Fox News has long been the bane of truth in the media – from the early 2000s when it was pushing fear after 9/11, to now with Tucker Carlson spreading hate. Documentaries like Robert Greenwald’s Outfoxed and Jen Senko’s The Brainwashing of My Dad tried to warn us but the Rupert Murdoch empire was and still is a beast. It has taken decades for the real effect that Fox was having on our nation to come to a head in Donald Trump.
But Trump isn’t the only symptom of a diseased culture created by Fox News and its spawn, like The Daily Caller and Breitbart. The rise and mainstreaming of white nationalist thought and figures, emboldened by the President and Fox News guests have seen a precipitous rise in hate crimes across the country.
Jeanine Pirro, who Trump considered for a federal judgeship, has been losing advertisers because of her continued comments about Muslims, specifically Representative Omar. Pirro questioned if Rep. Omar’s Muslim beliefs were “antithetical to the United States Constitution.” She also pushed the idea (as many right-wing commentators have over the years) that Muslims, like Rep. Omar were bent on pushing ‘Sharia Law’ on the United States. A cursory google search would have shown Pirro or anyone actually interested that shariah is not some evil set of laws that restrict women, but, according to MPVUSA.org, “It includes Islamic principles to help guide people to new answers, and it includes common cultural practices that had to do with a specific time and place in history.” (As I write this we are finding out more information about a mass murder of Muslims in a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, committed by a man that was a fan of Trump.)
Wednesday, March 13th, as Fox News executives were meeting with potential advertisers for their upfronts, protesters convened at the front doors of Fox News headquarters. The rally was small in numbers, but was loud and covered by many in the press. Activists from Lady Parts Justice and Code Pink joined Media Matters in confronting the stream of hate that seems to be only escalating from President Trump’s favorite news network.
Pirro nor Trump’s personal advisor Sean Hannity was not the center of this recent protest this time it was Tucker Carlson. Media Matters, specifically Madeline Peltz who has the unenviable job of watching Tucker Carlson’s show every night and writing about it. NationofChange spoke to Madeline at the ‘DropFox’ rally about why Tucker Carlson was so dangerous:
He covered this ridiculous faux outrage over land reform in South Africa that resulted in a tweet from President Trump saying that he was directing the State Department to look into it…his programming is closely watched by these fringe white nationalists media figures on the Internet. And, they know that he’s talking to them and they’re talking about right back to him and saying thank you.
Last month, The Daily Beast’s Justin Baragona wrote about how white nationalist anti-immigrant group, VDARE, thanked Carlson for covering a conspiracy revolving around PayPal. “Spotlighting PayPal, Carlson said it was “essential” for anyone who wanted to make money online, going on to chastise the company and its CEO Dan Schulman for banning far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, Islamophobic provocateur Laura Loomer, and VDARE – which he described as merely a “publication.”
This, of course, is not the least of it – Madeline and the Media Matters team have been unearthing video and audio clips of the formerly bow-tied Fox News host talking about teenage girls in vile sexual ways, using more white supremacist rhetoric and of course using bigoted slurs to describe people.
Lizz Winstead, the co-creator of The Daily Show and founder of Lady Parts Justice League, a reproductive rights activist group pointed out that Fox News has always been spreading hate speech, even before 9/11.
In the 90s, BillO’Reillyy started it with his profound assault on Doctor Tiller, calling him Tiller the Killer, and that inspired extremists, domestic terrorists to kill Doctor Tiller. And we’ve watched Charlottesville, we’ve seen what their rhetoric does. It enflames the worst in us. And so I’m here to ask Fox advertisers, is it your goal to have your bottom line, to have your cost-benefit be to sell your products and to make a profit? Or is it to be to destroy democracy and to put people at risk? Because at this point, that is where your dollars are going.
Tucker Carlson has been continually losing advertisers over the last year as activists like @slpng_giants and Media Matters focus their attention more on him, just in the last week he has lost at least two (this is after losing 26 in December 2018.). Even as companies see Pirro and Carlson’s opinions as too disturbing to be attached to, Fox News still dominates in ratings with few exceptions.