The evidence continues to mount that no comments are too outrageous for Fox News.
Earlier this week, syndicated radio host Neal Boortz went on an extended, racially charged tirade about crime and "too many urban thugs, yo" in Atlanta:
You know what? I, for one, am tired of putting up with this crap. And you want to know why I moved out of Atlanta and only spend a couple of weeks a year in this town? That's one of the reasons. Carjackings, violence, people getting shot. It's ridiculous. This city harbors an urban culture of violence. And I want you to look around. You drive into the city. The railroad overpass is on the downtown connector covered with graffiti. And that-- That is just an advertisement for everybody coming into this town that we really don't give a damn about those who would screw up our quality of life around here. We really just don't care. We don't care enough to paint over graffiti on the overpasses that come into our city, advertising welcome to Atlanta, here's some of our finest graffiti, from some of our finest urban thugs and their little gang signs. And pick up the paper tomorrow morning. Read about all the carjackings. Read about the innocent people shot for the pure de-hell of it.
This town is starting to look like a garbage heap. And we got too damn many urban thugs, yo, ruining the quality of life for everybody. And I'll tell you what it's gonna take. You people, you are - you need to have a gun. You need to have training. You need to know how to use that gun. You need to get a permit to carry that gun. And you do in fact need to carry that gun and we need to see some dead thugs littering the landscape in Atlanta. We need to see the next guy that tries to carjack you shot dead right where he stands. We need more dead thugs in this city. And let their -- let their mommas -- let their mommas say, "He was a good boy. He just fell in with the good crowd." And then lock her ass up.
While Boortz has been criticized for his "reckless, stupid" and "racist" comments, the right-wing provocateur found a welcoming home on Fox News today to discuss the economy.
This just one week after Fox's Eric Bolling came under fire for using racially charged language portraying hip-hop artist Common and the president of Gabon as a couple of the "hoods" that President Obama has hosted in "the hizzy." Fox News proclaimed that the controversy surrounding Bolling's comments was closed after Bolling issued a shamefully dishonest apology.
The decision to host Boortz also comes just days after Fox's Glenn Beck appeared to point to an image of President Obama after asking, "Why would you get a gun?" Beck's comments likewise fell into the accountability vacuum that is Fox News.
Given Fox's willingness to sanction in-house race bating and outrageous on-air discourse, it's only logical that they continue giving their imprimatur to those who spread the same message.
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:
Responding to the firestorm caused by his racially charged criticisms of President Obama, Fox host Eric Bolling has insisted that he is "[definitely] not a racist." But experts on race and culture tell Media Matters that Bolling's rhetoric consists of "very old racist imagery" and appears to "purposefully" invoke demeaning and harmful racial stereotypes.
Last month, Bolling posted on his Facebook and Twitter accounts that Obama was "chugging 40's in IRE while tornadoes ravage MO." He repeated the line on Fox Business' Follow the Money later that night, and then -- after being criticized -- tried to amend his attack by saying that he "took some heat for saying Obama should have delayed his bar crawl, or whatever he's doing over there."
This past Friday, during Follow the Money, he teased a segment about the White House hosting the president of Gabon 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."
While introducing the segment itself, Bolling stated: "So what's with all the hoods in the hizzy? A month after the White House hosted the rapper Common, who glorifies violence on cops, the president opened his doors to one of Africa's most evil dictators. Here's Ali Bongo, the Gabonese president, who's been accused of human rights violations and plundering billions of his country's dollars."
James Unnever, professor of criminology at the University of South Florida and co-author of A Theory of African-American Offending: Race, Racism and Crime (Routledge 2011), said such comments seek to demean Obama because of his skin color.
"It is using language that is demeaning to African-Americans and characterizes all African-Americans as having or sharing the same slangs, as if Obama would use those kinds of slang words," he said. "The use of the slang words that this person used essentially are code words for typifying African-Americans as being, if you wish, ghetto residents. Buried within that is the implication of associating blacks with crime and crime with blacks."
John Durst, associate professor of sociology at Ohio Wesleyan University, is overseeing a study on race in Columbus, Ohio. He stated in an e-mail after reviewing the comments:
These are all terms more commonly used in poor African-American communities. While not exclusively found in African-American communities, used in such a context for the President of the United States by a national media organization (conservative or not) is clearly painting a picture of Obama as a BLACK MALE who has not made it beyond the ghetto and can be portrayed in such light.
