Fox News scrambled to contain coronavirus as hosts ranted about "hoax"

Remember the Senators who cashed out after private briefings held before the market collapse began? Similar games are afoot in conservative media: before Fox News called coronavirus a hoax and a Dem plot to destroy trump, they were disinfecting offices, installing hand sanitizer stations throughout the building, and canceling meetings and sales events.

This exercise in contrasts is brought to you by Lachlan Murdoch, the media princeling who runs the place.

... as the crisis took hold, there were more than two weeks of statements like Laura Ingraham’s assertion on Feb. 27 that Democratic criticism was “more unsettling” than the virus and Mr. Hannity’s allegation on March 9 that political opponents were trying to “bludgeon Trump with this new hoax.” Finally, after an obscure Fox Business host, Trish Regan, ranted that the coronavirus issue was “another attempt to impeach the president,” the network pivoted.

The damage Fox did appears likely to extend beyond the typical media hits and misses. I asked Ashish Jha, the director of the Harvard Global Public Health Institute, who appeared on Fox News recently, whether he believes people will die because of Fox’s coverage.

“Yes,” he said. “Some commentators in the right-wing media spread a very specific type of misinformation that I think has been very harmful.”

Read the rest

WATCH: Fox News hosts say coronavirus is fake news, then change their tune

In this video, assembled by the Washington Post's media team, Fox News hosts and their rhetoric is contrasted just a few days apart. Then, they were claiming coronavirus was either nothing to worry about or an outright hoax; now they are solemnly telling people to look out for themselves as the virus rages.

How Fox News has shifted its coronavirus rhetoric

Over the past month, many Fox News anchors and personalities have gone from doubting the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic to calling it a public health crisis.

One of the funny things about the Nuremberg Trials is that, for all their flaws, they replaced grimmer plans. The British wanted to summarily execute high-ranking Nazis after the war; perhaps thousands of people.

“The guilt of such individuals is so black that they fall outside … any judicial process,” said Anthony Eden, reflecting Winston Churchill's intent to mass-murder even the talkers and bullshitters of the German right.

The Soviets talked us out of it. Julius Streicher got his trial. Read the rest

Fox News' Brit Hume posts website screenshot with "Sexy Vixen Vinyl" in other tab

Brit Hume, a right-wing talking head on Fox, today tweeted a screenshot of betting markets' odds on presidential candidates. One of his other tabs, however, had the title "Sexy Vixen Vinyl" and this is what everyone wants to know about.

Search results for the term were immediately polluted with references to the tweet itself, but the only viable candidate is this product page at Yandy.com for a "Sexy Vixen Vinyl Set" comprising a sexy vixen vinyl bra, a sexy vixen booty shorts and other sexy vixen vinyl accessories.

Look like a total goddess in this vinyl halter bra featuring underwire cups, square nail head stud accents, and a back zipper closure. (Gloves not included.)

Everyone is assuming it's for his wife. Not how it works, kids. Read the rest

Internal memo proves Fox News knew they were spreading disinformation about Ukraine — especially Hannity

[Update 2/10/2020 1:13pm PT - this story has been updated to include Fox News's statement.]

The Daily Beast recently obtained a leaked internal memo from the Fox News' research and data division, the ironically named the Brainroom:

An internal Fox News research briefing book obtained by The Daily Beast openly questions Fox News contributor John Solomon’s credibility, accusing him of playing an “indispensable role” in a Ukrainian “disinformation campaign.”

The document also accuses frequent Fox News guest Rudy Giuliani of amplifying disinformation, as part of an effort to oust former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, and blasts Fox News guests Victoria Toensing and Joe diGenova—both ardent Trump boosters—for “spreading disinformation.”

John Solomon, of course, is the former Washington Times Executive Editor and Hill contributor who pretty much single-handedly started the rumors that Ukraine, not Russia, was behind the 2016 DNC hack election interference, in an article that is frequently cited as evidence by Trump and his GOP cronies despite the fact that the claims contained within it are both unsourced and unverified.

The 162-page internal Fox News document, titled “Ukraine, Disinformation, & the Trump Administration,” was last updated on December 9, 2019, though it's not clear when it was first created or when the network necessarily became aware of their active role in spreading propaganda.

The document specifically rips into Sean Hannity — the beloved Fox News talking head who enjoys a close personal relationship with President Trump, and even secretly employed Trump's criminal fixer-lawyer, Michael Cohen. Read the rest

Gretchen Carlson to Fox: release employees from NDAs, 'buying silence instead of stopping harassment is immoral and unjust'

“I still can't talk about what happened to me because of a non-disclosure agreement,” says Gretchen Carlson. Read the rest

Fox News has filed a trademark for "OK Boomer" — and they're not the first ones to do it

Rupert Murdoch has never met an irrational fear of the Boomer set that he couldn't exploit for cash. Which is why Fox News filed a trademark for "OK Boomer" earlier this month, just weeks after the current media meme trend of the term took off.

