Yesterday, authorities charged Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez with attempting to assassinate President Obama after he allegedly fired an assault riffle at the White House. Never missing an opportunity to politicize such an event, Fox News baselessly tried to tie Ortega-Hernandez to the 99 Percent Movement, running a chyron that dubbed the man the “‘Occupy’ shooter.”
Fox & Friends host Gretchen Carlson said the shooter “may have tried to blend in with the Occupy protesters in D.C.,” and asked conservative blogger Michelle Malkin, “What would have happened if a tea party person had tried to do that?” Malkin took the bait, but admitted that “political ideology” was likely not a motivation of the man. Watch it, via Media Matters:
Meanwhile, Fox Nation, the social news site owned by Fox News, ran a headline yesterday blaring: “Man Linked to ‘Occupy’ Protest Charged With Attempted Assassination of Obama.” On Wednesday night’s Special Report — one of Fox’s “straight news” shows — host Bret Baier said, “Hernandez reportedly spent time with the Occupy D.C. protesters.”
The claim was based on a report that authorities searched the Occupy DC encampment in their wide-ranging manhunt for Ortega-Hernandez, a logical step as the site is less than the two blocks from the White House. Unfortunately, for Fox, investigators “found no connection between him and the Occupy protesters,” the Washington Post and other outlets reported the day before Carlson and Malkin claimed a link. Indeed, by then, Ortega-Hernandez had already been arrested in Pennsylvania, and there were reports that he was motivated by mental illness and hatred for Obama.
This type of baseless smear is perhaps to be expected on conservative blogs and radio shows — many of which leapt on the phony connection to Occupy DC — but one would expect better from the country’s largest cable network, which no doubt should have seen the reports dismissing the connection between Ortega-Hernandez and the Occupy protesters.
It appears Fox has not issued a correction, and the Fox Nation story remains online with the same headline.