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Forget the race card, Brit Hume engages in red-baiting

Reported by Priscilla - April 15, 2008 -

Fox continued its Obama/Wright bashing on last night’s (April 14th) Special Report. Brit Hume set the stage by doing a short piece, in the first half hour, on Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s comments about Fox News which were given during the course of a funeral oration for appellate Justice Eugene Pincham. The chyron under the photo of Rev. Wright was “singing the same tune.” Hume said that Wright is continuing to express his “harsh view of America” and read the quote from Wright about the Founding Fathers planting “slavery and white supremacy in the DNA of the republic.” Hume did not mention that Wright was given a resounding standing ovation.

Comment: With all this coverage of Wright’s “DNA” comment, I wonder if Fox has played Secretary of State Condi Rice’s comment that "descendants of slaves did not get much of a head start, and I think you continue to see some of the effects of that. That particular birth defect makes it hard for us to confront it, hard for us to talk about it, and hard for us to realize that it has continuing relevance for who we are today.”

The panel discussion which, with Fred Barnes, Mort Kondracke, and Charles Krauthammer, was not “fair and balanced,” began with an analysis of Obama’s “bitter” remarks. Hume then posed a leading question which was almost rhetorical. Like the famous “Cavuto Mark” which is the Fox way of presenting a point that they want to communicate, in the form of a question, this was pure Fox propaganda. Hume said asked the following: “Is it possible when we know more about Barack Obama that we can draw a line from the political undertones and messages contained in Rev. Wright’s sermons and comments that Mrs. Obama has made and Obama’s assertions here that will tell us that he is, in fact, not just a liberal, not even a left liberal, but something even more radical than that? Is that a possible conclusion?”

Kondracke thought that Obama was a “standard liberal.” Hume then remarked that “there is almost a Marxist message in this.” Not surprisingly Krauthammer agreed and said that Obama’s comment about the working class clinging was like Marx’s “opiate of the masses” reflection on religion. Krauthammer then cited Thomas Frank’s “What’s the Matter with Kansas” which he claimed made the point that if people “only understood the issues they would act differently.” Krauthammer said that Obama’s comments “smacked of political arrogance” and raised “the question of character.” Rev. Wright’s photo was again displayed.

Comment: Krauthammer’s “spin” on Frank’s book was wrong. Frank’s book (which I have read) does not imply that Kansas residents are stupid. Frank merely describes what is happening and does not speak to why this is happening other than to say that the standard rightwing memes (“liberals as anti Christian elitists”) are effective. Fox certainly has a role in validation and reinforcement of these themes.

Rather than speak about the context of Obama’s comments and the reality behind them (Yes, Brit, there are Americans who are hurting) Fox attacks the messenger. But even more egregious was the “connection” (was that the message received in his daily memo from management?) that Hume set up between Obama’s pastor and his perceived “anti Americanism” (according to the rightwing) on to Michelle Obama’s comment (which she has successfully explained) and Barack’s comments which are (like Frank’s) a larger commentary on the state of a segment that has been left behind. Hume then works in the insinuation that Obama, as a result of Wright’s sermons, is an America hating Marxist (and don’t forget, he’s black) which is not surprising coming from a network that makes its bones on defining all those who aren’t in lockstep with the rightwing as treasonous evil doers. So in addition to the race card, Fox is bringing out the long retired “commie” card. Red baiting is defined as “the act of accusing someone, or some group, of being communist, socialist or, in a broader sense, of being significantly more leftist at their core than they may appear at the outset.” Joe McCarthy would be very proud, indeed!