I know what I have to say is controversial but I don’t care. I’m a political liberal and I know that many people won’t agree with me on my political views (well, many people I know anyways). So it goes without saying that I don’t get my information from Fox News or rely on any source that uses it, except if it’s a fake news show on Comedy Central. I don’t hide my disgust for a so-called 24-hour “news” network which I think functions more as a right-wing propaganda machine than a proper news organization. Yet, just because I may criticize Fox News doesn’t mean that I don’t think other media outlets have problems for the state of the American media is a very sorry one indeed. It’s just that Fox News is a very special case in which the very principles of journalistic integrity like objective reporting and commentary are thrown out the window in exchange for using appeals to emotion to get their message across.
Is the media biased? Well, that’s without question since all news outlets are run by humans but whether many of our TV news networks are liberally biased or not is anyone’s guess but apparently Fox News believes this. Of course, while Fox News’s motto is “Fair and Balanced,” everyone should know that it’s certainly biased toward the right and bases it’s whole existence on being the Republican Party’s mouthpiece (though claiming they’re an unbiased primary source of information) when most news outlets are just out to attract viewers and sponsors as well as make a profit. Sure MSNBC may have some liberally biased programming, but Joe Scarborough has his own show there and Pat Buchanan tends to drop by sometimes. Oh, and when Fox News is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., they’re also owned by a conglomerate called Comcast who doesn’t support net neutrality. In fact, most American media outlets are by corporate conglomerates and many have corporate sponsors who may want to use a news program to push their own agenda. And that the Republican Party has absolutely no problem attracting big corporate donors since they are the party of big business. So to be fair, while MSNBC may be a liberal version of Fox News it is only more or less left-of-center one since there is a limit to how liberal they can be yet they do have a tendency to copy some features from it. You can’t say the same with other networks who may be deemed “liberal” just because they tend to say things that Fox News disagrees with.
Another thing which irks me about Fox News is not just their politics but how they tend to politicize everything to the point of absurdity. Look, criticizing the President, politicians you don’t agree with, or social policies are one thing. Though I may not be comfortable with Fox News putting down major demographics with hateful slander but I understand they do that to pander to a certain audience since politics and prejudices tend to go hand in hand (and history has a lot of examples of this). Sometimes it’s hard to disagree with a social issue without insulting a whole demographic (with or without intention). However, sometimes they tend to politicize things that really shouldn’t be like the Muppets. Really, the Muppets? Not only that, but they address anything they disagree with in the most juvenile way possible like yelling or screaming until the other person shuts up. While I do think people have a right to disagree with each other, I don’t think adults should attack people through utter childishness as well as inciting unreasonable anger and fear, which has created a hostile political environment where the rational thinking conservative is rarely ever seen and you can’t even disagree with one who doesn’t lash out at you. For instance, I may say rich people and corporate heads need to pay more in taxes and be held more accountable, but that doesn’t mean I hate rich people for simply being rich (I don’t). But someone who may take Fox News seriously may think otherwise.
Look, I know many people might be calling this blog post liberally biased or as inspired by the “liberal media” or my liberal views. But since the 24 hour cable news network’s advent in 1996, Fox News has been among the most popular and one of the most trusted sources among Americans, according to some studies. However, it’s well known that Fox News one of the most prolific conservative news outlets with a staunch loyal following. Yet, if anyone thinks I’m bashing Fox News because of their political slant, you’re sorely mistaken. In fact, it’s not just Fox’s status as a conservative news station that roils me. It’s much more than that. For its duration, Fox News has been harshly criticized not just by liberals and programs like the Daily Show and other late night shows, but also by highly regarded experts. As for me, I see Fox News as way less trustworthy than sites like Wikipedia. Seriously. As far as I am concerned, Fox News is not a legitimate news source as well as been a major disgrace to our country. And here I have a list explaining why.
- Political Ideologized News Coverage– Despite their slogan being “Fair and Balanced,” everyone knows that Fox News has a strong conservative political bias that it doesn’t even try to hide. We know its reputation as a strongly conservative news outlet is a major reason why their viewers tune in. Network employees noted how executives exert a degree of control over its daily reporting content. As former producer Charles Reina explains, “The roots of Fox News Channel’s day-to-day on-air bias are actual and direct. They come in the form of an executive memo distributed electronically each morning, addressing what stories will be covered and, often, suggesting how they should be covered. To the newsroom personnel responsible for the channel’s daytime programming, The Memo is the Bible. If, on any given day, you notice that the Fox anchors seem to be trying to drive a particular point home, you can bet The Memo is behind it.” However, it’s one thing for a news outlet to have a political ideological slant. Putting conservative editorializing within news stories neither fair and balanced nor ethically responsible journalism. Neither is having network executives coach reporters on how report the news. Look, I may not like how the mainstream media does journalism, but I think striving for objectivity and being open to all viewpoints are worthy media endeavors. Fox News doesn’t even try to hold up to journalistic principles and resorts to ideological based reporting. Otherwise known as propaganda. Even when Fox tries to make seem like it’s “fair and balanced” with having people like Alan Colmes on the network, the so-called “liberals” aren’t really that liberal. This opens the doorway for all other misuses in journalism.
