Howard Dean and Joan Walsh recently called out Fox News, criticizing what they called its “racist” handling of the deceptively edited Shirley Sherrod video clip. Indeed, Fox News and its personalities have a long history of aggressive race-baiting and racially charged commentary.
[NOTE: This item has been updated to include racially charged commentary by Fox Business host Eric Bolling]
Howard Dean: Fox acted “absolutely racist.” In a July 25 appearance on Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday, former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean told host Chris Wallace: “Let's just be blunt about this. I don't think Newt Gingrich is a racist, and you're certainly not a racist, but I think Fox News did something that was absolutely racist. They took a -- they had an obligation to find out what was really in the [Sherrod] clip. They have been pushing a theme of black racism with this phony Black Panther crap and this [Sherrod] business and [Justice Sonia] Sotomayor and all this other stuff.”
Walsh: “It's true” that Sherrod is a victim of Fox racism. On the July 25 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources, Walsh, Salon.com editor in chief, stated of Sherrod: “I'm not giving her a pass, but I think the idea that she shouldn't be able to say Fox or Breitbart is racist is preposterous. She gets to say that because it's true, and because, from her vantage point, it's especially true.”
Walsh describes “Fox News's 50-state Southern strategy.” In a July 25 Salon.com post, Walsh noted that Fox News is hyping “one 'scary black people' and 'Obama's a racist' story after another” and wrote: “Fox News has, sadly, become the purveyor of a 50-state 'Southern strategy,' the plan perfected by Richard Nixon to use race to scare Southern Democrats into becoming Republicans by insisting the other party wasn't merely trying to fight racism, but give blacks advantages over whites (Fox News boss Roger Ailes, of course, famously worked for Nixon).”
Fox's reaction to Breitbart's bogus video: “Racist” Sherrod “must resign.” On the July 19 edition of his show, Bill O'Reilly played the out-of-context clip of Sherrod and said: "[T]hat is simply unacceptable. And Ms. Sherrod must resign immediately." Sean Hannity asserted that Sherrod's comments were "[j]ust the latest in a series of racial incidents." Guest-hosting Fox News' On the Record, Dana Perino suggested Sherrod's remarks were racist, saying, “The video adds fuel to a growing controversy after the NAACP approved a resolution condemning the tea party movement for not denouncing racist members.” The next morning, Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy said that 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 are “Exhibit A.”
Even after Breitbart's racism smear was debunked, some Fox News personalities stayed on the attack. After the full video of Sherrod's remarks surfaced, indicating that her story was one of racial reconciliation rather than discrimination, some Fox News figures continued to attack Sherrod. Hannity asserted: “She still admits that she was discriminating against this white farmer.” On Fox & Friends, guest host Juliet Huddy said that there “are things that I think are incriminating” in the full video of Sherrod's remarks that “I do think raise a lot of questions about whether or not she should be in the position that she held in the first place.” Fox News contributor Dick Morris suggested that keeping Sherrod at the USDA would represent a “huge problem” for President Obama, adding, “It's like he has Reverend Wright on his staff.” On The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News contributor Monica Crowley suggested that Sherrod may be among “radicals, racists, socialists” in the Obama administration.
Fox relentlessly pushes phony New Black Panthers scandal and uses it as an excuse for race-baiting. Fox News has hyped the manufactured scandal surrounding the New Black Panther Party more than 100 times. On America's Newsroom, Fox's Peter Johnson Jr. responded to a question from co-host Megyn Kelly about “what ... we know about [Attorney General] Eric Holder and his history of prosecuting this kind of case,” by saying that “at Columbia college, he [Holder] was active in black student association[s] there” and that “at some point, there had been a takeover of the dean's office at Columbia.” Morris used the New Black Panthers scandal to declare that Obama is “stereotyping himself as a racial president.”
Fox baselessly links Obama and Holder to New Black Panthers case. Fox News figures baselessly asserted that Obama and Holder were involved in the Justice Department's decision in the New Black Panthers case. Kelly teased an interview with former Bush DOJ official Hans von Spakovsky by saying: "[S]erious allegations today that the decision to drop the now-infamous voter-intimidation case against members of the New Black Panther Party may have reached all the way to the White House." Beck stated that “Obama comes in and decides suddenly in May of 2009 to drop the case.” O'Reilly said Holder's “failure to prosecute is simply a dereliction of his sworn duty.” Doocy asserted that “the attorney general drop[ped]” the charges against the New Black Panthers. And on Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard, host David Asman claimed that Obama “is defending racists in ... letting the Black Panthers off.” In fact, J. Christian Adams, the conservative activist who has pushed the phony story testified that he had no “indication” higher-ups were involved in the decision.
In addition to their racially charged coverage of the Sherrod tape and New Black Panthers case, as highlighted by Dean and Walsh, Fox's employees have relentlessly stoked racial tensions on Fox News.
Fox News' race problem starts at the very top. Its parent company's chairman and CEO, Rupert Murdoch, baselessly claimed that Obama made a “very racist comment” and that Glenn Beck's characterization of Obama as a “racist” was “right.” Murdoch also hired Roger Ailes as Fox News Channel president despite his prior history of using race for political gain.
Murdoch says Beck's “racist” comment “was right.” Responding to Beck's description of Obama as a “racist” who has “a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture,” Murdoch said in a November 6, 2009, interview with Sky News Australia that while that “was something which perhaps shouldn't have been said about the president, but if you actually assess what he was talking about, he was right.” Murdoch also claimed that Obama “did make a very racist comment.” A News Corp. spokesperson reportedly later told Politico that Murdoch “does not at all, for a minute, think the president is a racist.”
