Bill O'Reilly attacked Rev. Wallace Charles Smith, whose church President Obama attended on Easter Sunday, as a “race activist” for claiming that Fox News provides a forum for racially charged statements. In fact, Fox News has a history of hosts and guests who make race-baiting statements, in addition to its relentless promotion of the phony New Black Panthers controversy.
O'Reilly “Offended” By Pastor's Suggestion That Fox Promotes Racism
From the April 26 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: Finally, as you may know, Mr. and Mrs. Obama attended Easter services at the Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington. Here's the problem: The pastor's a guy named Wallace Smith, who is a race activist. Here's what he said in a speech last year.
SMITH [video clip]: When you look at what's going on, it may not be Jim Crow anymore. Now Jim Crow wears blue pinstripes, goes to law school, and carries fancy briefs and cases. And now Jim Crow has become James Crow, Esquire. 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.
O'REILLY: Wow. Pastor Smith apparently believing the American establishment, including some media outlets like FNC, is racist, designed to keep black Americans down. That's an outrageous charge, unless you can prove it. Pastor Smith cannot prove it. He's bloviating -- stirring up alleged bias for absolutely no reason.
So the question becomes: Why would the president of the United States sit in a church run by a guy named Wallace Smith? I can't answer the question, but I'm offended by the pastor's statement about Fox News. I've been here 15 years; I don't know anybody in this organization who's racist. And if Pastor Smith wants to debate it, he's welcome here anytime. But I predict he will not show up on the Factor because he can't back up his racially charged statements. Again, does the pastor deserve being legitimized by the president of the United States? [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 4/26/11]
In Fact, Fox Has A Long History Of Airing Race-Baiting Attacks On Obama
Beck: Obama Satisfying His “Desire For Racial Justice” Though “Intimidation, Vilification, Bullying.” Glenn Beck said on his Fox News show: “We have demonstrated President Obama's desire for racial justice, but how is he setting out to achieve it? Exactly the way a community organizer would: through intimidation, vilification, bullying, a system, an underground shell game.” Beck continued: “Look how he has handled different things. [Henry Louis] Gates -- he calls the cops stupid and racist before he admits, he says, 'I don't know all of the facts.' But he jumps to the conclusion that the cops are racist.” [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 7/23/09]
Beck Called Obama A “Racist” With A “Deep-Seated Hatred For White People.” Discussing on Fox News' Fox & Friends Obama's response to the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Beck asserted that Obama has “a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.” After being reminded that Obama has numerous white staffers, Beck contradicted himself, stating, “I'm not saying that he doesn't like white people. I'm saying he has a problem,” before going on to state, “this guy is, I believe, a racist.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/28/09]
Beck: "[R]acist" Is “Too Small Of A Word” To Describe “Those In Power.” Beck said on his Fox News show that “I have learned a lot. We don't need to call people names. We don't have to. Their words are evidence enough. They cannot make the argument in the open. They know no man of any color would choose to be enslaved, so they have to lie, they have to cheat. I don't think that those in power and those who seek even more power are racists, as I have come to understand that 'racist' is too small of a word. I believe these people will enslave any man -- it doesn't matter what color they are.” [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 7/26/10]
Beck Suggested Obama Doesn't Believe All Men Are Created Equal. After claiming that President Obama “knows” that Arizona police “will act stupidly” and “be racist,” Beck asked, “Does he believe that all men are created equal, endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights?” [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 8/3/10]
Beck Claimed Obama Didn't Want To Meet With BP Chief Because He's A “White CEO,” Says Obama's Comments “Sound Like Racism.” On his Fox News show, Beck misrepresented comments Obama made during a 1995 interview to claim Obama did not want to meet with BP CEO Tony Hayward because he is a “white CEO” and that Obama's comments were “code language” that “sounds like racism,” “stereotyping,” and “profiling” [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 6/14/10]
Tucker Carlson: Obama Used “Racial Anxiety For Political Gain.” On Special Report, Fox News contributor Tucker Carlson criticized Obama's midterm election message, in which Obama told supporters that it “will be up to each of you to make sure that the young people, African-Americans, Latinos, and women who powered our victory in 2008 stand together once again.” After host Bret Baier played a clip of the video, Carlson said: “So, how's this different substantially from Nixon's Southern Strategy? What he's doing is, saying, 'You have reason to fear on racial grounds; therefore, vote for me.' I think he is using racial anxiety for political gain.” [Fox News, Special Report, 4/27/10]
