Fox has found an excuse to play the white racial victim in the Selma “Bloody Sunday” anniversary: The New York Times did not include President and Mrs. George W. Bush in its front page photo of the memorial. Somebody call a wah-mbulance!
Of course, Fox had to find something to complain about in an event that marked a turning point in civil rights and during which President Obama gave one of the most powerful speeches of his presidency. So how fortunate for the “fair and balanced” network that The Times failed to include President Bush in its photo!
As it turned out, there were technical, not political reasons for the omission, Margaret Sullivan, The Times’ public editor wrote today. She published an email from the photographer, Doug Mills:
Just so you know … at the time the photo was taken, I was using a 70-200 long zoom lens. I also had a remote camera with a wide-angle lens attached to the side of the truck that took a photo at the just about the exact moment as the tighter one. As you can see, Bush was in the bright sunlight. I did not even send this frame because it’s very wide and super busy and Bush is super-overexposed because he was in the sun and Obama and the others are in the shade.
But Fox didn’t need to wait for any explanation to start slinging accusations. Even though the ink has barely dried on Fox’s attacks on African Americans for rushing to judgment in Ferguson. And even though if a black person had made such an allegation about an African American being omitted, Fox would almost certainly have accused him or her of “playing the race card" or exploiting "grievance" or engaging in "old, tired rhetoric."
On America’s Newsroom, host Eric Shawn asked, “Oversight or on purpose?” about The Times photo.
Guest Deneen Borelli called it a “stunning example” of media bias. “It’s propaganda,” she complained, “and they’re trying to claim that racism is rampant in America and that blacks can’t get ahead because of racism. And it’s an outright lie.”
That’s totally not what The Times said. Here’s what The Times did say (with my emphases):
(The memorial) provided a moment to measure the country’s far narrower, and yet stubbornly persistent, divide in black-and-white reality.
In an address at the scene of what became known as “Bloody Sunday,” Mr. Obama rejected the notion that race relations have not improved since then, despite the string of police shootings that have provoked demonstrations. “What happened in Ferguson may not be unique,” he said, “but it’s no longer endemic. It’s no longer sanctioned by law or custom, and before the civil rights movement, it most surely was.”
But the president also rejected the notion that racism has been defeated. “We don’t need the Ferguson report to know that’s not true,” he said. “We just need to open our eyes and our ears and our hearts to know that this nation’s racial history still casts its long shadow upon us. We know the march is not yet over; we know the race is not yet won. We know reaching that blessed destination where we are judged by the content of our character requires admitting as much.”
By the way, neither Republican House Speaker John Boehner nor Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell attended, the Times noted. But it’s funny how Fox didn’t seem to care about that insult.
Shawn even worked in a way of questioning whether the omission was really Obama's fault. “Do you think they did that on purpose?” Shawn “asked.” “Do you think the current White House told Mr. Bush to get out of there or didn’t even say come over here, walk with the current president?”
Rattling the pages of the paper, Shawn said condemningly, “You gotta go on page 15, folks! This is 12 paragraphs into the story of The New York Times… Way down here! Down here… it says, “On Saturday, joining Mr. Obama was former President George W. Bush. 12 paragraphs in, on page 15. …Does that say it all to you?”
In the next hour, on Outnumbered, guest Ben Stein called the photo “clear liberal bias” and accused the Times of being an “organ of the Democratic party” (just pay no attention to how The Times was the source of the Hillary Clinton email story.) “Why else cut him out?” Stein asked, apparently having done nothing to get an answer.
Cohost Harris Faulkner played the race card. “Wasn’t the focus supposed to be the 50 years that have passed? Wasn’t that the focus? And the focus was supposed to be on our unity, not our division. So if you don’t have the white and the black president in the picture… doesn’t that in fact take the focus off of what we were talking about?”
Cohost Jedediah Bila agreed. “That’s absolutely true,” she said. “But you can’t expect more from The New York Times. I mean the good thing is that most people don’t care what The New York Times has to say any more because this is such obvious and blatant bias. And this is what they’re known for now.”
Well, obviously Fox News cares. At least when it’s expedient to do so.
Watch the two segments below, from today's America's Newsroom and Outnumbered.
Also, I love your term “wah-mbulance”