President Obama called for healing and police restraint amid protests following the death of a teenager killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. In response, Fox News hosts baselessly accused Obama of inflaming racial tensions and stoking discord by speaking out on the issue.
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President Obama Addresses Violence And Excessive Police Force In Ferguson
President Obama Issues Statement Expressing Condolences To Brown Family And Called For Healing In The Community. In an August 12 statement, President Obama expressed condolences to Brown's family and urged the community to "comfort each other ... in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds.":
The death of Michael Brown is heartbreaking, and Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to his family and his community at this very difficult time. As Attorney General Holder has indicated, the Department of Justice is investigating the situation along with local officials, and they will continue to direct resources to the case as needed. I know the events of the past few days have prompted strong passions, but as details unfold, I urge everyone in Ferguson, Missouri, and across the country, to remember this young man through reflection and understanding. We should comfort each other and talk with one another in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds. Along with our prayers, that's what Michael and his family, and our broader American community, deserve. [Whitehouse.gov, 8/12/14]
President Obama Denounces Violent Protests And Excessive Police Force In Ferguson, Missouri. During an August 14 statement, Obama addressed the violence in Ferguson, Missouri following the death of Michael Brown and reports of excessive police force in response to the protests:
There is never an excuse for violence against police, or for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting. There's also no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protests, or to throw protestors in jail for lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights. And here, in the United States of America, police should not be bullying or arresting journalists who are just trying to do their jobs and report to the American people on what they see on the ground. Put simply, we all need to hold ourselves to a high standard, particularly those of us in positions of authority.
I know that emotions are raw right now in Ferguson and there are certainly passionate differences about what has happened. There are going to be different accounts of how this tragedy occurred. There are going to be differences in terms of what needs to happen going forward. That's part of our democracy. But let's remember that we're all part of one American family. We are united in common values, and that includes belief in equality under the law; a basic respect for public order and the right to peaceful public protest; a reverence for the dignity of every single man, woman and child among us; and the need for accountability when it comes to our government.
So now is the time for healing. Now is the time for peace and calm on the streets of Ferguson. Now is the time for an open and transparent process to see that justice is done. And I've asked that the Attorney General and the U.S. Attorney on the scene continue to work with local officials to move that process forward. They will be reporting to me in the coming days about what's being done to make sure that happens. [Whitehouse.gov, 8/14/14]
Fox Hosts Claim Obama's Comments Inflame Racial Tensions In Ferguson
Fox's Ingraham: Obama's Ferguson Statement Is Latest In Series Of "Interjections [That] Have Stoked Racial Discord In America." Fox contributor Laura Ingraham, guest hosting The O'Reilly Factor, stated that Obama's statement is the latest of a long pattern of "Obama administration interjections [that] have stoked racial discord in America" and increased mistrust between minorities and law enforcement. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 8/14/14]
Fox's Tantaros: "The President Only Inflamed The Situation" In Ferguson. The Five co-host Andrea Tantaros ignored Obama's call for peace, instead claiming that Obama's comments "only inflamed the situation" and stating that he should have urged the protesters to "stop the rioting":
TANTAROS: I am shocked that the president would get involved in this at this point. I mean, I'm not surprised, because he's stuck his nose into other local issues. But to Greg's point, there's the right, there's the middle, and then there's the left side of this, but then there's also the people who aren't there, and that's most of us. And that's what the chief of police tried to come out and say. He's like, look, the president is not helping the situation out by making comments from the Vineyard today. I mean, did he get his updates yesterday in between doing the Macarena at the party he was at? ... I just feel like it didn't help.
And Dana is absolutely right, the president would have been perfect in pitch with his remarks, but instead his comment about excessive force by the police - the police that have resisted using excessive force on Sunday night, they backed off on Sunday night, and it only got worse - to me, the president only inflamed the situation. He should have said, the reason we can't have this investigation is because we have been too focused on the rioting, stop the rioting, and called for peace. But he didn't do that. [Fox News, The Five, 8/14/14]