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The Enemy at Home


Fox News is one of the most popular news networks in America, and is often viewed as the rival of CNN, due to their opposing views. Since their inception, Fox News had the goal of promoting a political agenda rather than solid journalism, which has led to their position as a leading factor in America’s deepening division. With the onslaught of misinformation, bigotry and lack of journalistic integrity, Fox News has become an enemy force broadcasting into American homes at the command of a foreign elitist named Rupert Murdoch.


Since Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016, the term “fake news” has become normalized. Aside from blogs and podcasts, one of the leading sources for fake news posing as legitimate journalism has been the Fox News network.


The Associated Press, which is responsible for centralizing and establishing the standards of journalism, has its own definition for determining what is considered fake news, as recognized by the journalism community.


In 2018, the editorial board of the Associated Press released a statement to serve as a reminder on this topic. In this article, they stated, "Fake news consists of deliberately false stories that appear to come from credible, journalistic sources." The article continued by stating, "They're designed to be spread around the internet - previously as jokes, but increasingly often to influence political opinion."


Another major factor for determining fake news are the journalistic standards, which every journalist is expected to abide by within their respective media. These standards include "seek the truth, minimize harm, be accountable and transparent and act independently" as stated by the Society of Professional Journalists.


Each of these aspects has been defined as the following:


  • Seek the truth – “Take responsibility for the accuracy of their work. Verify information before releasing it. Use original sources whenever possible. Identify sources clearly. The public is entitled to as much information as possible to judge the reliability and motivations of sources. Avoid stereotyping. Journalists should examine the ways their values and experiences may shape their reporting.”

  • Minimize harm – “Balance the public’s need for information against potential harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance or undue intrusiveness. Show compassion for those who may be affected by news coverage. Use heightened sensitivity when dealing with juveniles, victims of sex crimes, and sources or subjects who are inexperienced or unable to give consent. Consider cultural differences in approach and treatment.”

  • Be accountable and transparent – “Respond quickly to questions about accuracy, clarity and fairness. Acknowledge mistakes and correct them promptly and prominently. Explain corrections and clarifications carefully and clearly. Expose unethical conduct in journalism, including within their organizations.”

  • Act independently – “Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived. Disclose unavoidable conflicts. Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and avoid political and other outside activities that may compromise integrity or impartiality, or may damage credibility.”


An article by the New York Times in 2016 revealed Fox News was created in 1996 as a news network with a "position as a platform for conservative politics and ideas." According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Fox News was created with Republican political consultant Roger Ailes as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) following a failed attempt to purchase CNN by owner Rupert Murdoch.


A 2011 article published by the Rolling Stone stated, "Ailes runs the most profitable – and therefore least accountable – head of the News Corp." Later it stated, "Fear, in fact, is precisely what Ailes is selling: His network has relentlessly hyped phantom menaces." They dug deeper by reporting, "As a political consultant, Ailes repackaged Richard Nixon for television in 1968, papered over Ronald Reagan’s budding Alzheimer’s in 1984, shamelessly stoked racial fears to elect George H.W. Bush in 1988, and waged a secret campaign on behalf of Big Tobacco to derail health care reform in 1993."


In 2017, the BBC published an article titled "Fox News broke the UK's broadcasting rules" where it reported "the Hannity programme" was "largely pro-Trump and did not sufficiently reflect alternative viewpoints." It continued its analysis by reporting "Tucker Carlson Tonight was also found in breach for a broadcast in May following the Manchester terror attack."


In an article written by Anna Kaplan for the Daily Beast, Trump’s racism has become realized by Geraldo Rivera. Rivera, who has served as a conservative commentator and reporter for Fox News, now admits that Trump’s critics are correct about his inflammatory comments, which were eagerly and passionately defended by hosts on Fox News.

Rivera stated, “I do insist that he’s been treated unfairly. But the unmistakable words, the literal words he said, is an indication that the critics were much more right than I.”

The words that Rivera referenced were Trump’s statement from July 14, telling four minority women of Congress, “Go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came.” The following Thursday, this comment encouraged the crowd at a Trump rally in North Carolina to chant, “Send her back!” This chant was referring to Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar, who is a black Muslim female, whose parents are Somali refugees.

After Trump’s comment and the chant at his rally, Fox News chose to justify and defend these comments instead of providing the insight and context of how they have been used by white supremacists in the past. Instead of minimizing harm to minority citizens by researching the use of these words and denouncing the use of these words, they embraced them.

On July 19, 2019, the Fox and Friends show debated the use of these words, which caused some division between the hosts and Rivera. Aside from the recurring offensive comments at Fox and Friends, there are several other hosts who have contributed to Fox News’ negative reputation over the years.

