The White House denounced Fox News on Friday, blasting the right-wing network for “standing up on behalf of hate” after one of its hosts attacked the Jewish heritage of two CNN anchors over their coverage of the Israel-Hamas war.
“Not only is Fox News aligning with those who fan the flames of hate – Fox is paying their salaries,” Andrew Bates, deputy White House press secretary, said in a blistering statement, marking the second time this week the Biden administration publicly condemned the network for its hosts’ hateful commentary.
The rebuke came in response to Mark Levin, a right-wing talk personality and Fox News weekend host, who raged against CNN anchors Wolf Blitzer and Jake Tapper in recent days while ranting on his nationally syndicated radio show.
Levin falsely claimed Blitzer’s parents “weren’t victims in one way or another, of the Holocaust.” In fact, Blitzer’s parents were survivors of the Nazi-era concentration camps and all four of his grandparents were murdered during the Holocaust. Levin added that he believed CNN was “filled with a lot of self-hating Jews.”
In separate comments, Levin also attacked Tapper as a “self-hating Jew” and said he is “a propagandist for the enemy.”
CNN condemned the comments on Thursday evening as “wildly uninformed, inappropriate and shameful,” and said Levin’s “antisemitic rhetoric is dangerous, offensive and should be universally denounced.”
The White House added its rebuke of Fox News on Friday.
“Lying to insult the pain that families suffered in the Holocaust has absolutely no place in America. None,” Bates said. “Sadly, this is not the first time in recent months that a Fox News host made sickening remarks about the Holocaust.”
“What’s more, it isn’t even the first time this week that a Fox host chose to abuse their platform and spread hate,” Bates continued, referencing Islamophobic remarks made by prime time host Jesse Watters about Arab Americans and the entire Muslim world.
“Even after the heartbreaking killing of a 6-year-old Palestinian American child and a surge in violence against Muslims and Arab Americans, two nights ago Jesse Watters made vile comments that attack the dignity of all Americans, saying he’s ‘done’ with Arab Americans and Muslims,” Bates added.
A Fox News spokesperson did not immediately have a comment.
But Levin stood by his comments Thursday night while responding to CNN’s condemnation of his remarks.
“My antisemitic rhetoric? This is why I despise these people and you should too,” Levin said on his radio show. “They think they’re going to intimidate me? They think they’re going to silence me?”
Levin went on to claim that CNN “is one of the most pro-Hamas media outlets in the country.” CNN has repeatedly described Hamas as a terrorist organization and the network has — through on-the-ground interviews, digital stories and on-air pieces — spent considerable time spotlighting the horror that unfolded during the group’s attack on Israel last month.
Levin also attacked CNN anchor Poppy Harlow, claiming she was “giving aid and comfort” to Hamas by asking Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin whether a humanitarian ceasefire should be implemented.
The White House in recent months has assumed an aggressive posture toward Fox News, calling out some of the extremist rhetoric that the network’s hosts have made.
In July, the White House condemned Holocaust remarks made by host Greg Gutfeld, saying they amounted to a “horrid, dangerous, and extreme lie” that “insults the memory of the millions of people who suffered from the evils” committed by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime.
And earlier this week, the White House denounced the comments made by Watters, which Fox News has remained silent on.