Conservative Media Get Into "Formation" To Attack Beyonce's Super Bowl Performance
Research ››› ››› BRENNAN SUEN
Right-wing media attacked Beyoncé's Super Bowl halftime performance of her new song which reportedly features "implicit commentary on police brutality, Hurricane Katrina and black financial power." Conservative figures called the performance "anti-cop," criticized Beyoncé for bringing race "into the halftime show," and attacked the women performers for being "dressed like prostitutes."
Beyoncé Performs During Super Bowl Halftime Show
New York Times: "Formation" Video And Song Feature "Implicit Commentary On Police Brutality, Hurricane Katrina, And Black Financial Power." The New York Times reported that Beyoncé's newly released song "Formation," which she performed at the Super Bowl, was "among the most politically direct work she's done in her career, with implicit commentary on police brutality, Hurricane Katrina and black financial power":
On Saturday afternoon, Beyoncé released "Formation," her first new song since 2014, on Tidal and YouTube in advance of her Sunday appearance at the Super Bowl 50 halftime show at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. The song's subject is familiar Beyoncé self-affirmation, and the video is among the most politically direct work she's done in her career, with implicit commentary on police brutality, Hurricane Katrina and black financial power. [The New York Times, 2/6/16]
Right-Wing Media Freak Out, Call Beyoncé's Performance "Anti-Cop," "Racist," And Compare Dancers To "Prostitutes"
Rush Limbaugh: The Super Bowl Halftime Show Was "Representative Of The Cultural Decay And The Political Decay And The Social Rot That Is Befalling Our Country." On the February 8 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show, Rush Limbaugh argued that Beyoncé is "probably not that big a sports fan" because "she is a woman" and "might have thought the Black Panthers were playing in the game." Limbaugh asserted that her routine was "ripping the cops" and bemoaned that the halftime show was "representative of the cultural decay and the political decay and the social rot that is befalling our country." He concluded by claiming the halftime show was showing "an entirely different country":
RUSH LIMBAUGH: Did you happen to catch Beyoncé's contribution to the [Super Bowl] halftime show? I want to give Beyoncé the benefit of the doubt. After all, she is a woman, and as such she's probably not that big a sports fan. Probably doesn't follow the NFL that closely. And when she saw that the two teams involved, she naturally thought one of them was the Black Panthers, particularly if she happens to read Salon.com, which had a story over the weekend that we talked about -- I'm sorry, it was the Huffington Puffington Post -- which claimed that the Carolina Panthers were the first NFL team to be unapologetically black. So it's understandable that Beyoncé might have thought the Black Panthers were playing in the game, and hence her tribute to the Black Panthers.
This has everybody up in arms. She gets a police escort to the game. They sweep everybody off the highways so she can get [to] the Super Bowl on time. She didn't have to go hours early and wait. They parted the traffic for her so she can get there with not much downtime before she had to perform and does that routine ripping the cops, promoting Black Lives Matter.
I'll tell you, the observation is this: you have in the Super Bowl, you have the pregame, which features the anthem, with a giant American flag spread out over the entire field. You have military, uniformed military all over the place. You have an Air Force or Navy, not sure which, flyby, after the anthem. You have the national anthem sung and it's always sung reverentially. It's always sung with great respect. Lady Gaga with the honors yesterday. So, you have the traditional pro-America, patriotic, out-of-this-world pregame show. And then you get to the halftime of the Super Bowl. And what the halftime show of the Super Bowl is, to me anyway, is representative of the cultural decay and the political decay and the social rot that is befalling our country. And you see both in contrast with each other within an hour and a half or two hours of each other. The pregame show is amazing how patriotic it is. The pregame show, I think, is emblematic of why the left dislikes football so much. Because it is so patriotic-oriented and it promotes patriotism and Americana in ways that are frowned upon today in many quarters of the left, such as universities and schools and graduation ceremonies, where you're not allowed to show this kind of patriotism because it's uncool or politically incorrect or what have you. And then you get to halftime and it's an entirely different country that's on the stage. It's an entirely different portrayal, an exhibition, if you will, of American culture. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 2/8/16]
Rudy Giuliani: Beyoncé's "Outrageous" Performance Was Just A "Platform To Attack" Police Officers. On the February 8 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, host Anna Kooiman lamented that Beyoncé gave "a salute to the Black Lives Matter movement" in her performance after she "got a police escort there." Frequent Fox guest Rudy Giuliani called the performance "outrageous," and claimed that Beyoncé used the Super Bowl "as a platform to attack" police officers. Giuliani concluded that he wanted to see "decent wholesome entertainment" rather than Beyoncé's "platform to attack" police:
ANNA KOOIMAN (HOST): So we're going to go ahead and show you some video then of Beyoncé's performance with Coldplay and Bruno Mars. But Beyoncé got a police escort there and then she gives a salute to the Black Lives Matter movement. DeRay Mckesson tweeted out, "#Formation shout-outs to Malcolm X & MJ were excellent." It was a nod to 1966 founding of the Black Panther Party. What did you think of that?
