Murdoch-Owned Outlets Ignore Their Own Role in Hate Crime Surge – FAIR

Posted By on March 8, 2022

A Fox News story (1/27/22) that used anti-Asian hate crimes to swipe at a favorite Fox targeta progressive DAwas accompanied by a video that put Foxs typical anti-China spin on a space story.

In crafting a landscape rife with danger and lawlessness, Rupert Murdochowned outlets drew upon a spike in hate crimesspecifically anti-Asian and antisemitic hate crimeswithout taking responsibility for the xenophobia theyve consistently peddled when it benefited their political agendas.

Fox News (1/27/22) in January reported that the Asian-American victim of a 2019 attack was suing San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin for mishandling his case, just one day before the San Francisco police department announced that hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) were up 567% in the city in 2021 compared to the previous year. The story also mentioned a 60% increase in anti-Jewish hate crimes from 2020.

Early last month, Fox (2/2/22) reported on the arrest of a man suspected of spray painting swastikas on several Jewish schools and synagogues throughout Chicago. The incidents came days after Holocaust Remembrance Day and as antisemitism is on the rise across the country, the piece says. Another Fox headline (2/7/22) declared, NYC Antisemitic Crimes Up Nearly 300% in January; the story noted that there were 15 hate crimes committed against Jewish people in Januarya 275% increase compared to the four hate crimes recorded in January 2021.

Meanwhile, Murdochs New York Post (1/21/22) published NYC Hate-Crime Complaints Skyrocket, With Anti-Asian Attacks Up 343%. Citing NYPD data, the article also noted that the largest portion of hate-crime complaints in the city in 2021 was for anti-Jewish incidents.

The Wall Street Journal (1/26/22), another Murdoch property, reported on an incident at a virtual meeting of National Asian Pacific American Womens Forum when a Zoom bomber hacked the group and projected anti-Asian images and audio onto the screen. Major cities have reported an increase in hate crimes directed at Asian-Americans, the article said, also citing the San Francisco and New York police department numbers.

Murdochs own outlets, however, often spread anti-Asian and antisemitic tropes, while taking no responsibility for the xenophobia that fuels these hate crimes in the first place.

The OReilly Factors Jesse Watters (10/3/16) pretends to perform martial arts as part of a race-baiting report from New Yorks Chinatown.

The rise in anti-AAPI violence is connected to both the rise of a new cold war with Beijing and the scapegoating of China for the Covid-19 pandemic (, 4/8/21, 7/29/21, 8/25/21), playing upon xenophobic stereotypes of Asians as disease-carriers (Salon, 2/6/20) and as robots brainwashed by their government.

Even in the years prior to the Covid outbreak, Fox News was spreading anti-Asianparticularly anti-Chinesesentiment. In 2016, the Fox News segment Watters World (10/3/16) featured Fox personality Jesse Watters conducting on-the-street interviews with New York City Chinatown residents, ostensibly to mock them for their lack of knowledge regarding US/China relations as discussed in the 2016 presidential debates. From the Kung Fu Fighting background music, to Watters asking his sources if they knew karate (a Japanese martial art) and questioning whether their watches were stolen, the piece was five straight minutes of blatant racist stereotyping thinly veiled as cheap humor.

Like bullies in the lunchroom deriding another childs food, Murdochs outlets employed the stereotype of Asian cuisine being unclean as a commonand juveniletrope to scapegoat the Chinese for Covid. Watters anti-Chinese racism predictably ramped up at the start of the outbreak in 2020, when on Foxs The Five (3/2/20), Watters asked for a formal apology from the Chinese, insisting Covid originated in China because they have these markets where they are eating raw bats and snakes. He linked the disgust such stories evoke to a red-baiting agenda:

They are a very hungry people. The Chinese Communist government cannot feed the people, and they are desperate. This food is uncooked. Its unsafe, and that is why scientists believe thats where it originated.

The New York Post (1/23/20) misidentifies a gross-out video as being taken amid [the] coronavirus outbreak.

