'Complete lie': Fox News anchor allegedly fabricated story during primetime guest hosting gig
After firing its star host, Tucker Carlson, Fox News has been scheduling its other anchors to fill in as guest hosts on a week-by-week basis, with some viewers, if not network brass, seeing these as auditions.
This week Harris Faulkner, host of the far-right network’s “The Faulkner Focus” and co-host of “Outnumbered,” filled in during what was once Carlson’s slot.
Reaction online has not been positive.
On Monday, Faulkner claimed she had been kicked out of a restaurant for praying, in what The Wrap called a “blistering, biblical monologue about the ongoing ‘attack’ on the Christian faith in America.”
“We know who we are. And we know who’s we are,” Faulkner told the dwindling Fox News audience. “For those of us who believe, we must be bold in our faith right now. When you gather in public spaces pray thankfully over your food, even when the server gives you the stink-eye, or tells the manager that your peaceful grace is triggering them. Had it happen to me. I’ve been asked to leave a restaurant for openly bowing my head in prayer hands. In America. It’s all good. They don’t deserve my money anyway.”
\u201cFaulkner: I've been asked to leave a restaurant for openly bowing my head in prayer hands.. in America\u201d— Acyn (@Acyn) 1686010364
Many demanded Faulkner name the restaurant, or provide proof. Among them, The Daily Beast’s senior media reporter Justin Baragona, who tweeted, Monday night, “I’m going to ask Fox News PR if Harris Faulkner can provide the name of the restaurant and date when this happened. Will update if I receive a response.”
Baragona has yet to state he’s received a response.
Another doubter is Republican former Congressman Adam Kinzinger, who wrote: “We need the name of this restaurant and when it happened. If true that’s awful. IF it’s not true… which seems most likely the case… then there needs to be accountability. Lies are not the tool of the Lord. And the USA isn’t his god.”
During that same monologue, as The Daily Beast noted, Faulkner told Fox News viewers: “Women and children are being redesigned by some sort of mad leftist science experiment.”
“It’s as though people on the left have more free time than anybody else. They want to acronym and pronoun us to death,” she said, apparently taking a swing at the LGBTQ community. “Well know this: the Lord has determined I am a woman, and my pronouns are U.S.A.”
\u201cFaulkner: The lord has determined I am a woman. My pronouns are U.S.A.\u201d— Acyn (@Acyn) 1686010092
“We are in a spiritual fight for the soul of America,” she also claimed, “and if you think that’s not true, take a look around at what’s going on. The devil has gotten into some people. The worst part of experiencing our country ripping at the seams is that our enemies are massing, feasting on the tastiness of our weaknesses.”
Baragona pointed out, “In her first night on primetime filling in for Tucker’s old timeslot, Harris Faulkner drew 1.59 million total viewers and just 105,000 in the 25-54 advertising demographic, finishing behind CNN and MSNBC in the demo. Tucker averaged 3.26 million total viewers last quarter.”
Former CNN media reporter Brian Stelter added, “And Jen Psaki was filling in at 8 on MSNBC,” suggesting MSNBC might have had fewer regular viewers during that time slot.
But the real outrage came on Tuesday, when Faulkner delivered what many deemed an outright “lie,” and served up proof of their accusations.
Faulker told Fox News viewers, “You know, we didn’t actually close schools in 1918, during the Spanish flu pandemic.”
That’s false. Provably false.
“And sometimes we make dangerously bad decisions, like pandemic lockdowns and keeping our own children home from schools when a virus was hurting them far less often than adults,” she said, ignoring the fact that family transmission often started with children (see below.) “You know, we didn’t actually close schools in 1918 during the Spanish flu pandemic. We didn’t even have penicillin back then. We did sacrifice. We suffered but then we pressed on. Our enemies hate us for surviving, but they would love to be like us.”
\u201cFaulkner: You know, we didn't actually close schools in 1918, during the Spanish flu pandemic. We didn't even have penicillin back then. We did sacrifice. We suffered, but then we pressed on.\u201d— Acyn (@Acyn) 1686096539
“This is blatantly untrue and takes about 3 seconds to fact check,” observed Media Matters for America’s Kat Abu.
And fact check many did.
Some noted that penicillin is an antibiotic, not an antiviral, and would have had no effect on the “Spanish flu,” an erroneous term (the first case identified was in the U.S.) for what is broadly known as the 1918 flu pandemic. The CDC says, “The 1918 H1N1 flu pandemic, sometimes referred to as the “Spanish flu,” killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide, including an estimated 675,000 people in the United States.”
Attorney Brad Moss, calling Faulkner’s claim a “complete lie,” also tweeted: “Utter and total falsity. You would think these fools would have some shame after paying Dominion hundreds of millions of dollars.”
And he came with receipts, including a screenshot of a New York Times article from October, 1918, noting the entire state of Pennsylvania had “indefinitely” shut down all schools, churches, theaters, and “all places of public assemblage.”
\u201cThis is a complete lie by @HARRISFAULKNER. Utter and total falsity. You would think these fools would have some shame after paying Dominion hundreds of millions of dollars.\u201d— Bradley P. Moss (@Bradley P. Moss) 1686096923
Others pointed to a PBS article from 2020 that reads: “During the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic, when an estimated 675,000 people died in the United States alone, the majority of public schools were closed for weeks to months on end. But three major cities — New York City, Chicago, and New Haven — kept their schools open amid valid questions and concerns about safety.”
So false was Faulkner’s claim, a readers’ note was added to video of it. It points to a study that states: “During the 1918–19 influenza pandemic, many local authorities made the controversial decision to close schools.”
Others on social media pointed to an article published last week by the University of Minnesota: “More than 70% of US household COVID spread started with a child, study suggests.”
As for Faulkner’s claim that, “Our enemies hate us for surviving, but they would love to be like us,” the U.S. ranks 15th worst among all countries around the world in COVID deaths per capita.
Meanwhile, Baragona also weighed in, noting: “Throughout the height of the pandemic, Harris Faulkner would only broadcast her show from the safety of her house.”
Watch the videos above or at this link.
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