When asked what “very racist comment” he was referring to, Murdoch says he “denied that absolutely.” On November 19, 2009, Media Matters asked Murdoch to explain what he meant by his remark that Obama made a “very racist comment.” Murdoch said, “I denied that absolutely.” He added: “I don't believe he's a racist.”
Before launching Fox News Channel, Ailes worked as a media consultant for several Republican campaigns in which evidence shows he appealed to racial fears and biases for political gain, and as executive producer for Rush Limbaugh's television show, during which Limbaugh made controversial statements about race. Under Ailes, Fox News has routinely engaged in race-baiting, as evidenced by the comments of Beck, O'Reilly, Hannity, and other Fox News personalities.
As Nixon campaign consultant, Ailes reportedly looked for a “Wallaceite cab-driver” to bring up race at televised town hall meetings. As media consultant for Richard Nixon's 1968 presidential campaign, Ailes directed televised town hall meetings in which Nixon answered questions from a supportive audience. According to historian Rick Perlstein, Ailes suggested Nixon take a question from a “good, mean, Wallaceite cab-driver. Wouldn't that be great? Some guy to sit there and say, 'Awright, Mac, what about these niggers?' ” Perlstein wrote, “Nixon then could abhor the uncivility of the words, while endorsing a 'moderate' version of the opinion. Ailes walked up and down a nearby taxi stand until he found a cabbie who fit the bill.”
Ailes on 1988 strategy against Dukakis: “The only question is whether we depict Willie Horton with a knife in his hand or without it.” Along with Lee Atwater, Ailes was credited with helping George H.W. Bush come from behind to beat Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis in the 1988 presidential election. Part of that winning strategy included portraying Dukakis as “soft on crime” and connecting him with convicted felon Willie Horton. Horton committed assault, armed robbery, and rape in Maryland during a weekend furlough -- a program granting temporary release to prisoners that Dukakis supported but was created under the previous governor. While the Bush campaign did not produce the Horton ad that was widely criticized as “racist,” Ailes did produce the "Revolving Door" ad that similarly attacked Dukakis for the furlough program. The campaign also created "The Risk," a negative ad that referenced “a furlough escapee” who “terrorized a Maryland couple.” Ailes has been quoted as saying, “The only question is whether we depict Willie Horton with a knife in his hand or without it.”
Ailes was media consultant for 1989 Giuliani campaign, whose attacks on Dinkins “prey[ed] upon the fears of the Jewish community.” While Ailes was media consultant for Rudy Giuliani's first campaign for New York City mayor, the campaign placed an ad in a prominent Yiddish newspaper, The Algemeiner Journal, that featured an image of Giuliani's opponent David Dinkins -- who would become New York City's first African-American mayor -- alongside Jesse Jackson. The ad also displayed a photo of Giuliani with President George H.W. Bush, with the headline reading: ''Let the people of New York choose their own destiny" [New York Times, 9/30/1989]. Howard Kurtz reported that “Ira Silverman, vice president of the American Jewish Committee, said the Giuliani ad seemed a 'legitimate campaign tactic,' but said that he found it 'troubling' because it 'preys upon the fears of the Jewish community' ” [Washington Post, 9/29/1989]. National Public Radio has further reported: “Giuliani also tagged Dinkins as a 'Jesse Jackson Democrat.' That was an appeal to the city's large contingent of Jewish voters, who had despised Jackson ever since he used an anti-Semitic epithet to describe New York City. In this context, Giuliani's signature issue of crime took on racial overtones, says political consultant Norman Adler.” One of Giuliani's ads featured a New Yorker stating, “I'm tired of living in New York and being scared.”
Ailes produced Limbaugh's television show. Ailes served as executive producer for Limbaugh's syndicated television show, which ran from 1992 to 1996. On his TV show, in response to Spike Lee's recommendation that African-American children be permitted to skip school to view Malcolm X, Limbaugh once said: “Spike, if you're going to do that, let's complete the education experience. You should tell them that they should loot the theater and then blow it up on their way out” [Nexis transcript of Limbaugh's show on October 29, 1992]. And after Sen. Strom Thurmond -- who in 1948 ran for president on a States Rights Democratic Party (Dixiecrat) platform that advocated racial segregation -- told a gay service member during a 1993 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on gays in the military, “Your lifestyle is not normal,” and asked if he had every sought psychiatric help, Limbaugh stated of Thurmond: “He is not encumbered by trying to be politically correct. He's not encumbered by all of the -- the so-called new niceties and proprieties. He just says it, and if you want to know what America used to be -- and a lot of people wish it still were -- then you listen to Strom Thurmond.” Limbaugh added, “He got a standing ovation. Now people -- people applauded that. People applaud -- because -- you know, Strom Thurmond can say it because he's 90 years old and people say, Ah, he's just an old coot. He's from the old days,' and so forth. But that's what most people think. They just don't have the guts to say it. That's why they applaud when somebody does say it that directly and that simply” [Nexis transcript of Limbaugh's show, May 11, 1993].
Beck's comment that Obama is a “racist” with a “deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture” was one in a long line of similar racially charged remarks. In fact, Beck's comment followed on the heels of his claim that Obama has a “desire for racial justice” that he is “setting out to achieve” through “intimidation, vilification, bullying, a system, an underground shell game.”