2. Promoting Unsubstantiated Conspiracy Theories– As a conservative political media network, Fox News has had major role in hosting, promoting, and repeating conspiracy theories. Fox News has endorsed numerous unsubstantiated claims about democratic politicians and other people they don’t like. Featured unsubstantiated claims have revolved around Obama being a Muslim, Obama not being born in the US, Hillary’s role in Benghazi, the “liberal” mainstream media, “liberal” Hollywood, 9/11 Trutherism, Hillary’s declining health, the murder of Antonin Scalia, global warming hoax, Obamacare “death panels,” the “gay agenda,” FEMA detention camps, Spongebob’s homosexuality, anchor babies, Google censoring Clinton body counts, war on Christmas, war on Christianity, anti-capitalist Muppets, gun confiscation, moon landing hoax, Planned Parenthood abortion factories, ACORN voter fraud operations, big government and unions destroying everything, and much more. They’ve even featured a lot of conspiracy theorists like Orly Taitz, Alex Jones, and many of their news hosts like Glenn Beck. Still, trying to pass off conspiracy theories as factual information is irresponsible and not becoming of any credible news organization. Because a lot of them are based on speculation, personal bias, gossip, and urban legend. And most of them have been thoroughly debunked, sometimes through a process known as simple logic as well as research supported by facts. Yet, since Fox News cares more about their conservative agenda, it all depends on whether these theories suit them.
3. Perpetuating Offensive Stereotypes– Whether it pertains to all Muslims as backward and violent religious fanatics who are all suspected terrorists by default even if they’re American, blacks as promiscuous gangbanging deadbeat dads and drug addled welfare moms, illegal border crossers having anchor babies, Hispanics as undocumented criminals, LGBT people as depraved pervs, spoiled millennial brats, poor people being unemployed moochers on welfare, and feminazis, Fox News never misses an opportunity to disparage a person they don’t like, particularly if they’re not white, rich, Christian, or male. It doesn’t help that most of their reporting staff is white. Fox’s coverage of racial crime is particularly appalling which doesn’t hesitate to include racial overtones. Not that general racial crime coverage isn’t racist because it certainly is if you watch the local news. But racial crime coverage on Fox News stands out since the racism doesn’t seem accidental or just consist of daily showings of black mugshots. In fact, Fox seems to perpetuate racial crime stereotypes with stories they choose to cover and their frequent use of racial identifiers. They even actively exploit the race angle by speculating that otherwise non-racial events are examples of racist hate crime. Case in point focuses to the network framing the murder of an Australian teen in Oklahoma as a racist hate crime by three young black men. In reality, the guy was twenty-three, the murderers were teens, one of the killers was white, and the kids admitted to killing him just for kicks. Sure it was cold-blooded murder and these kids were sick but it’s far from a racist hate crime. More like the white victim just having to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Not to mention, the local District Attorney told Greta Van Susteren there was no evidence the crime had anything to do with race. On that same program, Fox featured the murder of a white WWII veteran by two black suspects in Spokane. Though a reporter said the murder looked more like a “random beating” or “possible robbery,” Van Susteren asked whether it was racially motivated. It wasn’t. Later, Pat Buchanan would use this story to say that “racial hate crimes [are] 40 times more prevalent in the black community than the white community, and nobody talks about it” with dubious statistics to boot. Sorry, Pat, but white racial hate crime against blacks is far more prevalent. You can find that out in your American History book. But it’s not the only case Fox has tried to question whether a crime with a black killer and white victim was racially motivated. By contrast, the network would swear that George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin in self-defense when race certainly played a role. Even worse, Sean Hannity tried to connect Martin’s killing to the New Black Panther Party while Geraldo Rivera blamed Martin for his own death because he was wearing a hoodie. Another incidence of Fox News racism revolves Peter Doocy describing Department of Justice findings of racial bias where he emphasized that then Attorney General Eric Holder “floated the possibility” of dissolving Ferguson’s police department as a result. Steve Doocy linked the DOJ’s report and Holder’s response the shooting of two Ferguson police officers and added, “a new wave of violence comes one week after Attorney General Eric Holder vowed to dismantle that city’s police department,” questioning whether it was “what he wanted.” In a way he seems to blame Holder for the police shootings even though nobody at DOJ had any plans to dissolve Ferguson’s Police Department. No wonder Jon Stewart criticized Fox News of ignoring the realities of systematic racism those in Ferguson were protesting. Though we all know that Fox News refers Black Lives Matter as a bunch of lawless and violent thugs they’re clearly not. They even go as far as saying that BLM advocates cop-killing when the group promotes nothing of the sort. They also say that the unarmed black victims were violent thugs and that the cops’ actions were justified. Doesn’t help that the network has Bill O’Reilly commenting how life under the infamous dehumanizing institution of slavery wasn’t really that bad (newsflash: it was). It’s clear Fox News thinks that racism doesn’t exist anymore when it surely does. Let’s just say if you believe that, then you’re a racist. Look, I know that Fox might be playing to an audience that’s probably full of racists to begin with. But Fox News’ propping of offensive stereotypes has misinformed countless white viewers and made race issues much more controversial.
