Right-Wing Media Kick Off 2012 Election By Defaulting To Race-Based Attacks

››› ››› JUSTIN BERRIER, CHELSEA RUDMAN & MELODY JOHNSON

Following Obama's official announcement that he is running for reelection, the right-wing media has resorted to a series of racially charged attacks against the president. These attacks have ranged from false claims about the president's place of birth and religion to claiming Obama has "black nationalist sympathies."

Right-Wing Media Celebrate Start Of 2012 Race By Resorting To Race-Based Attacks

Wash. Times.: Obama's Easter Worship Shows His "Black Nationalism." An April 26 Washington Times op-ed by columnist Jeffrey Kuhner claimed that Obama's attendance at Washington D.C.'s Shiloh Baptist Church on Easter Sunday contributes to "[a] disturbing pattern" that makes it "clear by his actions and affiliations that Mr. Obama has black nationalist sympathies." From the op-ed:

Is President Obama a black nationalist? This goes to the heart of his presidency - and partly explains why Mr. Obama is losing the broad middle of America. On Easter, Mr. Obama and his family attended Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington. The liberal press corps made much of the fact that the church was founded in 1863 by freed slaves. Yet the church's pastor, the Rev. Wallace Charles Smith, is a race-baiting black nationalist. He is a more polished version of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, a longtime pastor of Mr. Obama's.

[...]

[Smith] further stressed that segregation was not really eradicated; rather, it has simply morphed into a more subtle system of racial oppression through conservative talk radio and widespread opposition to affirmative action.

"Now Jim Crow wears blue pinstripes and goes to law school and carries fancy briefs and cases," Mr. Smith said. "And he doesn't have to wear white robes anymore because now he can wear the protective cover of talk radio or can get a regular news program on Fox."

He even compared Rush Limbaugh to the Ku Klux Klan and the White Citizens' Council. In other words, conservatives - Mr. Obama's critics - are incorrigibly racist and seek to perpetuate a watered-down form of apartheid. For Mr. Smith and many others on the left, disagreeing with racial quotas is not only wrong, but evil - a manifestation of deep-seated intolerance and bigotry.

[...]

A disturbing pattern is emerging. For 20 years, Mr. Obama sat in the church of an anti-American pastor who constantly railed against "white greed" and "white oppression." The president's hand-picked attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr., has called America "a nation of cowards" when it comes to race. His Justice Department has refused to prosecute members of the New Black Panthers for blatant voter intimidation. Mr. Obama has openly embraced Mr. Sharpton, an odious race-baiter. It is clear by his actions and affiliations that Mr. Obama has black nationalist sympathies.

The result is that he appears increasingly strange to many voters; his racial socialist politics are alien to the American tradition. They belong more to the Third World. This explains why Middle America is turning its back on Mr. Obama. When Americans voted for him in 2008, they thought they were getting a liberal pragmatist, a modern-day Franklin D. Roosevelt or John F. Kennedy. Instead, they got a Rev. Jeremiah Wright in blue pinstripes who attended law school.

An image of an altered Presidential seal featuring the raised fist symbol of the Black Panther Party was posted with Kuhner's column:

Black Nationalist

[The Washington Times, 4/26/11]

Fox's Holder: Obama Not Releasing Birth Certificate Because "Maybe ... The Father Isn't Listed." On the April 26 edition of Fox News' Hannity, Fox News legal analyst Tamara Holder stated of Obama's birth certificate, "I would say that maybe there's something on there that he doesn't want people to know." Holder claimed that Obama may be hiding "who his father is. Maybe ... the father isn't listed on the birth certificate. That is my only idea." [Fox News, Hannity, 4/26/11]

Buchanan: Obama's Higher Education Was "Affirmative Action All The Way." On the April 26 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews reported on Donald Trump's theories that there was something nefarious about Obama's acceptance to Harvard and Columbia. MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan responded by claiming Obama was able to attend Harvard Law School because of "affirmative action." Buchanan claimed, "I think the way was very probably greased, and I think he's probably affirmative action all the way." Buchanan added: "[L]ook, Chris [Matthews] you know how the system works. You apply. He's an African-American kid at a time where everybody's saying, 'Let's bring those guys in. Give 'em an advantage, move 'em ahead.'" [MSNBC, Hardball, 4/26/11]