Beck was hired by News Corp. in spite of a number of racially insensitive comments he had previously made, including claiming in 2007 that he “can't win” because he is “American,” “white,” “Christian,” and “conservative.” And on the January 25, 2008, edition of his CNN Headline News show, Beck claimed of the Democratic primaries: "[I]f Hillary Clinton wants to be consistent, I believe, affirmative action, she should give Barack Obama an additional 5 percentage points just for the years of oppression."
Beck's racially charged statements on Fox News programs include:
Beck calls Obama a “racist” with “a deep-seated hatred for white people.” During the week of July 23, 2009, Beck put forth a steady stream of race-baiting and race-based fearmongering on his Fox News show. Beck's comments culminated in his remarks that Obama “has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture” and “is, I believe, a racist,” a statement he subsequently claimed to stand by, in spite of growing criticism.
Fox News defends Beck's claim that Obama is a racist. Hannity and Ailes joined Murdoch in defending Beck's comment that Obama is a “racist.” Discussing Beck's comment, Hannity stated, “When the president hangs out with Jeremiah Wright for 20 years ... can one conclude that there are issues with the president?” Ailes stated: “I don't -- I think he speaks English. I don't know, but I mean, I don't misinterpret any of his words. He did say one unfortunate thing, which he apologized for, but that happens in live television.” Ailes did not specify which of Beck's assertions he was referring to, but assuming that Ailes was referring to Beck's claim that Obama is “a racist,” the claim that Beck “apologized” for the remark is false. In fact, Beck asserted that “it is a serious question” and apologized only for “the way it was phrased,” noting that “living in a sound bite world [is] really a nasty place to live.”
Beck warns of progressives' coming “race war.” On July 16, Beck stated that progressives are “poking, poking, poking, poking, poking. They need people to react. They need anger in the streets.” He later stated: "[T]hey need a race war or any kind of war pulling each other apart. Divided we will fall."
Beck attacks Hispanic group NCLR. On April 19, Beck attacked the National Council of La Raza, suggesting it is similar to the “bloodthirsty,” “notoriously violent drug gang” MS-13. Beck also equated NCLR to “neo-Nazis” and said the group is “a danger to society.”
Beck says Obama's agenda is driven by “reparations” and the desire to “settle old racial scores.” On July 23, 2009, Beck said: “Everything that is getting pushed through Congress, including this health care bill, are transforming America, and they are all driven by President Obama's thinking on one idea: reparations.” Beck went on to state: “These massive programs are Obama-brand reparations -- or in presidential speak -- leveling out the playing field.” Beck also said Obama's goal is “creating a new America, a new model, a model that will settle old racial scores through new social justice.”
Beck: “I'm tired of the race thing,” doesn't “think the race thing works anymore.” On the September 11, 2009, edition of The O'Reilly Factor, Beck claimed the he was “tired of the race thing.” He continued: “I don't think the race thing works anymore.” O'Reilly replied: “It works in the hip hop community.”
Beck: Obama satisfying his “desire for racial justice” though “intimidation, vilification, bullying.” On July 27, 2009, Beck said: “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.”
Beck wonders why black people identify as black since he doesn't identify as white. During a panel discussion, Beck asked the studio audience: “How many people here identify themselves as African-Americans? Why?” He added: “Why not identify yourself as Americans?” After a panelist said, “But people can look at you and tell you're black, you can't escape that,” Beck said, “Yeah, but I don't identify myself as white or a white American.”
Beck attacks India, saying he wants the “American lifestyle” with “flush toilets.” On December 9, 2009, Beck claimed that American health care is superior because we have “high-tech hospitals and doctors who studied at Harvard rather than Gajra Raja medical school.” He also said that American homes have “something that we in America like to call flush toilets” and said the Ganges River “sounds like a disease.” Beck apologized for his comments several days later.
Beck frequently claims things are “slavery” or will lead to slavery. Beck has stated that recipients of federal aid have been “taught to be slaves”; said that “illegal immigration is modern-day slavery”; asserted that progressive policies cause “slavery to government, welfare, affirmative action, regulation, control”; repeatedly said that the stimulus bill “is slavery”; and ranted that Obama is “addicting this country to heroin -- the heroin that is government slavery” and that “the government's irresponsible spending is turning us into slaves.”
Beck frequently attempts to co-opt the legacy of the civil rights movement. Beck routinely uses both the civil rights movement and its rhetoric for his own political agenda, such as his claims that his August 28 rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial will “reclaim the civil rights movement” and that his followers “are the inheritors and protectors of the civil rights movement.”
O'Reilly, Fox News' most popular host, is no stranger to racial controversy.
O'Reilly warned of immigration bill's “unintended consequences” -- changing the ethnic landscape. Discussing Senate negotiations on a bipartisan immigration bill, O'Reilly asserted on his Fox News show that the bill “drastically alters the United States of America,” adding that “there will be unintended consequences all over the place. The new census report says America's now one-third minority.” He continued, “And in four states -- California, New Mexico, Texas, and Hawaii -- whites are the minority.” O'Reilly has also suggested that “lefty zealots” believe that “the white Christians who hold power must be swept out by a new multicultural tide, a rainbow coalition, if you will.”
O'Reilly: “It is not a stretch to say MoveOn is the new Klan.” Discussing MoveOn.org's "Petition Against Fox's Racist & Hate-Filled Smears" during the 2008 presidential campaign, O'Reilly said: “Obama must condemn organizations like MoveOn and the Daily Kos if he truly wants to run without a race component. These are the people that are dividing Americans along racial lines. It is not a stretch to say MoveOn is the new Klan.”
O'Reilly likened Newsweek hiring Moulitsas to “hiring David Duke.” Talking about Newsweek's decision to hire Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas as a regular contributor, O'Reilly said: "[T]hat's like hiring David Duke. Again, I use Duke too much, but I have to -- the level of hatred coming out of that website is unprecedented."
