]

Dobbs attacked health experts for not praising Donald Trump's "leadership" [MMFA, 4/1/20]

Lou Dobbs: "The president was right and frankly Fauci was wrong" about hydroxychloroquine [MMFA, 3/23/20]

Dobbs ran a Twitter poll asking if Trump's pandemic response was "SUPERB," "GREAT," or simply "VERY GOOD" [Twitter, 3/18/20]

Lou Dobbs poll asks if Trump's response to coronavirus has been

Lou Dobbs warned that there "will not be a quiet surrender" if election results aren't overturned [MMFA, 12/2/20]

Lou Dobbs and Rudy Giuliani claimed that Black Democrats "love their people less" than they hate Trump [MMFA, 2/5/20]

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Dobbs was upset after being told by "management" that he can't show a Trump campaign rally instead of doing his show [MMFA, 1/28/20]

Dobbs compared Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) to Benedict Arnold for criticizing the Trump administration's military briefing on Iran [MMFA, 1/8/20]

Lou Dobbs: "It will be century after century of veneration for this president" [MMFA, 12/20/19]

Lou Dobbs: Democrats "are waging war on everything American, our Constitution, our president, the American people" [MMFA, 12/19/19]

Dobbs praised Trump for thanking Dobbs at a rally [Twitter, 11/5/19]

Lou Dobbs claimed that Donald Trump never talks about himself [MMFA, 10/28/19]

Lou Dobbs said that Democrats are trying to "destroy" Trump because of their "hatred of American values, and our heritage" [MMFA, 10/18/19]

Lou Dobbs: "I said we can claim" victory over ISIS and Al Qaeda, "I didn't say it was true"[MMFA, 10/9/19]

Dobbs claimed that Trump makes great weekends "possible for us all." [Twitter, 9/13/19]

Lou Dobbs attacked journalists for not reporting on how much fun is being had inside the White House: "The joint is hopping" [MMFA, 9/12/19]

Lou Dobbs: George Soros' "tentacles reach out" in order to "work against sovereignty"[MMFA, 9/11/19]

Lou Dobbs said that special counsel Robert Mueller was part of a plot to help Democrats "steal" the 2018 midterms [MMFA, 5/29/19]

Lou Dobbs: The southern border is a "battlefield" and the military needs more guns there for when they get "a shot" [MMFA, 4/24/19]

Lou Dobbs calls for the jailing of Americans who investigated Russia's hacking of Democrats [MMFA, 4/18/19]

Lou Dobbs on Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN): "Who is she representing? Because it isn't America"[MMFA, 4/17/19]

Lou Dobbs praises ICE employee for driving his car into a group of protesters [MMFA, 8/15/19]

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Lou Dobbs asks if it's "time for the Trump administration to outright defy the activist" Supreme Court over census ruling [MMFA, 6/27/19]

Lou Dobbs endorsed Kris Kobach's proposal to put asylum seekers in a "camp" [MMFA, 4/2/19]

Lou Dobbs warns that immigration could "consign tens of thousands, perhaps millions of Americans to their deaths" [MMFA, 3/29/19]

Lou Dobbs called on Attorney General Barr to investigate Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts [MMFA, 2/14/19]

Lou Dobbs: Democrats "would love to carry out an actual coup d'état" [MMFA, 2/13/19]

Lou Dobbs calls for war with China, compares hacking and IP theft to Pearl Harbor [MMFA, 12/20/18]

Lou Dobbs calls climate change a United Nations plot "to take over the world" [MMFA, 12/4/18]

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Lou Dobbs: Robert Mueller "is trying to kill" Donald Trump [MMFA, 12/4/18]

Lou Dobbs suggests with no evidence that sweeping Democratic victories in 2018 were due to migrants who voted illegally [MMFA, 11/5/18]

Lou Dobbs claimed that birthright citizenship led to an "explosion" of welfare in the 1960's[MMFA, 11/1/18]

Lou Dobbs: Law enforcement agencies investigating bombs are "not doing things the American way" [MMFA, 10/25/18]

