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Courting the African-American Viewer (and Voter)

Reported by Melanie - February 7, 2005

Over the last two weeks I've noticed an increase in the number of African-Americans (four since January 26) appearing as guests on Your World w/Neil Cavuto. (An African-American is an occasional participant in the regular roundtable discussion. He is not included in the four guests I mention above.) In the many months I've monitored Your World, I would estimate that an African-American was a guest, on average, once every two to three weeks, if that often.

Last week I came across this article in the Los Angeles Times: Recasting Republicans as the Party of Civil Rights, dated January 29.

As part of their effort to recast themselves as the party of civil rights, the Republicans have even come out with a "2005 Republican Freedom Calendar" listing past Republican civil rights accomplishments. (Notice that most of the events documented in the calendar happened a long, long time ago.) (Note that the calendar is advertised on a US government, House of Representatives website. Is it legal (or ethical) to promote one party on a website representing members of both parties and funded by our tax dollars?)

Today on Fox, I saw a short advertisement which went like this:

"The contributions of African-Americans have helped to shape and define our nation and the world. For more on Black History Month and to view our special features, all this month log on to www.FoxFan.com."

As the audio aired, Fox showed pictures of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Jessie Owens, Barack Obama, Colin Powell, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan, Condi Rice, and one person I didn't recognize.

COMMENT: Given the increase in African-American guests and the special Black History Month web presentation, it looks to me as if Fox News is doing its best to help the Republican party in its effort to lure African-American voters. If Fox can present itself as friendly to African-Americans and thus attract viewers, they can sink the propaganda hook and help bring them into the Republican fold, which I'm sure is precisely the plan.

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