Fox News has reduced President Obama's recent comments about the complex role of race in America to the question of whether or not it was appropriate for him to use the word “nigger” during that discussion, with one network contributor claiming this indicated Obama is the “rapper in chief.”
Obama discussed the history of racism in America during an interview with the comedian Marc Maron for his WTF podcast, saying:
OBAMA: The legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, discrimination in almost every institution of our lives -- that casts a long shadow, and that's still part of our DNA that's passed on. We're not cured of it.
OBAMA: Racism. We are not cured of --
OBAMA: And it's not just a matter of it not being polite to say nigger in public. That's not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It's not just a matter of overt discrimination. Societies don't overnight completely erase everything that happened two to 300 years prior.
Much of the media have highlighted Obama's use of “the n-word” in their reports on his comments. But Fox in particular has focused its discussion of the interview almost solely on the propriety of his use of the word.
During a segment on America's Newsroom, anchor Bill Hemmer asked if Obama's use of the word was “too blunt” and asked if it was “necessary.” Contributor Deneen Borelli said Obama had “lowered the stature” of his office with his “insane, crazy comment” and termed him the “rapper in chief.”
HEMMER: Touchy, touchy, touchy deal here. Was it necessary?
BORELLI: We're talking about the president of the United States using the “n-word,” Bill. He has really dragged in the gutter speak of rap music. So now he is the first president of rap, of street? Come on, he has lowered the stature of the high office of the president of the United States and the question is why did he do this? ...
You see all of the people coming together in the streets of Charleston, South Carolina, black, white and otherwise, coming together, praying, supporting each other. And here you have the president make this insane, crazy comment of using the “n-word” to really distract. This is all a distraction, grand distraction to take away from the people uniting and then the president in chief, the rapper in chief, now further dividing our country. I find it outrageous.
Hemmer later declared, “As a white American, my entire life I know that that is an electric word and you stay away from it,” adding, “this is something that we thought was entirely off limits and now you have the president using it.”
Fox & Friends also fixated on Obama's language, with co-host Steve Doocy saying that “today people are going to be talking, Bret, about whether or not it is appropriate for the president to use the 'n-word' and whether or not it is beneath the dignity of his office.”