Fox News continued its tradition of using Martin Luther King Day to race bait last night. All four of Fox News’ prime time shows seized on President Obama’s race comments in a New Yorker interview and distorted them in order to accuse him or being the race baiter. And nether of the two Democratic guests robustly called out Fox on this despicable tactic.
Fox News distorted Obama’s race comment in order to attack him over it
Just like Fox Nation earlier in the day, the hosts seized on one paragraph in an 18-page New Yorker article about Obama’s presidency at this point in his second term. The relevant paragraph is:
Obama’s election was one of the great markers in the black freedom struggle. In the electoral realm, ironically, the country may be more racially divided than it has been in a generation. Obama lost among white voters in 2012 by a margin greater than any victor in American history. The popular opposition to the Administration comes largely from older whites who feel threatened, underemployed, overlooked, and disdained in a globalized economy and in an increasingly diverse country. Obama’s drop in the polls in 2013 was especially grave among white voters. “There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black President,” Obama said. “Now, the flip side of it is there are some black folks and maybe some white folks who really like me and give me the benefit of the doubt precisely because I’m a black President.” The latter group has been less in evidence of late.
On each Fox show, the host singled out Obama's quote about race and suggested that he might be either racially resentful or using race as a crutch to explain his falling poll numbers. Even though he was doing neither in the actual article.
On The Record "honors" MLK by bashing ObamaCare
Host Greta Van Susteren admitted on On The Record that she thought President Obama was merely “thinking out loud” and discussing the “realities of how people vote.” A woman president might say something similar, Van Susteren opined. “I’m one of the few who isn’t critical about him in today’s discussion on this,” she added.
However, that did not stop FoxNews.com producers from making sure there was a special race-baiting tie between Obama and Martin Luther King Day. They titled the segment: ObamaCare a nightmare for MLK’s ‘Dream?’
Also, producers made sure that some Obama-bashing would occur in the segment when they chose Michel Faulkner, a Republican, as the sole guest. Unlike Van Susteren, he got with the race-baiting message. He said about Obama's remarks: “For you to bring up skin color in this day and age – I’ve been black all my life, I’ve been dealing with that all my life. We do that. That is what we do. We have to be comfortable in who we are. …He is the president of the United States. I don’t expect the president to say those things or to at least say them out loud so people can hear them.”
Never mind that Obama might have been asked to discuss the role of race in his presidency or his approval ratings.
The O’Reilly Factor declares Obama "not guilty" of "race hustling" but...
Next up, The O’Reilly Factor. In a pair of segments, O’Reilly both praised Obama and whitesplained the state of race to African Americans. Declaring Obama “100 percent correct” in his race comments, O’Reilly added, “To his credit, Barack Obama has not used race in his quest for power. …(T)hat is to his credit because as president he represents all Americans.”
However, OReilly also used the occasion to lecture African Americans on “personal responsibility” and to announce, “(T)he race factor in America is not an overwhelming problem anymore.”
And before you go thinking that O’Reilly deserves some props for giving Obama a racial pat on the back, consider the guest who came on next to further discuss the subject: Allen West.
Yes, the same Allen West who recently called President Obama and his attorney general “vile and disgusting racists” was there to judge Obama on race - without disclosing that opinion. West told O’Reilly, “I can’t understand why (race) is being interjected in this interview,” and that Obama should have refused to discuss it.
Sadly, African American commenter Jacques DeGraff – who really ought to be on to Fox’s race baiting tricks by now – failed to call out the shocking agenda of using Martin Luther King Day to question African American behavior. Instead, he played right into it by criticizing the rhetoric of Cornell West. I’d argue that even his praise for Obama for modeling family values only helped to lend credibility to the race-baiting elephant in the studio.
The Kelly File promoted a false narrative about Obama's comments
On The Kelly File, host Megyn Kelly falsely described Obama’s comments as “attribut(ing) falling poll numbers while you are president to your race.” But Obama did not attribute his falling poll numbers to race. New Yorker writer David Remnick put Obama’s comments in that context. In fact, Obama specifically said in the article's following paragraph that some of the issues bedeviling his presidency should not be seen through a racial prism:
“There is a historic connection between some of the arguments that we have politically and the history of race in our country, and sometimes it’s hard to disentangle those issues,” he went on. “You can be somebody who, for very legitimate reasons, worries about the power of the federal government—that it’s distant, that it’s bureaucratic, that it’s not accountable—and as a consequence you think that more power should reside in the hands of state governments. But what’s also true, obviously, is that philosophy is wrapped up in the history of states’ rights in the context of the civil-rights movement and the Civil War and Calhoun. There’s a pretty long history there. And so I think it’s important for progressives not to dismiss out of hand arguments against my Presidency or the Democratic Party or Bill Clinton or anybody just because there’s some overlap between those criticisms and the criticisms that traditionally were directed against those who were trying to bring about greater equality for African-Americans. The flip side is I think it’s important for conservatives to recognize and answer some of the problems that are posed by that history, so that they understand if I am concerned about leaving it up to states to expand Medicaid that it may not simply be because I am this power-hungry guy in Washington who wants to crush states’ rights but, rather, because we are one country and I think it is going to be important for the entire country to make sure that poor folks in Mississippi and not just Massachusetts are healthy.”
Nevertheless, Kelly turned first to conservative Lars Larson (who seems to have camped out at Fox News yesterday) for reaction.
Larson got right with the race baiting:
The president sees a lot of things through a racial lens. We’ve seen plenty of examples of that: the stupid cop in Cambridge, his typical white grandmother, and the Trayvon Martin case, certainly. And now he sees this. Anything that he does wrong that Republicans call him on… the president says “They must not like me because of my race.” I think it’s pure baloney.
Rather than challenging anything Larson said, Kelly turned to her other guest, Democrat Mark Hannah. And guess what? Kelly found time to challenge Hannah for saying that Obama was correct in his assessment of the role race played in his presidency.
Hannah did call out Sarah Palin’s MLK Day race baiting of President Obama as “shameful” but he failed to confront Fox’s.
On Hannity, host Sean Hannity was, not surprisingly, the harshest critic. He introduced the discussion by saying, “Instead of taking responsibility for his failures, the president blames everybody else. …He’s now taken this to an all-time new low. …It doesn’t get much worse than that.”
Hannity’s guest, “Democratic strategist” Richard Fowler is another one with personal experience with Fox News’ race baiting. He’s also a frequent guest on Fox so he should have known what the show was up to with this “issue.” Yet he, too, failed to confront Fox’s agenda. Instead, I’d argue he enabled it by legitimizing the Cavuto mark of a “was Obama race baiting?” question with an answer.
Will these so-called strategists ever develop a real strategy for dealing with Fox? Or are they going to forever play right into the network's hands by pretending (or worse, believing) that they’re there for any other reason than to give cover and spice to its political agenda?
Each segment is below, in chronological order.
If the comments are still up in the AM, grabbing then for my private file. Anyone who wants to read the Natin end of it, here’s the link:
They get worse as you go down- Almost like they wore themselves out, or found a new thread after a while. But even the tamer ones are disgusting, just nothing compared to what this article outlines.