Last Friday, Fox's Eric Bolling teased a segment about the White House hosting the president of Gabon, Ali Bongo, by saying, "Guess who's coming to dinner? A dictator. Mr. Obama shares a laugh with one of Africa's kleptocrats. It's not first time he's had a hoodlum in the hizzouse." The tease was accompanied by a graphic of Obama and Bongo with the words "Hoods in the House."
On Tuesday, following a barrage of criticism and three days of repeatedly defending his remarks on Twitter, Bolling apologized, saying, "We got a little fast and loose with the language." As we've pointed out, Bolling's apology was not only brief but dishonest, because many of Bolling's remarks were not part of an off-the-cuff discussion, but apparently scripted and accompanied by equally inflammatory images. As Columbia Journalism Review noted:
This was no off-the-cuff rant. Bringing last Friday's show to air was a team effort. The segment was conceived and scripted, segment teasers were written, chyrons were created, footage was pulled, a photo of Gabon's president was located and a flashy tooth was digitally affixed. In other words, people (journalists, maybe even?) besides Bolling worked to make this segment happen last Friday.
Yet Bolling brushed it off as getting "fast and loose with the language." And, according to Fox Business executive VP Kevin Magee, that's sufficient:
The New York Daily News on Tuesday quoted Kevin Magee, executive vice president of Fox Business Network, saying: "I spoke with Eric and his producer yesterday and we all agree the line was crossed, thus last night's apology. We now consider the matter closed."
So Fox "consider[s] the matter closed." One brief, dishonest apology from Bolling -- and, notably, no apology at all from Fox -- is supposed to be sufficient for this gratuitous, divisive, and disgusting rhetoric.
Last month, MSNBC host Ed Schultz was rightly suspended from the network for a week after calling conservative radio host Laura Ingraham a "right-wing slut" -- even after he'd apologized. A real news network would hold its employees accountable for offensive commentary, but on Fox, offensive rhetoric often gets swept under the rug.
Were Fox a real news outfit, Bolling would be facing at least a suspension. But it is not. In fact, as we have seen over and over again, racially charged and extremist rhetoric has been welcome on Fox, and Magee's statement suggests they have no intention of stopping that now.