RUDY GIULIANI: I think it was outrageous. The halftime show I thought was ridiculous anyway. I don't know what the heck it was. A bunch of people bouncing around and all strange things. It was terrible.
BRIAN KILMEADE (HOST): Coldplay and Bruno Mars --
GIULIANI: Actually don't even know why we have this. I mean, this is football.
STEVE DOOCY (HOST): You got to do something at halftime.
GIULIANI: This is football, not Hollywood, and I thought it was really outrageous that she used it as a platform to attack police officers who are the people who protect her and protect us, and keep us alive. And what we should be doing in the African-American community, and all communities, is build up respect for police officers. And focus on the fact that when something does go wrong, okay. We'll work on that. But the vast majority of police officers risk their lives to keep us safe.
KILMEADE: Mr. Mayor, I also look at the NFL. What do they do? They took control of the halftime because they didn't like what MTV was doing after Janet Jackson got her, her --
DOOCY: Wardrobe malfunction.
KOOIMAN: Wardrobe malfunction.
KILMEADE: After that happened. So didn't they go and review this and say wait a second, why are you -
GIULIANI: Can't you figure out who you're putting on? I mean this is a political position, she's probably going to take advantage of it. You're talking to middle America when you have the Super Bowl, so you can have entertainment. Let's have, you know, decent wholesome entertainment, and not use it as a platform to attack the people who, you know, put their lives at risk to save us. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/8/16]
Stuart Varney: "Why Is Race Brought Into The Halftime Show At A Super Bowl Game?" On the February 8 edition of Fox Business' Varney & Co., host Stuart Varney lamented that Beyoncé's performance brought race "into the halftime show at a Super Bowl game." Guest David Webb said the performance "push[ed] something that started as a farce," and said "you should leave politics out of it":
STUART VARNEY (HOST): That was Beyoncé's halftime performance, her dancers seen in the X, you saw that. Many saw that as a tribute to Malcolm X. Dancers wore costumes somewhat similar to the uniforms of the old Black Panthers, remember [[that]] them? Now on Saturday, Beyoncé released a music video to coincide with her Super Bowl performance. The video showed more Black Lives Matter messages, including graffiti saying "Stop shooting us." David Webb, New Hampshire, come back in again, please. Is there anything in America which can exclude race? I mean, why is race brought into the halftime show at a Super Bowl game, why?
DAVID WEBB: Because it's all about selling CDs, selling downloads, making money. Beyoncé's not doing this because, maybe she does care about Black Lives Matter, but this is no different than Kanye West or Jay-Z. They figured out how to sell. Back then it was CD's, instead of $.99 each -- $4.99 -- or sell songs. It's about capitalism for them, while they push something that started as a farce, that still continues to go out there and push an agenda but comes up with very little, if any, solutions within the black community, Stu. So look at it for what it is. Beyoncé used a moment at the Super Bowl, when you should leave politics out of it, when you should celebrate one of the greatest games ever played through the year, and she turns it into a political agenda. But you mentioned it, it's about the release, it's about selling, it's about selling songs. I mean, I hate to say it, it's just pure, pure profit.
