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NYC “March Against Hate” to Target Fox News HQ This Weekend

Reported by Alex - October 20, 2010 -

Over the past few months there has been an apparent explosion of violent rhetoric and hate crimes in this country, with Muslims, the LGBT community and immigrants in particular coming under vicious attack. In response to this growing atmosphere of violence an ad hoc group calling themselves “March Against Hate” are organizing a march from Central Park to Fox News headquarters in New York City this Saturday, October 23rd, to show of support for the communities which have been targeted in the recent horrific spate of hate crimes – and in protest at the role which Fox News has played in fomenting the bigotry, fear and hatred which encourages such crimes. Details after the jump.

"The event - “New Yorkers Say No to Bigots, No to Hate: Hold Fox News Accountable” - will begin with a rally at 11AM at Merchants Gate, the south entrance of Central Park (8th Avenue and 59th Street). At 1PM, those gathered will march to Fox News headquarters (6th Avenue between 47th and 48th Streets). More (including press info) here. Facebook page here. List of endorsers (continuously updated) here.

The organizers, who are based in NYC, were spurred into action by the increasing violence they saw and heard in their own city as well as around the country, citing the crazy rantings of Carl Paladino, Bill O’Reilly’s recent bigoted anti-Muslim comments on The View, the suicides of bullied gay young people, and the beating of a young Muslim by his schoolmates as just a few examples. It is their belief that the violent rhetoric that is contributing to the rise in hate crimes is encouraged by the media in general – and by Fox News in particular.

It’d be hard to argue against the group’s assertion that Fox has a lot to answer for in creating the current climate of division, fear, hate and violence. In the past few weeks we’ve reported on Bill O’Reilly’s anti-Muslim screeds, Fox Nation readers cheering a comment which suggested executing the President by firing squad, Brian Kilmeade blurting that all terrorists are Muslim, the Fox News “scary black man”meme, and Bill O’Reilly’s excuse-making for overtly racist creep and fellow sexist pervert Carl Paladino.

And then there’s the endless campaigning on Fox against the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” - you know, the Muslim community center that’s two blocks from the site of the former WTC south tower which housed (gasp) a mosque? – the one situated among all those wholesome, family-values, all - American bars and strip joints?

And let's not forget Glenn Beck, weeping and wailing and gnashing his teeth in agony over the multicultural, religiously (or not)-pluralist, social-justice-conscious disaster his country has become, while he peddles Goldline gold, survivalist seeds and Founder porn. Becko the crying clown, so “ha-ha-what-a-jerk” funny until the day his fearmongering pushed an unstable Byron Williams over the edge:

Pulled over for driving erratically on an Oakland freeway, Williams - armed with two handguns and a rifle - opened fire on police officers. After a 12-minute shootout, he was subdued, arrested and taken to the hospital, where he told police he was on his way to San Francisco to "start a revolution" by killing employees of the Tides Foundation and the ACLU. He later told Examiner.com that he planned to assassinate 11 leaders of the Tides Foundation - to compensate for 11 men killed in the explosion of the BP oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20.

Why the Tides Foundation? [snip] Glenn Beck… has vilified Tides as a "shady organization" that funnels money to "some of the most extreme groups on the left." Beck, in fact, attacked Tides 29 times on his Fox News show in the 18 months leading up to Williams' shooting spree. Employing his trademark blackboard, Beck accused [liberal billionaire George] Soros of using Tides to "create mass organizations to seize power."

Williams says he also learned about Tides from conservative activist David Horowitz. But he gives special credit to Beck. "I would have never started watching Fox News if it wasn't for the fact that Beck was on there," he assured Hamilton. "And it was the things that he did, it was the things he exposed that blew my mind." It was in response to what he heard about Soros and the Tides Foundation - theories he took from Beck's show and elsewhere in the right-wing media - that he acted, says Williams. "That's why I did what I did.”

Enough is enough. Fox News and their apologists like to claim that all Fox News is doing is reporting" and opinionating, and that no direct link can be made between Fox’s agitprop and the actions of a few unhinged rightwing fanatics. Their protests are disingenuous, because they know that as with all the most effective propaganda, Fox fearmongering relies not on direct orders to hate or act, but on the constant drip, drip, drip of lies and spin, shot through with exhortations to “outrage” and suggestions of personal threat to the viewers lurking in every word and action of those identified by Fox personalities and pundits as People Who Are Not Like Us.

No doubt the marchers and organizers will be dismissed by the rightwing echo-chamber as anti-American loons - in no small part because some of those involved in organizing it are self-identified Socialists. But such ad hominem attacks would be nothing but shooting the messenger. The fact remains that Fox News encourages hate and fear, deliberately inflames its fans, and frequently ignores violent rhetoric and death threats on its own “Fox Nation” website. The fact remains that Fox News’ parent company, News Corporation, donates millions of dollars to groups shilling for the Republican party, who in turn fund and cheerlead for the “take our country back,” racist-infused Tea Party.

The fact remains that this country is more divided than it has been in many decades. And the fact is that people are now being threatened, bullied, beaten and shot for their beliefs and lifestyles as a result of the climate of fear being created by a profits-at-all-costs media, with Fox News leading the rabid pack.

Ordinary, concerned citizens stood up to Glenn Beck via successful calls for an ongoing advertisers' boycott of his populist hysteria on Fox News, but one swallow does not a summer make; its going to take an ongoing series of actions to make Fox News accountable. New Yorkers can start by taking it to the streets on Saturday.

My thanks to march organizer Leia for helping with this report.