Finding out the Congressional Black Caucus Institute was considering partnering with Fox News to host presidential debates, James Rucker of ColorofChange.org turned to filmmaker Robert Greenwald. The result is a three-and-a-half minute film, “Fox Attacks: Black America.”
The director of previous documentaries including “Outfoxed” and “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price,” Greenwald highlights Fox’s record of airing bigoted views and framing racial issues in ways unflattering to blacks.
“We can’t even say you’re articulate?” interviewer Bill O’Reilly asks one African-American guest. “We can’t even give you guys compliments?”
“Half of the kids under 5 years old are minorities,” Fox host John Gibson says in a “My Word” segment. “White people are having fewer. Put it bluntly, we need more babies.”
The film accuses Fox of using guests to make offensive and racially charged statements
“I dealt with people like this for 20 years,” former Detective Mark Fuhrman says alongside a video shot of O.J. Simpson. “They will get up every day. They will kill somebody and go have some chicken at KFC.”
Black guests, Greenwald alleges, are used to express the most bigoted and inflammatory statements.
“Look what they did to the dome,” one African-American guest said of blacks who lacked “moral character” in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. “In three days they turned the dome into a ghetto.”
Of Sen. Barack Obama, whom Fox says is considered a big deal “simply because he is black,” another African-American guest comments: “He represents some sort of hope of bringing us all together anyway. And the only reason I think that looks plausible is because we see something about his being brown that creates that. It’s almost like he’s Mammy.”
Smear attacks on African-American culture are presented as mainstream and legitimate, the film says, and those who don’t agree are silenced and berated.
James Myart, the lawyer who represented Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, accused of hitting a U.S. Capitol police officer in 2006, told Sean Hannity: “Most police officers are good, honest, hard-working men and women. But there is a culture of police officers out there that represent a legalized gang.”
“James, we’ve got to run,” Hannity said. He then fumed: “If there’s any national disgrace it’s your rush to judgment in his particular case and your use of racial politics for your own aggrandizement. That is the national disgrace.”
“Fox’s attack on Black America is the national disgrace,” the video closes. The video is produced by Brave New Films, a company founded by Greenwald following the 2004 elections. It follows an earlier Web film exposing flip-flops by Sen. John McCain titled “The Real McCain.”
Rucker, 36, is former director of grassroots mobilization for MoveOn.org. He and human-rights activist Van Jones founded ColorofChange.org in the wake of Hurricane Katrina to use the Internet as a platform to give black Americans a new and stronger political voice.
On Wednesday the group launched a letter-writing campaign asking its 70,000 members to call on Congressional Black Caucus Institute to reject Fox as partner for their presidential debates.
“Fox News has a horrible record of attacking Black people, leaders, and cultural institutions,” the letter said. “For the CBC Institute to partner with an organization like Fox News–given its hostility to Black political interests–would be shameful.”
“Given its record, Fox News shouldn’t enjoy the support of Black political or cultural institutions connected to the Congressional Black Caucus,” the letter closed. “We believe the CBC Institute will change course once it realizes that Black America, if not all of America, is watching.”
The Nevada Democratic Party recently backed out of co-sponsoring an August presidential debate with Fox, citing remarks by Fox President Roger Ailes comparing Democratic Senator Barack Obama to al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.
“And it is true that Barack Obama is on the move,” Ailes said in a speech accepting an award from the Radio & TV News Directors Foundation. “I don’t know if it’s true that President Bush called [Pakastani President Perves] Musharraf and said, ‘Why can’t we catch this guy?'”
Bin Laden is believed to be hiding in Afghanistan or the country’s lawless border region with Pakistan. Obama told the Associated Press he was not greatly offended by the word play about his name.
“I didn’t take great offense at the joke,” Obama said while campaigning in Iowa. “I have been called worse.”
Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.