On Thursday evening, Fox News pushed conspiracy theories on three straight primetime shows, with a little racism mixed in.
Tucker Carlson Tonight featured an interview with Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) in which he promoted a conspiracy ripped straight from Infowars — that ISIS had something to do with the Las Vegas mass shooting in October.
“I smell a rat like a lot of Americans — nothing is adding up,” Perry said. “Well, they could be — well, let’s face it — ISIS twice before the attack, ISIS warned the United States that they would attack Las Vegas I think in June and August, and then after the attack claiming responsibility four times. Meanwhile, the local law enforcement investigative services are telling us there is no terrorist connection — lone gunman.”
ISIS is often known to take credit for attacks they had nothing to do with, and investigators have found no evidence of a link between shooter Stephen Paddock and ISIS.
Victims’ attorney Catherine Lombardo immediately pushed back on Perry’s comment, demanding that he provide evidence.
“We’ve seen no evidence of a terrorist attack, and I will ask, congressman, unless you have specific evidence to back that up, it seems a bit irresponsible to make that allegation,” Lombardo said. “So if you do have any evidence of that, I’m asking you right now to share it with us and tell us what that is.”
Rep. Perry never provided any evidence, and Carlson didn’t push back at all on his conspiracy theory.
“I’m not taking a position on this either way,” Carlson said at one point.
Another segment of Carlson’s show featured Carlson and right-wing pundit Mark Steyn making a case that Hispanics aren’t real Americans.
Immediately after Carlson’s show went off the air, Hannity featured a segment with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) pushing a conspiracy theory that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign for possible collusion with Russia is the result of a conspiracy in which the “deep state” colluded with Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration in an attempt to bring down Donald Trump.
“You are describing the very elements of a palace coup,” Gaetz said. “And after Jim and Mark Meadows and many others of us reviewed the intelligence information today, it is abundantly clear that the entire Mueller investigation is a lie built on a foundation of corruption.”
Later, Jordan said “this should never happen in a country as great as the United States of America.” But he and Gaetz never bothered to provide a shed of evidence in support of their theory of the case.
Jordan has been pushing this conspiracy theory on Fox News for months. But when he recently did an interview on CNN, the obvious hole in his argument was exposed. If the FBI had been colluding with Clinton during the election, as he claims, then why did FBI Director James Comey go out of his way to publicize the Clinton email investigation just days before the election? Pollsters, including Nate Silver, have since concluded that the negative publicity Comey’s move generated for Clinton may have cost her the presidency.
During his interview on CNN, Jordan had no answers for that, and repeatedly responded with, “we’ll find out.”
Hannity concluded his segment on Thursday by congratulating Gaetz, Jordan, and a Fox News correspondent for their “great reporting.” But not a single piece of actual reporting appeared in the segment — the entire discussion was empty conspiracy-mongering.
After Hannity went off the air, the Clinton-Comey collusion allegations were also the featured story on Ingraham Angle. And on Friday’s Fox & Friends, hosts framed the story as “worse than Watergate.”
During another segment of Fox & Friends, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway did her part to push the conspiracy. Referring to a hashtag Hannity coined, and the discussion on numerous Fox News shows the evening before, Conway said, “All I’ll say is that those who have seen it [i.e., the DOJ memo] are outraged, and are saying, ‘hashtag is trending, release the memo.'”