Stories Chosen For You
Fox News' Harris Faulkner just had a very bad week
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."
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."
READ MORE: Pence Presidential Launch Mocked for Suggesting Drag Queens Are Assaulting ‘American Values’ – With No Mention of Trump
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.”
"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."
READ MORE: ‘Isn’t There a Beach in Mexico Waiting for You?’: Cruz Mocked for Claiming Garland Will Indict Trump Over SCOTUS Seat Loss
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."
"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."
READ MORE: Buttigieg: Republicans Are Targeting LGBTQ People Because They ‘Don’t Want to Talk About’ Their Own ‘Radical Positions’
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."
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.
According to this mythology, workers at the bottom are “unskilled” and don’t deserve more than what they currently earn.
Minimum wage workers at McDonald’s are paid what they are worth in the so-called “free market.” If they were worth more, they’d earn more.
By the same logic, the CEO of McDonald’s is worth his multi-million dollar compensation package.
The notion that people are paid what they’re “worth” is by now so deeply ingrained in the public consciousness that many who earn very little assume it’s their own fault that they don’t earn more. That they simply lack the skills they need to be paid more.
But there’s no such thing as unskilled workers. Only underpaid workers. Their productivity — that is the value of what they produce — has been growing for decades. The problem is that their wages haven’t kept pace with their productivity.
The “paid what you’re worth” mythology also lures the unsuspecting into thinking nothing can be done to change what people are paid. It’s simply the way the market works.
Meanwhile, according to this same view, CEOs who rake in tens of millions and Wall Street traders who rake in hundreds of millions, are simply being paid what they’re “worth” because that’s what the market has dictated.
Rubbish. The “paid what you’re worth” fairytale ignores power and disregards policies that have made inequality skyrocket. Like the demise of antitrust enforcement, which has given big corporations the power to set prices, make record profits, and reward their CEOs unprecedented compensation. This fairytale ignores the attacks on labor unions that have reduced union membership from over a third of all private-sector workers in the 1950s to just 6 percent today. All of this resulting in a massive shift in power and wealth from workers to owners.
Those at the top justify their staggering wealth, and they’re “worth,” three ways:
The first is trickle-down economics. They claim that their wealth trickles down to everyone else as they invest it and create jobs. Just wait for it… But as we know, wealth at the top has soared for decades and nothing has trickled down.
The second is the “free market.” They talk about market forces beyond their control. But remember, markets are created by rules. These rules don’t exist in nature; they are human creations. The political power of the wealthy has let them change the rules for their own benefit — busting unions, monopolizing industries, and reaping big tax cuts.
The third is the idea that they’re superior human beings. Sure, they may be talented but this doesn’t justify the staggering amount of wealth they are now taking home. Nor does it justify the amount of wealth they will pass down to heirs. The biggest intergenerational transfer of wealth in history will occur over the next 25 years as the richest 1.5% of Americans hand down roughly some $36 trillion dollars to their children and grandchildren. That doesn’t make those heirs superior. It makes them lucky.
The reality is there’s no justification for today’s extraordinary concentration of wealth at the very top. Or for how little people are paid at the bottom.
The “paid what you’re worth” myth has proven to be a cruelly effective way to put the blame on workers for not getting ahead — while giving the rich and powerful cover to rig the game for their own benefit.
It is distorting our politics, rigging our markets, and granting unprecedented power to a handful of people while millions of Americans struggle to get by.
Don’t fall for it.
Are You Paid What You’re Worth? | Robert Reichyoutu.be
'Seems obscene' says Trump-appointed judge during hearing for Texas library book removal case
Judge Kyle Duncan, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, made the remark while serving on a 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel, which heard oral arguments for an appeal to overturn a judge’s order that Llano County officials return to shelves books that they had removed for purportedly not being age-appropriate for younger readers.
Other judges on the panel joined in questioning lawyers from both sides about the basis of their argument and the legal precedent that informed them.
The courtroom arguments were the latest battle in a war against certain books — mostly those that explore themes of race and sexuality — that has swept across the country, often led by Republican elected officials.
The Llano case has slowly unfolded and could potentially serve as a test of how the courts treat protections for libraries and librarians amid the trend of book challenges and efforts to ban them.
The ruling and appeal both pertain to a lawsuit that seven patrons of this Central Texas library system filed in April 2022, alleging their First Amendment right to access and receive ideas had been infringed when officials removed books based on their content.
The nearly hourlong hearing Wednesday marked the latest turn in a saga that first began almost two years ago with the removal of 17 books, including one for teens that calls the Ku Klux Klan a terrorist group, Isabel Wilkerson’s “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” and a comedic children’s book from Dawn McMillan’s “I Need a New Butt!” series.