O'Reilly: “Most Americans” don't want “poor Mexican people ... clustering in neighborhoods and changing the tempo of the whole neighborhood.” O'Reilly asserted that “despite the heated rhetoric” regarding immigration, “most Americans ... don't want to hurt any poor Mexican people. ... [T]hey want to know who they are. They want to know where they are, what they're doing. They don't want them clustering in neighborhoods and changing the tempo of the whole neighborhood.”
O'Reilly: “white Americans are terrified” to complement blacks out of fear “they may be taken as condescension.” During a conversation about former President George W. Bush's description of Obama as “articulate,” O'Reilly told then-Temple University professor Marc Lamont Hill: “Instead of black and white Americans coming together, white Americans are terrified. They're terrified. Now we can't even say you're articulate? We can't even give you guys compliments because they may be taken as condescension?”
O'Reilly tells “race hustlers” and “race baiters” to “watch it.” Discussing what he claimed to be the “white backlash against Reverend [Jeremiah] Wright and racist accusations,” O'Reilly asserted that “millions of Americans of all colors are fed up with race-baiters and accusations of racism. This vile stuff has been going on far too long. And now with the Wright controversy, critical mass has been reached.” O'Reilly then identified those he deemed to be “race hustlers” and “race-baiters” and declared: “You better watch it. We got your number. And the gloves are off.” O'Reilly later added: “The result of all this garbage is that millions of white Americans will no longer even think about discussing race with blacks.”
Media Matters named Hannity the 2008 Misinformer of the Year in part because of his racially charged attacks on President Obama and Michelle Obama. In these attacks, Hannity repeatedly referenced Wright, going so far as to say, “I think he [Obama] is Reverend Wright.”
Hannity just can't “get over” his Rev. Wright obsession. Hannity mentioned Wright on at least 45 different episodes of his Fox News show between Obama's inauguration and July 31, 2009. Indeed, his repeated references to Wright have prompted his own guests to comment, “You always want to bring up Reverend Wright,” and “Sean, you need to get over it.”
Years later, Hannity and his guests still using Rev. Wright to attack Obama. Discussing the NAACP's “standard” for condemning racism in the tea party, Hannity stated: "[W]ould that standard apply to Barack Obama in this sense -- sitting in Jeremiah Wright's church?" Tucker Carlson stated on Hannity that during the 2008 election, the controversy surrounding Wright was the “one story” that could have destroyed Obama and compared Wright to a Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan. Hannity also hosted WorldNetDaily's Jesse Peterson, who said Obama is “destroying America” and that “Obama in all honesty is the Congressional Black Caucus, he is Louis Farrakhan, he is Reverend Wright, his minister. He is all of them wrapped up in one,” and “if we allow this health care thing to happen, he's going to turn America into Detroit.”
Hannity: “Nobody in the Republican Party” is bringing up race. On the October 9, 2008, edition of Fox News' now-defunct Hannity & Colmes, Hannity said of Sarah Palin: "[T]here are some extreme, left-wing Democratic lawmakers accusing her of resorting to race tactics on the campaign trail. Why? Palin recently referred to Barack Obama as, quote, 'not one of us,' prompting New York Congressman Greg Meeks to say the following, quote: 'They know they can't win on issues, so the last resort they have is race and fear.' " Hannity went on to assert: “If it wasn't so ridiculously idiotic and absurd, it'd be funny. But -- you know, but this -- this sounds a lot like Barack Obama: 'They're going to tell you I have a funny name, and I don't look like those guys on the currency. And they're going to say, 'Oh, he's black?' ” Hannity added: “Nobody in the Republican Party is bringing this up except him and his supporters.”
Hannity repeatedly distorted Michelle Obama's 1985 thesis to claim she has divisive views on race. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Hannity repeatedly distorted Michelle Obama's 1985 senior thesis from Princeton University, suggesting that she was asserting her own views when she wrote that "[i]t is possible that Black individuals either chose to or felt pressure to come together with other Blacks on campus because of the belief that Blacks must join in solidarity to combat a White oppressor." As the context of the quote makes clear, however, she was purporting to document attitudes among black Princeton alumni who attended the school in the '70s and not expressing her own opinions. Hannity employed this distortion at one point to ask, “Do the Obamas have a race problem of their own?”
After asking whether the Obamas “have a race problem of their own,” Hannity continued to smear them. Hannity falsely asserted that Wright “honored [Nation of Islam leader Louis] Farrakhan for lifetime achievement, saying, quote, 'He truly epitomized greatness.' ” In fact, the managing editor of a magazine founded by the church wrote those words, not the minister. Hannity also stated that Michelle Obama “wrote in her [undergraduate] thesis that we see at Princeton, you know, the belief -- 'because of the belief that blacks must join in solidarity to combat a white oppressor.' ” However, as the full context of the passage makes clear, she was discussing views that black students who attended Princeton in the 1970s may have held, not asserting her own views.
Ignoring Obama's statement on award, Hannity suggested Obama “associated” himself with Farrakhan. Hannity suggested that Obama had “associated” himself with Farrakhan, who had received an award from a magazine founded by Obama's church. But Hannity, who described Farrakhan as “an anti-Semite racist,” did not note that Obama issued a statement “condemn[ing]” Farrakhan's “anti-Semitic statements” and saying of the award: "[I]t is not a decision with which I agree."
