Fox News personalities criticized speeches given by civil rights leaders at the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, attacking the speakers for not addressing issues they deemed more important and complaining about "grievance-mongering."
Obama, Civil Rights Leaders Speak During 50th Anniversary Of March on Washington
Rep. John Lewis: "We Must Never, Ever Give Up. We Must, Never Give In. We Must Keep The Faith And Keep Our Eyes On The Prize." On August 28, Congressman John Lewis (D-GA), the only surviving speaker from the 1963 March on Washington, addressed issues that African-Americans and all Americans still face in the 50 years since the original march:
The scars and stains of racism still remain deeply embedded in American society, whether it is stop and frisk in New York or injustice in Trayvon Martin case in Florida, the mass incarceration of millions of Americans, immigrants hiding in fear in the shadow of our society, unemployment, homelessness, poverty, hunger or the renewed struggle for voting rights.
So I say to each of us today, we must never, ever give up. We must, ever give in. We must keep the faith and keep our eyes on the prize. (Cheers, applause.)
We did go to jail, but we got the Civil Rights Act. We got the Voting Rights Act. We got the Fair Housing Act. But we must continue to push. We must continue to work, as the late A. Philip Randolph said to organizers for the march in 1963.
And the dean of the civil rights movement once said, we may have come here on different ships, but we all are in the same boat now. So it doesn't matter whether they're black or white, Latino, Asian- American or Native American, whether we or gay or straight -- we are one people, we are one family, we are all living in the same house -- not just the American house, but the world house. [Rep. John Lewis, 8/28/13, via The Washington Post]
Obama: "The March On Washington Teaches Us That We Are Not Trapped By The Mistakes Of History, That We Are Masters Of Our Fate." President Obama addressed the March on Washington commemoration by urging the audience to "reignite the embers of empathy and fellow feeling, the coalition of conscience that found expression in this place 50 years ago":
The March on Washington teaches us that we are not trapped by the mistakes of history, that we are masters of our fate.
But it also teaches us that the promise of this nation will only be kept when we work together. We'll have to reignite the embers of empathy and fellow feeling, the coalition of conscience that found expression in this place 50 years ago.
And I believe that spirit is there, that true force inside each of us. I see it when a white mother recognizes her own daughter in the face of a poor black child. I see it when the black youth thinks of his own grandfather in the dignified steps of an elderly white man. It's there when the native born recognizing that striving spirit of a new immigrant, when the interracial couple connects the pain of a gay couple who were discriminated against and understands it as their own. That's where courage comes from, when we turn not from each other or on each other but towards one another, and we find that we do not walk alone. That's where courage comes from. (Applause.)
And with that courage, we can stand together for good jobs and just wages. With that courage, we can stand together for the right to health care in the richest nation on earth for every person. (Applause.) With that courage, we can stand together for the right of every child, from the corners of Anacostia to the hills of Appalachia, to get an education that stirs the mind and captures the spirit and prepares them for the world that awaits them. (Applause.) With that courage, we can feed the hungry and house the homeless and transform bleak wastelands of poverty into fields of commerce and promise.
America, I know the road will be long, but I know we can get there. Yes, we will stumble, but I know we'll get back up. That's how a movement happens. That's how history bends. That's how, when somebody is faint of heart, somebody else brings them along and says, come on, we're marching. [President Obama,8/28/13, via The Washington Post]
Fox Personalities Criticize Speeches Given During The Anniversary
Fox's O'Reilly On Marc Morial's Speech: "That Kind Of Grievance-Mongering Does The Cause Of Civil Rights No Good At All." On the August 28 edition of his Fox News show, O'Reilly acknowledged that many of the speeches commemorating the March on Washington "were uplifting and respectful to America, but not all." After playing a clip of the National Urban League chairman Marc Morial's speech, O'Reilly criticized him commenting, "That kind of grievance-mongering does the cause of civil rights no good at all." [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor,8/28/13]
Fox's Bolling: Lewis Missed An Opportunity "To Address The Issues" Of Marriage And Education. On the August 28 edition of The Five, co-host Eric Bolling opened up a discussion on the March on Washington commemoration by criticizing Lewis' speech for including comments on stop-and-frisk laws and the death of Trayvon Martin instead of commenting on marriage and education. His co-host Andrea Tantaros agreed with Bolling, adding: "all of the problems in the black community, John Lewis didn't include." [Fox News, The Five, 8/28/13]
Fox's Tantaros: Obama "Misses Opportunities Time And Again" To Address Black Family Issues. The Five co-host Andrea Tantaros claimed that Obama "misses opportunities" to talk about family issues she said are important to African-Americans. After commenting that "President Obama, whether you like him or not, is seemingly a good father" whose "pants are pulled up," she explained that "he just misses opportunities time and again" to address African-American family issues. [Fox News, The Five, 8/28/13]
Fox's Krauthammer Complains Speakers Are "Living Fifty Years Ago" And Not Addressing "Social Issues." On the August 28 edition of Fox's Special Report, Fox contributor Charles Krauthammer criticized some civil rights leaders for "living fifty years ago," alluding to comments made by Morial. Krauthammer added that "The real challenge is the social issues. ... The breakup of the family. It is the terrible education that young people in the ghetto are subjected to." [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier, 8/28/13]