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Fox Turns the Duke Rape Case Into One of Race, Class Warfare and Impeachment

Reported by Melanie - December 22, 2006 -

Your World w/Neil Cavuto, Fox's "business news" program opened today with two segments about the dismissal of rape charges against the three Duke University lacrosse team members. After a report by Fox's Marianne Silber, substitute host David Asman turned to a six-person roundtable panel (including Asman) to discuss the matter, yet despite the number of participants, there was only one line of thought.

Asman jump-started the discussion by asking whether this case was, "all about targeting the rich folks to win votes?" (Mike Nifong, the District Attorney who is handling the case, is a Democrat and he was originally appointed by North Carolina Governor Michael Easley who is also a Democrat.)

Fox's Dagen McDowell went first with, "Politicians do it all the time -- attack the rich. That's what Mike Nifong did." It played, "right into the divide in the Durham community."

Asman turned to guest Pat Powell and asked if, "using class warfare for political gain, is that what it was about Patricia?" Powell said, "Sure."

Turning to Michael Reagan, Asman said, "We've got somebody with us now who has written a lot about the issue of class warfare." What do you think "about this decision -- the whole case?" Reagan said as soon as, "somebody cries rape or race or whatever, it seems today, that somebody is automatically thought to be guilty. And what's sad here is that you have to prove yourself innocent in these kinds of cases." (Comment: Yeah, like the "terrorists" rounded up by our government who Fox tries and convicts on the spot.) The coach was fired, the team was fired, "everybody was fired over this because somebody cried rape and race was involved in it." Nifong is, "just another D.A., out of control, trying to put a notch in his belt."

Asman turned to Fox's Tobin Smith and said, "Yeah, seems like that now, doesn't it Tobin?" Smith said, "Yeah, it does...this was about re-election."

Fox's Scott Bleier was next with, "This started out being a local political issue and at some point it became a race issue and it became a wealth issue." Asman wondered if, "those things work together, the race and the class?" Bleier said, "Absolutely, no doubt about it in this case, but it was all about getting re-elected. The prosecutor sat down and he did the calculus and he said 'if I don't charge these guys, I'm not going to win the election.' It's that simple."

Asman turned to Reagan again and said, "The question is, what now? I guess he can only be impeached, right?" Reagan said he's, "waiting for Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson to weigh in on all of this and I think that puts the fear into a lot of people -- this whole race issue -- and unfortunately, these kids are paying the price because of that race issue." (Comment: When was the last time you heard someone on Fox refer to a college-aged African-American male as a "kid?")

McDowell chimed in again with, "The mainstream media" has come to the "rescue" of "these kids" and "turned things around."

Powell said, "Their lives are changed forever; they're going to stand trial!"

Smith was next, saying that, "This is sort of the next O.J. Simpson trial. This is the next chance where we can hash it out in the middle of the television and in the middle of the media and at the end of the day, their lives are in ruin because of the ambition of one guy."

Back to Asman: "If this case does fall apart...won't this put a little fear in DAs for doing the same kind of thing again?" (Comment: If Fox has its fascist way it will.) Bleier said, "Absolutely." "African-American leaders aren't going to touch this one with a ten foot pole because it's too much like Tawana Brawley and African-American leaders will be hesitant to step up and try to go forward with these kind of accusations unless they're fleshed out."

Powell stepped in to offer a bit of sanity: "Every prosecutor has to take accusations like this seriously, they have to investigate it," and then Reagan wrapped the segment up: "Everyone overreacted here...punished the school because of an accusation and nobody's been found guilty of anything but simply by playing the race card...everybody lost their jobs and reputations. How do you get that back?"

Comment: Yes, it sounds like a lot of overreacting took place, including that of Duke University, I might add. However, instead of examining the societial pressures that influenced the actions of all the parties involved, Fox itself is seizing the opportunity and overreacting in order to drive yet more wedges between us all.