From Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman to “white Santa" – with racial attacks on Oprah Winfrey and many others sprinkled throughout - 2013 stands out as a year of race baiting extraordinaire for Fox News. We review this year of Fox News playing to the worst in its audience.
George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin trial
Nothing seems to have unleashed Fox’s racial animus like the George Zimmerman trial. It was predictable that Fox would adjudge Zimmerman “not guilty.” So it was no surprise that Megyn Kelly helped Zimmerman’s attorney demonize Trayvon Martin shortly before the trial. Even so, Fox went the extra mile to show that it was not just on Zimmerman’s side from a legal standpoint but from a racial one.
Fox all but announced, “We disdain African American sensibilities” with its repeated presentation of Mark Fuhrman – possibly the country’s most well-known racist - as a “neutral” analyst on the Zimmerman/Martin case. For a little more deliberate racial insensitivity, Fox trotted out Pat Buchanan as a “neutral” analyst, too.
Fox News hosts were more explicitly disdainful. Geraldo Rivera argued that it was reasonable for Zimmerman to have racially profiled Martin because he looked like a thug. Even worse, he announced that the jurors would probably have shot Martin, based on his appearance, sooner than Zimmerman had.
As the verdict loomed, Fox used the interim to both fear monger about African Americans’ response, in general, and to race bait civil rights leaders such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, in particular.
Fox used Zimmerman/Martin case to race bait President Obama
When President Obama dared to address African American concerns raised by the verdict, Fox News used the opportunity to attack him as racially divisive, an enabler of black violence and an inciter black violence.
Fox used Zimmerman/Martin verdict to attack African Americans as shiftless welfare queens
Once the verdict was in, Fox moved on to smear the African American community's anguish. The race-baiter-in-chief was Bill O’Reilly. He started with a tirade against African Americans (thinly cloaked as concern for their crime-ridden, poor communities) for caring so much about the verdict instead of focusing on everything that’s wrong with THEM. He also appointed himself the decider-in-chief about what the black community should do to clean up its act. Other Fox News personnel – including African American Juan Williams – endorsed the meme.
Fox starts a race war on Oprah Winfrey
When Oprah Winfrey had the nerve to weigh in on the Zimmerman verdict - by likening it to a modern-day Emmett Till case - Fox Newsies went wild. Laura Ingraham echoed the O’Reilly tirade and lectured Winfrey for not speaking out about black crime against whites, Jesse Watters suggested she was being divisive and the Hannity show labeled her comments as “OPRAH OUTRAGE.”
But that was just the beginning of a Fox News race war on Oprah. Host Martha MacCallum and her white guest accused Winfrey of being overly sensitive about racial profiling after she told an interviewer of an incident in Zurich where a saleswoman declined to show her a very high-priced purse. Bill O’Reilly accused her of playing the victimhood card.
When Winfrey told yet another interviewer she believes that some attacks on President Obama are racially motivated, Fox used that as yet another opportunity to get out its racial pitchforks for her. Megyn Kelly feigned surprise to get the message across: “It’s amazing to see someone as successful as Oprah Winfrey, I mean a billionaire, thanks in large part to American viewers loving her …talking about racist Americans.” Gretchen Carlson promoted Rush Limbaugh’s attack on Winfrey and did not challenge her guest when he said, “Now, Oprah, I think – they’ve become so accustomed to playing the race card, in matters having to do with Obama, that’s become the first refuge of the liberal scoundrel, to just cry racism at every turn.”
Anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech another race baiting opportunity for Fox
Last summer, the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech was commemorated with a rally in Washington, D.C. Fox News did not waste the opportunity for more race baiting. As I wrote in an article for Salon.com:
Chris Wallace sent a clear message on Fox News Sunday when he “asked,” in anticipation of President Obama’s speech: “(A)t what point have we gone as far as the country, as the government needs to go in putting a thumb on the scale if you will?”
…Bill O’Reilly took it a step further in his Talking Points commentary (when he) implied that the vision of Dr. King had been corrupted by modern-day African-Americans. …He concluded, “In the end, it is indeed about the content of character. When will the civil rights industry get back to that?”
…O’Reilly chastised the speakers at the 50th anniversary commemoration held in Washington on Saturday for being “heavy on grievance, light on problem solving.” He complained there had been “a lot” about racial profiling, voter identification requirements and “questionable comparisons of Trayvon Martin to Emmett Till.”
Megyn Kelly: Santa and Jesus are white
To say that Megyn Kelly’s now-infamous comments assuring kids that both Santa and Jesus are white went viral would be an understatement. But instead of taking responsibility, Kelly played the racial victim. Bill O’Reilly waded into the fray to validate her “white Santa” comment and suggest that anyone offended is just playing the grievance card.
The Oklahoma Shooting Of Australian Christopher Lane
As I also wrote in Salon:
(Fox) pounced on the horrific murder of Australian college student Christopher Lane in Oklahoma and painted him as the white person’s Trayvon Martin. Never mind that the analogy could not be further off or that Fox insisted the (liberal) media wrongly brought race into the Martin shooting in the first place. The Oklahoma district attorney has announced that the evidence does not indicate that a racial hate crime was committed. But that has not stopped Fox from playing the race card anyway.
The Hannity show trotted out George Zimmerman’s brother to cry about the “racial double standard” in the media and the black community.
The Florida Bus-Beating
Although Fox News’ own story reported that the beating of a white student by three black students on a Florida school bus was about drugs, not race, that didn’t stop Fox News from using the incident to racially impugn the black community for not stepping in to take the part of the white student – and blame black culture for the occurrence while they were at it.
The Knockout Game
Fox has deliberately stoked racial fears and animosity over a questionable “black crime wave.” But when a white teen was arrested with hard evidence of playing the game against a black person, Fox used the incident to paint the Obama Department of Justice as (once again) overly partial to blacks to the detriment of whites.
But wait, there’s more!
Dishonorable mention in the race-baiting department goes to:
Sean Hannity and Katie Pavlich condescending and denigrating African American concerns about voting rights. They were so patronizing, it would not have been a surprise to hear them address the African American guest as “Boy.”
Attacks on Melissa Harris-Perry for her tongue-in-cheek comparison of the term “ObamaCare” to the n-word. Fox ignored the essence of her commentary in order to paint her as some kind of anti-white nutjob.
Fox Nation’s promotion of a “ghetto tour” in New York. It’s hard to think why the website posted a story about ghetto tours for any reason other than to race bait. And sure enough, their readers took the bait.
But there are still a few hours left in 2013. And already, I can see at least one more story looming: Melissa Harris Perry’s comments about Mitt Romney’s black grandchild. And, of course, there’s that interview with Duck Dynasty’s Willie Robertson tonight.
In the meanwhile… Happy New Year's Eve, everybody!
The Fox “News” suits are on a holiday break, and will be back on Monday. If they still have a job in 2014.
Oh, and you know this will be all over Facebook and Twitter in a couple hours, so why not post a version of the song? Happy New Years, all!
OTH, criticism of Sharpton and Jackson doesn’t bother me in the least, since these two exploit every incident.
Let me wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year, even those in the PC crowd who are about to attack me for the preceding statement.