The Wall Street Journal that condemned the rise in anti-AAPI hate crimes is the same paper that on multiple occasions has itself conflated Covid with China. In 2020, the Journal called China the real sick man of Asia (2/3/20), used what it called the Communist coronavirus to criticize Chinas government (1/29/20), referred to the virus as the Wuhan Coronavirus (1/29/20) and falsely accused the Chinese government of stalling investigations into the evidence-free Wuhan lab leak theory (2/12/21, 5/23/21).

Murdochs outlets have also played a significant role in normalizing anti-Jewish rhetoric, despite their eager conflation of any criticism of the Israeli government with antisemitism. In 2012, Murdoch himself tweeted about purported irony of the Jewish-owned press being (in his mind) anti-Israel, evoking the antisemitic conspiracy theory that an elite Jewish cabal controls media (Extra!, 910/96).

Fox News blames the left and Palestinian solidarity for a spike in anti-Jewish hate crimes. US Seeing Wave of Textbook Antisemitism Amid Israel/Gaza Tensions, warned one Fox headline (5/21/21). The incidents fly in the face of those trying to distinguish between anti-Israel and antisemitic bromides, the piece said.

Right-wing talkshow host Dennis Prager told Fox News (5/21/21) that the Middle East dispute is because a big chunk of the Muslim world that would like to exterminate the Jewish state.

Conservative radio host Dennis Prager joined Fox News Primetime (5/21/21) to discuss the rise in attacks:

This is not what the left wants you to believe. They want you to believe its over land. No, its not. There is a big chunk of the Muslim world that would like to exterminate the Jewish state beginning with, of course, Iran. That is why if you look at the rhetoric, its always F the Jews, F the Jews in all of these attacks. Its never F the Israelis. Its always F the Jews.

But attributing a rise in antisemitic hate crimes mainly to left-wing anti-Zionism is more politically useful than substantiated. Data from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) suggests the majority of antisemitic attacks come from white supremacist groups.

ADLs most recent numbers are from 2019, during which there were 2,107 recorded attacks. There were 171 incidents in which attackers mentioned Israel or Zionism, and 68 of those were propaganda efforts by white supremacist groups (ADL, 2019). Out of 270 incidents carried out by known extremist groups, two-thirds of those groups were white supremacist.

Certainly, antisemitism does appear on the left as well as the right, and there are activists who shout Free Palestine and Death to Jews in the same breath, and use the word Zionism not as the name of an ideology but as a codeword for Jewishness. But Murdoch outlets consistently blur the line between criticizing Israel, or supporting Palestinian rights, and antisemitism. When Palestinian-American model Bella Hadid wore a necklace with the word Palestine on it, Fox (1/16/22) reported the model was accused of perpetuating antisemitic tropesreferring to a tweet Hadid had posted condemning Israeli colonization, ethnic cleansing, military occupation and apartheid over the Palestinian people.

Fox News (12/14/21) took down a cartoon depicting George Soros as the puppet master behind progressive DAs and attorneys general after complaints that such imagery contributes to the normalization of antisemitism.

Murdoch outlets stop short of condemning antisemitism when it benefits their antipolice reform agendas. Blaming Jewish billionaire and philanthropist George Soros for the election of progressive soft on crime district attorneys throughout the country, they evoked images of a wealthy Jewish cabal pulling strings behind the scenes (, 1/14/22). Soros Funnels Cash Through a Complicated Web, explained a New York Post piece (12/16/21).

In late 2021, Fox removed a Soros puppet master cartoon from its social media after being called out for evoking antisemitic imagery (Haaretz, 12/16/21; 1/14/22).

Fox star Tucker Carlson has also accused Soros of waging a kind of warpolitical, social and demographic waron the West, in his recent documentary, Hungary vs. Soros: The Fight for Civilization (Fox News, 1/26/22).

In an interview with Watters about the documentary, Carlson said Soros is seeking to create a society that is more dangerous, dirtier, less democratic, more disorganized, more at war with themselves, less cohesive (Fox News, 1/25/22).