Lou Dobbs and Tom Fitton claimed that "radical Islamist terrorists" are part of the migrant caravan [MMFA, 10/22/18]

Lou Dobbs: Hurricane Maria death toll is a "farce" and "an amazing tortured inflation"[MMFA, 9/13/18]

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Lou Dobbs: "It's a disgrace" that anyone argues police brutality is an issue [MMFA, 9/4/18]

Dobbs defended Infowars and Alex Jones [MMFA, 7/27/18]

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Lou Dobbs credits Trump presidency with increase in Christmas displays and holiday joy[MMFA, 12/15/17]

Lou Dobbs: "U.S. Marshals should follow" Obama and bring him back when he criticizes Trump while abroad [MMFA, 12/1/17]

Lou Dobbs: Barack Obama "unleashed" Bangladeshi immigrants into the United States[MMFA, 12/11/17]

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Lou Dobbs: "The left in this country is trying to kill America" [MMFA, 6/15/17]

Lou Dobbs: "The secular left" and "national left-wing media" are a "threat to domestic order" [MMFA, 6/14/17]

Lou Dobbs said that there is "a partisan shroud" around the family of slain DNC staffer Seth Rich [MMFA, 5/16/17]

Dobbs claimed Trump is a victim of a "Mormon Mafia" [MMFA, 10/27/16]

White Nationalist Facing Election Indictment — And Carlson Defends Him With Lies

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

On January 27, the Department of Justice announced that it had filed charges against Douglass Mackey, alias "Ricky Vaughn," regarding allegations that he had interfered with the 2016 election. Mackey, a white nationalist who was eventually banned from Twitter, allegedly conspired to use social media to spread false information about voting in 2016 – specifically, claiming that people could text in their votes. Parts of the misinformation campaign appeared to target Black and Latino people. The complaint alleges that "at least 4,900" telephone numbers did just that.

Fox host Tucker Carlson ignored what Mackey's actual charges claim and instead shouted that Mackey had merely "hurt [the] feelings" of liberals. Carlson said that Mackey's arrest was proof that the First Amendment is "effectively suspended," and he declared that "we are clearly living under some form of martial law at the moment."

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Carlson was flatly pushing lies. He either didn't read the one-page Department of Justice press release explaining the charges of voter disinformation or decided to just flat-out lie given that his own network argues no reasonable viewer takes him seriously anyway. Mackey's posts solicited people to text a specific number to vote, and there is evidence a large number of them did. There are no "meme" or "LOLz" exceptions for breaking the law.

It wasn't just Carlson either. Far-right figures coalesced around the idea that Mackey's arrest was political, part of a "war on Trump supporters" by the Biden administration. Michael Tracey, best known for surviving a close encounter with Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), derided the charges as well.

Mackey had a long history of explicit bigotry that Carlson simply elided. Carlson failed to mention that under his "Vaughn" pseudonym, Mackey amassed a large following on social media through which he became a prominent source of white nationalist and anti-Semitic content.

"Vaughn" at one point spoke of his support for creating all-white communities and the shunning of interracial marriages "to maintain our unique culture and racial heritage." Mackey rebranded as a pro-Trump account in 2016, promoting content that pushes fear of Muslim refugees and other immigrants, and supported Donald Trump's lie that thousands of American Muslims celebrated the 9/11 attacks in New Jersey.

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It would be hard for Carlson not to have an idea of Mackey's history given that if you simply ran a Google search for his name, you would find multiple profiles and reports that examined his white nationalist views.

It's unclear why Carlson didn't acknowledge what is plainly obvious. Maybe he didn't want to alienate his core audience, or maybe he is still on the hunt for a new head writer.

Far Right, Proud Boys Cheer Trump’s Call To ’Stand By’

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

During Tuesday's presidential debate, President Donald Trump was asked by Fox News anchor and moderator Chris Wallace to condemn white supremacist groups, and the president responded with a direct plea to the violent, neo-fascist "Proud Boys" gang, telling them to "stand back and stand by."

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