When you set out to write a story about the lies told over the course of an entire year at Fox News, you have to limit yourself in some way. Trying to report on the lies that come from the
“fair and balanced” fairly unbalanced network isn’t a story — it’s a book.
Out of all of the stupidity that comes from the unofficial media arm of the Republican party, one regular show stands out as the pinnacle of stupid: “Fox and Friends.” The morning show gets the Fox viewer’s day started with lies, and it never gets any better as the day wears on. But the airheaded Elisabeth Hasselbeck, the leprechaunish Brian Kilmeade, and the downright dumb Steve Doocy do occasionally provide some (usually unintended) comic relief.
Trying to sort through the mound of mendacity to pick just ten of the biggest whoppers was a challenge, but here, without further ado, are the 2015 top ten lies of “Fox and Friends.”
10. When it comes to jobs, Hasselbeck thinks that 180,000 is a bigger number than 270,000.
This isn’t so much a lie as an example of how Fox distorts information by the way they present it. The job numbers for October came out while the curvy couch crew was on the air, and they were very good. This meant that Hasselbeck and company had to think on their feet to make the jobs report sound bad. Thinking on their feet is not something that this bunch is good at.
Hasselbeck framed the report this way to Doocy:
That’s right, Steve. Only 271,000 new jobs were added last month. That is up from September as well. Analysts were expecting more than 180,000 jobs for October.
See the video here.
9. How dare you call the doctored Planned Parenthood videos “doctored?”
The entire right-wing media universe was united on this one. When various politicians and some in the mainstream media called out the videos that were released by the Center For Medical Progress as “doctored,” they were talking about the edited videos that the group released. Those were obviously designed to show Planned Parenthood in as negative a light as possible. But then CMP released the full videos, and Fox pulled a “bait and switch” of sorts, claiming that those who said the videos had been altered were lying, conflating the edited videos with the originals.
Hasselbeck was outraged that Nancy Pelosi would dare to describe the videos as “doctored.”
See the video here.
8. The “myth” of Islamophobia.
On December 8, Kilmeade talked to Dr. John Hajjar, a Lebanese-American Christian, about “Islamophobia.” Why talk to a Middle Eastern Christian about Islam? That’s a good question. The two agreed that Islamophobia doesn’t exist and that President Obama “is trying to find victimhood status for various groups.”
Their evidence? Kilmeade claims that only 14 percent of reported hate crimes in 2014 were against Muslims. It’s not clear where he got his numbers because the FBI says that 16.1 percent of hate crimes in 2014 were anti-Muslim in nature.
A Huffington Post/YouGov poll from last April found that fifty-five percent of Americans hold a somewhat or a very unfavorable view of Islam. Other polls have indicated similar results. Just because Muslims got attacked less than some other groups doesn’t mean that Islamophobia isn’t real.
7. Hasselbeck says that politicians told people to “stop praying.”
Following the mass shooting in San Bernardino, Republican politicians responded predictably, offering “thoughts and prayers,” but no substantive action to address the problem of gun violence. Some Democrats, like Connecticut senator Chris Murphy, ridiculed the GOP response. Murphy tweeted:
Your ‘thoughts’ should be about steps to take to stop this carnage. Your ‘prayers’ should be for forgiveness if you do nothing – again.
Hasselbeck turned that, and other criticisms of the Republican response, into a claim that the critics wanted people to stop praying:
I say this, if you want to line up with terrorists and try to take God away, you’re not on the right side. That’s all I’d have to say to those politicians who want to tell you to stop praying. Just don’t.
6. Fox agrees with the rest of the right: The Charleston, South Carolina church shooting was an attack on Christianity and had nothing to do with race.
In the days following Dylann Roof’s murder of nine worshipers at a black church, a number of disturbing pictures emerged, showing him with Confederate flags, and wearing a jacket featuring the apartheid flag of South Africa. But some in right-wing media claimed that Roof’s attack was against Christians, and was not racial in nature. Of course, nobody of any intelligence believed that. But the folks on the Fox News morning couch did.
