Fox News talking heads– particularly Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham–follow a remarkably similar agenda that could easily cast them as Russian agents, according to a new CIA report.
The right wing news network has engaged in a pattern of misinformation not seen since the days of Joe McCarthy, raising the question: Who is setting Fox News’ agenda?
The question cries out for a Congressional investigation to get to the bottom of the Fox/Russia connection.
This isn’t a First Amendment issue. Fox is an entertainment network, masquerading as a news network.
The declassified intelligence report released today (Mar. 16) states that Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized extensive efforts to interfere in the 2020 American presidential election,
They included efforts to undermine Joe Biden’s campaign, cast doubt on the electoral process and exacerbate sociopolitical divisions, with the goal of undermining and discrediting American democracy.
Those issues, shockingly, sound like typical subjects for “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” “The Ingraham Angle” and “The Sean Hannity Show.”
“A key element of Moscow’s strategy this election cycle was its use of people linked to Russian intelligence to launder influence narratives including misleading or unsubstantiated allegations against President Biden — through US media organizations,” the CIA report stated.
Russian talking points regularly pop up in the commentaries of each of Fox’s hard-right leaning pundits, as if they were all following the same script.
Even more startling, Russian intelligence operations were designed to influence people close to former President Donald J. Trump, according to the CIA report.
No names were given, but the report clearly suggests that Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, is an agent of influence. He relentlessly pushed allegations of corruption about Biden and his family involving Ukraine.
Not surprisingly, Carlson, Hannity, Ingraham and other Fox News talking heads regularly pushed the same issues.
“Russian state and proxy actors who all serve the Kremlin’s interests worked to affect U.S. public perceptions in a consistent manner,” the report said.
Rupert Murdoch, the aging Fox corporate mogul, has used his media empire for years to destabilize democracy in North America, Europe and Australia, an extensive 2019 New York Times investigation concluded after interviewing more than 150 people over six months.
Giuliani’s close ties to Fox News go back to at least 2007, when he was seriously considered as a presidential candidate. Giuliani logged more time on Fox interview programs than any other candidate, The Times reported.
Then Fox News head Roger Ailes, was a campaign consultant during Giuliani’s 1989 run for New York City Mayor.
Over time, those ties have only intensified. Giuliani appeared repeatedly on Fox News to push fraudulent election claims, the Biden family’s purported ties to Ukraine and a totally discredited claim that Ukraine–not Russia– influence the 2016 election.
Russia was the source of the Ukraine 2016 election fabrication, according to intelligence reports.
Last year, a 160 page internal Fox investigation warned that Giuliani was spreading disinformation and linked him with indicted oligarch Dmytro Firtash, a suspected Russian agent.
Even so, Giuliani appeared on Fox shows four more times after the report was made public by The Daily Beast.
“Russian intelligence services relied on Ukraine-linked proxies and these
proxies’ networks— including their US contacts — spread this narrative to give Moscow plausible deniability of their involvement,” the CIA report states.
John Solomon, a Giuliani cohort and disgraced former writer for The Hill, was a regular guest on Sean Hannity’s show, where he pushed election and Ukraine conspiracies.
“John Solomon played an indispensable role in the collection and domestic publication of elements of this disinformation campaign,” the Fox document reported.
Giuliani, Solomon and Trump friendly lawyers Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing have made 348 appearances on Fox News weekday programs since 2018. About 203 of them were on Hannity’s program alone, according to Media Matters.
Solomon appeared 139 times, DiGenova 101 times, Giuliani 83 times and Toensing 25 times.
The CIA report categorically dismissed allegations of foreign-fed voter fraud, cast doubt on Republican claims of Chinese intervention on behalf of Democrats and debunked allegations about Biden family’s work in Ukraine.
All of those claims were pushed repeatedly by Carlson, Ingraham, Hannity and other Fox talking heads.
The source was clear.
“Russian state media, trolls, and online proxies, including those directed by Russian intelligence, published disparaging content about President
Biden, his family, and the Democratic Party, and heavily amplified related content circulating in US media , including stories centered on his son,” the CIA report states.
Combined with the findings of the latest CIA report, the Fox document presents a startling picture of network commentators who promoted reactionary populism that dovetails with the Kremlin’s goals of advancing its own interests and global expansionism.
White supremacy also ties into the Fox/Russia agenda.
In a biting commentary, “Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver singled out Carlson as “the most prominent vessel in America for white supremacy talking points.”
“His clear takeaway is that white people should be terrified of the idea of any situation where they aren’t in power,” said Oliver.
Carlson’s play on racial divisiveness is palpable. He’s repeatedly stated that Black Lives Matter protestors are planning to invade and burn down the suburbs. “They’re coming for you,” he asserts.
In 2018, Carlson took a sudden interest in “land and farm seizures” from whites in South Africa. The implied message was clear: This could happen here.
Carlson’s assertions were lifted straight from white-nationalist talking points.
Alt-right groups “across North America, Europe and Australia” have been trying for months to elevate the issue and its subliminal message to white voters here, according to The Washington Post.
To find ideological underpinnings for such views, look no further than the rhetoric of white supremacists in the United States and Russia. They see Russia as a white Christian nation and a natural ally of the United States.
“I really believe that Russia is the leader of the free world right now,” Matthew Heimbach, a self-professed white supremacist and alt-rightist told Business Insider in a recent interview.
“Putin is supporting nationalists around the world and building an anti-globalist alliance, while promoting traditional values and self-determination,” he added.
Russia is also caught amid a rising tide of nationalism and racist world views. At a conference in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2015, U.S. extremists were represented.
Organized by Rodina, or Motherland, a Russian nationalist party, the event drew Jared Taylor, a U.S citizen who described himself as a “race realist.”
Klu Klux Klan lawyer Sam Dickson also attended and shared Taylor’s view that preservation of “[the white] race and civilization” were his goals.
Heimbach outlined his view of the situation in a 2013 speech at the Stormfront Smoky Mountain Summit, a gathering of Neo-Nazis.
He called Russia a “model for civilization” and “a beacon for nationalists,” according to Business Insider.
“This isn’t just a European or a right-wing movement,” he said. “We’re trying to position ourselves to be a part of this worldwide movement of globalism versus nationalism. It’s a new age.”
White supremacists, neo-Nazis and far-right nationalists gathered in Moscow in 2014 and described their racial politics as a do-or-die situation.
“We will either win or the Russian people will die,” said a co-organizer Dmitri Demushkin, who leads a banned rightist group in Russia.
A survey around the same time found that 54 percent of Russians support the idea of “Russia for ethnic Russians,” according to The Los Angeles Times. Even more tellingly, more than a third of those surveyed supported expelling Caucasus and Central Asian Muslims.
Russia fought two wars in Muslim majority Chechnya and battled the break-away Republic of Georgia, fueling racism and unrest.
Carlson has echoed anti-Muslim themes on several of his shows.
Leading up to the Capitol Insurrection Jan. 6, Fox talking heads were leading the charge to over throw democracy.
Fox News talking heads like Carlson, Jeanine Pirro, Lou Dobbs, Steve Hilton, Ingraham and Mark Levin all made fiery, violent exhortations to “take back” the country.
Pirro even went so far as to compare the Trump mob to George Washington crossing the Delaware during the Revolutionary War.
Given the CIA report and all that has happened during the election, Congress would be well within its right to hold hearings on Fox News and determine how it’s running its propaganda operation.
Check out the video below.