It was not clear how or when the judges would rule on the appeal.
Jonathan Mitchell, who is representing the sued county officials and is also the architect of the state’s prohibition on abortions, argued the district judge’s ruling should be overturned for multiple reasons, including that the removed books are available to be checked out through the library’s in-house system and that the plaintiffs are not suffering irreparable injury because the books are available. Further, Mitchell said the librarian who had removed books did not do so with viewpoint discrimination.
“The plaintiffs, to be sure, would prefer for the books to be returned to the library shelves. But the First Amendment does not give library patrons a right to demand that books be stored in a particular location in the library, so long as the books remain available to the plaintiffs who are suing,” Mitchell said. “As long as the plaintiffs remain capable of accessing and obtaining each of these 17 books, and no one disputes that they are, they cannot possibly show that there is an ongoing violation of their constitutional rights.”
Katherine Chiarello, one of the lawyers representing the library patrons, focused on the motivation of the librarian who removed the books, arguing that the district judge found the defendants’ removal of the 17 books originated from officials in Llano County disliking the ideas contained in them, which is unconstitutional.
The defendants argue that the books were removed during a regular process of checking library shelves, a process called weeding. Further, they say the books are available upon request.
At one point during the hearing, Duncan, one of the judges, posed a hypothetical scenario to Chiarello: If white supremacist David Duke put his autobiography on library shelves, could a public library not remove the book?
Chiarello, explaining the legal precedent she was leaning on, said that if the book was already in the library, selected by a librarian, and “the substantial motivation for the removal is disagreement with the ideas, then yes, Your Honor, that’s unconstitutional.”
“It doesn’t matter that you and I are offended by that book — it can’t be removed because of that disagreement,” Chiarello said. “There are other things that librarians can do.”
While some of the contested books dealt with themes of race and sexuality, others covered lighter themes, like farting.
Moving away from a hypothetical scenario, Duncan brought up one of the farting books in question in Llano — saying “I never foresaw myself saying these words in the august courtroom of the Fifth Circuit.” In that case, he said, the librarian removed the book, which some patrons did not want. He asked if that was a First Amendment violation.
Chiarello said yes, if it was removed because the government disagreed with the viewpoints in the book.
Minutes later, Duncan said the books in question were not just about farting and butts but also content that had been called “pornographic filth” by defendants.
“The first question is, I mean, on its face, why is removing pornography from a library an impermissible motive under the First Amendment?” Duncan asked. “Surely, a library — if it discovers it has pornography, whether that be on the shelves or on the internet — can remove it.”
Chiarello said she agreed, but noted there would be no problem if the material had passed a legal test typically used to determine whether something is obscene, which did not appear to have been applied in Llano. Duncan responded that the evidence he was pointing to concerned the content in the books “Lawn Boy” and “Gender Queer.”
“Lawn Boy” is about a pre-teen’s experience with oral sex, Duncan said. “Seems obscene.”
The book, by Jonathan Evison, is a coming-of-age novel that has been targeted frequently for scenes that opponents call pornography. Literacy advocates and educators say such books serve an important role for marginalized students who may not see their lived experiences depicted in other literature.
Neither Chiarello or Mitchell immediately responded to emails from The Texas Tribune seeking comment.
Following the district court ruling in March, Llano county officials briefly contemplated shutting down the library system but did not after hearing from a parade of people who opposed the idea.
As the battle has slogged through the courts, some Republican elected officials’ focus on books in libraries has remained fixated. Lawmakers in Texas moved to change how schools stock their library shelves, passing a law that places the onus of identifying sexually explicit books on the businesses selling them to schools.
While supporters of House Bill 900 — including House Speaker Dade Phelan — say it is meant to protect children, librarians and legal experts have worried its language, from Rep. Jared Patterson, R-Frisco, is too vague and broad and some of the requirements will be unrealistic to fulfill — stifling business and ultimately dating and eroding library collections in schools.
Gov. Greg Abbott had not yet signed the bill as of Wednesday afternoon, but unsigned bills automatically become law as long as the governor doesn’t veto them before its deadline.
Go behind the headlines with newly announced speakers at the 2023 Texas Tribune Festival, in downtown Austin from Sept. 21-23. Join them to get their take on what’s next for Texas and the nation.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2023/06/07/llano-county-books-appeal/.
The Texas Tribune is a member-supported, nonpartisan newsroom informing and engaging Texans on state politics and policy. Learn more at texastribune.org.
For corrections contact email@example.com, for support contact firstname.lastname@example.org.