Fox News does not apologize for using a manipulated photo of the judge who signed the FBI search warrant on former President Trump’s Palm Beach, Florida residence.
Brian Kilmeade, who hosted Thursday’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” ended the show with a manipulated photo of US Judge Bruce Reinhart appearing to be on a plane with convicted sex trafficker Ghislane Maxwell.
The meme pulled from Twitter featured convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s associate, who died in 2019 while giving Reinhart a foot massage.
Kilmeade seemed hesitant after the image appeared at the end of his comment. “So a picture of Bruce Reinhart. This is the judge in charge of the… arrest warrant. Let’s see if he releases it next. He likes Oreos and whiskey,” he said.
Kilmeade then turned it over to Fox News host Sean Hannity, who pointed out that the photo wasn’t real.
But the on-air correction was preliminary. “I think that’s actually a picture of Jeffrey Epstein with someone putting [Reinhart’s] keep going,” said Hannity.
While Fox News said the image was presented as a joke, the insensitive slip-up comes at a time when the conservative network is facing two major defamation lawsuits for spreading false allegations of fraud in the 2020 presidential election made by attorneys for Trump were promoted.
The segment drew scorn on social media on Friday.
Kilmeade tweeted on Friday that the image had been manipulated and that its presentation was meant to be humorous.
“Last night when we substituted on Tucker Carlson we showed you a picture of Judge Bruce Reinhart with Ghislane Maxwell that was onscreen from a Twitter meme and wasn’t real,” the Fox & Friends co-host wrote. . . “This depiction never happened and we wanted to make it clear that we are showing a meme in jest.”
But Kilmeade did not apologize, and a Fox News representative said the matter would not be raised on Friday’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” which will have former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) as its backup host.
The use of the inflammatory meme follows reports that Reinhart has received death threats over his action to order a search of Mar-A-Lago, where FBI agents found documents. The bureau’s investigation is linked to allegations that Trump removed classified documents from the White House after leaving office.
The threats resulted in Reinhart’s biography and contact information being removed from the United States District Court’s website for the Southern District of Florida.
Fox News has been a leader in questioning Reinhart’s political contributions and has published unflattering photos of the judge. The network has also featured commentators and Republican allies of Trump who have suggested the FBI planted evidence to incriminate the former president.
https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/business/story/2022-08-12/fox-news-under-fire-for-phony-meme-of-judge-who-ordered-fbi-search-of-trump Fox News won’t apologize for airing phony meme of judge