4. Creating Scandals Through Unethical Practices– Fox News has been particularly insidious in trying to demonize liberals and Democrats as well as other people they don’t like, especially Barack Obama and his administration. During the 2008 election as well as Obama’s presidency, the network has tried to smear the president as a scary black man out to get white people. They have done so through taking quotes and videos out of context as well as ramming so-called scandals down viewers’ throats no matter how twisted the story may be. When the NAACP charged the Tea Party of racism, Fox and their friends aired a two minute clip of Shirley Sherrod talking about an incident with a white farmer from decades ago who’d later become a close family friend. What she told was a story about overcoming prejudices and reconciliation. But Fox only aired part of the clip and branded it as racism. She was fired. Another insidious case concerns how Fox News demonized ACORN, an agency that works for poor and minority interests. This involved a young man named James O’Keefe who dressed up as a pimp and went to several ACORN offices asking for advice and recorded the visits. The videos were edited only to show negative responses and make it seem like O’Keefe was actually dressed as a pimp for the interviews. He has since been arrested and convicted of breaking into a government office on false pretenses. As of 2010, he’s also being sued by ACORN employee, Juan Carlos Vera for being falsely portrayed in a heavily edited video to be conspiring with O’Keefe to transport undocumented immigrants as prostitutes. Then there’s Fox News taking small clips of Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s sermons and twisting them into making him an anti-American, anti-white madman. In an impassioned speech, Wright referenced comments from former U.S. Ambassador Edward Peck on Fox News who referred to 9/11 as chickens coming home to roost, which Fox News used to make him look like an Al-Qaida supporter. In other sermons, Wright would criticize the US on several fronts including nuking Japan during WWII, the Vietnam War, support of apartheid, the Tuskegee experiment, Iran-Contra, the Iraq War, and AIDS. Save for Wright’s claim about the government starting AIDS, most of them are thoroughly backed up. Furthermore, unlike most Fox News pundits and GOP politicians, Wright is a former Marine who’s also served as a cardiopulmonary technician in the US Navy. In fact, he worked for the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland and was part of the medical team charged with caring for President Lyndon B. Johnson. If you need proof, there’s a photo depicting him tending to LBJ right behind an I.V. pole and standing in front of then White House Press Secretary Bill Moyers. There’s also a thank you letter. So it’s fairly pointless and shameful to attack this man’s patriotism. But you wouldn’t know that from how Fox News depicts him. What Fox News did to Sherrod, Wright, and ACORN was not journalism but deliberate attempts at character assassination through dubious means. What Fox has considerably hurt their reputations and earned them notoriety they didn’t deserve.
5. Defending and Glorifying Terrorists and Criminals– Now it’s one thing how Fox News denigrates minorities blacks and Latinos as criminals and Muslims as terrorists. However, if there’s a story that concerns a conservative who’s in trouble with the law, well, they might cover it quite differently. When the story about Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s showdown with the Feds broke, Fox News flaunted its disdain for law enforcement in order to champion him. Never mind that the Feds were there in the first place to legally confiscate his cattle because Bundy refused to pay over $1 million federal grazing fees and fines for using public land. Nor the fact the rancher was supported by heavily armed militia men and women and the stand-off was aggressively anti-law enforcement. Nor how the Southern Poverty Law Center described it as “Militia snipers lined the hilltops and overpasses with scopes trained on federal agents.” In other words, these guys basically threatened the Feds with violence. Or how the SPLC noted that these people taunted the Feds with insults denouncing various officers as a “terrorist,” “loser,” “chickenshit,” and a “fucking pussy.” Would it be rude to call Bundy an insurrectionist? How about domestic terrorist? But there you have Fox News acting as his publicist with Bill O’Reilly, Todd Starnes, and Sean Hannity calling him a hero sticking up to government overreach. For a network to treat a criminal with no respect for authority like Bundy is beyond disgusting. Luckily, Fox News got their comeuppance for their inexcusable stance when Bundy publicly remarked how blacks were better off as slaves. Another good example would be the case with George Zimmerman who fatally shot unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in a Florida gated community. Martin was clearly a victim of racial profiling since he was on his way to visit his father and minding his own business while Zimmerman followed him. The fact Zimmerman got away with it on Florida’s infamous “Stand Your Ground” law is an utter disgrace. However, when Sean Hannity had a panel on race that included a black minister Pastor Marcus Jarvis and lawyer Eric Guster, Hannity asserted that Zimmerman was absolutely in the right for fatally shooting the black teenager. The black men were rightly pissed off. Hannity would later interview Zimmerman who’s admitted that he doesn’t regret killing Martin and that he felt it was all God’s plan. He’d later give an account that Martin had beaten him and he shot the kid out of fear for his life. Fox had clearly framed the Trayvon Martin’s murder as an act of self-defense when the actual tapes illustrate that it was not the case. Moreover, Zimmerman has had other encounters with the law such as a 2005 arrest for shoving an undercover alcohol agent, an ex-fiancee filing a restraining order against him on domestic violence, a 911 call from his estranged wife citing that he threatened her and her dad with a gun as well as punched the latter in the face, a 2013 arrest for aggravated assault with a weapon, domestic violence, battery, and criminal mischief against his girlfriend, a 2015 arrest for aggravated assault with a weapon against his ex-girlfriend, and being punched during a Gators’ game for bragging about Trayvon Martin’s murder. The fact Fox News stood by this man is appalling.
