An overview: Fox News and its problem with African-Americans

An overview: Fox News and its problem with African-Americans



Fox News’ race problem comes more clearly into focus when you look not only at what Fox’s own reporters and commentators say, but also at which guests are invited, what kinds of ideas are given voice, and how those ideas are introduced and framed by Fox’s on-air personalities. Fox’s broadcasters will occasionally say something shockingly inappropriate, but more often they leave it to their invited guests to actually express bigoted opinions, while framing those guests as respectable, authoritative and mainstream, asking just the right questions, and usually giving little or no air time to anyone who would challenge their views. Other times, they frame issues to convey a racist message, without conveying the statement themselves.


It might be easy to dismiss one or two inappropriate comments by Fox’s guests as the inevitable result of reporting on news and opinions in a society that has been shaped by racism. But an honest, thorough examination of Fox’s record reveals an undeniable, overwhelming and consistent trend of giving a privileged voice to bigoted and problematic views on race and racism, while shutting out other views.


Our staff drew from Media Matters and News Hounds reports to create a list of examples that illustrate this trend. For a video that details Fox’s attack on Senator Obama go to



Denigration of Black people as a people and Black institutions


On Hannity & Colmes, Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson and nationally syndicated radio host Mike Gallagher smeared the African American holiday Kwanzaa and attacked its founder. Peterson declared: "Kwanzaa is a racist, pagan, Marxist holiday" and then claimed that the "so-called seven principles of Kwanzaa are socialist, Marxist, separatist ideas." Peterson attacked Kwanzaa founder Maulana (Ron) Karenga, calling him a "racist" who "want[s] to get rid of God" and saying he committed a felony in the early 1970s and led a movement "fighting against blacks and whites uniting together." Peterson told co-host Alan Colmes that the United States has no need for Kwanzaa because "we are a Christian nation, Alan, and we already believe in Christ." He declared that if "a white man started a white holiday, seven-day white holiday, black folks would be burning down America." Gallagher, who was filling in for co-host Sean Hannity, asserted that Kwanzaa is a "fake holiday" that was meant to "tweak white America back in 1966" and now serves to "secularize the Christmas season."


Commenting on Hannity & Colmes about the speakers at Coretta Scott King's funeral, Mary Matalin said, "I think these civil rights leaders are nothing more than racists" who are keeping "their African-American brothers enslaved." Continuing, Matalin claimed that "they're keeping constituency, they're keeping their neighborhoods and their African-American brothers enslaved ... by continuing to let them think that they're -- or forced to think that they're victims."


On Hannity & Colmes, Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson argued that the controversy surrounding remarks made by nationally syndicated radio host Bill Bennett, linking crime rates to abortions by blacks was simply "an attempt by the liberals to prevent white, conservative Republicans from speaking the truth about black America." Peterson then suggested that "the root cause of crime is a lack of moral character." He explained that "crime and out-of-wedlock birth, black folks having babies without being married, and stuff like that is out of control." According to Peterson, "Not all ... but most of them lack moral character. Look what they did to the [Louisiana Super]dome. In three days, they turned the Dome into a ghetto."



Sean Hannity defended a controversial remark by Bill Bennett that "if you wanted to reduce crime ... you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down." Hannity echoed Bennett's own false claim that the remark was not his "theory" and that Bennett was "quot[ing] from a book." Bennett purported to explain the comment by falsely claiming that he was simply reiterating a theory presented in the book Freakonomics by authors Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. But, neither Levitt, nor the book, discuss "the racial implications of abortion and crime," as Bennett did.


On Hannity & Colmes, discussing O.J. Simpson, former Los Angeles Police Department detective and Fox News contributor Mark Fuhrman asserted that the type of "people" he "dealt with ... for 20 years" will "kill somebody and go have some chicken at KFC. You will catch them eating chicken and drinking a beer after they just murdered three people." Fuhrman added that "these people are out there. They're all over the place./b>




Stoking white fear of loss of power


On The Big Story, John Gibson urged viewers to "[d]o your duty. Make more babies," because he had found out, from a recently released report, that nearly half of all children under the age of five in the United States are minorities. Gibson added: "You know what that means? Twenty-five years and the majority of the population is Hispanic." Gibson later repeated: "To put it bluntly, we need more babies."


Regarding the issue of amnesty for undocumented immigrants, Bill O'Reilly claimed that The New York Times and "many far-left thinkers believe the white power structure that controls America is bad, so a drastic change is needed." O'Reilly continued: "According to the lefty zealots, the white Christians who hold power must be swept out by a new multicultural tide, a rainbow coalition, if you will."


Referring to news coverage of the May 1 "Day Without Immigrants" demonstrations on Fox News Watch, Newsday columnist James P. Pinkerton claimed that "[t]he media like brown people, but they like black people more." He then added: "[W]hat they really dislike, of course, is white people."


David Horowitz: "The only lynch mob in America that is allowed to exist in America is a black lynch mob."




White victimization; denial of racism


"Most of the discrimination today is from black folks toward white Americans". - Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, "Hannity & Colmes", 1/2/07


Regarding Senator Biden’s recent inappropriate characterization of Barack Obama, Bill O’Reilly said: "Instead of black and white Americans coming together, white Americans are terrified. They're terrified. Now we can't even say you're articulate? We can't even give you guys compliments because they may be taken as condescension?"