Just a few weeks ago, Cesar Sayoc Jr. sent 15 pipe bombs to prominent Democrats, starting with the liberal billionaire George Soros. To many on the right, Soros is less a human being than a force, one they have been told over and over again is helping to destroy the country and all that they hold dear. Fox News is a major driver of the paranoia around Soros, who features prominently in conspiracy theories believed by mainstream Republicans and hardcore anti-Semites alike.
But Soros, a Hungarian Jew and Holocaust survivor, never seems to appear on Fox News to rebut wild claims their guests often make against him. Today, a Soros representative told CNN that the reason isn’t his lack of interest. Patrick Gaspard, the president of Soros’ Open Society Foundations, said Sunday night that real reason Soros doesn’t go on Fox is that the network refuses to have his boss on air.
Even after the tragic Pittsburgh synagogue shooting last week, the network continued to air interviews with people making batshit, anti-Semitic claims about Soros. This includes the idea that Soros is somehow funding the so-called “caravan” of displaced people currently making their way through Mexico from Central America with the intention to seek asylum in the U.S.—a variation of the same theory that helped motivate Robert Bowers, the shooter who took the lives of eleven Jews in Pittsburgh last week.
A guest on Lou Dobbs’ popular Fox Business program, Chris Farrell, repeated claims the migrant caravan is supported by Soros last month and encountered no push back from Dobbs.
The remark drew widespread criticism when the episode was rebroadcast on October 27, hours after a gunman walked into a Pittsburgh synagogue and murdered 11 people. [...]
Fox later condemned Farrell’s remark and said it would no longer re-air the segment or allow Farrell, the head of the conservative group Judicial Watch, on the network.
The incident with Farrell isn’t the only time in the recent past that absurd, conspiratorial claims about Soros have made it to air on the network.
Representative Matt Gaetz from Florida said during an October 19 appearance that he has “reason to believe” Soros is paying the migrants. He said a report from Judicial Watch provided evidence.
Representatives Louie Gohmert said during an October 22 appearance on Fox News that he “can’t help but think the Democrats — perhaps Soros — may be funding” the caravan. Gohmert again came on Fox on October 31, and told Dobbs that it’s “not anti-Semitic” to criticize Soros
And yet, according to Gaspard, Fox won’t allow Soros or his representatives on the network to defend himself.
“There’s been no opportunity for our foundation or for thoughtful Americans to come on and rebut,” Gaspard said.
“To be clear, I’m not blaming them for violence,” Gaspard added. “I’m blaming them for the toxic environment that we live in.”
“I’m calling out Gohmert, and I’m calling out Gaetz, and I’m calling out the producers on Fox who are not creating space for thoughtful honest discussion,” Gaspard told CNN.
Whether or not Gaspard is willing to blame Fox, the network continues to let people on air to give slightly softened versions of the same white nationalist talking points that fueled people like Sayoc and Bowers. Those people don’t deserve to have a national platform, period, but as the last weeks have shown us, to let their bigotry slide by without rebuttal isn’t just irresponsible—it’s dangerous.