For Immediate Release
Fox News Plays Host to GOP in Exile
As further proof of its political agenda, network welcomes Republican operatives to spread falsehoods, fundraise on air
WASHINGTON - Today, Media
Matters for America called attention to the numerous Republican
operatives on Fox News' payroll and airwaves. Further demonstrating that Fox is
effectively a conservative political organization and not a legitimate news
outlet, a review of the network's coverage since September 1 reveals that these
individuals often use their airtime to advance false and misleading claims
about Democrats and progressives, as well as to fundraise.
"I can't imagine the transition from
politics to Fox News is a difficult one," said Eric Burns,
President of Media Matters. "Between fundraising, smearing progressives, and
promoting conservative talking points, GOP operatives must feel right at home."
Burns added: "The evidence clearly shows
that Fox operates as a strategic political operation, not a legitimate news
In the past nine months, Fox News has transformed into a strategic
political operation. Media Matters has
documented network personalities -- on both "opinion" and "news" shows -- raising money for
Republican political action committees on air, presenting GOP talking
points as news, promoting
partisan protests, advancing
falsehoods about Obama administration officials, airing deceptively doctored
video to smear progressives, and comparing President Obama and his policies
to Adolf Hitler, socialism, or the mafia.
If that weren't enough evidence that Fox News is not a
legitimate news channel,
Media Matters documented
today the revolving door that exists between the Republican Party and Fox News.
A number of former Bush administration officials, former and potentially future
GOP presidential candidates, and Republican strategists enjoy time on Fox's
payroll and airwaves. A review of Fox coverage since September 1 reveals that
these individuals, typically hosted alone or on unbalanced panels, often use
their airtime to advance false and misleading claims about Democrats and
progressives, as well as to fundraise, further demonstrating that Fox is
effectively a conservative political organization and not a legitimate news
- Karl Rove: Ubiquitous in Bush White House, on Fox News.
Karl Rove, who served as George W. Bush's senior adviser and deputy chief of
staff throughout most of his eight-year presidency, is a ubiquitous figure on
Fox News. Since September 1, for instance, he has appeared at least 17 times --
roughly twice a week -- on prime-time programs such as Hannity and The O'Reilly Factor in his capacity as
Fox News contributor and political analyst. In all but one of those instances, he
has appeared alone opposite Fox hosts. (On the October 18 edition of Fox News Sunday, he appeared opposite
former Democratic Party chairman Terry McAuliffe.) Moreover, Rove has
repeatedly misled and misinformed during these appearances, including falsely
claiming that Kevin Jennings, a Department of Education official, had
engaged in "high-profile, in-your-face advocacy of things like NAMBLA and
gay rights and queering elementary school curricula" and advancing the dubious
claim, contradicted by the Congressional Budget Office, that the House
health care bill will lead employers to "dump" coverage.
- Dana Perino: From Bush White House podium to Fox News
desk. After serving as Bush's press secretary, Perino became a Fox News contributor and Fox Forum columnist, appearing on Fox News' prime-time programs at
least nine times since September 1, most frequently on Hannity, according to a search of the
Nexis database. Perino typically appeared with other guests: She appeared with
a Fox Business Network reporter in four instances, she appeared twice with
Democrats or liberals (Bob Beckel and Julie Menin), and she appeared once on a Fox News Sunday panel with syndicated
columnist Charles Krauthammer, as well as Mara Liasson and Juan Williams of
NPR. She appeared alone twice. During these appearances, Perino has falsely
suggested that allowing federally subsidized health plans to cover abortion
is inconsistent with current law and suggested
that the White House is doing "like dictators do" by criticizing Fox.
- John Bolton: Bush ambassador to Fox Nation.
John Bolton, formerly Bush's ambassador to the United Nations, now serves as a Fox News contributor and has appeared alone opposite Fox
prime-time hosts nine times since September 1. During his appearances, he has
advanced misinformation, such as joining Fox host and conspiracy
Glenn Beck in suggesting that the Obama administration supports a
- Mike Huckabee: Former GOP presidential candidate uses
Fox perch to fundraise for his PAC.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee became host of the Fox News program Huckabee after his failed bid for the
GOP's presidential candidate in 2008 and has guest-hosted The O'Reilly Factor at least three times
during 2009, according to a Nexis search. Moreover, in his capacity as Fox
host, Huckabee has directed viewers to "go to balancecutsave.com," which redirects visitors to a Web
page soliciting donations for Huckabee's political action committee, which financially
supports Republican candidates and also pays his daughter's salary.
