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Friday, November 5, 2021
MRC Invents Conspiracy Over Fox News Drone
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Nicholas Fondacaro was quick to go conspiratorial in a Sept. 16 post:

In an apparent attempt to cover up the border crisis, the Biden administration has shut down Fox News’s ability to fly their drone over the U.S.-Mexico border to report on the border crisis, which swelled in August and again in the last 24-hours.

On Thursday’s Special Report, national correspondent Bill Melugin showed the over 9,000-person crowd of illegals under the international bridge. But on Tucker Carlson Tonight, two hours later, he was forced to report that the FAA had issued a temporary flight restriction or TFR over the entire area.


While on with Carlson, he broke the news that the FAA was shutting them down. “What does that mean? It means our drone can no longer fly and show those images,” he said. “It is a two-week TFR, and according to the FAA, it is for special security reasons. We’ve reached out to the FAA to get a little clarification on what the heck that means.”

Noting that the “timing on this, the location, a little bit curious,” Melugin explained that they’ve been there almost “seven months now” and there’s “never been an issue” with them flying the drone. “All of a sudden, the last 24-hours, we start showing images at this bridge and a TFR goes up, we can no longer fly. When we can update from the FAA we will be sure to let you know.”

Because he is a dishonest right-wing hack who is effectively moonlights as a Fox News PR person, Fondacaro offered no actual evidence that the ban was designed to specifically retaliate against Fox News. He waited until nearly the end of his piece before mentioning that the FAA had responded to all the right-wing conspiracy-mongering by issuing a statement that everyone's drones -- not just those from Fox News -- were grounded because they were interfering with law enforcement and that the "media is able to call the FAA to make requests to operate in the area." Fondacaro sneered in response: "Now, given that the FAA says that the media can make a request for flight clearance, we have to wait and see if Fox News gets granted that access."

Because the entirety of the MRC is effectively the PR division of Fox News, Tim Graham devoted his Sept. 17 podcast to trying to advance the nonexistent conspiracy theory, summarized in the post promoting it as "Team Biden trying to shut down the Fox News camera exposing their maladministration of the border." Graham went on to rant: "It is one of those things where you say, hmmm, I think we can all imagine if we flip the script on this how this would be handled," playing imaginary whataboutism speculating how a Trump administration would be treated had it done something similar.

The funny thing is that Fox News followed pricedure, applied for flight clearance and was granted it the same day Graham went on a tirade about it. And the MRC never mentioned it again -- so it's yet another situation where the MRC hyped something that turned out not to have thepartisan legs it hoped so it just went silent without bothering to tell readers that the situation essentially resolved itself.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:02 AM EDT

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