Another person is Tucker Carlson, who started as a commentator in the early 2000s before getting his own show in 2016, titled Tucker Carlson Tonight. According to www.fair.org, Tucker Carlson Tonight contains white supremacy themed segments on a regular basis. These segment titles are listed below.

  • “Why it’s popular to slam white people.”

  • “Has the Democratic party become anti-white and anti-male?”

  • “Media vs. white people.”

  • “Hard-working people don’t need racist lectures.”

During the last segment mentioned, Carlson framed the phrase “hard-working” as a dog-whistle term referring to white people. Carlson is not presenting his millions of viewers with truthful information and perpetuating racial division with white supremacy talking points and misinformation.

This willful violation of the principles of journalism and lack of integrity to the people is an insult to authentic journalists across the world and places millions of minorities in America in danger. Moving on to former Fox News host Megyn Kelly, we see another person with a track record of making offensive comments and reporting misinformation.

According to an article written by Kirsten Powers for USA Today, there was an off-air debate about using a derogatory caption for Michelle Obama in 2008. Powers wrote that Kelly wanted to use a caption about Michelle Obama, calling her, “Obama’s baby mama.” In response to being told the caption was racist, Kelly became outraged.

In December 2013, Kelly sparked controversy on her show again after reading an article published by Slate suggesting a more inclusive Santa Claus. The report written by Aisha Harris, proposed an end to using a white figure for Santa Claus.

Immediately after reading the report, Kelly said, “And by the way, for all you kids watching at home Santa just is white. But this person is arguing that maybe we should also have a black Santa. But Santa is what he is just so you know, we’re debating this because someone grew up without him as a kid.”

When it came to reporting officer-involved shooting deaths of African-Americans or interviewing African-American guests on this topic, Kelly often ignored her journalistic integrity for the sake of promoting a conservative agenda by consistently showing bias in favor of the law enforcement officers involved.

For many serious journalists like Kirsten Powers, Kelly was always a journalist with racist views at Fox News, based on her constant anti-black sentiment, white supremacy ideology and conservative politics. In terms of Fox News’ most memorable host, engulfed in controversy while working there for more than 20 years, Bill O’Reilly became the face of Fox News until he was fired.

Unafraid of making racist and bigoted comments on his show, The O’Reilly factor, he became a major contributor to Fox News’ reputation for being racist and feeding misinformation to conservatives. O’Reilly has been quoted over the years for the non-factual and racist comments below.

  • “You know I was up in Harlem a few weeks ago, and I actually had dinner with Al Sharpton and we went to Sylvia’s, a very famous restaurant in Harlem. And I couldn’t get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia’s restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it’s run by blacks, primarily black patronship. It was the same. There wasn’t one person in Sylvia’s who was screaming, motherfu##er, I want more iced tea.” (Fox News 2007)

  • “The New York Times’ of the world hate the white, Christian, male power structure, and want to change it by a massive amount of foreign nationals being able to vote.” (Fox News 2007)

  • In 2010, O’Reilly interviewed Marc Lamont Hill, an African-American professor from Temple University, known for his activism and media appearances. During this interview, O’Reilly said, “Let’s say you’re a cocaine dealer, and you kind of look like one a little bit.” (Fox News 2010)

  • “Don’t get pregnant at 14, don’t allow your neighborhoods to deteriorate into free-fire zones, that’s what the African-American community should have on their T-shirts.” (Fox News 2014)

In an interview with Donald Trump, O’Reilly questioned him about his appeal to African-American voters. During that interview, O’Reilly said, “How are you gonna get jobs to them? Many of them are ill-educated and have tattoos on their foreheads.” (Fox News 2016)

Even though Bill O’Reilly claimed to be an honest, white Christian, he was eventually fired from Fox News in 2017 because of several sexual harassment and verbal abuse lawsuits. Bill O’Reilly is the epitome of the hypocrisy of right-wing journalists and politicians.

With so many hosts, commentators, and anchors at Fox News developing a track record for participating in misinformation and promoting a white-supremacy agenda, some people would assume that a new lineup with reliable journalists would be the next move.

For Fox News, this has not been the situation, despite the countless accusations of promoting lies and white supremacy, they are determined to continue their legacy with a younger, angrier conservative journalist. This journalist is none other than Tomi Lahren. Lahren’s on-air personality before and during her employment with Fox News is one that combines intensity, anger and white-supremacy with journalism. Before her Fox News debut in 2017, Lahren was already infamous for her ill-informed and racist comments and tweets, which are listed below.

