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FOX News Goes After NAACP

Reported by Ellen - July 11, 2007 -

FOX News bigotry was on display again last night (7/10/07) as Hannity & Colmes debated the “convention controversy” (as FOXNews.com put it) over the remarks of NAACP chairman Julian Bond at the opening of its 98th convention. In typical FOX News style, the slant was Bond’s remarks, rather than the issues he raised. With video.

Why was FOX News critiquing the NAACP anyway? It’s not as though Hannity & Colmes ever takes an interest in their work. One can only conclude it was because Bond had the temerity to lash out at the Bush administration's racial insensitivity. He compared the loss of New Orleans' mostly black Lower Ninth Ward to a lynching. I have yet to see the show focus on any white-on-black racism but it rarely misses an opportunity to play the race card from the other angle. Even the Imus discussions put Al Sharpton more than Imus in the FOX News harsh glare.

But I suspect the FOX News producers were not thrilled with the results of their panel last night. Dr. James Peterson of Bucknell University, who was supposedly there to criticize the NAACP, and Michael Bond, Julian’s son and deputy director of the NAACP, along with Alan Colmes immediately re-focused the discussion back to the issues behind Julian Bond's comments.

However, when substitute co-host Rich Lowry took his turn, he wasted no time trying to discredit the elder Bond and paint him as a radical, black racist. Lowry said, “Let me hone in on the word 'lynching' because I think this is important. The word ‘lynching’ means a racially motivated, deliberate act of murder. And that is not what Katrina was… Tens of billions are being poured down there to try to rebuild those devastated areas. This isn’t like a lynching at all.”

Lowry painted the rebuilding efforts in a rosy light but one that doesn’t seem to match the facts. For example, an MTV.com report titled, “New Orleans Residents Take Post-Katrina Rebuilding Into Their Own Hands” states:

New Orleans is now at only about half its pre-Katrina population, and less than half of the city's public schools have reopened, with the additional 6,000 or so new students this fall not sure whether they'll have classrooms to go to. Many roads are still difficult to travel, and authorities are strangely boasting that the hurricane pumps, used to drain flood water from the city, are now back up to "pre-Katrina" levels. (Um, didn't we all see that wasn't good enough?)

…With billions in federal funding, why has rebuilding taken so long? The answer is simple and embarrassing: political infighting, local corruption and loads of red tape. According to Ed Blakely, the city planner appointed just this winter to lead the city's recovery efforts, New Orleans has received absolutely no federal funding for long-term community recovery. Last week, the Louisiana Recovery Authority approved funneling millions into 17 "target zones" in the city to help support natural patterns of resettlement — part of Mayor Ray Nagin's larger $1.1 billion recovery plan announced in March. But with construction in those zones starting as soon as September, Nagin's plan has yet to receive financing. Topping it off is the fact that the very first public-works project, a library in the middle-class Broadmoor neighborhood, was funded not locally but by a private foundation in New York.

One of the massive failures in the long path to restoring New Orleans has been the federal government's $7.5 billion Road Home program, which Louisiana Republican Senator David Vitter has called a "debacle." Road Home should have provided aid to homeowners who wanted to stay in the city and rebuild — but only one-fifth of eligible applicants have seen a cent, and any checks have been slow-coming. So while they were promised up to $150,000 each to work on their houses, only residents able to spend their own money upfront have had the chance to make any progress, leaving those in poorer, less organized communities to fend for themselves or leave town. This is altering the landscape of New Orleans. The upper-middle-class neighborhoods of Gentilly, Broadmoor and Lakeview, for instance, are recovering at a fairly quick pace, while poorer areas such as the Central Business District and the Lower Ninth Ward are largely abandoned. "The pockets which are recovering the quickest are those with people who have resources," City Council member James Carter said. "Those who are of lower income and lower resources are more dependent upon the government, and the government has been unjustifiably slow with regard to providing those resources."

Michael Bond agreed that the hurricane, itself, was not a lynching but, he added, “the languishing of the people of New Orleans and in that region are experiencing with a slow and almost – I mean, just the lack of an earnest response from this government is appalling and to characterize it as a lynching or whether or not it’s a slow torture on the rack is perhaps more accurate. That’s what these people are feeling… In the greatest country in the world, this shouldn’t be the case.”

Rather than debate the issue of the federal response, Lowry took another stab at smearing African Americans while trying to play gotcha with Bond. “Let me push you on this because I think you’re really using this word loosely,” Lowry said. “Last year, about 130 black men were murdered (by other blacks) in New Orleans. Would you call that a lynching?”

Bond didn’t fall for it, of course. “Black on black murder is not a lynching, given the definition of lynching that you just read over the air.” He contrasted it with Katrina where the president responsible for the response is white and the victims are black.