Hannity smeared Gates as anti-white radical by distorting 1994 interview. Hannity repeatedly misrepresented a 1994 interview Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. gave on C-SPAN to suggest that Gates had recently said he agreed with Malcolm X that the “white man was the devil” and to smear Gates as “extreme” and a “radical.” In fact, in that interview, Gates was talking about events in 1959, specifically his witnessing his mother's positive reaction to a documentary they watched together about Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam.
Hannity falsely suggested Reich proposed excluding white males from stimulus package. Hannity joined Michelle Malkin and Limbaugh in falsely suggesting that former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, speaking at a congressional forum, favored excluding white males from jobs created by the economic stimulus package. Hannity claimed that Reich “expressed concern that the current [stimulus] package is, well, too inclusive.” After airing a clip of Reich in which Reich addressed concerns from women's advocacy groups and others about the composition of the proposed stimulus, Hannity stated: “Now here I thought the package was intended for everybody. So aren't pink slips color blind?” In fact, Reich repeatedly stated that he favored a stimulus plan that “includ[es] women and minorities, and the long-term unemployed” in addition to skilled professionals and white male construction workers, not one that is solely limited to them.
Morris: “Nobody on the right wing has criticized Obama over race. There isn't a vestige of that.” Morris called charges of right-wing racism “ridiculous” and claimed that “nobody on the right wing has criticized Obama over race. There isn't a vestige of that.” When Hannity asked Morris about a Politico article headlined, “Dems see race factor for Obama foes,” Morris replied: “They wish.”
Morris: If not for Sen. Clinton, Americans would be afraid of “the first black man ... running for president.” Referring to Obama in 2007, Morris said: “You have to ask yourself, the first black man is running for president and nobody's afraid of him, because everybody's afraid of Hillary.”
Morris: “A racist is somebody who is winning an argument with a liberal.” Commenting on Journolist emails, Morris suggested that one email written by The Washington Independent's Spencer Ackerman, in which Ackerman suggested calling right-wing commentators racist, showed that “a racist is somebody who is winning an argument with a liberal.”
Fox Business ignores Imus' inflammatory rhetoric in choosing to simulcast radio program. In 2007, after Imus referred to the Rutgers University women's basketball team as “nappy-headed hos,” MSNBC dropped its simulcast of Imus' radio program, and CBS eventually fired him from that program. Imus' remarks were part of a long history of inflammatory commentary on his show: he previously called Hillary Clinton “that buck-toothed witch, Satan” and referred to the “Jewish management” of CBS radio as “money-grubbing bastards.” Despite his history of making such comments and tolerating such comments from his co-hosts and guests, Fox Business began simulcasting Imus' radio program in October.
John Gibson previously hosted Fox News' The Big Story with John Gibson where he once encouraged his viewers to “make more babies” and then fearmongered about the birthrates of immigrants in Europe. Gibson also has a history of making inflammatory and racially insensitive comments on his radio show, which Fox News Radio continues to broadcast.
Gibson implored viewers to "[m]ake more babies" while discussing birthrates by race in U.S. and Europe. Gibson advised viewers during the “My Word” segment of his Fox News program to "[d]o your duty. Make more babies." He then cited an article that reported nearly half of all children under the age of five in the United States are minorities. Gibson added: “By far, the greatest number [of children under five] are Hispanic. You know what that means? Twenty-five years and the majority of the population is Hispanic.” Gibson later said: “Now, in this country, European ancestry people, white people, are having kids at the rate that does sustain the population. It grows a bit. That compares to Europe where the birth rate is in the negative zone. They are not having enough babies to sustain their population. Consequently, they are inviting in more and more immigrants every year to take care of things and those immigrants are having way more babies than the native population, hence Eurabia.” After discusing Russia's projected decline in population, Gibson said, “To put it bluntly, we need more babies.” Gibson claimed: “So far, we are doing our part here in America but Hispanics can't carry the whole load. The rest of you, get busy. Make babies, or put another way -- a slogan for our times: 'procreation not recreation'.”
Gibson responded to criticism of “make more babies” remarks by invoking Europe's rising Muslim population. Gibson subsequently claimed on Fox that there had been "[s]ome misunderstandings" regarding his “make more babies” comments, adding that he's “been accused of being a racist.” Gibson explained: “My concern was simply that I didn't want America to become Europe, where the birth rate is so low the continent is fast being populated by immigrants, mainly from Muslim countries, whose birth rate is very high.”
Stossel calls for repeal of public accommodations section of Civil Rights Act. On America Live, 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.”
Stossel defends his remarks. In a May 25 post to his Fox Business blog, Stossel wrote that “two other provisions -- which ban private companies from discriminating -- are a mistake. They violate individuals' freedom to decide with whom to associate, and what to do with one's own property.” He further wrote: “Instead of just eliminating segregation, the Civil Rights Act imposed mandatory association. Rand Paul had it right. Neither mandatory segregation, nor mandatory association, is appropriate in a free society.”
Ingraham: The Obama administration has “set back race relations in this country perhaps a generation.” Discussing the Sherrod tape, Laura Ingraham said: “This president was ushered into office with this great media concoction -- and unjustified -- that he was going to be some racial healer.” She went on to say: “I believe much of what's been done in this administration unfortunately has set back race relations in this country perhaps a generation. I predicted that would happen a year ago on my radio show, and I stand by that today.”
Guest-hosting O'Reilly, Ingraham claims Obama “channeled his best Jeremiah Wright accent” in NAACP speech. Talking about a speech Obama gave to the NAACP, 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 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.”
