It’s been a banner night for Fox News hosts. Hours before recordings of Tucker Carlson making misogynist comments surfaced, Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro was on air, spewing racist statements about Rep. Ilhan Omar, one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress.
On Pirro’s weekly show, she speculated that Omar supports Sharia law because she wears a hijab.
“She’s not getting this anti-Israel sentiment doctrine from the Democrat Party. So if it’s not rooted in the party, where is she getting it from?” Pirro said, referencing Omar’s controversial comments about the Israel lobby. “Think about it. Omar wears a hijab, which according to the Quran 33:59 tells women to cover so they won’t get molested. Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to Sharia law, which in itself is antithetical to the United States Constitution?”
These statements were so blatantly Islamophobic that even conservatives who have repeatedly attacked Omar took to Twitter to condemn Pirro’s comments (and distance themselves from Pirro’s brand of outright racism).
A Muslim Fox News producer also took to Twitter to call out Pirro’s racism.
Pirro’s statement, though reprehensible, isn’t in any way out of the ordinary for Fox News. There’s an entire section about Fox News on the Wikipedia page for “Islamophobia in the media.” Among their greatest hits is the fact that Fox once had to retract false claims they made about imaginary, Muslim-only sections of England and France.
President Trump’s current UN Ambassador, Heather Nauert, was formerly a Fox News host, and spent her time there helping to spread conspiracy theories about Sharia’s infiltration of America.
A 2014 study found that among Americans who said they trusted Fox News the most of any cable news network, 68 percent believed that “Islamic values are incompatible with American values,” compared to only 37 percent who said they trusted CNN.
“Reasonable” conservatives like Stephens and Lake shouldn’t pretend to be surprised by this kind of rhetoric. Islamophobia is one of the GOP’s most popular platforms, and it was inevitable that the Omar freak-out would dissolve into this kind of hideous racism once it was digested by right wing media.
Update, 11:55 p.m.:
In a statement, Fox News condemned Pirro’s comments. Pirro said in a statement that she did not call Omar “un-American” and invited Omar to come on her show.