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Neil Cavuto's & Tea Party Guest Lisa Fritsch Distort MLK Legacy To Trash Unions

Reported by Priscilla - March 25, 2011 -

In its quest to revise history to suit its political needs, the American right wing has appropriated the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr and twisted it. Rather than admit that he fought for social justice, a concept anathema to the right wing, they say that his views reflected a vague and happy let's all just get along theme. The right wing actually promotes the myth that MLK only wanted equal rights and would have been opposed to the "special privileges" of affirmative action. But this seems to run counter to King's ideas regarding "special compensatory programs." Nowhere was this type of distortion of King's legacy more apparent than in last Friday's "Your World." Neil Cavuto interviewed Lisa Fritsch, a conservative African American talk show host and one of the one percent of African Americans who, according to a NY Times survey, are members of the Tea Party. She appeared on Cavuto's show, last year, where she said that it was no big deal that Democratic and African American member of congress Emanuel Cleaver was spit upon and that the real big deal is "the threat of socialism." Flash forward almost exactly a year and Fritsch is back on Fox to say that the AFL-CIO, in invoking the legacy of MLK, Jr., is "lying, perverting, and distorting what MLK "stood for." Oh, the irony!

Cavuto reported that Richard Trumpka, president of the AFL-CIO, is planning protests, across the country, on April 4th (anniversary of King's assassination) to show solidarity with the union protesters in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana and "dozens of other states where well funded, right-wing corporate politicians are trying to take away the rights Dr. King gave his life for." He introduced Ms. Fritsch who, he said, "calls this a selfish comparison." Cavuto then let a very angry Fritsch go on a rant about how MLK wouldn't support unions who, in Fritsch's view, aren't fighting about equality but "entitlements." She claimed that unions are "not fighting for equality of opportunity or to eradicate discrimination" but rather "fighting for the entitlement to be above equal or to be above the rest of us." She called the comparison between the Civil Rights and union rights, "ugly." In discussing the recent labor issues, she said that MLK's fight was "an issue of morality" and that what the unions are doing is "immoral." Cavuto said that "they can lock on to MLK as galvanizing figure but who is going to believe it?" Fritsch said that "Dr. King was not about setting yourself above. He didn't fight for black people to overcome and eradicate discrimination so that we could get there and say I'm above you."

Fritsch made reference to the Memphis strike that brought MLK to Memphis, TN, where he was shot by claiming that it was about "discrimination between white and black workers." She added that it's really "base and disturbing" that the unions "have no idea the history that they're invoking to promote themselves." She wanted to know "where is the NAACP" who "attack Glenn Beck but don't criticize those who lie, pervert, and distort what Martin Luther King stood for." When she said that "there is a big difference between fighting over justice and and fighting over overtime. Pay for yourself," Cavuto commented "to throw Martin Luther King into the mix gets a little weird."

Comment: Fritsch's version of events leading up to Dr. King's death was very uninformed. The sanitation worker strike was about discrimination between white and black sanitation workers who, as stated by Fritsch, were sent home while white workers continued to be paid in addition to numerous other grievances. The black workers walked off the job because the city would not recognize their union, AFSCME. The city then used white non union workers to pick up the trash. The strike was soon joined by white union members from across Tennessee. On April 3rd, King spoke at a rally which was being held to pressure the city to negotiate with the union. MLK supported the right of the sanitation workers to create a union which, he obviously didn't feel was "immoral." The governors of the states, cited by Trumpka, are trying to take away union rights. Thus, Trumpka's statement about King, having given his life for union rights, is not a "perversion" of MLK's legacy.

And while Fritsch claims that King would never have supported the union "entitlements," King, proposed a "guaranteed income." In arguing against what is still a meme of the racist right wing - that unemployment "indicated a want of industrious habits and moral fiber," - King wrote that "We realize that dislocations in the market operation of our economy and the prevalence of discrimination thrust people into idleness and bind them in constant or frequent unemployment against their will." As did the Wisconsin protesters, he believed in confronting "the power structure massively." He said that "It is in this area (politics) of American life that labor and the Negro have identical interests" and that "As I have said many times, and believe with all my heart, the coalition that can have the greatest impact in the struggle for human dignity here in America is that of the Negro and the forces of labor, because their fortunes are so closely intertwined."

Neil Cavuto's "Your World" - Lying, perverting, and distorting MLK?

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