  • “Does anybody from this school speak English?” (Twitter 2012)

  • “Meet the new KKK, they call themselves Black Lives Matter but make no mistake, their goals are far from equality. #Dallas #bluelivesmatter” (Twitter 2016)

  • “Do you know how many of our ancestors fought in the Civil War to free your ancestors?” (June 2016)

  • “The BET definition of a humanitarian is someone who perpetuates a war on cops.” (June 2016)

  • “The term unarmed black man may be literally accurate, but it doesn’t tell the whole story in most cases. In a number of cases, if the victim ended up being unarmed, it was certainly not for a lack of trying.” (June 2016)

In reference to Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protests, Lahren stated, “Sit Down Colin Kaepernick.” This statement alone has a heavy undertone of white-supremacy but was not her last comment on the situation.

She also said, “We’ve had a black president for almost eight years now, maybe he failed you. We also have a black woman in charge of the Justice Department, maybe she failed you, too. Or maybe it’s the liberals, your saviors, which have run your communities into the ground. Where does the buck stop? When will those in black communities take a step back and take some responsi-damn-bility for the problems in black communities?”

Since being employed at Fox News, the angry, racist, white female journalist routine by Lahren has continued. With her hiring, it has confirmed the accusations and complaints that this network supports, promotes and works to normalize lies and white supremacy.

In March 2018, Lahren tweeted, “Simply being anti-NRA [National Rifle Association] is not a solution.” Which was followed by, “March FOR something, not just against everything.” Both of these tweets were in response to the March for Our Lives protest that was aimed at gun violence by the survivors of the Parkland school shooting.

In September 2018, Lahren tweeted, “Michelle Obama said we “had” a great president. By what measure? Not in economic growth. Not in border enforcement. Not in strength on the world stage. Sit down, Michelle.”

In April, Lahren tweeted, “The left stands up for @IlhanMN and says we must be tolerant of Sharia law (oppression/stoning gays) yet mercilessly attack @VP for not believing in same-sex marriage… Explain your logic.”

Each one of these tweets were purposely misleading and are confirmation of the lack of journalistic integrity placed in these tweets and her work on-air at Fox News. Lahren, like the other hosts and commentators at this network, are proving themselves incapable of researching any topic, story or events before commenting or reporting about them on the air.

This is the single-most important aspect of journalism, the ability to confirm what is true and what is not, before delivering that information to the public to help them make informed decisions for the best interest of their family and their community, as well as holding elected officials accountable for their actions.

Dominion

In 2023, after more than three years of promoting the lie that Trump’s presidential re-election was stolen from him by malfunctioning voting machines and voter fraud, Fox News was finally faced with a lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems, which had been named by hosts at Fox News.


With several Fox News hosts continuing to report the election-based conspiracy story from the 2020 presidential election, this lawsuit was not an uncommon step, as Dominion was specifically named as part of the conspiracy.


The lawsuit against Fox News for defamation resulted in a settlement for $787,500,000 by Fox News in April 2023. This settlement saved Fox News from going to trial for a few reasons. One reason is because Fox News hosts repeated this conspiracy theory on air; and therefore were recorded and the message was broadcast to the world as evidence. The other reason being the secrets involving Fox News hosts knowing the conspiracy theory was a lie while still broadcasting it was exposed, revealing more evidence of Fox News not existing as a news source.


As reported by NPR, Dominion’s lawyer stated after the settlement, “Lies have consequences.” Dominion’s CEO John Poulos continued by stating, “Fox has admitted to telling lies about Dominion that caused enormous damage to my company, our employees and the customers that we serve. Nothing can ever make up for that. Throughout this process, we have sought accountability," he said. "Truthful reporting in the media is essential to our democracy.”


Within this same article, Fox News is quoted as stating after the settlement, “"We acknowledge the Court's rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false,". The statement went on to say, "This settlement reflects FOX's continued commitment to the highest journalistic standards. We are hopeful that our decision to resolve this dispute with Dominion amicably, instead of the acrimony of a divisive trial, allows the country to move forward from these issues."


If we are to be truly brave and free as a nation dedicated to truth and honesty, we cannot continue to support institutions and corporations that continue to promote, justify or defend blatant lies, whether we agree with them or not. We cannot, for the sake of democracy and freedom, continue to allow lies and misinformation to divide us because of a petty loyalty to political affiliation.


Whether we identify as democrat or republican, it is clear to see that Fox News has been playing both sides for the sake of financial profits to enrich themselves at the request of a man who is not even from America. A man that has the option to remain in his home country once America has destroyed itself over the lies he allowed or refused to stop on his news network. Fox News is the enemy in our home that is ripping it apart and must be held accountable.



-Cliff A. May


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