Liberal Fox News host Juan Williams slammed his own network’s recent coverage of two viral right-wing stories that have since been debunked and walked back, saying Tuesday that it was an example of the conservative echo chamber “going crazy.”
During Tuesday’s broadcast of Fox News panel show The Five, Williams warned his colleagues that the allegations that climate czar John Kerry divulged Israeli intelligence to Iran—which have already resulted in Republican calls for Kerry’s ouster—could blow up in conservatives’ faces.
After running down some of the red flags with the claim that Kerry first informed Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif that Israel had struck Iranian targets in Syria, Williams told his fellow hosts that he was “worried” about covering the story because of Fox’s recent history.
“But to me when you talk about oh, this right-wing going after John Kerry, they don’t like John Kerry, it just worries me like last week we had the hamburger story, ‘Oh, Biden is going to take your hamburger,’” Williams declared. “Kamala Harris’ book is being given to immigrants!”
“These stories are false, but the right-wing echo chamber starts going crazy because you can go after a Democrat,” he added.
The hamburger story that Williams first referenced was relentlessly hyped by conservatives and Fox News over the past weekend after The Daily Mail published a deceptive article that cited a 2020 study to suggest that Biden’s new climate plan would severely restrict Americans’ red meat consumption.
Fox News anchor John Roberts, for instance, told viewers last week to “say goodbye to your burgers if you want to sign up to the Biden climate agenda.” Several other Fox personalities—including those on The Five—would jump aboard the network’s multi-day outrage cycle, helping to push a false narrative about Biden’s burger restrictions that didn’t actually exist.
After fact-checkers noted there was no link between the Biden proposals and the study, Roberts would issue a brief on-air correction on Monday: “The data was accurate, but a graphic and the script incorrectly implied it was part of Biden’s plan for dealing with climate change. That is not the case.”
Fox News also did its best to amplify the false story—first published by the Murdoch-owned New York Post—that the vice president’s children’s book was handed out to young children at a migrant shelter.
After it was parroted in multiple Fox segments and shared by prominent Republicans, the Washington Post issued a thorough debunking of the fake report, and the New York Post took it down and republished it hours later with an editor’s note. The reporter on the story, meanwhile, resigned while claiming she was “ordered” to write the incorrect report.
Still, it didn’t seem as if Williams’ colleagues took his warning to heart.
“Well, I guess they learned from the best,” co-host Greg Gutfeld sneered, suggesting conservatives were just aping liberals when it came to amplifying inaccurate stories.