Rupert Murdoch’s conservative news outlet Fox News is under serious fire for reportedly peddling a conspiracy theory which inspired anti-Semite Robert Bowers to take the lives of 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday, according to a report from Think Progress.
As reported by The Atlantic, Fox News anchors have repeatedly characterized the influx of Central Americans fleeing to the United States as an “invasion” of the country by foreigners. Most of the people in the roughly 7,000-strong caravan are likely Hondurans escaping from crime partly instigated by the U.S.-sanctioned military coup back in 2009 but despite this, Fox News anchors have made no attempts to get into the specifics. Instead, they continued to push the theory that these immigrants were somehow being financed by Democrats in the United States, namely billionaire George Soros, who intended to hurt the country by getting the caravan across the border.
The report noted that Trump’s hysteria about the caravan began after Fox News broadcasted a segment on October 16 not only appearing to demonize the immigrants but insinuating that they were somehow insistent on hurting the U.S. It led to the infamous announcement by Trump to his supporters in which he claimed that many of the potential immigrants were “criminals and unknown Middle Easterners” seemingly without any evidence to back up his unsubstantiated claim.
Fox News, however, continued to push the “invasion” theory, and it appears Trump was not the only one who was affected. Robert Bowers, whose social media presence on extremist-friendly site Gab showed his penchant for “invasion” conspiracy theories, was convinced that foreigners were intent on “invading” the United States. Not only did he repeatedly refer to the people on the caravan as “invaders” — not unlike Fox News — he even attributed the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), a Jewish group that resettles refugees in the U.S., as being responsible for the “migrant caravan.” His last message before he went on a killing rampage on Saturday morning was the following.
“HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”
Fox News' Gregg Jarrett: Migrant caravan "is a threatened invading force that may bash its way through our fence" https://t.co/PD5qDczCkt
— Media Matters (@mmfa) October 30, 2018
Not only is Fox's use of term "invaders" irresponsible — what do you do with invaders? — but it's also misleading viewers into thinking migrants in caravan are going to lawlessly pour over the border instead of declaring asylum, which they need to be at a port of entry to do pic.twitter.com/Iw4TNcoxtq
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) October 29, 2018
Even after the deadly shooting by Bowers, and despite the apparent repercussions of reducing the political dialogue to something it is not, it seems Fox News hasn’t stopped using the word “invasion” or indeed cautioning Americans of the potentially non-existent threat of immigrant families coming from the south.