6. Blatant Hypocrisy and Double Standards– Fox News has an astounding record on hypocrisy and double standards when covering the news. And the network would always take the side that best suits their conservative ideology. Over the years, the cable news channel has been quick to label protests against police brutality as lawless thugs promoting cop-killing such as the people of Black Lives Matter. Yet, when it comes to cop killings by right-wing and anti-government gunmen to deliver their warped political messages, they ignore it, say it has nothing to do with politics, or blame political and community leaders who’ve spoken out about the troubled relationship between the blacks and the police. While Fox News is quick to treat a mass shooting or bombing involving Muslims as a terrorist attack to promote radical Islam, when it comes to white supremacist and anti-government attacks, they treat them as isolated incidents having nothing to do with politics with perpetrators being portrayed as wacko lone wolves not representing any cultural or political movement. In one instance, they even treated an anti-government terrorist as a hero despite that he and his supporters staged an armed stand-off against the Feds. In reality, the rise of right-wing and anti-government domestic terrorism has become an increasing concern. And there are incidents in which such the attack had a lot to do with politics. For instance, the guy who killed worshipers at a Wisconsin Sikh Temple was a skinhead. For some reason, Fox News doesn’t believe that right-wing domestic terrorism even exists. Another example has to pertain to music and entertainment when Fox News blasted the rapper Common for setting a terrible example to young people by recording songs about killing cops (which really wasn’t the case). They also criticized Beyonce and other black recording artists for the same thing, using offensive black stereotypes no less. Meanwhile, there’s Ted Nugent who’s said very disparaging remarks about Obama and Hillary at a concert and his song “Cat Scratch Fever” contains very sexually explicit lyrics. On Fox News, he’s seen as an honored guest. Then there’s Fox News commentators criticizing on how certain women dress and liberal politicians doing morally dubious things in their personal lives. However, Fox & Friends once had Hooter Girls on their show and the network mandates their on-air talent to wear short dresses. As for conservative politicians in their private lives, well, note that they undergo damage control like labeling disgraced Republicans with a D to their names. They may even ignore the scandal entirely. Or they may even defend them. After all, you might see Newt Gingrich appear on the network from time to time. You know the former House Speaker who tried to crucify Bill Clinton over his sexual proclivities who also cheated on and later dumped two wives for getting sick. Rudy Giuliani is another familiar face. He was the former thrice-married New York City mayor who used local resources to conduct an affair with his mistress (and later Wife #3) while still married to Wife #2. Not to mention, Bill O’Reilly’s personal conduct toward women. As if these people pride themselves for not being politically correct….
7. Misrepresenting Facts– According to a 2015 report from the Independent Journalism Review, Fox News has an astonishing 61% of claims rated Mostly False or worse compared to MSNBC with 44% and CNN with 20%. Nothing illustrates Fox News so consistently misinforming the public whenever the topic is climate change where it has disproportionally represented climate contrarian views. This despite the fact that there’s a 97% expert consensus on human-based global warming. According to a 2012 report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, 93% of Fox News’ global warming coverage was misleading. Statements identified in the report included, “…dismissals of human-caused climate change, disparaging comments about individual scientists, rejections of climate science as a body of knowledge, and cherry picking of data.” Fox News’ influence in climate change denial is extensive and undeniable. And their influence has resulted in very negative consequences for the US as well as the world. It’s well established in the scientific community that climate change is real, is manmade, is happening, and is a very serious global problem. Yet, Fox News’ endorsement of climate change denial has greatly hindered efforts to prevent climate change and adapt to a warming climate as well as undermined the public’s trust in climate science and led to low levels of public concern. Furthermore, it’s also said their distortion is a big reason why Republicans continue denying climate change. Thus, climate change has become a highly partisan and controversial issue in American politics when it shouldn’t be. This is very troubling especially since the Pentagon has ruled climate change denial as a national security. Of course, climate change isn’t the only thing Fox News lies about, but their misleading climate change coverage shows how their misrepresentation of facts has drastically hurt this country. This is inexcusable.
