When Fox News isn’t busy openly peddling white nationalism — and doing so with the full support of its top executives — it is now trying to manufacture a scandal to claim that President Joe Biden is the real racist.
In this latest example, the network has resorted to dishonestly editing and commenting on a video of Biden, in which he used the historically correct terminology to refer to the “Negro Leagues” that existed in professional baseball when Major League Baseball had been whites-only.
Speaking at the national Veterans Day observance Thursday at Arlington National Cemetery, Biden gave recognition to Donald Blinken, a former U.S. ambassador to Hungary and the father of current Secretary of State Antony Blinken. By coincidence, the elder Blinken was also celebrating his 96th birthday.
The president then related an anecdote about the legendary baseball pitcher Satchel Paige, who worked for much of his career in the Negro Leagues before crossing over to the major leagues and eventually becoming the oldest professional player of all time. Biden invoked a quote from Paige to communicate the old adage that a person is only as old as they feel. (In fact, Biden also told this same anecdote two weeks ago during his meeting with Pope Francis.)
Fox’s online news article featured the misleading headline, “Biden calls Satchel Paige 'the great negro' in latest gaffe,” while prime-time host Sean Hannity called it “one of his most disturbing, troubling moments to date.” (Other right-wing voices online claimed that “For Veterans Day Joe Biden Hurls Racist Epithet at Black Americans,” and have been working to make the hashtag “#RacistJoe” trend on Twitter.)
But while such manufactured histrionics might seem like just an ordinary day at Fox News, the network has also gone further to some truly dishonest territory — actually manipulating the video of Biden’s remarks, as Mediaite pointed out. On the Friday morning edition of Fox & Friends, during a news headline segment, the video was edited to sound as follows: “I’ve adopted the attitude of the great Negro, at the time, pitcher — his name was Satchel Paige.
Thus, Fox omitted the context of Biden’s reference to the historical Negro Leagues — as they were actually called, and where Paige spent more than half of his career. Indeed, the network’s editing job was so sloppy that Biden’s hand disappears in the middle of the video. When watching the edited video slowly, Biden’s hand even seems to fade away from the edit’s dissolve effect, looking like something from a movie.
And later, during America’s Newsroom, co-anchors Bill Hemmer and Dana Perino played a piece of unaltered video featuring Biden mentioning only who Paige was, but not explaining the “attitude” he had adopted from the athlete.
“So, you can make your own judgment,” Hemmer said. “But the beginning of that phrase went out of favor about 40 years ago, and a bit later today we’ll probably get some more reaction as to that.”
If even mentioning the Negro Leagues in their historical context is problematic, though, then the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum might suddenly be in trouble from right-wing media outlets that are suddenly so concerned about equality and what might constitute a racial slur. (That is, when conservatives are not trying to erase any mention of discrimination in America’s history as part of a new political campaign strategy.)