Sunday, February 7, 2010

Ailes Brings History of Race-Baiting to Fox

Original Link:

Media Matters releases video on Fox News employees taking cues from network chief's political past

Washington, DC - Today, Media Matters for America released a video calling attention to Fox News, which -- under the leadership of former Republican media consultant Roger Ailes -- routinely employs the same appeals to racial fears and biases when stirring up opposition to the Obama administration that Ailes used while working for Richard Nixon, George H.W. Bush, and Rudy Giuliani.



Before being tapped by Rupert Murdoch to create Fox News in 1996, Ailes spent the better part of his career working as a Republican media consultant, during which time he became known for appealing to racial fears and biases for political gain. Examples include:

· As Nixon campaign consultant, Ailes reportedly looked for a "Wallaceite cab-driver" to bring up race at televised town hall meetings.

· Ailes on 1988 strategy against Dukakis: "The only question is whether we depict Willie Horton with a knife in his hand or without it."

· Ailes' 1989 attacks on Dinkins for Giuliani "prey[ed] upon the fears of the Jewish community."

Under his leadership, Fox News now routinely employs these same tactics in their ongoing campaign to destroy the Obama administration and the progressive agenda:

Beck caps off week of race-baiting by calling Obama a "racist." During the week of July 23, Glenn Beck put forth a steady stream of race-baiting and race-based fearmongering on his television show and radio program. Beck's comments culminated in his remarks that President 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.

Hannity just can't "get over" his Rev. Wright obsession. Sean Hannity -- who claimed he "broke the story" about Obama's controversial former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, during the 2008 campaign -- mentioned Wright on at least 45 different episodes of his Fox News show between Obama's inauguration and July 31. Indeed, his repeated references to Wright -- most recently in discussions about Obama and race relations in America -- have prompted his own guests to comment, "You always want to bring up Reverend Wright," and "Sean, you need to get over it."

Rev. Wright redux: Media use Jones controversy to revive Wright smear. Conservative media figures used the controversy over former White House adviser Van Jones' past statements as an excuse to again link Obama to Wright. On Fox News, Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, and Charles Krauthammer all invoked Wright while discussing Jones in order to question Obama's associations.

Guest-hosting O'Reilly, Ingraham claims Obama "channeled his best Jeremiah Wright accent" in NAACP speech. While guest-hosting Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, radio host Laura Ingraham stated, "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" [The O'Reilly Factor, 7/17/09].

After asking, "Do the Obamas have a race problem of their own?" Hannity continued to smear Barack and Michelle Obama. Hannity falsely asserted that Wright "honored [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 [Hannity's America, 3/5/08].

Ignoring Obama's statement on award, Hannity suggested that Obama "associated" himself with Farrakhan. Hannity suggested that Obama had "associated" himself with Nation of Islam leader Louis 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 & Colmes, 1/18/09].

Morris: McCain "doesn't have to" engage in Willie Horton-like campaign because O'Reilly is already doing so. After airing portions of a controversial sermon by Wright, Bill O'Reilly -- who described Wright's comments as "anti-American, to say the least" -- asked Dick Morris , "If you were [Sen. John] McCain, do you use this against Obama?" Morris replied, "He doesn't have to. You just did. And the talk radio people around the country" will. Morris continued: "[T]he other media, the other conservative media can make a big deal of it" [The O'Reilly Factor, 3/13/08].

Hannity smeared Gates as anti-white radical by distorting 1994 interview. Hannity repeatedly misrepresented Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s 1994 interview on C-SPAN's Booknotes 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, 7/28/09].

Conservative media figures falsely suggest that Reich proposed excluding white males from stimulus package. Michelle Malkin and Hannity have falsely asserted or suggested that Robert Reich, speaking at a congressional forum, proposed that jobs created by the economic stimulus package should exclude white males. In fact, Reich has repeatedly stated that he favors 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.

O'Reilly tease: "[S]hould white Americans be concerned about Judge Sotomayor?" 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" [The O'Reilly Factor, 7/13/09].

Fox News is just asking about Sotomayor's "wise Latina" remarks: "New Racism?" During On The Record, guest-host Martha MacCallum stated, "The battle over Sonia Sotomayor's nomination intensifies tonight. Some conservatives continue to hammer Sotomayor and they are focused on this comment, which we've seen a lot this week." MacCallum then aired text of Sotomayor's comments under a headline stating, "New Racism?" [On the Record, 5/31/09].

Beck: Sotomayor "sure sounds like a racist here." 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" [Glenn Beck, 5/26/09].

Reporting on Sotomayor, "identity politics," and "the immigration debate," Fox shows video of apparent immigrants in detention. Wendell Goler reported, "Many observers saw President Obama's election as a validation of a post-racial campaign, and they see identity politics in Sotomayor's nomination -- an appeal to Hispanic voters, many of whom turned against Republicans in the immigration debate. But [Linda] Chavez, whose group doesn't support Sotomayor, says the Hispanic community doesn't march in lock-step." As he spoke, Fox News showed footage of apparent immigrants in detention [Special Report, 5/29/09].

Tucker Carlson claimed Sotomayor made "racist statement." Fox News contributor Tucker 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" [The Live Desk, 5/26/09].

Krauthammer declares Sotomayor "a believer in the racial spoils system." Krauthammer stated on Special Report that Sotomayor's dismissal of the Ricci case "tells us that she really is a believer in the racial spoils system" [Special Report, 5/26/09].

Rev. Peterson: Obama was elected "mostly by black racists and white guilty people." Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson said, "I think we all agree that Barack Obama was elected by, mostly by black racists and white guilty people" [Hannity, 2/3/09]. Peterson also asserted that Obama is "no different than" Rev. Wright and the NAACP, who he claimed "hate white Americans, and they especially hate the white man" [Glenn Beck, 6/24/09].

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