Additionally, Huckabee has advanced falsehoods during his Fox appearances in
2009, including falsely suggesting that Vice President Joe Biden disclaimed
responsibility for the economy and that Bush did not claim to have
"inherited" a weakening economy.
- Newt Gingrich: From House speaker to Fox contributor to
... 2012 GOP pres. candidate? Fox News political contributor Newt Gingrich, who
"joined the network in 1999, marking his first television deal since
leaving Congress" that year as Republican speaker of the House of
Representatives, repeatedly appears on Fox News prime-time programs alone
opposite Fox's conservative hosts -- while considering
a run for president in 2012. Since September 1, Gingrich has appeared as a
contributor or analyst on Fox News at least 10 times, including four
appearances on Hannity and
two appearances on The O'Reilly Factor,
according to a Nexis search. In seven instances he appeared alone, he appeared
twice with his wife, Callista Gingrich, to promote their documentary and books,
and he appeared once on a Fox News Sunday panel
with Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), former DNC chair Howard Dean, and Obama
transition team head John Podesta. During these and other appearances on Fox,
Gingrich advanced baseless and outrageous claims, including wondering
if White House communications director Anita Dunn wants to subject Fox
commentators to a "Cultural Revolution" and smearing
then-Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor by claiming that she "clearly
supported racial quotas" in the Ricci
v. DeStefano case.
- John Kasich: Fox host turned Ohio GOP gubernatorial candidate.
Former Ohio Republican congressman John Kasich, who hosted the now-defunct Fox
News program Heartland with John Kasich, guest-hosted The O'Reilly Factor at least twice in
2009 prior to announcing his bid for Ohio governor on June 1. Kasich
appeared on Hannity the day
that he announced his candidacy and three times thereafter, according to a
Nexis search. Additionally, Kasich's gubernatorial website features an article
in its news section that identifies him as "Fox News' Kasich." During
his Fox News tenure, Kasich has advanced misinformation, including forwarding
Republican talking point that Democrats, for all their criticism of the
Bush administration's Iraq war policy, had no plan of their own to deal with
Iraq, terrorism, and national security in general. Media Matters has also documented
that he claimed that the Rev. Jerry Falwell, founder and chairman of the Moral
Majority Coalition, is not "some sort of extremist."
- Dick Morris uses Fox appearances to smear Obama White
House, fundraise. Fox News political analyst and Republican strategist
Dick Morris is a ubiquitous presence on Fox News' prime-time programs,
appearing nearly three times a week every week since September 1, according to
a Nexis search. Morris has appeared alone opposite a Fox host since the
beginning of September at least 20 times, appearances that are fairly evenly
split among The O'Reilly Factor,
Hannity, and On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.
During the 2008 election cycle, Morris repeatedly urged
viewers to donate to an anti-Obama political action committee without
disclosing that that PAC had paid a firm connected to him; in recent days, he has repeatedly
his appearances to fundraise for a conservative group opposed to health care
reform for which he is chief strategist. Additionally, while on Fox, Morris has
smeared Obama and his administration, claiming,
for instance, that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may challenge Obama in
the 2012 primary and that Obama "delay[ed] the decision to commit troops
to Afghanistan ... because he wanted this [Nobel] prize."
- Frank Luntz doctors words, facts while on Fox.
GOP consultant and pollster Frank Luntz has repeatedly
appeared during Fox News' prime-time shows since September 1, interviewed alone
a total of six times on Hannity and
The O'Reilly Factor and
appearing twice on Glenn Beck
with several 9-12 Moms. During his Fox News appearances, Luntz -- who authored
an anti-reform health-care
talking points memo intended to help conservatives defeat the Democrats'
health reform initiative -- has repeatedly misinformed about health care
reform. For instance, he has falsely
suggested that reform legislation reduces physician payments and spawned
another GOP talking point, asserting that the Democrats' proposed public
insurance plan is a "government option" not a "public option,
which is what the White House calls it." Beck also hosted Luntz to instruct
his audience on the signs "the tea party people should be carrying."
Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.