Fox News talks about billionaire philanthropist George Soros a lot. He is a favorite bogeyman of the right, so Fox’s conservative talk shows blame him for all sorts of ills, sometimes even pushing into conspiracy theory territory.
But the head of Soros’s philanthropic group said the conservative network won’t let him on air to rebut the wild accusations.
Patrick Gaspard, president of Soros’s Open Society Foundations, told CNN’s Brian Stelter on “Reliable Sources” Sunday that Fox News producers “refuse to have us on.”
Fox News did not respond to CNN Business’ request for comment about Gaspard’s claim.
Conspiracy theories about Soros have spread for years among the far right.
President Donald Trump and his supporters have circulated accusations that Soros, who is Jewish, is assisting a caravan of migrants bound for the United States, which the foundation denies.
The conspiracy found its way onto Fox News in recent weeks. The caravan is frequently described by people on the network as an “invasion.”
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. The Anti-Defamation League called the shooting the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in US history. Just days earlier, pipe bombs targeting Soros and other Trump critics through the mail were intercepted by authorities.
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.
Gaspard said he gives the network “credit” for taking that step.
But he pointed to similar comments from two congressmen who shared the conspiracy on Fox News.
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.
Spokespeople for Gaetz and Gohmert did not immediately respond to requests for comment from CNN Business.
“There’s been no opportunity for our foundation or for thoughtful Americans to come on and rebut,” Gaspard said.
Stelter asked Gaspard if he blamed Fox News or the congressmen for recent acts of violence.
“To be clear, I’m not blaming them for violence,” Gaspard said. “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,” he said.
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