Ingraham: Democrats “always go back to the well of race.” Ingraham expressed disbelief that there are Americans who are “deeply anxiety ridden” about the fact “that an African-American man is president of the United States,” asking, “Who are these people?” Ingraham went on to say that “I'm sure there are bad apples in every crowd,” but that, in the end, Democrats “always go back to the well of race.”
Ingraham: Obama “goes to the race card.” Discussing Obama's "Vote 2010" ad, in which Obama tells 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,” Ingraham asked: “What's with the racially charged rallying cry?” adding that it showed Obama “doesn't have any other cards to throw down so he goes to the race card.” Guest Mary Katharine Ham similarly claimed that Obama was making a “race-based pitch to his voters.”
Mark Fuhrman, a former officer in the Los Angeles Police Department, was discredited for his role in the O.J. Simpson murder trial; after he had retired from the LAPD, Fuhrman pleaded no contest to a perjury charge in which he was accused of lying under oath about using a racial slur. Fox News subsequently hired Fuhrman as a Fox News contributor and has turned to him to discuss such racially charged topics as Gates' arrest.
Fuhrman on “people” he “dealt with ... for 20 years”: “They will kill somebody and go have some chicken at KFC.” Fuhrman has asserted that the type of “people” he “dealt with ... for 20 years” will “kill somebody and go have some chicken at KFC. You will catch them eating chicken and drinking a beer after they just murdered three people.” Fuhrman added that “these people are out there. They're all over the place.” Later in the broadcast, Alan Colmes challenged Fuhrman on his comments, asking him: "[Y]ou said, in the last segment, that these people will go and kill someone and go have chicken at KFC -- who are you talking about?" Fuhrman replied that he was “talking about a murderer, whether they're white, black, or Caucasian; or they're Mexican. It doesn't make any difference.” Colmes persisted, asking, "[D]o you think that comment could be interpreted as a racist comment -- they go have chicken at KFC?" Fuhrman replied that he “used to eat chicken at KFC,” then accused Colmes of having “a chip on your shoulder.” Fuhrman continued: “The problem is, Alan, is you're talking about things that you don't have any knowledge of. None. You've never been on the street. You've never been out there.” Fuhrman concluded: “This is O.J. Simpson. He loves you right now -- I hope you like that -- because you are doing exactly what he wants. You are flipping everything around to 1994 where he got a bum rap because of racism.”
Peterson: “I think we all agree that Barack Obama was elected by, mostly by black racists and white guilty people.” In an appearance on the February 3, 2009 edition of Fox News' Hannity, Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson stated: “I think we all agree that Barack Obama was elected by, mostly by black racists and white guilty people.” He further claimed that “most black Americans -- 96% of them -- are racist.” Peterson then suggested that people are “not going to be able to speak out against [Obama] at all unless you're being -- you will be called a racist.”
Peterson: Most blacks “lack moral character,” Katrina victims “turned the [Super]Dome into a ghetto.” Discussing the controversy surrounding remarks by nationally syndicated radio host Bill Bennett linking crime rates to abortions by blacks, Peterson argued that Bennett's remarks were simply “an attempt by the liberals to prevent white, conservative Republicans from speaking the truth about black America.” Peterson then suggested that “the root cause of crime is a lack of moral character.” He explained that “crime and out-of-wedlock birth, black folks having babies without being married, and stuff like that is out of control.” According to Peterson, “Not all ... but most of them lack moral character. Look what they did to the [Louisiana Super]dome. In three days, they turned the Dome into a ghetto.”
Carlson: When Dems say Reid supports civil rights, “what they're saying is he's for racial set-asides.” On Happening Now, discussing 2008 comments by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Carlson said that he was “amazed by the number of Democrats, though, you hear saying we support Reid because he supports civil rights -- as if his opponents don't support civil rights.” Carlson then claimed that “what they're saying is he's for racial set-asides, therefore, given that pay-off, he gets a pass when he uses the phrase 'negro dialect.' ”
Carlson compares Obama video to “Nixon's Southern Strategy.” On Special Report, Carlson criticized Obama's “Vote 2010” message. After host Bret Bair played a clip of the ad, Carlson said: “So how is 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.”
Goldberg claimed that “left-wingers” “threw Oreo cookies” at Michael Steele. On The O'Reilly Factor, Bernard Goldberg revived the claim that, in 2002, Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, an African-American, had Oreo cookies thrown at him. In fact, Steele, who was running for Maryland lieutenant governor at the time of the alleged incident, Robert Erlich, Steele's then-running mate, and Paul Schurick, Erlich's then-spokesman, have recounted several different -- sometimes contradictory -- versions of the alleged incident. Indeed, in November 2002, Steele reportedly speculated that Oreos allegedly present at the debate may just have been “someone having their snack.”
Goldberg: Liberals “love the fact” Obama is black because if “you criticize his policies, you run the risk of being called ... a racist.” Goldberg suggested that “an awful lot of liberals, who supposedly don't want to see race in anything, they love the fact that Barack Obama's a black man because -- in addition to the historical significance -- because anytime you criticize his policies, you run the risk of being called by them a racist.”
Fox Business host Eric Bolling has made a number of unacceptable and bizarre racially charged comments.
