Fox News has apparently decided it has an ugly story it wants to tell about white victims of black crime, and it's going to keep telling that story even if the facts don't fit.
This month, the network has repeatedly disregarded statements from law enforcement officials to obsess over the supposed racial animus lurking behind recent high profile crimes. Fox's latest attempt to racebait imploded when a victim's family member implored people to “stop making this about race.”
This morning on Fox & Friends, co-host Anna Kooiman interviewed Allen Hills, the great nephew of Delbert Belton, a World War II veteran who was senselessly beaten to death in Spokane last week. Two black teenagers have been arrested in connection with the murder of Belton, who was white.
During the interview, Kooiman asked Hills if he thought the killing of his great uncle “comes down to race.” She continued, “do you think it's the thug lifestyle? Do you think it's the deterioration of the family and a collapsing culture? What's to blame for this?”
In response, Hills said that it “all comes down to parents.” He added, “if I could say this to everybody: stop making this about race. This isn't about race. This is about two punk kids that had no parents, no family, no morals, no nothing. This has nothing to do with the color of their skin.”
In a news brief that ran roughly 20 minutes after the interview, Fox & Friends ran video of Hills saying his family has received threats. Ignoring Hills' statement that the killing had “nothing to do with the color of their skin,” co-host Steve Doocy pointed out that the two people arrested for Belton's murder were “African American teenagers.”
This is at least the third different local crime story Fox News has seized on this month in order to engage in reckless racebaiting. While honing in on these stories, the network has repeatedly drawn lazy, inapt comparisons to the Trayvon Martin killing in order to highlight a supposed double standard among civil rights leaders and media figures.
Following the killing of Oklahoma college student Christopher Lane by three teenagers earlier this month, Fox quickly amplified what it saw as a key racial component of the story. (While Fox and other outlets originally reported Lane was killed by three black teenagers, one of the three suspects arrested in connection with the murder is white.)
Twice in the past week, Oklahoma District Attorney Jason Hicks has appeared on Fox and thrown cold water on the assumption that race was a motivating factor in Lane's killing. On August 22, Hicks appeared on On The Record with Greta Van Susteren and explained that based on all of the evidence, there is nothing “to indicate that the killing of Christopher Lane was related to either his race or to his nationality.”
Despite Hicks' clear refutation of a supposed racial motivation in the case, Fox hosts have nonetheless continued to inject race into their coverage of the story. The next day, apparently convinced he would know better than the District Attorney, Fox host Eric Bolling declared on The Five that Lane's murder was “likely motivated by race.”
Hicks reiterated the lack of a racial factor in the crime yesterday on Fox News Sunday. Asked by host Chris Wallace why he did not plan to “treat this as a race-related crime,” Hicks again explained that there's no evidence “that Christopher Lane was killed simply because of his nationality or because of his race.”
Following Hicks' appearance, Fox's America's News HQ highlighted his comments about the lack of evidence that race was a factor in Lane's murder, but nonetheless proceeded to run a segment mulling over “whether it was motivated by race or by hate.”
Fox's August racebaiting template was established a few weeks ago when video of three teenagers beating up another student on a school bus made national headlines. Much of Fox News' coverage of the story focused on race -- the alleged perpetrators were black, while the victim was white -- with Steve Doocy boasting that the network was the only one to bring race “to the forefront.”
But Fox bringing race “to the forefront” was nothing to brag about. The day before Doocy's boast, Robert Vincent, the police chief of the Florida town where the beating occurred, was interviewed on Fox & Friends. Co-host Peter Johnson Jr. relayed a question that he said had been emailed to the show by viewers “by the dozens, if not by the hundreds. Was this a racially motivated crime? Did you investigate this crime as a biased crime in Gulfport?”
Vincent explained that “the race difference between the victim and the defendants in this case is purely coincidental, there is absolutely no indication that race was a motivator in the attack.”
Undeterred, Johnson Jr. then asked, “did you interview the suspects as to whether or not they had a racial motive or bias?” In response, Vincent explained again, “I can confirm again for you that there is no evidence that race was a motivator in this case.”
That's three times in less than month that Fox has focused on a local crime story involving a white victim and declared that race was an important factor in the story only to be told by law enforcement or a victim's family member that race had nothing to do it.