VARNEY: I think you're right, David. I really do. [Fox Business, Varney & Co., 2/8/16]
Breitbart News: Beyoncé Owes Her "Success To The Capitalist System The Leftist Black Lives Matter Movement Is Intent On Destroying." Breitbart News' Lee Stranahan criticized Beyoncé's Super Bowl performance for "pay[ing] tribute to the Black Panthers," claiming she was just "trying to capture headlines by using politically incendiary imagery." Stranahan claimed that "in 2016, black people being unashamed of being black is hardly newsworthy" and criticized the "irony" of Beyoncé owing her "success to the capitalist system the leftist Black Lives Matter movement is intent on destroying." Stranahan concluded that her success "fl[ies] in the face of the Black Lives Matter narrative that black people somehow need to be 'liberated' from the free market." [Breitbart News, 2/8/16]
Laura Ingraham: "In 'Formation,' Women Dressed Like Prostitutes." On the February 8 edition of The Laura Ingraham Show, host Laura Ingraham claimed the women were dressing "like prostitutes" in Beyoncé's Super Bowl performance and in the video for her song "Formation," lamenting the loss of what she called "family hour" at the Super Bowl:
LAURA INGRAHAM: So in "Formation," women dressed like prostitutes. That's the message to little girls today. And so before we knew what she was going to be dressed as, I should have known it. This is only 8:43 p.m. last night, Eastern time. 8:43 -- no family hour. Family hour is over. There is no family hour. [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show, 2/8/16]
Gateway Pundit: Beyoncé's Performance Was "A Racist Political Statement In Support Of Marxist Cop Killers." Gateway Pundit's Jim Hoft called Beyoncé's Super Bowl performance "a racist political statement in support of Marxist cop killers" and criticized her "racist performance" for including "only black dancers -- white girls were not allowed to participate." [Gateway Pundit, 2/8/16]
Fox's Heather Nauert: Beyoncé Super Bowl Performance Is "Anti-Cop." Fox & Friends host Heather Nauert tweeted, "#Beyonce #SuperBowl song is Anti-Cop & Irony is she got Police Escort 2 stadium":
-- heather nauert (@HeatherNauert) February 8, 2016
Michelle Malkin: "Nothing Brings Us All Together Better Than Angry @Beyonce Shaking Her Ass & Shouting 'Negro' Repeatedly." Conservative commentator Michelle Malkin tweeted, "nothing brings us all together better than angry @Beyonce shaking her ass & shouting 'Negro' repeatedly":
-- Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) February 8, 2016
Fox Regular David Clarke: "Would That Be Acceptable If A Band, A White Band Came Out In Hoods And White Sheets?" On the February 8 edition of Fox Business' Risk & Reward with Dierdre Bolton, guest Sheriff David Clarke compared Beyoncé's performance to the Ku Klux Klan, asking "would that be acceptable if a band, a white band came out in hoods and white sheets?":
JO LING KENT (HOST): Beyoncé put out a new video, music video called "Formation," and it has been interpreted to be pro-Black Lives Matter, and potentially looking at issues inside New Orleans as well. How did you -- there are some sheriffs that reacted poorly to that, they didn't like that, they turned their backs to Beyoncé during the Super Bowl halftime show. What was your thought on the matter?
DAVID CLARKE: Well, I try not to overreact to things, and I don't want to give this thing any more play than it's already getting. Look, musicians have long used their music, their trade to make political statements in their music. We may not like it, but I don't want to make a huge deal about it. Them coming out, Beyoncé in those Black Panther-type uniforms, would that be acceptable if a band, a white band came out in hoods and white sheets in the same sort of fashion? We would be appalled and outraged. The Black Panthers are a subversive hate group in America. I think she could have done a better job, but I think Bruno Mars was a better halftime act anyway. I could have watched him for the entire act. [Fox Business, Risk & Reward with Dierdre Bolton, 2/7/16]
Fox's Rod Wheeler: Beyoncé's Super Bowl Performance "Really Gave The Middle Finger To Police Officers." On the February 8 edition of Fox Business' Making Money with Charles Payne, Fox News contributor Rod Wheeler characterized Beyoncé's performance as a "middle finger to police officers," and asked "why do we have to be subjected to her political agenda?":
CHARLES PAYNE (HOST): Well last night Beyoncé had a political message to convey during her halftime performance at the Super Bowl. Her routine, well some say it had a reference to Malcolm X, and her wardrobe was reportedly inspired by the Black Panthers. And of course, this coming amid the growing war against police, where now you've got a Texas newspaper announcing they are going to publish the names and addresses of every San Antonio police officer following a deadly officer shooting last week. Rod Wheeler joins me now. Rod, let's start with the new Beyoncé song and video, and apparently making reference to New Orleans, and you know the recent spat of course, a lot of violence going between the police and these particularly urban neighborhoods. You know, for me personally, I just never understand why we don't hear much about the black on black violence in a place like New Orleans, where I think it's a far more significant threat to the people that live there.