Bolling: “What's With All The Hoods In The Hizzy?” During the June 10 edition of his Fox Business show, Follow the Money, Bolling teased a segment about Obama hosting Ali Bongo Ondimba, president of Gabon, by saying: “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.” In a subsequent tease, Bolling said, “Smile for the birdie,” while footage of a smiling Bongo with a flashing tooth, apparently made to resemble a gold-plated tooth, was shown on-air. Bolling continued: “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.” Footage of rapper Common appeared on air as Bolling spoke. Bolling began the actual segment by saying: “So what's with all the hoods in the hizzy?” [Fox Business, Follow the Money, 6/10/11, via Media Matters]
Bolling Tweet: Obama Is “Chugging 40's” In Ireland “While Tornadoes Ravage MO.” Promoting the May 23 edition of his Fox Business show, Bolling wrote on his Twitter feed: “Obama chugging 40's in IRE while tornadoes ravage MO. Very intense show tonight. Beck and Mike Gallager, Rep...” [Eric Bolling, Twitter, 5/23/11]
Bolling On Fox: Obama Was “Chugging A Few 40's” Instead Of Responding To Joplin Disaster. Bolling commented on his Fox Business show:
BOLLING: [N]ow, tornadoes devastating the heartland, killing scores, and leveling just about every building in Joplin, Missouri -- Mr. Obama, you've decided that chugging a few 40's and rediscovering you're Irish is more important than a presidential visit to a community trying to figure out what just hit them. Leadership, Mr. Obama, leadership; it's about choices and you seem to be fresh out of the right ones. [Fox Business, Follow the Money, 5/23/11, via Media Matters]
Bolling On Obama's Budget Proposal: “Maybe” It Makes Sense “In Kenya, But Certainly Not Here.” Discussing Obama's budget proposal, Bolling stated: “How does increasing taxes count as spending cuts in your world, Mr. Obama? Maybe in Kenya, but certainly not here. This plan will amount to deficit increases, not reductions. It's a load of crap, and I'm offended that you think we're dumb enough to accept your math or your plan.” [Fox Business, Follow the Money, 4/13/11, via Media Matters]
Bolling: Border Around Long-Form Birth Certificate “Had To Be Photoshopped In.” Following the release of Obama's long-form birth certificate, Bolling claimed that the birth certificate's “green border” “had to be Photoshopped in.” Bolling also suggested Obama's birth certificate wasn't authentic because the doctor “who signed it” didn't tell his family he had helped deliver baby Obama. [Fox Business, Follow the Money, 4/27/11, via Media Matters]
Bolling: Downtown NYC Islamic Center “May Be A Meeting Place For Some Of The Scariest ... Some Of The Biggest Terrorist Minds.” On the August 19, 2010, edition of Fox & Friends, Bolling claimed that a proposed New York City Islamic center “may be a meeting place for some of the scariest minds -- some of the biggest terrorist minds.” Bolling also smeared Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the Sufi leader spearheading the project. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/19/10, via Media Matters]
Bolling Pushed To Start “Aggressive Profiling,” Including “Cultural Profiling,” At TSA. From the November 27, 2010, edition of Fox News' Bulls & Bears:
BOLLING: Here is what we should do: privatize [TSA]. Fire them all. Let independent companies come in, take it over, and then do this: aggressive profiling, not just behavioral profiling, cultural profiling as well. Get the airways safe again. [Fox News, Bulls & Bears, 11/27/10, via Media Matters]
Bolling Asked If Muslim Americans Are “Starting To Live By Sharia Law Within Our Own U.S. Law.” During the July 28, 2010, edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Bolling asked Pamela Geller if Muslim Americans are “starting to live by Sharia law within our own U.S. law.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/28/10, via Media Matters]
E.D. Hill on Obama: “A fist bump? A pound? A terrorist fist jab?” Teasing a segment on the “gesture everyone seems to interpret differently,” E.D. Hill said: “A fist bump? A pound? A terrorist fist jab? ... We'll show you some interesting body communication and find out what it really says.” In the ensuing discussion with a “body language expert,” Hill referred to the “Michelle and Barack Obama fist bump or fist pound,” but at no point did she explain her earlier reference to “a terrorist fist jab.”
Banderas called Obama a “Halfrican.” On Red Eye, Fox News host Julie Banderas referred to Obama as a “Halfrican.” Host Greg Gutfeld asked Banderas, who said she is of Colombian descent, "[D]o minorities hate other minorities?" Banderas responded: “I have something in common with Obama, and I don't even know what the big deal is. He's a Halfrican anyway, so I'm not really quite sure why the Asians and the Hispanics have no -- you know, have a problem with him.”
Dietl dismisses Muslims as “Aba Daba Doo and Aba Daba Dah,” argued for racial profiling in “your 7-Elevens.” On Your World with Neil Cavuto, Fox News contributor Richard “Bo” Dietl, a private investigator and former New York City Police Department detective, stated: "[I]f I see two guys that look like Aba Daba Doo and Aba Daba Dah, I'm gonna pull 'em over, and I wanna find out what you're doing." Dietl and host Neil Cavuto were discussing the arrests of two college students from Kuwait and Egypt who were allegedly found with pipe bombs in their car near a Navy base in South Carolina. Dietl had previously suggested that instead of flying, passengers such as the six imams who were removed from a US Airways flight in 2006 should “call their cousin up there, Ali Baba Boo, and go by cab.” Dietl at one point argued that seven men arrested on charges of conspiracy, which allegedly included plans to bomb the Sears Tower in Chicago, were a “crew of mutts,” suggesting that "[t]he people that are coming in to our country" are “like a cancer” and "[w]e need some chemotherapy now." He further stated that law enforcement officials should "[g]o into your 7-Elevens or go into one of these stores that keep rotating young men who are Muslims," and say “identify yourself.”
Matalin: Civil rights leaders are “nothing more than racists” who are keeping “their African-American brothers enslaved.” Talking about the speakers at Coretta Scott King's funeral in 2006, Mary Matalin said: “I think these civil rights leaders are nothing more than racists” who are keeping “their African-American brothers enslaved.”