There's nothing unique about Fox's move here. In all honesty, it's probably a rational money-making decision for a lecherous media conglomerate that feeds on the souls of Baby Boomers to make a profit. They're not the first ones to try it, either. On Halloween—twelve days before Fox filed their paperwork—Kevin Yen of Little Neck, NY filed an "OK Boomer" merchandise trademark. Rustbelt Creations joined the party on November 12, in hopes of making some stickers, decals, and temporary tattoos; this application even includes the trademark "…," which Boomers love to use in place of all other punctuation, particularly when discussing the insidious machinations of George Soros. On November 13, William Grundfest of Los Angeles filed a trademark for "OK BOOMER!" with an exclamation point, which is obviously going to be a ticketed evening of live entertainment including plays, concerts, and lectures.

There's a good chance that none of these trademarks will be approved—like Lebron James's "Taco Tuesday" trademark attempt, the office might deem the phrase to be too ubiquitous. Read the rest

Shepard Smith quit Fox News right after Trump AG Bill Barr met with Rupert Murdoch

Sure has been one heck of a news week. And it ain't over yet. Read the rest

Tucker Carlson "goes on vacation" after calling white supremacy concerns a "hoax"

The white power hour on Fox will be in other hands for a short while: host Tucker Carlson is headed off on an improptu "vacation" the day after claiming America didn't have a white supremacy problem and that concerns it did were a "hoax".

There is, of course, a long history of Fox hosts heading out on vacation as they become engulfed in controversy for inflammatory comments. -- Laura Ingraham announced she was going on vacation in March 2018 after mocking Parkland survivor and gun control activist David Hogg... -- Sean Hannity went on vacation in May 2017 after losing advertisers for promoting the Seth Rich conspiracy theory... -- Jesse Watters headed out on vacation in April 2017 after making a comment widely criticized as lewd about Ivanka Trump... -- Bill O'Reilly went -- and never returned from -- a vacation in April 2017 after NYT reported he had settled five sexual harassment allegations for millions of dollars...

The backlash is intense even by these standards, what with memories of the latest white supremacist mass shooting as fresh as the corpses. But Carlson has been here before, is indispensible to the movement, and will not likely be going anywhere. Read the rest

Bill O'Reilly sums up American history perfectly in two tweets, doesn't realize it

Sometimes, even a malicious idiot like Bill O'Reilly says something pure and true and correct. Read the rest

Here's why Elizabeth Warren said NOPE to a Fox News town hall

Other 2020 Democratic presidential candidates took the bait.

What it's like to watch someone you love fall down the Fox News rabbit-hole

Luke O'Neil put a call out for his readers' stories of their loved ones' capture by Fox News, being overtake by its paranoid, racist conspiracy mindset: he got back a heartbreaking collection of tales of "funny, compassionate" older relatives turning into someone who was "increasingly angry, bigoted, and paranoid" -- some people even found their older relatives dead in front of a TV playing Fox. Read the rest

Facebook's year-old "improvements" to the newsfeed have elevated enraging Fox News posts to the service's dominant form

A year ago, smarting over public criticism of its role in promoting division and stoking racism, Facebook announced a major shift in its newsfeed algorithm which would downrank posts from media organizations and uprank the things sent by your friends on the network, in the name of promotion a gentler form of "engagement" that would emphasize discourse over clickbait, which founder Mark Zuckerberg promised would be "time well spent." Read the rest

Bill Shine, former Fox News exec, is out as Trump’s communications strategist

Chris Hayes put it best: “Luckily for Bill Shine there are lots of organizations desperate for someone whose core competency is covering up sexual harassment.”

Lou Dobbs: Trump should 'declare a national emergency and simply sweep aside the recalcitrant left'

On Fox News tonight, unofficial Trump spokesperson and noted racist Lou Dobbs went full fascist. Read the rest

While serving, Trump's comms director will get a $7M Fox News bonus for his mishandling of sexual abuse

Bill Shine was forced to resign as co-president of Fox News over his personal mishandling of the rampant culture of sexual abuse, in which he abetted the company's culture of harassment, fondling, and coerced sex by its executives and on-air personalities. Read the rest

John Oliver's got a few choice words for FOX News

Watching John Oliver bring the noise to Fox News is a great way to start the week. Read the rest

Fox News shocked to discover weird new mobile phones got cameras in 'em

It really is UNBELIEVABLE.

Someone get grandpa an Ensure, he's gonna need sustenance to make it through this shocker. Are you sitting down? Okay. Please read on, but only if you are feeling strong enough. Read the rest

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