This anti-Soros rhetoric sounds eerily similar to that of Robert Bower, the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue shooting suspect who allegedly killed 11 people during Shabbat services in 2018. Bower (Washington Post, 10/28/18) once tweeted:

Jews are waging a propaganda war against Western civilization and it is so effective that we are headed towards certain extinction within the next 200 years and were not even aware of it.

Also a target of the puppet master trope: Michael Bloomberg. In 2020, Fox News anchor Raymond Arroyo described the billionaire and former New York City mayor, who is Jewish, as a Biden puppet master (Fox News, 3/5/20). The comments sparked backlash from the ADL, which contended that the use of the trope, even unintentionally, played a role in mainstreaming antisemitism.

Tucker Carlson (Fox News, 9/21/21) said Democrats want to change the racial mix of the country: This policy is called the great replacement, the replacement of legacy Americans with more obedient people from far-away countries (Media Matters, 9/23/21).

In October, Jewish groups condemned Carlsons defense of Replacement Theory (Daily Beast, 4/9/21)the idea that immigrants and people of color are entering the US to reduce the political power of white Americans (Media Matters for America, 4/8/21;, 10/20/21). The theory is linked to antisemitism because its often claimed an elite Jewish cabal is leading the replacement. A popular conspiracy theory in 2018 claimed Soros himself was organizing the caravan of Central American migrants to the US border (Washington Post, 10/28/18).

Among Carlsons fan-base are a group of neo-Nazis and white supremacists who attended the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, where Jews will not replace us was a prominent chant. Facing a lawsuit for taking part in the deadly demonstration while serving time in prison for an unrelated crime, neo-Nazi Christopher Cantwell reportedly watched Carlson with other white supremacists to prepare for the trial, according to a former inmate (BuzzFeed News, 10/28/21). Cantwell also mentioned Carlson in court documents, saying his trial was intended to silence white supremacists and those who agree with them, even on peripheral issues. He went on:

This is evidenced by the president of the United States, and the second most popular show in cable news (Tucker Carlson) being branded as white nationalists on account of sharing a small number of our views on the pressing issues of our time.

Neither Carlson nor Fox has commented on the neo-Nazi endorsement of the show.

Carlson has also downplayed the January 6 insurrection, whose participants included Holocaust deniers and neo-Nazis, asserting that it was not an act of terrorism (Fox News, 1/7/22). On hand for what Carlson (7/7/21) described as a fake insurrection where elderly people showed up with signs on the Capitol were Tim Gionet, a livestreamer known as Baked Alaska who has promoted antisemitic conspiracy theories online; the Nationalist Social Club neo-Nazi group; a man wearing a Camp Auschwitz sweatshirt; and another wearing a shirt reading 6MWE, which stands for 6 million wasnt enough.

In 2021, Fox News commentator Lara Logan faced condemnation from Jewish advocacy groups for comparing Dr. Anthony Fauci to Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, who performed deadly pseudoscientific experiments on Auschwitz prisoners (Fox News, 11/30/21). It is disrespectful to victims & a sad symptom of moral and intellectual decline, tweeted the Auschwitz Museum in response. Neither Fox nor Logan apologized; in fact, Logan retweeted a defense of her comments.

As FAIR (, 6/24/21; CounterSpin, 10/7/21) has reported in the past, using an uptick in certain crime categories to stoke fear of street crime allows corporate outlets to push a pro-police agenda, while blaming social justice, anti-police violence movements for crime.

In early February, Fox News (2/3/22) reported on President Joe Bidens visit to New York City and rejection of calls to defund the police, citing the citys rise in crimes, including hate crimes:

Hate crimes also surged 72% in New York City last month, driven mostly by a 275% increase in crimes against Jewish people.

Its a trend that started last year, as hate crimes rose 96% in 2021 .

Framing the primary problem as crime and not hate allows hiring more police to be presented as the solution. And hate-mongering outlets like Fox News, the New York Post and Wall Street Journal dont have to address their own antisemitism and anti-Asian racism.

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Murdoch-Owned Outlets Ignore Their Own Role in Hate Crime Surge - FAIR

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