Project 21's Borelli: A “big message” in black community is “you are owed something ... and don't have to work hard.” On Hannity, Project 21's Deenan Borelli claimed that “a big message that's going around in the black community, unfortunately, is that you are owed something, and you are deserving, and you don't have to work hard, and that's a bad precedent to set.”
Santorum: In “mainstream media,” conservative African-American is an “Uncle Tom.” Discussing Palin's resignation as Alaska governor and her treatment in the media, Fox News contributor Rick Santorum claimed that “nobody gets beat up worse in the mainstream media than a woman conservative or an African-American conservative.” Santorum continued by suggesting the media considered Clarence Thomas an “Uncle Tom.”
Taranto claimed Democrats' charges of racism are “part of the effort to keep blacks from leaving the party.” On The O'Reilly Factor, Wall Street Journal editorial board member James Taranto claimed that attacking the Tea Party on racism was “part of the effort to keep blacks from leaving the [Democratic] party.” Taranto agreed with O'Reilly's summation of his position that “the Democratic Party has used racism as a political tool to keep African-Americans in the fold.” Taranto also claimed that “it's much harder to say that America is a racist country now that we have elected a black man president. So that means that it's all the more necessary to keep alive this idea that the Republican Party is a racist party.”
Pinkerton: The media “like brown people” and “black people,” but “what they really dislike, of course, is white people.” Referring to news coverage of the “Day Without Immigrants” demonstrations, Newsday columnist James P. Pinkerton claimed that "[t]he media like brown people, but they like black people more." He then added: "[W]hat they really dislike, of course, is white people."
Malkin: “Oh, geez. Here we go with the 'blame whitey' again.” Malkin responded to guest Opio Sokoni's statement that those making money from hip-hop music are "[w]hite people that you coddle to in almost all your articles" by saying: “Oh, geez. Here we go with the 'blame whitey' again. Blame whitey.”
Fox figures push back on NAACP's concerns about racism in tea party by attacking NAACP as racist. On Fox & Friends, Ingraham stated: “The NAACP has become a push organization for racist sentiments in many ways.” She further claimed that people with “racist sentiment” “have burrowed their way into the Obama administration.” On Hannity, Breitbart responded to criticism of his advancing the deceptively edited Sherrod videos by saying that the full video shows racism “far worse than anything that has ever been alleged against the tea party.”
Not looking very hard: Fox ignores tea party racism in attacks on NAACP. Criticizing the NAACP for passing a resolution condemning racism in the tea party movement, Fox News figures and guests -- including Hannity, Monica Crowley, and Thomas Sowell -- repeatedly claimed or suggested that there was no evidence of such racism. They made this claim despite allegations of racial epithets hurled at African-American congressmen and documentation of racially charged signs and slogans from various tea party protests.
Numerous Fox News figures misrepresented remarks Justice Sonia Sotomayor made during a speech at Berkeley in 2001 to smear her as a racist and bigot while she was under consideration for the Supreme Court.
O'Reilly: "[S]hould white Americans be concerned about Judge Sotomayor?" Referring to Sotomayor's nomination, O'Reilly stated: “Next on the rundown: Should white Americans be concerned about Judge Sotomayor? Later, far-left Hispanic group says if you oppose the judge, you could be racist.”
Fox News is just asking about Sotomayor's “wise Latina” remarks: “New Racism?” Martha MacCallum stated, “The battle over Sonia Sotomayor's nomination intensifies tonight. Some conservatives continue to hammer Judge Sotomayor and they are focused on this comment, which we have seen a lot this week.” MacCallum then read Sotomayor's comments while the quote was displayed on air under the headline: “New Racism?”
Beck: Sotomayor “sure sounds like a racist.” Beck said Sotomayor's “wise Latina” comment “smacks of racism” and is “one of the most outrageous racist remarks I've heard.” Beck later added: “I hate the charges and cries of racism. But when I hear this -- I mean, gee. She sure sounds like a racist here.”
Carlson claimed Sotomayor made “racist statement.” Carlson claimed that Sotomayor had said that “because of your race or gender, you're a better or worse judge -- that female Latina judges are likely to render wiser decisions than white male judges.” Carlson continued: “That's a racist statement, by any calculation.”
Kelly on Sotomayor comment: “sounds to a lot of people like reverse racism.” Kelly joined conservative commentators such as Limbaugh in saying that Sotomayor's “wise Latina” remark “sounds to a lot of people like reverse racism, basically. Like she's saying that Latina judges are obviously better than white male judges, and that that's her assumption, and people get worried about putting a person like that on the U.S. Supreme Court.” Kelly later added: “I've looked at the entire speech that she was offering to see if that was taken out of context, and I have to tell you ... it wasn't.”
Juan Williams: Sotomayor's “wise Latina” comment was “racial.” During a Fox News special on Sotomayor, Fox contributor Juan Williams stated that he thought Sotomayor's “wise Latina” “was a racial statement, if not a racist statement.”
Hannity: Comments like Sotomayor's “would never be tolerated” if said by a “white male.” Hannity asked: “This would never be tolerated by a white male,” then asked guest Julie Menin: “Why do you, as a liberal, accept this double standard?” Hannity twice repeated the hypothetical, asking Menin: “To use the Newt Gingrich example, 'My experience as a white man makes me better than a Latina woman.' If anybody said that, would they have any chance today of getting on the court?” Hannity subsequently said to Menin: “And if a white male said that, you liberals would be excoriating them.”