On Wednesday night’s broadcast of Fox News’ The Kelly File, host Megyn Kelly let loose a huge whopper of a lie when discussing the recent 48-hour FAA ban on flights entering and leaving Tel Aviv’s airport. The ban was put in place after a rocket from Hamas came within one mile of the airport. After the FAA announced the flight restrictions, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) decided to attack the Obama Administration, claiming the temporary ban on flights to Israel amounted to an “economic boycott” on the country and is essentially taking sides regarding the current conflict between Palestinians and Israelis.
Kelly elected to carry the water for the GOP and Cruz by using the tried-and-true Fox News method of ‘just asking questions.’ The host began her show by asking, “Did the Obama Administration just pick a side in the Israeli-Palestinian war, and was it the wrong one?” Then, with an incredulous look on her face, Kelly highlighted the extension of another 24 hours to the FAA’s travel ban to Israel. Kelly proclaimed this as a great victory for Hamas and then dropped this incredible lie to make her point about how it was unnecessary and unbelievable for the FAA to issue the temporary restriction.
KELLY: The ban was extended despite the fact that there is no similar ban in place on flights over Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen — not even one over Ukraine, where a commercial airliner was just shot down.
The only problem with Kelly’s assessment that the FAA allows flights to go over Ukraine is that is is completely false. It doesn’t matter that Kelly made this statement with a look of shock and a rise in her voice. It doesn’t matter that she said it with conviction. What does matter is that she is utterly and altogether wrong. The fact is, the FAA has had a ban on flights over the Crimea region of Ukraine since April and placed further restrictions over eastern Ukraine after the downing of flight MH17. Furthermore, it was disingenuous of Kelly to include Yemen, Syria and Afghanistan. While the FAA has not fully prohibited civilian aircraft from flying over those regions, they have issued warnings and discouraged flights from traveling in those airspaces.
This is all just part of Fox News’ Republican propaganda operation. They especially like to do this with Kelly, whom they have groomed for years to have the appearance of a non-partisan and fair news reporter and host. Basically, they have Kelly say something under the guise of true news reporting when it is really just a way to attack President Obama and push the Republican narrative of the moment. In this instance, Kelly is giving credibility to Ted Cruz’s latest criticism of the administration by pushing a lie. She’s making a rational decision, made by the FAA due to dangerous conditions, seem like a conspiracy put in place to punish Israel for its attacks on Gaza. (Also, the temporary ban has already been lifted.)
Will Kelly issue a correction for this falsehood that she disseminated on her program? Probably, especially considering that it will be widely reported by the time she hits the air Thursday night. However, the damage has already been done. And that is the whole point. Fox News gleefully spreads misinformation and complete lies without any thought given to ethics and standards. Sure, on occasion, they may issue corrections and retractions. But the lie is already out there, taken root and being circulated by their audience.