As the Senate race narrows in Pennsylvania, the right-wing media is pushing lies about Democratic nominee John Fetterman’s history and political stances. Notably, Fox News has concocted a mix of misrepresentations and exaggerations to suggest that Fetterman supports the “defund the police” movement — despite the lack of any evidence that Fetterman is advocating for the policy.
Fox News has invested heavily in its media coverage on Fetterman and his GOP opponent Mehmet Oz as the race tightens in the polls. After choosing to side in the GOP primary with Oz, who was strongly favored by Fox primetime host Sean Hannity, the network focused on Fetterman. Fox News in prime time mentioned from Fetterman in September were more than double his endorsements from Oz and far exceeded endorsements from candidates in any other close Senate race.
In the run-up to Election Day on Nov. 8, Fox News’ focus on Fetterman has been linked to their efforts to harm Paint Democrats also soft on crime. In a recent Semafor interview, Fetterman said, “It was always absurd to defund the police.” In 2020, Fetterman recommended for police reform measures such as focusing on ‘de-escalation’ strategies which he called ‘pro-policing’ and focused on building ‘more trust while making everyone safer’ . During his first seven years as mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, his administration raised the police budget from about 18% to almost a quarter of the city budget.
Despite these facts, the right-wing media cites individual figures and groups who campaigned with Fetterman to suggest that he is in favor of the funding movement through articles like “John Fetterman says he won’t reimburse the police. His latest campaign partner says otherwise,” from the right-wing Washington Free Beacon newspaper. A most dishonest Example came as the blog suggested that Fetterman supported defunding the police because of a 9/11 rally he organized with the president of Planned Parenthood, whom the article described as an “anti-cop activist.” .
Conservatives also insist that Fetterman’s history of granting clemency is proof that he supports defunding the police. As Lieutenant Governor and Chairman of the State Board of Pardons, he granted clemency to several individuals serving life sentencesincluding those who have been convicted of second degree murder, which will rarely result in a life sentence outside of Pennsylvania. As a result, Fetterman has been branded “pro-criminal”, while other conservative outlets have grabbed straws to suggest Fetterman has flip-flopped on his stance.
Here are examples of Fox News personalities misrepresenting Fetterman’s policing record:
- Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner claimed Fetterman was doing a “review of what he says”, saying his support for defunding the police “is in every newspaper, it’s on every tape, it’s everywhere,” although he offered no evidence for his claim.