Fox & Friends Hosts Controversial Pastor To Suggest Obama Is Secretly Muslim. On the April 27 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy interviewed Rev. Robert Jeffress, a senior pastor with Dallas-based First Baptist Church. During the segment, Jeffress repeatedly falsely suggested that Obama is Muslim. From Fox & Friends:

JEFFRESS: Steve, let's look at what's really going on here. On the one hand, we have a president who never met a Muslim holiday he didn't like, or at least wasn't willing to issue a proclamation for; and on the other hand, here he is refusing to acknowledge publically the most important event in Christian faith, the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. And yet the White House is wondering, why do 20 percent of Americans believe the president is a Muslim? Well, as my kids would say, "Duh." You know, I mean, it's actions like these that really make people wonder what it is the president really believes.

[...]

JEFFRESS: I really think, Steve, there's only one of two explanations. Either he has advisers who are telling him that it's politically expedient to ignore Christianity and elevate other world religions like Islam. And if that's the case, Republicans need to pray that those advisers stay in place through the 2012 election cycle. The only other explanation is that there's something deep within the president himself that will not allow him to issue these public proclamations about Christianity, when he on Easter will issue a proclamation about Earth Day, or he will recognize Muslim holidays. I think either explanation is deeply troubling for Christians. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/26/11]

The Blaze Falsely Claimed Obama Was "In Attendance As Race Baiting Flowed From The Pulpit." In an April 25 post to Glenn Beck's website The Blaze, Jonathon Seidl wrote:

But while the media rushed to report on the first family's attendance of the predominately black congregation (and the family's outfits), what it failed to mention are the views held by the church's pastor.

[...]

What views are those? How about him saying in 2010 that the country is still racist, that racists get programs on Fox News, and that Rush Limbaugh is the new KKK.

Seidl went on to falsely claim that that Obama was present when Pastor Smith made the comments in question. In fact, his remarks were made at Eastern University in 2010. From the post:

Sound familiar?

"POTUS sits through service listening with his arm around Malia, nodding," the pool report said of Obama's attendance yesterday. And while it's impossible to know what he was agreeing with, or if the nods were simply out of habit, the fact is that he was once again in attendance as race baiting flowed from the pulpit. [The Blaze, 4/25/11]

Fox Nation: Obama's Easter Pastor "Loves To Preach About Race," Falsely Claimed Obama's Visit Was "The First Presidential Visit To Shiloh." An April 25 post to Fox News' blog Fox Nation republished portions of a WRNO blog post and also linked to an edited video of the Shiloh Baptist Church pastor's 2010 remarks about racism. The post stated that he "loves to preach about race" and that "[d]uring a speech last year at Eastern University, he made some shocking comments." The post further falsely claimed that "this was the first Presidential visit to Shiloh," when, in fact, Shiloh was reportedly visited by both Presidents Reagan and Clinton. [Fox Nation, 4/25/11; The Washington Post, 4/22/11]

Limbaugh: "There's A Racial Component" To The "Chip On [Obama's] Shoulder." On the April 21 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show, Rush Limbaugh asked why Obama "harbor[s] resentment -- why not thank the people whose taxes made possible the Social Security and the Medicare and the food stamps and whatever else" Obama received growing up. Limbaugh further said there is "this chip on [Obama's] shoulder, which got a lot more on it than just this story, I mean there's a racial component, as you know, and other elements." [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 4/21/11]

Fox Promoted "Birther" Myth In At Least 52 Segments Over Two Months. Following potential Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's embrace of theories regarding President Obama's birthplace, Fox News significantly ramped up its coverage of birther conspiracies, devoting nearly two hours and 20 minutes to the issue in the last two months. In about 85 percent of the segments, Fox News hosts either did not challenge or correct false claims about Obama birth that aired on their shows. [Media Matters, 4/27/11]

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