Fox News played a selectively edited video to make it look like President Biden called Satchel Paige a “great Negro.” It would be funny if it weren’t for the depth and effectiveness of the malice.
As Crooks and Liars noted, here’s what Biden actually said during his Veterans’ Day remarks:
BIDEN: I’ve adopted the attitude of the great Negro -- at the time, pitcher in the Negro Leagues, went on to become a great pitcher in the pros, in the Major League Baseball after Jackie Robinson. His name was Satchel Paige.
Clearly, Biden was not calling Paige a “great Negro,” but referring to him as a great pitcher in the Negro Leagues.
WaPo’s Philip Bump explains how Fox turned this into a phony gotcha:
It was featured on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program, as reporter Aaron Rupar pointed out. Hannity described the comments as Biden having “one of his most disturbing, troubling moments to date.” On Friday morning, “Fox & Friends” picked it up, showing a clip that cut out the reference to the Negro Leagues entirely. In that snippet, Biden was shown saying, “I’ve adopted the attitude of the great Negro at the time, pitcher … his name was Satchel Paige.”
“Biden’s choice of words while referencing Hall of Fame pitcher Satchel Paige,” the show’s host claimed, “landing him in hot water” — as though it wasn’t Fox’s choice of the words it aired that was the problem. There was some outcry and criticism from elsewhere in the media world, but Fox was undeterred. Later Friday, the network ran the story again, showing a full clip as a host invited viewers to “cringe” along with her.
On MSNBC, Obama campaign manager and senior adviser David Plouffe explained why this seemingly insignificant nontroversy is part of a larger, very dangerous situation:
PLOUFFE: They [Fox] basically pollute up to probably a third of the electorate and then that third of the electorate I think spills over into maybe 40, 45% of the country. And it’s not just Fox, it’s Fox it’s Breitbart, it’s Sinclair … it’s Epoch Times, it’s Prager University, some things maybe your viewers don’t even know about that are some of the most powerful outlets on social media, so – and they’re all coordinated.
And I'll tell you this, having gone through campaigns, we can kind of hang as Democrats in campaigns because we raise a lot of money, we spend a lot of money, we have a lot of volunteers, we do a lot of advertising. That goes away after the election, and Fox and those other megaphones are still there.
[It’s] a huge, enormous disadvantage and it’s structurally so unbalanced.
So, what’s happening is every Democrat … is basically an evil socialist, if they’re being nice, and somebody who basically, you know, embraced pedophilia. We are, like, the most awful people ever to walk the face of the earth and that has an effect. There’s, there’s no opening any more.
This is completely made up and I think we have to watch very carefully to see if we’re going to see more clips like this because obviously it’s the people who watch the network, but then the velocity with which that reaches tens of millions of Americans over the course of hours is unprecedented in American history.
Meanwhile, you can watch Plouffe below, from MSNBC’s November 12, 2021 All In with Chris Hayes.
I’ll also note that Fox News pulled a Breitbart/O’Keefe in that they deceptively edited the clip just to make it look worse.
Plouffe is correct to note that Right Wing media has been presenting a unified front across multiple platforms including Fox, OAN, Newsmax, Breitbart as well as Glenn Beck’s cottage industry and on AM Radio. Their narrative has been to consistently repeat that the Dems are terrible, evil people trying to destroy the “real America”, to consistently repeat vicious attacks on the Biden/Harris White House where the only disagreement is whether Biden is deliberately so terrible or just so senile he doesn’t know how terrible he is. They consistently repeat that the economy is in terrible shape even though it isn’t. And they try to make hay out of every single statement made by Biden or Jen Psaki, twisting the comments into a complete pretzel.
What’s truly unsettling about this insular angry Right Wing media world is not just that it’s divorced from objective reality. The scary part is that there are millions of Americans who truly believe what the angry Right Wing pundits are telling them.
In fairness, this has been the Right Wing approach to media for the past 30+ years, going back to the rise of unrepentant bigot Rush Limbaugh and the original formation of Fox News 25 years ago. And they’ve actually succeeded to a large extent – millions of Right Wingers are convinced that these propaganda jags are truth. And millions more non-Right Wingers wind up thinking that there must be something to the Right Wing complaints – which is how so many people fell for the canards about Hillary Clinton in 2016 and how so many people inexplicably believe that everyone not on the Far Right Wing are somehow “Far Left”.