The right wing is very adept at distorting reality in that they take their own negatives and project them on to those who are criticizing them. While the GOP has an abysmal record with minorities due to policies and public statements that are viewed as racist, there are some, in the right wing, who believe that blacks are the real racists - a meme that is advanced on Fox's The Five by Eric Bolling and Greg Gutfeld. Last night, Bolling and Gutfeld levelled charges of racism against MSNBC's Martin Bashir because Bashir asked a perfectly legitimate question based on the racial animus of the right wing - racial animus for which Eric Bolling and Greg Gutfled are Fox poster children.
Let's start with devout Catholic Bolling (who lights candles, every day, at St. Patrick's Cathedral for his Fox playmates and who believes "it's important to stand up for Christianity.") In 2011, on his Fox business show, Bolling maligned President Obama and the President of the African nation of Gabon who was visiting the White House. Bolling described the Gabon president as a dictator and said that this wasn't "the first time that [Obama] has had a hoodlum in the hizzouse." Bolling showed a photo of the rapper Common, who appeared at a White House poetry reading. He also showed a photo of the Gabon president that was doctored in order to make him look like he had a gold tooth.
When Pres. Obama was visiting Ireland, during the aftermath of a Missouri tornado, Bolling tweeted that Obama was "chugging 40's." He was forced to walk the tweet back. In discussing Obama's budget proposal, Bolling said that "it might make sense in Kenya." And speaking of Kenya, Bolling trafficked in birtherism which, arguably, has a racial component.
In July, The Five's Eric Bolling had no problem accusing Rev. Al Sharpton of being a racist because Sharpton questioned whether George Zimmerman had racial animus. Bolling also claimed that Attorney General Eric Holder is racist because, in speaking to the NAACP, Holder spoke of how the Trayvon Martin case reminded him of "the talk" that all black fathers, including Holder's, have with their sons - a talk that Bolling will never have with his son for obvious reasons.
While Gutfeld's record isn't as tainted as Bolling's, he still does his part to promote the trope that poor white folks are preyed upon by savage and racist blacks. On Fox's The Five, Greg Gutfeld has advanced the popular right wing and white supremacist narrative that whites are the real victims of racism and hate crimes.
So last night, the not racist Bolling and Gutfeld let the racist accusations fly against MSNBC's Martin Bashir who, in speaking about the government shutdown (in Fox parlance, a "slimdown"), asked Buzzfeed's McKay Coppins , "how long will it be before the president is accused of being an angry black man, because he said he is exasperated." Given that there has been discussion of how Obama's coolness is a response to white fears of the "angry black African-American male," a description of Obama used on Fox News, Bashir's question was legitimate. But not so for Bolling and Gutfeld who accused Bashir of racism.
Bolling accused "back up clown Bashir" of "preemptively blaming Republicans for playing the race card before they even play a race card." Back up clown Gutfeld, who has no problem describing African-American culture as "corrosive," added “Martin Bashir gives racists a bad name. He is a racist. He’s what you call a secret racist in that he can’t help but project his own racism on other people. And it’s embarrassing for him. He’s not aware of how racist he really is. And he really needs a racist intervention, somebody to tell him, hey Martin, you’re a bigot."
One wonders if Bolling and Gutfeld would have considered Martin Luther King, Jr. a racist because he dared to call out whites on - wait for it - racism. The reality is that there are a substantial number of right wingers who have no problem stereotyping blacks and referring to President Obama in racist terms - right wingers like Bolling and Gutfled who blithely accuse others of racism while not owning responsibility for their own. Only in the Orwellian world of Fox's "The Five..."
Bolling is a more serious problem. His almost casual contempt for Bob Beckel and for any point of view not as far right as his can be really sinister at times. Note his pretense of not understanding Beckel’s bad joke about the “right wing conspiracy”. He knew perfectly well that Beckel was referring to the Clinton era comment about the right wing conspiracy working against them in the 90s in a far less obvious manner than the current attacks on President Obama. Bolling’s carefully studied throwaway of “Well, I don’t know what that means but…” was intended as a way to try to claim the moral high ground for himself in excusing reprehensible behavior by GOP congresspeople. Granted, Beckel made a crude comment about Ted Cruz the day before, which gave Bolling an unfortunate opening to play this card. But Bolling is certainly not above reproach in the same area.
At the same time, Beckel did a terrible job of explaining what Harry Reid was saying during the comment that’s been repeatedly played out of context by Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. Bolling and the others were trying to use the position that Harry Reid was somehow hostile to children with cancer. When in fact Reid was arguing against the GOP tactic of playing one constituency off against another just to score cheap political points. And the broader point Beckel should have been making is that it’s disingenuous for extremists like Ted Cruz to be trying to feign concern about the various parts of government they have undermined when all the GOP needs to do to fix this situation is do their jobs and pass the budget without playing all these political games.
What will be interesting is the backlash against Cruz after this situation ends. How will Fox News react when other Republicans go after Cruz in the aftermath? Will they stick up for Cruz or will they toe the party line when the guys up top are looking to assign blame for this disaster? From the sounds of it, many Republicans are already moving away from Cruz as fast as they can – some in a fairly panicked mode. Does Fox News wish to be noted in the history books as sticking up for the guy who advocated a shutdown and then tried to duck responsibility for his bad behavior?