Aysha Qamar / Daily Kos (01/09/2021)
Throughout the four years of terror we have witnessed since the inauguration of Donald Trump, Fox News has enabled his calls for violence by spreading misinformation and hate. As noted previously, by misconstructing headlines Fox News has framed narratives that incite hatred and spread misinformation to large communities that may not gather their news from elsewhere.
This doesn’t just date back to this last year, or even this past Wednesday during which Fox News attempted to humanize the terrorists as protesters who took over the Capitol building, and even declared some to be antifa. For years Fox News has incited hatred within Americans and pushed a xenophobic agenda, whether it be against undocumented folk, people of color, or immigrants of any nature.
Most recently this agenda can be seen in the use of racist language toward Asians when speaking of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the language used to describe Black Lives Matter protests, and the lack of language used to describe terrorists who identify as white.
When Black Lives Matter protests took place across the country this summer, Fox News host Tucker Carlson described demonstrators as “poison,” claiming that ”the rioters in Minneapolis and in other places act as if they’re allowed to loot and burn … No one stops them. The authorities don’t arrest them. Instead, they pander to them, flatter them, desperately try to win their love.” Meanwhile, after Trump’s terrorists took over the Capitol, Tucker called the group “solid Americans” and noted that these people were frustrated.
The media must call terrorists what they are, whether it be Anthony Quinn Warner (the Tennesse suicide bomber) or the Trump supporters who attempted to accomplish a coup on Wednesday.
Instead of using their platform to do what it is meant to—report the news—Fox took this opportunity to again give its viewers biased and untrue commentary.
The truth is without agents like Fox that fuel individuals with misinformation and hate that they claim is justified, our country would not be where it is today. Yes, Trump has consistently used misconstructed language and has exaggerated the truth, but Fox News has also consistently amplified his lies.
Continuing in its pattern of putting the blame on someone else, Fox News on Wednesday depicted Trump supporters as peaceful individuals, completely ignoring the numerous incidents of Trump-induced violence the country, once again blaming liberals as the reason why the chaos on Wednesday took place.
“We don’t know who all were the instigators in this of these horrible things that happen today, I think a lot of it is the antifa folks,” Sarah Palin said on Fox.
All three of Fox’s primetime shows pushed the same lies and narrative of “protesters,” not rioters or terrorists, occupying the Capitol building to fight for their rights. Fox’s rumors repeated throughout the Fox News primetime lineup on both Laura Ingraham’s show and Carlson’s show, blaming others for the violence and not only spreading misinformation, but creating opportunities for further violence. The shows even framed Trump’s refusal to condemn the violence—and his statement, which is predicted to incite more violence due to his continuous claim that the election has been “stolen”—as positive.
“There are 75 million people that voted for President Trump and they’re scared. They’re worried about what the future of this country looks like. They’re confused. They’re heart-broken that their candidate didn’t win. And they don’t want to be forgotten,” Fox & Friends’ Ainsley Earnhardt said.
Additionally, when officials spoke of prosecuting these terrorists who not only assaulted members of the media and threatened members of Congress but damaged the Capitol building, Fox News took this opportunity to further provoke Trump supporters, telling them that their rights were being threatened.
Fox News’ use of language has severe consequences. Their spread of misinformation leads to violence not only against journalists and lawmakers but communities of color.
Within four weeks of the March launch of Stop AAPI Hate, an online anti-Asian bias tracker, almost 1,500 cases of violence towards Asian Americans were reported. Months later the website continues to receive reports of discrimination and violence, including physical assault and being refused entrance to public spaces.
According to Media Matters, Fox & Friends deliberately used and advocated the use of the term “Wuhan virus” as opposed to “the coronavirus” on its March 6 show. Additionally, transcript searches have found combinations of “Wuhan,” “Chinese,” and “China” with the use of “coronavirus,” “virus,” or “flu.” Media Matters noted that Carlson himself used the terms on Fox 43 out of the 144 times they were used on air.
“Just to be clear, describing a virus from Wuhan as the ‘Wuhan virus’ is not xenophobia, it’s accuracy, and anybody who says otherwise is lying and probably for a reason,” Carlson said in one incident.
Fox News is the real fake news, and in order for it to gain any credibility, it needs to realize that words matter.