In another devastating blow to the purported separation between Fox's "news" and "opinion" programming, Fox Business host Stuart Varney today used an appearance on Fox News' America Live to delve into one of the most paranoid, race-baiting myths of the right-wing fever swamp: the entirely baseless claim that on assuming office, President Obama returned a bust of Winston Churchill to the British government because his family "disliked" the British colonial government in Kenya.
A variant of this highbrow birther conspiracy theory is a favorite of Glenn Beck and Dinesh D'Souza, among others. While Varney attributes the return of the bust to how "Obama's father, being a native Kenyan, disliked the British colonial rule in Kenya," Beck and D'Souza have instead cited the torture of Obama's paternal grandfather by the British during the Mau Mau Uprising. These claims are ridiculous, baseless, and an obvious attempt to raise fears among their viewers of Obama's priority being Africans, not Americans.
Of course, no evidence has ever emerged to link the return of the Churchill bust to the experience of Obama's family.
Note how Varney walks absurdly right up to the line of claiming that the Obama administration has actually admitted that this is the reason for the return of the bust:
KELLY: [T]he thing about the bust, has the White House ever spoken out publicly to actually explain why they sent that bust back?
VARNEY: It was apparently because President Obama's father, who was a native Kenyan--
KELLY: Have they admitted to that?
VARNEY: I believe that that is out there. I've not read the formal statement, but an explanation was requested and that was the explanation was that President Obama's father, being a native Kenyan, disliked the British colonial rule in Kenya that ended in 1963.
If Varney has any evidence that this is actually true, he should produce it. If he doesn't, Fox News should explain why its employees are pushing fabricated, racial smears of President Obama during the network's supposed "news" hours.
For their part, the White House curator has said that the bust was returned because it was "already scheduled to go back," while the British Embassy has said that the bust was "uniquely lent to a foreign head of state, President George W Bush."
Incidentally, Varney offered his Churchill conspiracy during an interview pushing the claim that Obama "betray[ed]" the British by agreeing to reveal data to Russia about our sales of nuclear material to the U.K. In fact, the U.S. and U.K. governments have both dismissed these claims, first pushed by the U.K.'s Telegraph, noting that such information has been shared since the 1991 START treaty.
Varney, a Fox News "business contributor," has no background in foreign policy, making him an odd choice to discuss this story. Apparently, Fox News preferred to bring on someone ignorant of the issue but possessing a British accent, rather than hosting someone who might actually know what he was talking about. The decision makes perfect sense, of course, if you're more interested in smearing the president than informing your viewers.