8. Photo Manipulation– On July 2, 2008, Fox & Friends co-hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Killmeade aired photos of New York Times reporter Jacques Steinberg and TV editor Steven Reddiccliffe that appeared to have been crudely doctored in order to portray them unflatteringly. This during a discussion of a piece in a Times piece on June 28 that pointed out what Steinberg called “ominous trends” in Fox News ratings which Doocy called a “hit piece” Reddiccliffe ordered. On the show Steinberg was depicted with yellowed teeth, “his nose and chin widened, and his ears made to protrude further.” Reddiccliffe was portrayed with yellow teeth as well as “dark circles … under his eyes, and his hairline has been moved back.” The broadcast later showed an image of Steinberg’s face superimposed on a poodle while Reddiccliffe’s was over a man holding the poodle’s leash. Times editor Sam Sifton called the photo aired on Fox “disgusting” and the criticisms on its reporting a “specious and meritless claim.” The manipulation was probably no accident.
9. Video Manipulation– Fox News has a long record of selective editing, withholding content, and using video clips for their own deceptive purposes. On November 10, 2009, Sean Hannity misrepresented video footage purportedly showing crowds at a Rep. Michele Bachmann orchestrated protest. On the Daily Show, Jon Stewart showed inconsistencies in alternating shots according to sky color and tree leaves showing footage from Glenn Beck’s much larger 9/12 rally spliced in. Hannity estimated that 20,000 were in attendance. Luke Russert and the Washington Post guessed somewhere between 4,000-10,000. Stewart has also periodically accused Fox of playing video footage out of context. Another instances was when Sean Hannity played footage of Obama stating the DREAM ACT couldn’t be passed by executive order to make him seem like a hypocrite. Even though the full footage shows Obama going on to clarify the president can stop deportations. Of course, Fox News can make excuses such as when it was found the network used footage from a 2008 McCain/Palin rally for a Sarah Palin book signing at Grand Rapids, Michigan as Greg Jarrett told viewers that there was a massive turnout. Senior vice-president Michael Clemente issued a statement saying, “This was a production error in which the copy editor changed a script and didn’t alert the control room to update the video.” They also like to splice quotes such as when they aired a clip of Michelle Obama saying that she’s proud of her country now that her husband was running for president around the 2008 election. What she actually said that she’s very proud of her country.
10. Showing No Respect for Women– Sexist stereotyping, feminazis, and Hillary Clinton comments aside, Fox News has remained a cesspool of sexism both on and off screen. Fox News isn’t necessarily in line with notions of conservative womanhood but they’re nonetheless has a legendary disdain for women. Sure they’re antagonistic to women’s rights, bemoan the rise of female breadwinners, think female brains aren’t great for business executives, shame rape victims, and that feminism is a cause of women high school teachers sexually abusing students. Yet, when it comes to notions of female wholesomeness like modesty, you can bet Fox isn’t going for that. Mostly because it’s owned by an Australian man who’d use tits to sell a newspaper. Just look at Fox’s female on-air talent who mostly have to be highly attractive and mostly blond and white as well as comparatively young or be yanked off the moment they age. They’re also required to abide to a stringent dress code consisting of sleeveless short dresses, some with cleavage revealing peekaboo cutouts (with few exceptions) or tight cleavage revealing shirts with short skirts. These are outfits that could barely pass a high school dress code and it’s definitely not something a conservative Christian would want their daughter to wear. But it’s very much implied female broadcasters are expected to use sex to sell. Then there’s the case with former Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson who played a total ditz who gets the wrong context for terms like “ignoramus” and “czar” even when she googled both terms. This despite that she’s a high school valedictorian, a Stanford graduate with high honors, a former student abroad in Oxford, and able to play Zigeunerweisen on the violin. It’s clear she was deliberately playing dumb so her viewership could see her as more identifiable and less intimidating. She’s even had to put up with a barrage of sexist jokes from her male colleagues which culminated in a 2012 incident where she walked off the set. Her demeanor sets a very terrible example to girls and projects very sexist standards on feminine behavior that many people encourage. Off-screen, it’s just as bad as former newscaster Andrea Tantaros described the workplace culture as “like a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult, steeped in intimidation, indecency, and misogyny.” According to Tantaros, Fox News had a yearly “trunk show” where female employees are forced to dress and undress in front of staff. Workplace sexual harassment at the network is rampant. Roger Ailes has a well-known record of sexually harassing women even before he became the network’s CEO. It’s a major reason why he wasn’t offered a job in the Nixon administration despite helping Tricky Dick win in 1968. Anyway, Carlson alleged that Ailes told her, “You and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago, and then you’d be good and better and I’d be good and better.” This during sexual harassment meeting! He also may have told a woman “you might have to give a blowjob every once in a while” for him to help with her career. Carlson claims her contract wasn’t renewed as direct retaliation about the pervasive harassment and sexism she faced. Megyn Kelly has said Ailes has sexually harassed her as well. So has Tantaros. Yet, a lot of women at Fox News have non-disparaging clauses in their contracts and may not be able to come forward for fear they’d lose their job. Not only that, but according to Tantaros, Fox has numerous “sock puppet” accounts on its talent which are fake identities to promote or trash someone through seemingly independent blogs or social networking sites. In other words, Fox spends a lot of time looking for dirt on talent employees which they use for leaking baseless and harmful information about them in order to discredit and cause reputational harm. Thankfully, Ailes resigned and is now working for the Trump campaign. However, this doesn’t mean that Fox News’ problems with sexual harassment have necessarily gone away. Bill O’Reilly has been subject to sexual harassment, extortion, and domestic abuse allegations. And this sexual creep still has a show on the network. Let that sink in.