Eric Bolling apologized Monday night on Fox Business for his story saying that President Obama is hosting "hoodlum[s]" in "the hizzouse":
BOLLING: One editorial note. On Friday, we did a story about the president meeting with the president of Gabon. We got a little fast and loose with the language, and we know it's been interpreted as being disrespectful, and for that, I'm sorry. We did go a bit too far. More Follow the Money coming up in just a minute.
This is a dishonest apology for several reasons.
First, it's simply not true that the problems on his Friday show consisted of him and his guests getting "a little fast and loose with the language." Some of the most racially inflammatory language Bolling used on his Friday show was in the two teases for the segment, both of which were apparently scripted and accompanied by equally inflammatory images.
During the opening of Fox Business' Follow the Money on Friday, Eric Bolling teased a segment about the White House hosting the president of Gabon by saying, "Guess who's coming to dinner? A dictator. Mr. Obama shares a laugh with one of Africa's kleptocrats. It's not the first time he's had a hoodlum in the hizzouse."
During the tease, an image appeared of Obama meeting with the Gabonese president, Ali Bongo, at the White House:
As Bolling said that Obama had previously hosted "a hoodlum in the hizzouse," footage of the rapper Common aired:
The inclusion of Common may not make much sense to people who aren't regular viewers of Fox News -- it's a reference to the right-wing media's ginned-up smear of him as a "'cop killer' rapper" in the days before his recent performance at the White House.
Later in the show, Bolling teased the segment again: "Smile for the birdie. Our president's sitting with one of Africa's most wanted. It's not the first time he's had a hood in the big crib."
This time, an image of Bongo with a flashing tooth showed up as Bolling said, "Smile for the birdie":
Download Fox News' brand new iPad app and you'll notice something curious: there's an ExxonMobil advertisement on nearly every page, sometimes filling the whole screen. Click on it and you can watch a video of a smiling ExxonMobil geologist touting the natural gas boom. As the tech news website Mashable reported, this is because "Exxon is the exclusive launch partner for Fox News' iPad app":
"We decided we wanted to work with one sponsor," [Fox News' Jeremy] Steinberg said, explaining that there are always question marks surrounding a launch, so Fox News wanted a partner comfortable with that. He said Exxon, which is in the midst of a new branding campaign, thought the app was a perfect platform for broadcasting its message.
It makes sense that one of the biggest funders of interest groups that obfuscate the threat posed by global warming would team up with the news outlet that has done more than any other to promote misinformation about climate science.
The partnership further undermines ExxonMobil's 2008 pledge to stop funding groups "whose positions on climate change could divert attention" from the need to develop secure, clean energy. As an internal email revealed last year, it has been the policy of Fox News to question even the basic fact that the planet has warmed in recent decades.
Climate change is not the only issue on which ExxonMobil might find Fox News' coverage agreeable. Last month in the midst of both soaring profits for big oil and attempts by Congressional Democrats to roll back oil companies' tax breaks, ExxonMobil's spin could be heard on Fox News.
With the notable exception of Bill O'Reilly, many on Fox eagerly passed along talking points first outlined by ExxonMobil vice president of public affairs Ken Cohen in a series of blog posts designed to preempt any backlash against Exxon's massive first quarter earnings report.
Fox News' America Live repeated the accusation that undocumented immigrants have increased crime rates in Hazleton, Pennsylvannia. However, America Live failed to report that the there is no evidence supporting the accusation, or that there is no evidence that undocumented immigrants have higher crime rates nationwide.
On June 1, 2011, Fox News released its official iPad application. The application is free for download and is currently financially supported by a sole sponsor, ExxonMobil.
Mashable's Ben Parr, who spoke with Jeremy Steinberg, Fox News VP of digital media ad sales and business development, provides some additional information:
Users will also notice something else about the app: the prominent placement of ExxonMobil advertising throughout the app. Exxon is the exclusive launch partner for Fox News's iPad app. "We decided we wanted to work with one sponsor," Steinberg said, explaining that there are always question marks surrounding a launch, so Fox News wanted a partner comfortable with that. He said Exxon, which is in the midst of a new branding campaign, thought the app was a perfect platform for broadcasting its message.