Ingraham: Obama “Channeled His Best Jeremiah Wright Accent” In NAACP Speech. Talking about a speech Obama gave to the NAACP, O'Reilly Factor guest host Laura Ingraham said: “Last night, President Obama spoke to the NAACP and channeled his best Jeremiah Wright accent.” After airing a clip of Obama's remarks, Ingraham added: “Now, why does the first African-American president feel the need to affect an accent that he clearly does not possess? Or is that the way people speak in Honolulu? It's a cheap attempt to pander to an audience that already supports him.” [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 7/17/10]
Kilmeade, Johnson Claimed Obama Was Referring To Racial Segregation With His Car Analogy. Responding to Obama's statement that middle-class families should be “up in front,” while Republicans can “come for the ride, but they've got to sit in back,” Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade asked if Obama was “bringing up imagery of segregation,” while Fox News analyst Peter Johnson Jr. said that Obama was making “a reference to the notion of being in the back of the bus,” adding, “So, now we have a president referring to this kind of malignant, charged era in history.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 10/27/10]
Crowley Claimed Obama's Car Analogy Had “Racial Overtones.” Monica Crowley said Obama's car analogy was “appalling” and that if it had been a Republican president, “there might even be a movement to impeach at this point, but this man gets away with it.” Crowley also said: “I think after the civil rights movement of the 1960s, 'riding in the back' certainly does have some civil rights, some racial overtones to it, and you can't tell me that the president of the United States was not aware of that when he said it.” [Fox News, America Live, 10/27/10]
Fox Host Varney: Obama's Alleged Treatment Of Churchill Bust Due To His Father Being A “Native Kenyan.” From the February 7 edition of Fox News' America Live:
MEGYN KELLY (host): [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. [Fox News, America Live, 2/7/11]
Fox Touted Phony, Racially Charged Scandal, But Largely Ignored Its Debunking. Accusations that President Obama's Justice Department engaged in racially charged “corruption” in the New Black Panther Party case, promoted by right-wing activist J. Christian Adams, were given heavy coverage on Fox News despite the unsubstantiated nature of Adams' charges. When an internal investigation cleared DOJ officials of any wrongdoing or misconduct in that case, Fox News programs devoted just two segments and 88 seconds to the story, compared with the 95 segments and more than eight hours of airtime they devoted to the phony scandal. [Media Matters, 7/16/10, 4/13/11]
- Breitbart, Asman Agreed Obama Is “Defending Racism” In New Black Panthers Case, Which Is “Virtually The Same” As Being Racist. On Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard, Andrew Breitbart agreed with host David Asman, who stated that while it “may or may not be true” that Obama is a racist, “in letting the Black Panthers off,” Obama “is defending racists,” which is “virtually the same, in my mind, as to whether you're a racist or not.” [Fox Business, America's Nightly Scoreboard, 7/6/10]
Fox's Race Baiting Not Limited To Attacks On Obama
Stossel Said “Private Businesses Ought To Get To Discriminate” And “It Should Be Their Right To Be Racist.” On Fox News' America Live, Fox Business Network host John Stossel stated that “it's time now to repeal” the public accommodations sections of the Civil Rights Act. Stossel went on to say that “private businesses ought to get to discriminate” and that “it should be their right to be racist,” adding that he personally would not go into a business that discriminated. [Fox News, America Live, 5/20/10]
Doocy: Sherrod's Comments Were “Exhibit A” Of “What Racism Looks Like.” Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy said that Shirley Sherrod made “a speech to the NAACP that sure sounded racist.” Later, after guest host Alisyn Camerota asserted that Sherrod's remarks are “outrageous, and perhaps everybody needs a refresher course on what racism looks like,” Doocy responded that Sherrod's comments were “Exhibit A.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/20/10]
Crowley: Sherrod May Be Among The “Racists” In The Obama Administration. Discussing Andrew Breitbart's truncated video of Sherrod on The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News contributor Monica Crowley suggested that Sherrod may be among the “radicals, racists, socialists” in the Obama administration. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 7/20/10]
Following Fox's Lead, Right-Wing Media Attack Obama For Attending Shiloh Baptist Church On Easter
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 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. [The Washington Times, 4/26/11]
The following image of an altered presidential seal was posted with Kuhner's column:
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 Smith made the comments in question. In fact, his remarks were made at Eastern University in 2010. From the post:
“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 Nation republished portions of a WRNO blog post, while also linking 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 President Reagan and President Clinton. [Fox Nation, 4/25/11; The Washington Post, 4/22/11]
Breitbart.tv: “Obama's Pastor For Easter Service Compared Rush, Fox News To KKK In Speech Last Year.” In an April 25 post, Breitbart.tv posted video of Smith speaking in 2010. [Breitbart.tv, 4/25/11]