11. Contributing to a Hostile Political Environment– Since the advent of Fox News, the American public has become more politically polarized. Sure the rise of social media has something to do with it. But we should remember that a lot of Fox’s audience is over 65 and is less likely to have a computer or internet. Now being a conservative news station is one thing. Yet, Fox has taken it much further with supporting Republican stances and politicians without question. No matter how wrong those stances would be or how hypocritical it makes them seem. They also breaking news stories that embarrass the GOP as well as labeling prominent Republicans who’ve upset the public as Democrats. As for liberals and their causes, they’ve been unrelentingly hostile with heinous insults, slander, character smears, cheer when one of their initiatives fails, and just plain bullying. Even when it pertains to liberals standing up for basic decency and especially if they’re non-white. Case in point the Black Lives Matter movement. Since Fox has such a loyal following, these people accept their commentary as gospel. Many of them have become vociferously hostile like the Tea Party members and Trump supporters. Fox News has had a hand in perpetuating climate change denial, increasing racial tensions, increasing legislative gridlock, and others. Not to mention, recent Republican politicians have increasingly become more partisan and less willing to compromise, especially in Congress. It’s very clear that Fox News has played a role in our political dysfunction in our democratic society.
12. Using Intimidation Tactics– Now I may have discussed some intimidation tactics on how Fox News tries to silence female employees who’ve been sexually harassed by their male bosses and colleagues. However, sexual harassment situations aren’t the only times Fox has resorted to intimidation. For a time on The O’Reilly Factor, it wasn’t unusual for Bill O’Reilly to send employees to stalk, harass, and ambush people who didn’t want to appear on his show. Or people O’Reilly doesn’t like. One major case was in 2009 when O’Reilly’s producer and crew to ambush Think Progress blogger Amanda Terkel on vacation in order to asking why she was hurting rape victims and demanding that she apologize. This was in an attempt to humiliate her and depict her as fearful, agitated, and incoherent on national TV. Why did he do this? Because Terkel was one of many people who called out the hypocrisy of O’Reilly being a speaker for It Happened to Alexa Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping rape victims. And Terkel was totally justified to call him on it. Because O’Reilly is a flat out pig who once famously said, “Now Moore, Jennifer Moore, 18, on her way to college. She was 5-foot-2, 105 pounds, wearing a miniskirt and a halter top with a bare midriff. Now, again, there you go. So every predator in the world is gonna pick that up at two in the morning. She’s walking by herself on the West Side Highway, and she gets picked up by a thug. All right. Now she’s out of her mind, drunk.” Definitely not a guy you’d want to speak in front of rape survivors. Not to mention his reputation as an uniformed, creepy, loudmouth who’s been accused of sexual harassment and domestic abuse. But camera crews to follow people in order to ambush and humiliate them is just unethical and possibly illegal. Yet, somehow O’Reilly gets away with it. Another case from 2008 centers around the legendary Bill Moyers, a former press secretary and then PBS broadcaster who refused to appear on O’Reilly’s show. Moyers made him look like a fool. Vermont US Senator Bernie Sanders was another during his presidential candidacy. Sanders blew the producer off. Others include Arianna Huffington, former Bush press secretary Scott McClellan, Tim Robbins, Jane Fonda, Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon, and even Barack Obama during his Senate days (where O’Reilly did it himself). O’Reilly has had a long record of ambushing and threatening journalists, politicians, religious officials, activists, celebrities, and even judges. O’Reilly has suggested that the “ambush journalism” conducted by his producers is limited to targeting “public servants” and stated prior to these “ambush interviews” subjects would either be asked to appear on his show or explain their actions. In reality, they’re just O’Reilly’s way of getting revenge.