Given Fox News' long history of deliberately propagating climate science misinformation, it's fitting that Exxon reportedly believes Fox's new app provides a perfect platform for disseminating its message.
The following on-screen graphic aired during the June 7 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
Earlier this year, Fox Nation arbitrarily added the word "Muslim" to the headline a story about a New York City cab driver accused of ramming passengers. The story it linked to made absolutely no mention of the man's faith. Today, Fox Nation is at it again.
In a story headlined "Malaysia police slammed for cattle-branding women," the Associated Press reported that Malaysian police are under fire for chaining up women accused of prostitution and marking their bodies. The story makes no mention of the police officers' faith. It doesn't even contain the words "Muslim" or "Islam."
Nonetheless, Fox Nation decided to present the story as follows:
This is not to defend the actions of Malaysian police. The AP story is about alleged police misconduct. And while Malaysians are predominantly Muslim, the article includes nothing to suggest a religious aspect to the story. Throwing the word "Muslim" into the headline only serves to stir up anti-Muslim sentiment in Fox Nation's audience.
Fox Nation also has a well-documented history of race-baiting.
Last night, Sean Hannity devoted a segment of his show to a discussion of how Sesame Street is guilty of liberal indoctrination. Conservative columnist and talk show host Ben Shapiro joked that he would like to "cap" Elmo and decried the show's supposed liberal bias, including its advocacy of letting boys play with dolls and girls play with fire trucks. Former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell then jumped in, saying that allowing children to play with different toys "set[s] up a problem" in that it can lead to boys being crowned prom queen later in life. No, really:
So, Sesame Street, by encouraging children to play with different toys, is teaching children to be so open and tolerant of gays and lesbians that they will one day be able to openly enjoy their proms. And that is apparently a "direct assault on this country's moral foundation." However, Blackwell never mentioned the assault on our country's moral foundation from openly gay children who aren't even allowed to go to their proms, or those who are bullied and tormented by their peers.
Fox hosted and supported this rhetoric, and Hannity even announced that they had a "great panel" discussion. Sadly, this kind of rhetoric that attacks the very idea of LGBT people being allowed to live as they are is all too common on Fox.
That's the kind of discussion that Fox News thinks is appropriate, and the kind of rhetoric that companies that advertise on Fox are sponsoring.
For more, keep up with DropFox.
MSNBC host Ed Schultz will be placed on unpaid administrative leave for a week after he made sexist comments on his radio show directed at conservative commentator and Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham. Schultz issued an apology for the comments Wednesday night.
Holding employees accountable when they make unacceptable comments as Schultz did, is how a news organization behaves. Indeed, it's the way that any responsible organization behaves.
But accountability for unacceptable rhetoric has no apparent place at Fox.
Beck infamously accused President Obama of being a "racist" with a "deep-seated hatred for white people, or the white culture." Beck faced no demonstrable accountability at Fox for this statement.
Just this week, Fox's Eric Bolling criticized Obama for traveling to Europe for the G-8 summit, outrageously claiming that Obama was "chugging a few 40s" rather than attending to tragic tornadoes in Missouri. (Local officials have praised the White House for its response to the disaster.) Bolling has been widely criticized for making "racially tinged" comments, but to date there has been no accountability for his comments at Fox.
There was no apparent accountability for Sean Hannity when in 2009 he refused to criticize "friend and frequent guest of the program" Ted Nugent for calling Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a "worthless bitch."
Or when Glenn Beck accused George Soros of helping to "send the Jews" to "death camps," and repeatedly invoked anti-Semitic stereotypes in attacking Soros, leading to condemnation from several Jewish groups.
Or when Fox's Brian Kilmeade referred to women as "babes," "chicks," and "skirts" during a discussion of consumer car preferences.
Or when Fox's Dave Briggs said that women in Congress might secure more "pork" for their home districts because they are "more irrational," and that men in Congress "are thinking through this more."
Or when Kilmeade discussed sanctuary spaces created in homes for men and women and asked co-host Gretchen Carlson, "Didn't men give you the kitchen?"
Accountability is what happens at a real news network. But Fox isn't news.
In the wake of Glenn Beck announcing he will end his Fox News show, Media Matters demonstrates how throughout Beck's tenure at Fox News the false, incendiary, and even violent rhetoric he pushed on his television and radio shows spread throughout the network. Where Beck leads Fox follows ... but who will they follow now?