A white teen in Texas has been arrested and charged with a hate crime for playing the knockout game against a black person. In addition to the crime itself, the teen made the mistake of boasting about it in a bar and showing a video of it to an undercover policeman. Cue up Fox News’ racial outrage. The “fair and balanced” network did its best to turn this story into one about white people’s racial injustice at the hands of the (black) Obama administration.
If you’ve been watching Fox News lately, you know they’ve been stoking (white) racial fears over the so-called knockout game. According to Fox, the game involves black teenagers randomly punching a white person with the goal of knocking him or her out. There are questions – which I have yet seen raised on Fox - as to whether or not the game really exists or is really a new phenomenon.
On The O'Reilly Factor Friday Night (12/27/13) guest host Juan Williams presented as fact that the game is not just real but represents a black crimewave of violence against whites. He introduced the segment by saying, “An unexpected twist to the wave of knockout game assaults taking place around the country.”
Fox News did not focus on what motivated the newly-arrested white teen. Could it have been a desired revenge based on the conservative media coverage? According to a local news report aired at the beginning of the segment, prosecutors say that Barrett was seen in videos using the n-word and, according to the report, states that African Americans “haven’t fully experienced the blessing of evolution.”
There was no concern for the teen's victim, either. He was an 80 year-old who underwent surgery to insert metal plates in his jaw and remove three teeth. “He wasn’t doing good at all,” an unidentified interviewee told us. But that was the last we heard of his condition or welfare.
So what was Fox’s takeaway from this story? That the Obama Department of Justice - under its black attorney general - is prejudiced against white people. Sound familiar?
“Some are accusing the Justice Department of a double standard,” Williams said, when the pre-recorded report finished. Then he welcomed his two guests for a debate on this Cavuto mark of a topic.
The lead-off guest, Horace Cooper, was Fox’s designated African American black attacker for the segment. Cooper announced, “It’s clearly evidence of a double standard. You can look on the Department of Justice website and you can’t find one, single press release regarding this knockout problem. Liberal allies in the media try to downplay it and now all of a sudden the very first time they get a chance to weigh in on the matter, they find the ONE , the one white guy out of the dozens and dozens and dozens of cases where this has overwhelmingly been a problem – where black thugs have been preying on others… who happened to be white.” He later claimed that Trayvon Martin had also played the knockout game – and also got a pass.
Well, speaking of allies in the media downplaying information, let’s take a look at what Fox did not tell us about Cooper. He was introduced merely as an “attorney” while the banner on the screen said, “co-chairman of Project 21.” In case you’re wondering, Project 21 seems to be devoted to providing black conservative talking heads to promote the conservative agenda of the conservative National Center for Public Policy Research. The NCPPR is tied to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) which, in turn, is tied to the Koch brothers. If you check out the other talking heads at Project 21, you’ll see many of Fox’s other African American designated black attackers.
And here’s something else nobody mentioned about Cooper: He's a former aide to Republican Dick Armey, back when he was House Majority Leader. According to Huffington Post, Cooper pleaded guilty in 2010 to “falsifying a document when he did not report receiving gifts from lobbyists Jack Abramoff and Neil Volz in 2003.” In other words, Cooper is a Republican political operative with an agenda.
To his credit, Williams did quite clearly make the point that the arrested teen “(gave) the government this case on a platter” and “fit the definition of a hate crime.” But, when his other guest, Nicole DeBorde, agreed, Williams said, “But, Ms. DeBorde, you understand Mr. Cooper’s point, that previously in all the other examples that we’ve heard of, you have black people attacking white people and here you have the Justice Department, led by Eric Holder, an African American, NEVER taking action against any black assailant. Doesn’t that strike you as a double standard?”
DeBorde explained exactly why not – with information that Williams should have known. “In those cases, there hasn’t been any indication that the victims in question were selected based on their race and in this case, the attacker actually goes on video and says that the victim he chose was chosen because of race. And that’s the difference.”
Coincidentally, unlike the overtly political Cooper, "attorney" does seem to appropriately describe DeBorde. It begs the question: was Fox unable to find a criminal law attorney willing to take Cooper's position or was the network looking for a professional Republican in the first place?
Regardless, once DeBorde defended the DOJ's legal action, Williams did a decent job of arguing against Cooper.
My personal opinion is that Williams understood from the start that the DOJ had a legitimate, prosecutable hate crime on its hands and that the Fox News’ “double standard” take - ostensibly in the name of fairness (to whites, via a racial dog whistle about the Obama administration) - came from higher up. Still, I'd have hoped for better from him. As Williams ought to know, “just asking” the question, especially in this setting, gets the message across regardless of the answer.