5. Fox hosts were livid that administrators at a Wyoming high school canceled “America Day” — except they didn’t.
Substitute blonde Ainsley Earhardt took over the outrage chair from Hasselbeck for this one. Earhardt was simply beside herself because the administration at a high school in conservative, Republican Wyoming canceled an American pride day, allegedly for reasons related to that most dastardly of right-wing nemeses: political correctness.
Except it wasn’t the administration at Jackson Hole High School that canceled the day at all, it was the students. As Tommy Christopher reported at Mediaite, the student council made the decision, as they explained in a post on the school’s website:
The JHHS student council and JHHS administration selected days to ensure support of TCSD’s goal of ensuring everyone has a safe, caring, and healthy environment. America Day had many personal student comments about why that day was uncomfortable for some students. In an effort to compromise on the title of a day, and to meet district goals, a conversation with JHHS student council leaders and JHHS administration discussed alternative ways to name the day “Patriot Day” or “Heritage Day” to be inclusive. Both of these days were declined by JHHS Student Council leaders. This was a great learning opportunity for students to hear the opinions of others, to voice their own opinion and to learn about how to dissent appropriately. We will continue to provide and participate in civil, constructive, and problem solving discourse at JHHS in both the classroom and school activities. It is important to note, that on any given day, students are welcome to celebrate their national pride and heritage.
4. Doocy claims that California gave undocumented immigrants the right to vote.
The New York Times reported on August 8 that California had issued some 443,000 driver’s licenses to undocumented residents since the beginning of 2015. On the August 10 “Fox and Friends,” Steve Doocy turned that into a “right to vote.” Because in the Fox News universe, Democrats have been stealing elections all over the country by getting those damned “illegals” into the voting booth.
Unfortunately for Doocy, the Los Angeles Times had already explained that the new licenses contain special markings that would not allow those who hold them to register to vote or board an airplane.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqbE_NyY8qg?rel=0&w=640&h=360]
3. Doocy brings back the old “blank check” argument against raising the debt ceiling.
In a November 4, conversation with Utah Senator Mike Lee, Doocy said:
Senator, they suspended the debt limit until March of 2017, past the election. Doesn’t that mean, for the most part, it’s just an open checkbook — as much as they want to spend, they can spend?
Lee agreed with Doocy, but they were both wrong. Politifact explained in 2013 that the debt ceiling is for debts that the government has already incurred. Raising it does not permit unlimited spending in the future.
Of course at Fox News, the story of the year for 2015 was still Benghazi. (Bold prediction: It will continue to be the big Fox story in 2016, right up until Hillary Clinton either loses the Democratic nomination, or the presidential election is held.) But even Fox was grasping at straws when they hyped a “smoking gun” email about Benghazi that actually proved them wrong.
On the December 10 “Fox and Friends,” Hasselbeck and Fox flunky Andrew Napolitano discussed the redacted version of an email that suggested that the State Department nixed the use of military assets that could have been used against the Benghazi attackers. But what they didn’t count on was that Congressman Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the
witchhunt Benghazi committee, would release the unredacted version of the email, which confirmed what the Obama administration has been saying all along, that there were no military assets available that could have reached the Benghazi compound in time to make a difference.
1. Those elusive celebrating Muslims in New Jersey.
Even though there is no video evidence of it, Donald Trump continues to insist that there were “1000’s of Muslims celebrating” in New Jersey on September 11, 2001, when the World Trade Center collapsed to the ground. But Steve Doocy, ever the Trump suck-up, said he remembered the incident. Although, just like some others who claim that the event actually happened, Doocy doesn’t say that he saw the celebrations himself, but that he heard about it from others.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQKFCRg0qks?rel=0]
So there you have it, the “Fox and Friends” top lies list for 2015. And think, these are just the lies that Fox viewers hear during the first hours of the day. To chronicle all of the lies would truly be a writer’s life’s work.
Featured image via YouTube screen capture