Who is Richard Fowler, and why did he lie about Roy Moore on Fox News Channel?

Speaking live on the Fox News Channel Tuesday night after Roy Moore was declared the loser in the special U.S. Senate election in Alabama, Richard Fowler said this: "Roy Moore is guilty of saying things like 'LGBT people should be put to death.'"  The program's host, Shannon Bream, seemed taken aback by the assertion, which was clearly a lie – classic fake news, or in this case, fake commentary.

Fowler, an up and coming leftist talking head, is a paid contributor to Fox News.  He appears frequently on a variety of Fox News Channel programs as an expert political analyst and sometimes, as in the case of the program The Five, as one of the co-hosts.

Richard Fowler on Watters' World, the Fox News Channel.

About fourteen minutes after he said what he did about Moore, Fowler was on camera again, and he corrected himself, noting that Moore had said only that LGBT should be against the law.  (Actually, in a 2005 interview with leftist Bill Press on C-SPAN, Moore said when he was pressed, according to CNN, that "homosexual conduct" should be illegal.)  Fowler did not offer an apology, to Moore or to the channel's viewers, for his earlier lie.

The damage had been done.  Fowler's original comment on Moore was delivered with emotional emphasis, his later "correction" not so much.  And not only that: For some inexplicable reason, the post-election results program on which Fowler appeared, Fox News@Night, which originally aired live from 11 P.M. to 12 midnight E.T. on FNC, was repeated four more times: at 12 midnight and at 1, 2, and 3 A.M., with no live updates.  During each replay, Fowler's lie about Moore was heard again.  It could have been edited out or bleeped, but it was not.

In a long history of monitoring the media, I have never seen a news program on any cable news channel repeated four times in a row after its original broadcast for a total of five airings in five hours.  I felt as though I was watching the 1993 Bill Murray comedy movie Groundhog Day.

Who is Richard Fowler?

It's safe to say that few of us had heard of Richard Fowler, who is 30 years old, before he was selected as a frequent Fox News guest and then elevated to paid contributor status on the channel last year.  It's clear that he's fulfilling some kind of need at Fox News, perhaps as an understudy to, and the next generation of, fellow leftist Juan Williams, who is also African-American.

According to his Wikipedia bio, Fowler has been or is currently associated with a number of far-left progressive organizations you've probably never heard of.  He also hosts a weekly radio talk show for two hours on Saturday mornings at something called We Act Radio.  We Act sounds like a low-budget knockoff of the now defunct radical-left radio network Air America a decade ago, on which comedian Al Franken hosted a show.  Fowler's program appears to be available primarily by internet streaming and podcasts, although his website also lists a handful of low-power terrestrial stations in small markets.  On December 13, a visit to We Act's Web site pointed to a GoFundMe page titled "Save We Act Radio!," set up to get the station back on the air.  The website for Fowler's program describes him and his show thusly:

The Richard Fowler Show has arrived!

Richard Fowler is a fresh Progressive voice with a unique perspective on policy, politics, and the American people.

Behind-the-scenes from behind-the-mic, The Richard Fowler Show gives listeners a daily dose of what is happening in our nation's capital. Richard believes it is time for the people to take their voice back and he is here to help! The show will inform, empower, and help you get your voice back!

The Why of It

The question of why Richard Fowler chose to grossly misrepresent or lie outright by claiming that Roy Moore once said that LGBT people should be put to death is more difficult to answer.  It's possible, of course, that he imagined he had heard or read this lie about Moore and simply blurted it out on national TV while 1.786 million people were watching, not including the additional viewers who tuned in during the four replays.  Maybe Fowler momentarily confused Moore with residents of many Muslim countries who actually do kill LGBT people.  Fowler has shown real empathy toward practitioners of Islam and has advocated banning the use of the word "terror" after Islamist terrorist attacks because it might offend Muslims.

It's curious, though, because Fowler simply noting the fact that Moore had said in 2005 that homosexual conduct should be illegal would have been more than enough for him to make his point about Moore's unacceptability, in light of the mainstream's approval now of homosexual behavior.

In watching what leftists say over the decades, I suggest that an additional possibility is that Fowler intended to lie for maximum effect.

Another question is why his fake comment was not corrected immediately.  Show host Shannon Bream was visibly taken aback when Fowler slammed Moore, and presumably people in the control room were, too.  A quick Google search would have confirmed or exposed Fowler's shocking assertion.  But it took 14 minutes before Fowler "corrected" his earlier claim about Moore, in the context of another of his long-winded statements.  There was no emphasis, no hint of contrition, and no apology.  Fox News itself bears responsibility for not correcting such a gross and potentially harmful misstatement immediately.

It's an unpleasant job to monitor the actual career – navigating the fog of self-serving hype – and the output of a leftist like Richard Fowler, but somebody has to do it.  I predict that we will be seeing and hearing a lot more from Fowler in the future.

Oh, and a message to the Fox News Channel from this frequent viewer: Thank you – not! – for giving Fowler a prominent platform to preach to us from his media perch on the nation's #1 cable television news outlet.

For future reference (Warning: Watch at your own risk):

Complete video of Fox News@Night December 12, 2017 with Fowler.  At 28 minutes and 40 seconds into the program, Fowler says Roy Moore "is guilty of saying things like 'LGBT people should be put to death.'"

Video clip of Fowler appearing on, and dominating, a FNC town hall-format show with Megyn Kelly in 2016.

Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran reporter and analyst of news on national politics, media, and popular culture.  Follow Peter on Twitter at @pchowka.

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