ROD WHEELER: Well, it is. Good evening to you, Charles, and you know when you look at the Super Bowl halftime commercial, you have to say to yourself -- and I saw this commercial just like 120 million other Americans saw this commercial, do we have to be inundated with people's political feelings and their political savvy, whatever that may be? Do we have to actually watch that? And that's exactly what Beyoncé did during her performance yesterday. She really gave the middle finger to police officers all across the country, and I think that that was clearly not the place for her actions.
PAYNE: But you say there is a place for it, that there is a place for this dialogue to happen?
WHEELER: Yeah. You know what, here's the thing Charles, if Beyoncé really doesn't care about police officers, if she really wants to support the Black Lives Matter movement, and the Black Panthers and those kind of folks, you know what she can do? She can buy a thirty second commercial spot. It's only 4.5 million, that's chump change to her. She can buy a commercial spot and she could say anything she wants within that 30 seconds, but why does my family and 120 million other Americans, why do we have to be subjected to her political agenda? And I just think it's wrong and clearly that's not the place for it. Now, she can dance, she can spin, she can twirl, she can do all of these things, and that's great. But what she can't do is force her political feelings down my throat, and down the throat of a lot of other Americans. [Fox Business, Making Money with Charles Payne, 2/8/16]
Lou Dobbs: Beyoncé's Halftime Show Was A "Politically Charged, Anti-Law Enforcement Super Bowl Halftime Performance." On the February 8 edition of Fox Business' Lou Dobbs Tonight, host Lou Dobbs characterized Beyoncé's performance as "nostalgic glorification of Malcolm X and Black Panther militant thuggery," while labeling the performance as "propaganda":
LOU DOBBS (HOST): A few thoughts now on Beyoncé's politically charged, anti-law enforcement Super Bowl halftime performance. She performed her new song, racially inspired "Formation," referencing the Black Panthers, Malcolm X, and Black Lives Matter. Complete with their backup dancers who appeared in black leather-style berets, and leather.
DOBBS: That's right, not great lyrics, not a great piece of music and Jay-Z had released the music video of Beyoncé standing atop a cop car, graffiti reading "stop shooting us", on his streaming site TIDAL the day before the Super Bowl, and then just gave it away free. Beyoncé's nostalgic glorification of Malcolm X and Black Panther militant thuggery was too much for former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who had the guts to slam Beyoncé for attacking law enforcement. My guess is it was too much for most viewers, and utterly out of place in most homes. Of course, corporate America's advertisers paid for the entire spectacle. We don't know what the advertisers intended, but surely, surely not that. We do know what the NFL and CBS intended. Because politics has never before had a role in the Super Bowl. That it did yesterday is fully the responsibility of the NFL and CBS. And it is certainly a mistake I hope they never make again. Our quotation of the evening on propaganda, because that's what it was, and it is about political interest being put before truth. Our quotation tonight, Joseph Conrad. He said: "He who wants to persuade should put his trust not in the right argument, but in the right word. The power of sound has always been greater than the power of sense." An unfortunate truth. [Fox Business, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 2/8/16]
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- Gender, Race & Ethnicity, Racial Justice, Criminal Justice
- Fox News Channel, The New York Times, Fox Business, Gateway Pundit, Breitbart.com, Courtside Entertainment Group
- Laura Ingraham, Michelle Malkin, Stuart Varney, Heather Nauert, Jim Hoft, Lee Stranahan, David Webb, Anna Kooiman
- FOX & Friends, The Laura Ingraham Show, Varney & Co.