The Daily Show is offering up its thoughts and prayers to Fox News because the network is going through a truly terrible time right now. Not only is the imaginary federal hamburger ban that some of their conservative hosts have been pinning on President Joe Biden all weekend not real, they now have to admit that their faux outrage over this anti-red-meat conspiracy was born out of their inability to fact-check fake news.
Prayers up for Fox News’s three-day burger ban fear-mongering campaign 🙏 pic.twitter.com/3glInvGsQK
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) April 27, 2021
To understand just how devastating this whole return to journalistic integrity has been, we need to go back to the beginning. On his Friday afternoon show, Fox personality John Roberts incorrectly reported that a 2020 study from scholars at the University of Michigan and Tulane University was serving as the basis for Biden’s climate plan, a plan that included cutting consumption of red meat to just 4 pounds per citizen a year. That’s just one hamburger a month!
Before Fox realized that the study was actually done independently and well before Biden was even elected president, hosts from other shows jumped on the meat-eating bandwagon. Some bemoaned the fact that this meant “no burgers on July 4th” and “no steaks on the barbie.” Some even imagined the elites still enjoying their prime cuts while cosplaying as a conservative Marie Antoinette, shouting “Let them eat kale.” As the anger over this nonexistent government cutback grew, people like Donald Trump Jr. and some Republican governors began retweeting Fox’s warning of vegetarian authoritarianism. The red meat banned seemed primed to become yet another talking point for Biden’s right-wing opponents.
And then, in a shocking turn of events, Roberts appeared on his Monday show to admit the whole thing was false. The study was done years before Biden announced a plan to tackle climate change as president and it did not mention Biden or a government-mandated meat ban. So how did Fox News connect the two? It seems someone at the network is a fan of The Daily Mail, a British tabloid that linked the study to Biden for unknown reasons. Once one Fox News host shared that information as fact, the rest jumped on board, which lead to Roberts finally issuing an on-air retraction.
Fox gently acknowledges that its coverage about Biden supposedly trying to force Americans to eat less red meat wasn't accurate: "A graphic and a script incorrectly implied that it was part of Biden's plan for dealing with climate change. That is not the case." pic.twitter.com/iClZSk8P4M
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) April 26, 2021
Fortunately for Roberts and crew, The Daily Show knows just how difficult admitting to fueling a misinformation campaign (intended to spark distrust and hate towards our government) is for the network that once had a host hide in the bushes to catch a migrant family crossing the border. This is a hard time for Fox News, and during hard times, The Daily Show is here.