13. Encouraging Extremism and Violence– As I said Fox News has a horrible record of handling cases pertaining to right-wing terrorism and white-on-black crime. But it’s even more disturbing whenever Fox defends men like George Zimmerman and frame Cliven Bundy as a hero. Fox’s Bundy glorification is particularly disgraceful because it makes it seem like staging an armed militia stand-off against the Feds is perfectly okay because these domestic terrorists are standing up to big government. Uh, excuse me, but when is domestic terrorism ever acceptable? Apparently whenever the perp is a right-wing nutjob, according to Fox. It doesn’t help that Fox has had plenty of conspiracy theorists on their network. But they’ve also engaged in some rather violent rhetoric about people they don’t like. There’s Glen Beck’s saying, “To the day I die, I am going to be a progressive hunter.” Bill O’Reilly’s comments on the late Dr. George Tiller are especially awful: “[I]f I could get my hands on Tiller — well, you know. Can’t be vigilantes. Can’t do that. It’s just a figure of speech.” He repeatedly called him, “Tiller, the baby killer” and even said that Tiller was an evil man with blood on his hands who had to be stopped and that anyone who doesn’t stop him has blood on their hands as well. He said all of this shortly before the Kansas abortionist was murdered in his church. Still, publicly calling for someone’s death, abortionist or not, is unconscionable regardless of whether you’re pro-life, pro-choice, or pro-anything. Then there’s Ralph Peters on then Taliban-held Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl, “[W]e know this private is a liar; we’re not sure if he’s a deserter.” He later added that if he was a deserter, “the Taliban can save us a lot of legal hassles and legal bills.” An NBC correspondent later reported the Pentagon claimed Peters’ comments “could endanger” the captured soldier. To be fair, I know most Fox News viewers aren’t violent. And I know that Fox News never intends to inspire violence either. But knowing that a lot of Fox’s fanbase supports Donald Trump, such rhetoric could explain a lot since they probably hear it a lot and think it’s entertaining. However, that’s the problem for there may be extremist Fox News fans out there who might take those words out of context and might be inspired to carry out acts of violence. Like the right-wing terrorists that Fox News believes don’t exist. In 2010, Byron Williams traded gunfire with 10 California Highway Patrol Officers after they stopped him for erratic driving. After his arrest, Williams said he intended to start a revolution by traveling to San Francisco and killing important members of the Tides Foundation and the ACLU. He also claimed that he was inspired by Beck’s chalkboard conspiracy theories on liberal groups and described himself as a “progressive hunter.” Another avid Glenn Beck fanboy was Richard Poplawski who fired upon 5 Pittsburgh cops with an AK-47 and killed 3 of them. According to a friend, Poplawski loved Glenn Beck and was reportedly obsessed with Beck’s theories of an imminent food crisis, that paper money would soon be worthless, and that the government planned to intern dissidents in concentration camps. A third is Kenneth B. Kimberly who discussed bombing a bridge and made threatening statements about Obama. Little did he know, he was talking to an undercover federal agent who led investigators to seize 20,000 of ammunition rounds and several firearms from his property. He and other suspected militia members also gathered at his home to make grenades. Kimberly also claims to be a leader of the extreme right-wing militia called the Brotherhood of American Patriots whose mission is to “resist in the event the government started rounding up the patriots” and to stand up in the face of foreign invasions and societal breakdowns. Gives you an idea how Fox’s violent rhetoric could go.
14. Failing to Hold Newscasters Accountable– Yes, working at Fox News isn’t really nice since newscasters are coached on what to report and female on-air talent are subject to harassment and confined to a skimpy outfit dress code. But when it comes to some really awful stuff among its talent, Fox News doesn’t seem to do anything about it or at least until there’s a big public scandal or the newscaster has become an increased liability to the network. And a lot of Fox newscasters get away with shit that their mainstream media counterparts wouldn’t. Yes, I know the bit about Roger Ailes being booted out as Fox News CEO for sexual harassment. But if it wasn’t for Gretchen Carlson filing a high profile lawsuit, Ailes would be network head today. Besides, other Fox executives and newscasters have had sexual harassment allegations as well. One of them is Bill O’Reilly whose show is still on the air and has also been accused of extortion and domestic abuse. O’Reilly also repeatedly denounced Kansas abortionist Dr. George Tiller for 4 years before his murder and may have called for his death. But he responded to such allegations saying, “no backpedaling here … every single thing we said about Tiller was true.” Maybe, but that’s absolutely no excuse for inciting violence against him and such comments are very irresponsible, especially for a public figure. Then we have O’Reilly’s long list of lies. He’s lied about winning two Peabodys for hosting Inside Edition in the 1990s which is a tabloid show. He’s claimed to be an average guy who came from nothing when he spent his childhood growing up in an affluent New York suburb, attending private school and college, taking regular vacations in Florida, and lucking out of the draft during Vietnam. Furthermore his father was a currency accountant for an oil company and I’m sure he earned more than $35,000 a year unlike what O’Reilly claims. He’s lied about knocking at the front door at George de Mohrenschildt’s daughter’s home at the moment de Mohrenschildt committed suicide. Audio files made by Gaeton Fonzi indicate he wasn’t there. He even lied about surviving a combat situation covering the 1982 Falklands War, even though there were no American journalists in the islands during the conflict. And that O’Reilly had arrived to Buenos Aires shortly before the war ended. He later said the situation was a riot in Buenos Aires after Argentina surrendered. Former CBS colleague Eric Engberg said the riot they covered wasn’t a combat situation where he heard no shots fired and saw no ambulances or tanks on the street. Furthermore, the sound guy and cameraman with O’Reilly at the time have backed up Engberg’s claims. At any rate, archived video of the incident shows that O’Reilly might’ve been right about the Falklands War riots being combat situations. However, his other claims regarding his reporting in El Salvador and Northern Ireland were questioned. In 2013, he stated: “I’ve seen soldiers gun down unarmed civilians in Latin America, Irish terrorists kill and maim their fellow citizens in Belfast with bombs.” He’s even claimed that he saw nuns gunned down in El Salvador. Later it was clarified that O’Reilly had been shown images of murdered nuns and Irish bombings but wasn’t an eyewitness in either case. Then he’s said to lie about being attacked by protesters while reporting the LA Riots which has also been disputed by former colleagues at Inside Edition. In the mainstream network news, you have NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams who lied about witnessing a helicopter being shot down in Iraq and got canned for it. O’Reilly lied about witnessing events several times and is still working. Not to mention the Daily Dot has a list of 99 of his lies and his history books have been charred by historians for being off-based and weakly researched. His books have even been bashed by conservative news outlets. His Killing Lincoln book was banned at the Ford’s Theatre bookstore for historical inaccuracies by the National Park Service which included a claim that Lincoln’s War Secretary Edwin Stanton was involved in his assassination plot. A claim in which he and co-author Martin Dugard failed to provide evidence. They also claim that Lincoln worked in his Oval Office which was actually constructed in 1909. In fact, his office was actually what we now call the Lincoln bedroom. Meanwhile, when respected CBS News anchor and 60 Minutes correspondent Dan Rather couldn’t supply any tangible proof on George W. Bush skipping out on his military service in 2004, the network fired him. O’Reilly still has his job despite that he’s been widely seen as a pathological liar. Yet, the fact he hasn’t been fired for things most journalists got canned for is just very disturbing as far as the media landscape goes.
