Fox guest attacks women and LGBTQ + people in Tucker Carlson segment
By Jasmine Geonzon | WASHINGTON – In just 13 days, Fox News broadcast six segments on local efforts in Fairfax County, Va. To remove two LBGTQ young adult books from public school system libraries and to remove a reading display featuring these books in a public library. During these segments, guests argued false claims that the books contained pedophilia.
Fox also appealed to prominent Critical Race Theory (CRT) opponents of the Parents Defending Education group – whose staff are affiliated with conservative groups such as the Cato Institute and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute – to further defend the backlash against the books.
In September, a local parent, Stacy Langton, falsely claimed at a public school board meeting that two LGBTQ books – Homosexual gender: a thesis by Maia Kobabe and lawn boy by Jonathan Evison – available at public libraries at county high schools contained pedophilia. In response, Fairfax County Public Schools deleted the books from his libraries the next day, but they were income in November after a review of the contents of the books. Langton made another uproar after a local public library installed an exhibit featuring Homosexual gender and lawn boy alongside the bible and troll dolls, which also prompted the deletion of the exhibition in early December.
The uproar over Homosexual gender and lawn boy stems from unfounded claims that books describe sexual interactions between adults and children. Although Homosexual gender and lawn boy contain graphic representations of sex acts, book reviews by local LGBTQ activists from the Fairfax Public Schools Pride advocacy group concluded which do not include any pedophile content as opponents claim. According to THANK YOU, censorship against LGBTQ books has increased dramatically since June 2021, especially as anti-CRT activism has escalated and led to coordinated pushes against the teaching of concepts related to race, gender and to the genre. These combined efforts to bring together anti-LGBTQ and anti-CRT advocacy have also been used to specifically target trans people, as Media Matters has Previously reported.
Fox’s segments on the books falsely claim the books are pedophiles and attack them as “disgusting”
A segment on the December 14 edition of American press room included Fox News correspondent Mike Emanuel repeating the false claim that Homosexual gender “includes graphic representations of sexual acts between a boy and a man.”
December 11 editing of Justice with Judge Jeanine featured Charlie Kirk of Turning Point USA, who called the contents of the books “pedophilia” and “disgusting” and said: “Any reasonable person would condemn these books.”
On a December 8 Fox News in prime time segmentHost Tammy Bruce said the public library, “which should be used to educate and enrich the community, instead promotes left-wing sex ideology.” Bruce also echoed false claims that Homosexual gender depicts “sexual acts between a boy and a man”.
While graphic sexual content is present in every book, Fox’s figures condemnation of both as merely pornographic rejects the value of LGBTQ narratives available to young people. Like Homosexual genderthe author of Maia Kobabe Noted“Others simply called it pornography, a common charge against the work on queer sexuality themes. ”
Fox also called on anti-CRT activists to defend censorship
On December 8 and 9, Fox News brought in two anti-CRT activists, Nicole neily and Harry jackson, respectively, to explain why the deletion of Homosexual gender and lawn boy of the library shelves and the display was justified. Neily is the President of the activist organization Parents Defending Education and Jackson is its “Parents Defending Advocate”. According to Media Matters internal database, Fox News hosted Neily at least five times and Jackson at least four times in 2021 to discuss CRT. In at least two of those appearances, Fox obscured Jackson’s ties to the group, instead portraying him as a concerned relative.
Previously, Fox gave a platform to the parent advocating for censorship of books
Stacy Langton, the parent who brought the pedophilia allegations to the Fairfax County public school system, appeared on Fox News on September 26 edition of Fox & Friends Weekend and the October 27 edition of Fox and his friends. During her first interview, Langton spread false claims about the books containing pedophilia and co-host Rachel Campos-Duffy thanked her and called her a “hero.” Quotes from Langton also appear in at least Three articles on the Fox News website.
As conservative forces continue to attack LGBTQ literature with the help of right-wing media, librarians will face the challenge of promoting inclusive and diverse resources in their communities. Not only will librarians be overwhelmed as a result of widespread proposals to ban LGBTQ content, but LGBTQ youth seeking representation will also bear the social harm caused by conservative activists.
Media Matters searched the SnapStream Video Database for transcripts for all original programming on Fox News Channel for any of the terms “Fairfax” or “Dolley Madison” near any of the terms “book” or “library” “Or” “Lawn Boy” or “Genderqueer” or any variation of the words pedophilia or porn from December 3 to 16, 2021.
We included segments, which we defined as cases where the books were the stated topic of discussion or where we found a meaningful discussion about the books in question. We have defined meaningful discussion as instances where two or more speakers in a multi-topic segment discussed the controversy with each other. We did not include mentions, which we defined as cases where only one speaker mentioned the controversy without another speaker engaging in the commentary, or teasers, which we defined as cases where the presenter or host has promoted a segment about the controversy that was to be aired later on the show.
Jasmine Geonzon is a researcher at Media Matters. She graduated from the College of William & Mary with a BA in American Studies and Sociology with a concentration in Social, Political and Justice issues.
The previous article was already published by Media Matters for America and is republished with permission.