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Does Fox News Realize They Are Painting African Americans As Stupid Racist Dupes For Democrats?

Reported by Ellen - April 21, 2010 -

On the “Unresolved Problem” segment of The O’Reilly Factor last night (4/20/10), Fox News producers obviously thought they were tarring the Democratic Party by accusing it of playing the race card as a tactic to keep African Americans in their tent. But did Fox News realize that they came off as the bigger racists by suggesting that African American voters are so small minded, so – well, racist – that all anyone needs to do is yell “racism!” in order to get their votes? With video.

The segment was inspired by a column in the Wall Street Journal that, as O’Reilly summarized it, alleged that “calling tea partiers racist is “a political strategy that the Democratic Party needs because minority voters have to be with them and if they don’t get ‘em, they’re in big trouble.”

It seemed to be a given that minorities would fall for this tactic.

The only guest for the discussion was Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto. He said that Democrats pander to African American racism because the Party is “abjectly dependent on the black vote.” He asked rhetorically, “Now, how do they keep the black vote? …It’s a monolithic voting block… They have to keep alive the idea that America is a racist country and that the Republicans are a racist Party.”

In other words, blacks would not be smart enough, informed enough or even civic minded enough to vote on the basis of economics, foreign policy or environmental issues, say. It’s all about race and racism for them and all a politician needs to do is accuse the other guy of being a racist and they’ll follow you. Nice.

O’Reilly didn’t even catch that. Or if he did, he ignored the implications. He focused on the Democratic tactics, not whether or not these racist tactics would work. “Does this stretch into the upper echelons of the Party?” O'Reilly asked. “I find it really hard to believe they would be that underhanded.” He never voiced a doubt that blacks would be so gullible and simple minded as to fall for the scheme.

Taranto said he didn’t think Democrats deliberately cooked up the scheme but that it’s “part of the culture of the Party.” And, obviously, he thinks that’s part of the culture of African Americans. “This has been going on for 45 years... It’s just something that’s understood. It’s a fact of life.” A fact of African American life, he clearly meant.

Taranto continued, “We have a black president of the United States… it’s much harder to say that America is a racist country now… That means it’s all the more necessary to keep alive this idea that the Republican Party is a racist Party.”

Then, just to show you he’s got his finger on the pulse of race relations in this country, Taranto confided, “Blacks feel a certain racial pride (in Obama) which is a perfectly wholesome and understandable notion.” And I'll bet that some of Taranto's best friends are black, too.

Meanwhile, there was no discussion about actual racism that has been exhibited at Tea Parties. Or, as Southern Poverty Law Center has noted, how racist rants against Obama and others have coursed through the Patriot movement. Or that a recent New York Times/CBS News poll of Tea Partiers found that "More than half say the policies of the administration favor the poor, and 25 percent think that the administration favors blacks over whites — compared with 11 percent of the general public... They are more likely than the general public, and Republicans, to say that too much has been made of the problems facing black people."

Media Matters noted that the Fox & Friends crew was impressed by this "provocative presentation" on O'Reilly last night.

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