- Fox News heavily promoted a false claim that the Biden administration would force Americans to cut their red meat intake by 90%.
- The network falsely reported that a migrant shelter was distributing Kamala Harris’ book in “welcome packs.”
- Fox also ran stories inaccurately claiming the Virginia department of education is moving to eliminate advanced math classes in high schools.
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Right-wing media, most prominently Fox News, has promoted three major false stories in just the last few days.
Last Friday, The New York Post published a cover story claiming that copies of Vice President Kamala Harris’ 2019 children’s book, “Superheroes Are Everywhere,” was being gifted to migrant children at a Department of Health and Human Services shelter in Long Beach, California. The Post provided no evidence for the claim aside from a single Reuters photograph of Harris’ book propped against a backpack on a table.
The story was picked up by a host of right-wing media, including Fox News, which co-authored a follow-up story with The Post reporter, Laura Italiano, who wrote the original piece. A slew of prominent Republican lawmakers, including GOP Sen. Tom Cotton and Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, promoted the Post’s story.
But the Post’s story was quickly debunked. The Washington Post fact-checker, which gave the Post story “four Pinocchios” on Tuesday, reported that The Post based its entire story on a photo of one copy of the book donated to the shelter by a community member. The Post deleted its two stories on the matter and later republished them with corrections and editor’s notes added.
Spokespeople for Fox News did not respond to Insider’s comment about the network’s reporting, but the network quietly added an editor’s note to its story about the White House’s response to the Post’s reporting and deleted Italiano’s byline.
Also last Friday, Fox News ran multiple segments falsely claiming that President Joe Biden’s administration would require Americans to radically reduce their red meat consumption under Biden’s climate policy. Fox’s on-air discussions relied on a Daily Mail story that reported the Biden administration “could” require Americans to cut their red meat consumption by 90%, citing academic studies showing that reductions in animal products help cut greenhouse gas emissions.
In reality, Biden has no plan to require Americans eat less red meat.
Fox chyrons read, “Bye-Bye Burgers Under Biden’s Climate plan” and “90% of Red Meat Out With Biden Climate Plan.” One graphic falsely stated that “Biden’s climate requirements” include a maximum of four pounds of red meat consumption a year and “one burger per month.” A slew of conservative lawmakers promoted the false claims and lashed out at the Biden administration. Donald Trump Jr. claimed he’d likely eaten four pounds of red meat the previous day.
“Joe Biden’s climate plan includes cutting 90% of red meat from our diets by 2030. They want to limit us to about four pounds a year. Why doesn’t Joe stay out of my kitchen?” Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert tweeted on Saturday.
Fox host John Roberts acknowledged in a brief on-air correction on Monday that the claims were wrong. Roberts said the network’s graphic and script “incorrectly implied” that reducing red meat consumption “was part of Biden’s plan for dealing with climate change.”
-Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) April 26, 2021
Fox and other right-wing media also ran with a story that Virginia’s public schools were moving to eliminate accelerated high school math courses to improve racial equity, “effectively keeping higher-achieving students from advancing as they usually would in the school system.”
The stories, which were amplified by Fox’s opinion side, were false and overblown. Virginia’s superintendent of public instruction, James Lane, told The Washington Post that the state’s department of education is beginning a regular evaluation of its math curriculum and is not eliminating any advanced classes.