On yesterday’s The Five, cohost Juan Williams didn’t mention Fox News by name but when he blasted right-wing media for playing up fake news, it was perfectly obvious what he was talking about.
It started with a discussion about the bogus John Kerry/Iran story. Media Matters explains this bit of disinformation:
The Murdoch press is attempting to twist recent statements by Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to suggest that former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, now the White House’s special climate envoy, had communicated secrets to Iran regarding attacks by Israel against Iranian targets in the Syrian civil war.
The whole thing doesn’t make any sense, though — because Israeli attacks against Iranian targets in Syria have been publicly known and reported in the news media for years.
This @JohnKerry slur is going huge in the conservative marketplace today, and it is entirely nonsense. I think it started with a Jim Geraghty post at @NRO, but it’s now everywhere and it’s just... I mean... THESE WERE NOT A SECRET. https://t.co/LE2Q3O6QU9 pic.twitter.com/YSfvJg7dUh— David S. Bernstein (@dbernstein) April 26, 2021
Williams began by debunking the propaganda.
WILLIAMS: I think it’s important that you notice that people like Lindsey Graham, strong Republican voice out of South Carolina, says he doesn’t know whether or not we can trust this so-called tape. The State Department saying the timeline is way off. Yes, the Iranians knew their targets in Syria were being attacked, but it wasn’t clear who was, but in fact, you had some Israeli Generals and others before this tape supposedly was taped saying it was Israel that was involved. So what you’re hearing from the Iranian Foreign Minister doesn’t make sense.
While he was at it, Williams moved on to blast the bogus Biden burger ban story Fox went crazy over for three days, until it issued a half-baked retraction. He also called out the fake right-wing news that Kamala Harris’ book, Superheroes Are Everywhere, was part of a “welcome kit” given to migrant children held in a temporary immigration facility in California.
WILLIAMS: It just worries me like last week we had the hamburger story. “Oh, Biden’s going to take your hamburger.” Or you know, it’s always “Kamala Harris’ book is being given to immigrants.” These stories are false, but the right wing echo chamber starts going crazy because you can go after a Democrat.
Perhaps unable to come with any legit defense for the disinformation, cohost Greg Gutfeld suggested he’s fine with Fox promoting lies - because Steele Dossier and Democrats. “I guess they learned from the best. Steele Dossier all the way,” he sneered.
It should be three strikes and you’re out.
Media Matters argues that the mainstream media’s failure to hold the right accountable incentivizes the lies to continue. Or maybe Williams should take a lesson from Laura Italiano. She’s the reporter who resigned from the New York Post over the false Harris book story she said she was forced to write. If Fox News personnel with scruples quit and told the world why, it would probably have more impact than a commentary on a show that just dismisses it and moves along.
You can watch it below, from the April 28, 2021 The Five.