Fox's Bolling Issues Brief, Dishonest Apology For “Hoodlum[s]” In “The Hizzouse” Segment

Eric Bolling apologized Monday night on Fox Business for his story saying that President Obama is hosting “hoodlum[s]” in “the hizzouse”:

BOLLING: One editorial note. On Friday, we did a story about the president meeting with the president of Gabon. We got a little fast and loose with the language, and we know it's been interpreted as being disrespectful, and for that, I'm sorry. We did go a bit too far. More Follow the Money coming up in just a minute.

This is a dishonest apology for several reasons.

First, it's simply not true that the problems on his Friday show consisted of him and his guests getting “a little fast and loose with the language.” Some of the most racially inflammatory language Bolling used on his Friday show was in the two teases for the segment, both of which were apparently scripted and accompanied by equally inflammatory images.

In the tease at the top of the show, he said, “Guess who's coming to dinner? A dictator. Mr. Obama shares a laugh with one of Africa's kleptocrats. It's not the first time he's had a hoodlum in the hizzouse.” These images aired as he spoke:

In the second tease, Bolling said, “Smile for the birdie. Our president's sitting with one of Africa's most wanted. It's not the first time he's had a hood in the big crib.” As he said, “Smile for the birdie,” an image aired of the Gabonese president, Ali Bongo, with a flashing-tooth effect added:

The intro to the segment itself, which lasted more than five minutes, also appeared to be scripted. In it, Bolling said this: “So what's with all the hoods in the hizzy? A month after the White House hosted the rapper Common, who glorifies violence on cops, the president opened his doors to one of Africa's most evil dictators. Here's Ali Bongo, the Gabonese president, who's been accused of human rights violations and plundering billions of his country's dollars.”

Putting together multiple pieces of script that contain racially inflammatory language, two of which were accompanied by fairly elaborate graphics, is not “fast and loose.” The instance in which he goaded Fox Business reporter Sandra Smith into referring to the “White Hizzy” could perhaps be covered by that explanation, but that, too, seemed fairly considered.

Furthermore, Bolling's apology includes a familiar form of equivocation in which Bolling is saying he's “sorry” about the way the language “has been interpreted,” rather than being sorry for the language itself.

The part that really makes it a mockery is this line: “We did go a bit too far.” It was not a “bit too far.” It went a great distance over the line and solidly into unacceptable discourse, and it was widely condemned. The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg titled a post on the subject “Open, and Revolting, Anti-Obama Racism at Fox.”

A dishonest 14-second apology does not resolve this matter.