Fox & Friends exploited an explosion in the London subway today by reviving its fear mongering about Muslims and immigration. The show’s favorite fan, Donald Trump, responded with tweets touting his Muslim ban, attacking “chain migration,” and boasting that his terror-fighting mojo is badder than Obama’s.
As Media Matters noted, little was known about the incident during the show. But Fox sprang into action with its usual fear mongering that it probably keeps at the ready, like a hurricane evacuation plan.
The September 15 edition of Fox & Friends—President Donald Trump’s preferred news source—offered nearly wall-to-wall coverage on the events in London during the program’s opening hour. The coverage began with co-host Brian Kilmeade interjecting with unsubstantiated claims that police were actively trying to defuse “another bomb in the same station” during a report from Fox correspondent Amy Kellogg in London. Kilmeade repeated the unsubstantiated report of a second bomb—seemingly sourced from Britishtabloids [sic]—several times during the course of the program. Reports of a second explosive device, as well as of a knife-wielding assailant evading police, which Fox also reported, were soon debunked.
In addition to spreading false information, Fox & Friends’ response to the incident followed a rubric established during previous terror attacks: promoting the supposed national security expertise of notorious Islamophobe Jim Hanson and discredited torture architect James Mitchell:
Trump responded, as you'll see below, like Pavlov’s dog: with a bigoted Twitter rant.
In the first video below, from shortly after Fox & Friends began, cohost Abby Huntsman talked about the dangers of “homegrown terrorists” who “integrate themselves into these communities.” Hanson said he feared that the perpetrator was someone “known to police” because, “They have names of people, know where the people are being radicalized, they know which mosques are preaching hate.” He also suggested tougher security measures are needed in this country.
Lo and behold, Trump’s first three tweets claimed the perpetrator was known to Scotland Yard, that “a much tougher” approach is needed, and that his travel ban should be “far larger, tougher and more specific.”
Another attack in London by a loser terrorist.These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2017
Loser terrorists must be dealt with in a much tougher manner.The internet is their main recruitment tool which we must cut off & use better!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2017
The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific-but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2017
The Trump Friends faithfully reported Trump's tweets and regurgitated his Twitter boast about how his terror-fighting mojo is so much greater than Obama’s:
We have made more progress in the last nine months against ISIS than the Obama Administration has made in 8 years.Must be proactive & nasty!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2017
Then the show returned to its fear mongering with Hanson, who gave a shout out of approval to Trump’s tweets. Huntsman followed up by wondering if the bomb wasn’t “a distraction” for an even bigger terrorist attack to come. Hanson agreed that was quite possible.
Kilmeade interrupted to both further fear monger and validate Trump. “The president’s tweets reflect a lot of how people feel on the ground. They feel as though their security system, their investigators and their government is not protecting them. And when their leaders don’t reflect the urgency and horror that they are experiencing,” Kilmeade said.
“I want angry people taking care of terrorism,” Hanson said after giving more props to Trump.
“Right,” Huntsman agreed. “As you said, the president pointed out we need to get nastier.”
In the third video below, Mitchell said London is “paying the price” for its lax immigration policies. Coincidentally, Trump also had an anti-immigration tweet this morning:
CHAIN MIGRATION cannot be allowed to be part of any legislation on Immigration!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2017
While his tiny Twitter fingers were still limber, Trump also took a swipe at ESPN, home of host Jemele Hill who recently called him out as a “white supremacist.”
ESPN is paying a really big price for its politics (and bad programming). People are dumping it in RECORD numbers. Apologize for untruth!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2017
Because nothing says “not a white supremacist” like seizing on a terror attack whose perpetrator(s) and purpose even Fox acknowledged were completely unknown and turning it into a tirade against brown people.
Watch Fox deliberately exploit the London terror attack knowing full well they were influencing Trump’s thinking below, from the September 15, 2017 Fox & Friends, via Media Matters.
Update: While I was writing this up, I saw that Media Matters also caught Fox’s Bill Hemmer and Mike Huckabee validating Trump’s tweets in a chummy bout of further fear mongering. So the propaganda came full circle: Fox fed off Trump’s tweets that were probably inspired by Fox.