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Obama gets attention by being black - FOX guest makes "Mamie" analogy

Reported by Chrish - January 18, 2007 -

Updated with video.
A segment on today's Big Story 1/17/07, bannered "Who is Obama?", repeated the stale "news" that Obama smokes, insinuated that he hides his liberal voting record, yet can overcome these two obstacles by dint of his brown skin.

"Fair and balanced FOX" host Gibson started the segment with this biased intro;

Sure he's charismatic, but what do we really know about Obama and what does he really stand for? He portrays himsmmelf as a political moderate but he's much more liberal than he says he is, and his team works overtime trying to hide his dirty little secret: he is - get ready for this - a cigarette smoker. The point is, what else do we not know about Barack Obama? America seems to love him now, but will we still love him tomorrow?

Guests John McWhorter, a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and Malia Lazu from Young Democrats of America participated.

Gibson led off by asking McWhorter 'what else don't we know about Obama? McWhorter said we don't know much at all, but if you asked him why we're paying so much attention to a young, inexperienced Senator who has "said some nice things," the reason he's considered such a big deal is simply because he's black. (As is McWhorter, fyi. FOX wouldn't dare in a million years to have a white man make such a racist statement.) He goes on to say that that doesn't mean Obama's not smart, or good, but if you took away the color of his skin nobody right now would be paying any attention.

Gibson turned to Lazu and asked her if Obama was the same person, same resume, same bio, same excellent speaking manner, but white, not black, would he be a presidential hopeful at this point?

She thinks that race does play a role in this but aside from Obama's amazing speaking abilities, he connects with people, and the hope that he inspires in people is something we're hungering for. She acknowledges that yes, he has a habit but we all know people who want to quit; the issue is he represents change and traditional politicians are not able to answer that call.

Gibson used her comment to segue into a prepared graphic, below, and said we never see him smoke.

ssObamaSmoker.jpg

The whole point of highlighting his smoking is, of course, to portray him as secretive and therefore subject to suspicion. This "revelation" was made a full week ago, as reported by Judy, and the issue is a big dud. Never addressed on the BS is what goes on behind closed doors in the Bush administration, be it smoking, shredding, or crafting damaging policies - all blanketed in the cloak of national security.

McWhorter dismissed the idea that his smoking could be a turn-off to voters, saying that smoking is still perceived as sexy. Lazu interrupted to say that Americans are glad that his vice doesn't lead him to pages or to choking his mistress - zing! - and repeated her point that people want a change and hope, which he sparks in people.

Gibson got back on track to the secretiveness, asking if it's such a simple "barrier to overcome" why is he so determined to make sure no one ever sees him? McWhorter said it's perhaps even better that he hides it so no-one sees the filthy habit - it's that little dirty thing he does behind closed doors. Gibson gracelessly segued into his next prepared graphic and said Obama has one of if not the most liberal voting records in the House

ssObamaLiberal.jpg

and asked Lazu if that's part of his strategy, to obscure his voting record? (Which is available to anyone with an Internet connection and an ounce of curiosity.) Lazu said he hasn't obscured his voting record, he's put out two books that lay out who he is.

McWhorter said he is a "standard issue leftist" who doesn't actually hide it, but somehow we like to think he stands for some kind of hope, to somehow bring together the Michael Moores and the Grover Norquists and everyone in between. Again, he says this is only plausible because we see his brown skin - "it's almost like he's Mammy, (corrected 1/19) and it kinda worries me."

Other banners appearing below the segment:
Barack Obama has a liberal voting record
Obama portrays himself as moderate, but he's liberal
Obama's dirty secret: he is a smoker!

Fair and balanced? Same treatment for Democrats and Republicans on FOX? We report, you decide.

Note: Big Story has been using a lot of graphics recently that Gibson introduces and draws attention to, like charts at a speech. It's another visual reinforcement of the message du jour.