Here’s an interesting statistic for you — since May 23, Fox News programs spent a combined 2 hours and 12 minutes discussing Target’s Pride Month merchandise while spending just 22 seconds on the bombshell investigation that revealed nearly 2,000 children were sexually abused by 450 Catholic priests in the state over the last seven decades.
The statistic comes via a report that was released Tuesday by media analysis nonprofit Media Matters for America.
“While Fox repeatedly fearmongered about this supposed threat to children, the network almost completely ignored the reports of sexual abuse in the Illinois Catholic Church, airing only one segment on the attorney general’s report,” Media Matters researchers found.
Most other broadcast news networks reported on the story, of course, and some aired comments from survivors of the priests and brothers’ abuse. “We were treated with such disrespect by a church that was supposed to love and cherish us and honor us, and they didn’t,” journalist and survivor Dan Ronan told NPR on Saturday. “And then they covered it up.”
But while an expose on the Catholic Church’s even-more-horrifying history of grooming and abuse would run contrary to Fox’s right-wing editorial edict, accusing Target of doing the same thing — as part of a supposed conspiracy to “trans your kids” — is exactly what their audience and funders want to hear. “The repeated targeting of pro-LGBTQ products and sentiments,” like Target’s Pride merch or Ron DeSantis’ ongoing war with Disney, are “thinly veiled as defenses of children’s innocence, fit into Fox and right-wing media’s larger homophobic campaign to conflate the LGBTQ community with grooming and child abuse,” the Media Matters report explains.
Here’s how right-wing disinformation blew up into a protest against the company’s annual release of Pride merchandise.
Of course, Fox News isn’t news, and its hosts don’t make a point of caring whether they’re hypocrites. But even though Fox executives are likely just focused on bolstering their share price, pushing nakedly anti-LGBTQ+ propaganda has real-world implications and puts lives at risk. Target stores reportedly seen conservatives knock over Pride displays and threaten workers since the controversy over its pride collection began. Members of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) reported last weekend they had also received threats on their offices and staff after being attacked in anti-trans Fox coverage.
“Fox News and other right-wing media outlets are putting queer people in danger,” said GLSEN executive director Melanie Willingham-Jaggers in an Instagram video on Friday. “They’re spreading false information and trying to silence us [….] We will continue to rise up.”
Don’t let the right fool you into thinking their outrage is about protecting children for one second — because it isn’t.
— Ari Drennen (@AriDrennen) May 30, 2023