Sean Hannity is far from the only Fox host cheerleading a Nevada rancher’s armed conflict with the federal government. As even Fox’s Megyn Kelly has acknowledged, rancher Cliven Bundy, “doesn’t have a (legal) leg to stand on” in his beef with the Bureau of Land Management. And he has threatened the safety and well-being of law enforcement personnel. But Fox & Friends proved this morning that the “fair and balanced” network cares more about tearing down the U.S. government than it cares about the rule of law, the safety of Americans or even the truth.
Media Matters has a succinct backstory on the Bundy conflict:
For years, cattle rancher Cliven Bundy defied legal orders instructing him to remove his cattle from a publicly owned allotment of land in the Nevada desert. Bundy, who says he does not recognize the authority of the federal government, initiated a decades-long conflict in 1993 when he began refusing to pay grazing fees related to his cattle’s use of lands referred to as the Bunkerville allotment. An escalating series of judicial orders eventually led to the revocation of his grazing rights and orders to remove his cattle. In April, officers from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which stewards the land in question, began impounding the cattle in order to pay off the nearly $1 million Bundy owes in unpaid fines and grazing fees.
The conflict reached a boiling point on Saturday, when Bundy and hundreds of protesters, including militia members, initiated a standoff with authorities. Violent rhetoric associated with the movement led BLM to abandon its efforts to round up the cattle.
Media Matters caught Fox & Friends this morning not just presenting rancher Bundy in a positive light but throwing new fuel on the flames by repeating – without bothering to verify – a conspiracy theory that the whole thing is some kind of political ploy engineered by Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Eric Bolling introduced the report by saying, "new reports show Harry Reid might be connected" to the government's actions. Fox’s Robert Massi, reporting from Nevada, made it seem probable:
As Eric just said, the present director of the Bureau of Land Management is Harry Reid’s former political adviser. And it’s been reported, whether it’s true or not, one of the things that the ranchers have said—and I interviewed Ryan, who’s the son of Mr. Bundy, his sister Susan—that they believe that there’s plans out here for some solar energy projects out here that Reid has basically endorsed. There’s one at State Line in Nevada, there’s one in San Bernardino. And it’s also been reported, whether it’s true or not, that Senator Harry Reid, when he went to China, made some kind of deal with a Chinese manufacturer over there to actually put in the solar plants over here in the state of Nevada and in California and Utah. Whether it’s true or not, we have to wait and see, but there’s no question I will tell you this: Being here since 1974, anything that happens in Nevada, Harry Reid’s behind it one way or the other.
Media Matters has more debunking this conspiracy theory, which they have traced to Alex Jones. They also noted that none other than Breitbart.com has debunked the myth.
You have to ask yourself why Massi didn’t even bother to look for the facts that Media Matters found within hours of his report.