15. Failing to Fact Check Sources and Background Check Experts– Like I said, Fox News cares more about their conservative agenda than it does about facts. And it doesn’t really care where they get their information from. So fact-checking sources isn’t really in vogue at the network. A lot of Fox’s sources usually come from the Heritage Foundation think tank but they also rely on conspiracy theorists and websites like Infowars which is owned by radio host Alex Jones who’s listed as an extremist by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Now Jones is notorious for his epic rants about “New World Order” plots for world government enforced eugenics, secret internment camps, militarized police, and behind the scenes control by a global corporate cabal. According to him, the only way to avert this dystopian future is if true patriots resist before it’s too late. His hundreds of thousands of acolytes are taking heed, building bunkers, hoarding food, and investing in precious metals. You might’ve seen Glenn Beck promoting these things whether on Fox News or on Comedy Central. In some cases like with Richard Poplawski and Jared Loughner, they’re resorting to violence like killing 3 cops with an AK-47 or killing 6 people and shooting a US Congresswoman in the head. He also believes that some of the nation’s worst mass shootings and terror attacks were government-led “false-flag” operations and even suggested that 9/11 was an inside job. Another SPLC extremist luminary Fox News has had on their network is self-proclaimed historian David Barton whose book The Jefferson Lies was recalled by the world’s largest Christian publishing company for too many serious errors. You know the kind of gross factual mistakes that would end a real historian’s career. Barton has promoted the false notion that our Founding Fathers never intended a separation between church and state but rather sought to build a Christian nation. His Wallbuilders group sells lots of books and DVDs pushing his fun-house vision of religious patriotism. However, despite being among “one of the 25 most influential Evangelicals” he’s an utter fraud whose version of American history is filled with flagrant omissions and distortions that bend reality to his own fact-free vision. Even among conservative Christian history scholars who’ve refuted his claims think he’s a crackpot. He was a regular guest on Glenn Beck’s “Founders’ Fridays.” Sometimes Fox would feature experts with sketchy credentials or sketchy ties. Many of the climate-denying “scientists” on the network don’t have a scientific background. One time, Bill O’Reilly had a “national security analyst” Ryan Mauro who claimed that Muslims were forming “no-go zones” in the US where they would train and launch domestic attacks. Not only they were never substantiated by credible sources in law enforcement, but he’s actually a national security analyst for the Clarion Project which has been classified as an anti-Muslim hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Fox News has invited him back numerous times to spread his false and inflammatory smears that give Fox News viewers the wrong impression of Islam along with an unwarranted fear of peaceful fellow citizens. There’s also Milwaukee sheriff named David Clarke who delivered a keynote address to a New York chapter Oath Keepers meeting, a right-wing militia terrorist group who believe in a wild set of conspiracy theories. These people were best known for their controversial presence during protests and unrests in Ferguson, Missouri during which members were armed with semi-automatics. The SPLC lists its founder as an extremist while the Anti-Defamation League describes them as “heavily armed extremists with a conspiratorial and anti-government mindset looking for potential showdowns with the government.” There was even a Fox News commentator Wayne Simmons who claimed to be a former CIA agent and had appeared numerous times on the network since 2002. He would later be sentenced to 33 months due to his fraudulent claims about being a CIA agent for decades and actually had neither military nor intelligence background. He also defrauded a woman out of $125,000 in a bogus real estate investment, defrauded the government several times, and illegally possessed two firearms around his arrest (due to being barred from having prior firearms violations at both the state and federal level). In other words, the man was a con artist. So I guess Fox News doesn’t do background checks on their experts either.