Letter to Fox News Channel on Use of Antisemitic Tropes

March 6, 2020

Suzanne Scott
CEO
Fox News Media
1211 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036

Dear Ms. Scott:

We were deeply disturbed by remarks of Fox News anchor Raymond Arroyo during last night’s broadcast of “The Ingraham Angle,” where he asserted that Michael Bloomberg, the Jewish former presidential candidate, will be a “Biden Puppet Master.” This charge, and the comments that followed about Bloomberg’s wealth and power, play into deep seated antisemitic canards about Jewish power and money.  The use of the term “puppet master” specifically conjures up longstanding antisemitic tropes about Jewish power and the notion of the Jewish puppeteer has figured in antisemitic imagery throughout modern history.

Arroyo stated: “Joe Biden won’t actually be in charge of the things if he’s elected president. He’ll be kind of a geriatric Pinocchio whose strings will be pulled by the politicians, activists or donors currently propping him up. That includes big donor Mike Bloomberg.” Arroyo went on to say, “What that means is that Mike Bloomberg is going to have more power than any ordinary American will in a Biden campaign.”

While we believe it is fair game to be critical of candidates and their positions, these comments echo rhetoric employed by white supremacists and other antisemites when speaking of both Bloomberg and Sanders. And it unfortunately fits into pattern at Fox News this election season.

Even if no antisemitic insinuation is intended, casting a Jewish individual as a puppet master who manipulates national events for malign purposes has the effect of mainstreaming antisemitic tropes and giving support, however unwitting, to bona fide antisemites and extremists who disseminate these ideas knowingly and with malice.

In November, we wrote to you to voice concern about references by frequent guest Joe diGenova on “Lou Dobbs Tonight” about George Soros controlling the U.S. government and world affairs. In October 2019 we expressed concern about a statement by guest Chris Farrell of Judicial Watch, also commenting about Soros, a Jewish activist and donor.

Antisemitism is a millennia old scourge that, unfortunately, is on the rise in our country and in many others around the world. Especially during an election campaign involving Jewish candidates, we urge your network to take extra caution to ensure that hosts and guests do not play into antisemitic tropes, whether intentionally or not. We take this matter extremely seriously and look forward to your prompt reply.

Sincerely,

Jonathan A. Greenblatt
CEO and National Director
Anti-Defamation League