In less than 48 hours, Shirley Sherrod, former USDA employee, went from being an unknown public servant to being the right wing media’s political piñata, to being heralded as an unsuspecting civil rights leader. Prior to the release of the full, unedited version of her speech, Fox News led by conservative commentators Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly were ready to excoriate Mrs. Sherrod for being an unrepentant racist.
Every since Barack Obama received the Democratic nomination as a candidate for the POTUS, Fox News has dedicated an inordinate amount of attention to racially biased news stories. It’s obvious that part of Fox’s strategy with regard to the denigration of Obama, involves questioning his birthplace, portraying him as a Socialist, and insinuating that he’s a racist, by constantly broadcasting stories about black racism in America. This has been their tactic for quite a while; find or create stories about black racism, and then provide ample implications through their broadcasts to white viewers who didn’t vote for Obama, to insinuate that Obama must be a racist as well.
This is further evidenced by Fox News’ continued coverage of the so called New Black Panthers, an organization that most African-Americans had probably never heard of. Fox, the only news channel to cover this upstart organization, has constantly reported on their activities as if they were a national threat to all white Americans. This type of race reporting is consistent with their attempt to portray Obama as a racist by proxy.
It’s highly unlikely that Fox News would be covering the NBP if our current president was white and Republican. But because our President is African-American and a Democrat, Fox News feels obligated to report on black racism as a means of undermining Obama’s credibility as an objective, non-racist leader of our country. Essentially, they’re imploring their viewers to “connect the dots”, which is a dangerous situation because it reinforces racist attitudes and further divides our country.
Last year while discussing the Gates controversy which led to the much lampooned “Beer Summit”, Glenn Beck exclaimed that Obama has “over and over again” exposed himself as “a guy who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture. I don’t know what it is…”
When Fox’s Brian Kilmeadeon pointed out that many people in Obama’s administration are white, so “you can’t say he doesn’t like white people,” Beck pressed on. “I’m not saying he doesn’t like white people, I’m saying he has a problem,” Beck said. “This guy is, I believe, a racist.” (Source: Huffington Post)
The most disturbing aspect of Beck’s vitriolic and racist rant against Obama, is that Fox News fully supported his statement and refused to discipline him or force him to apologize. Beck’s statement along with Fox’s implied support, created the environment for the Shirley Sherrod situation to happen.
Well informed people don’t believe that Glenn Beck’s original storyline about Shirley Sherrod was to lambast Obama for “jumping the gun”, and failing to give her due process. It’s obvious that Obama fired her because of Glenn Beck, everyone knew that Beck was about to excoriate Sherrod and malign her as a racist and impute any modicum of racism onto Obama.
Once Beck discovered that the tape was edited, he and Fox News quickly changed their cover story from repudiating Sherrod and Obama for being racist; to delivering a nausea inducing, self aggrandizing monologue about her not receiving due process before being fired. Let’s be honest here, the real racist and number one race baiter in this country is Glenn Beck.
If you believe for one second that Glenn Beck’s original intention was to praise Shirley Sherrod for her honesty and defend her as a victim of the Obama administration’s hasty decision making, I have some beautiful beach front property in Oklahoma that I’d like to sell you. Beck most likely discovered the truth prior to his intended broadcast, however, Bill O’Reilly was not so lucky and will hopefully be a defendant in her defamation suit against Fox News.
President Obama has not been shy about voicing his disapproval of Fox’s biased coverage, and with good reason, I’m sure it would be very difficult to gather more than two minutes of “positive” coverage from Fox anchors about Obama in the past three years. But each time Obama mentions Fox News, he’s maligned by the conservative press for having “rabbit ears”, but in his defense, Obama is no ordinary rabbit and Fox News, whose moniker is “Fair and Balanced” is now the official media sponsor of the Tea Party and the GOP. Apparently, “Fair and Balanced” only applies to their conservative guests.
Many detractors may say that CNN and MSNBC are just as culpable in this heated and contemptible discussion about race and politics, but it’s Fox News that creates this atmosphere of racist politics. I’ve watched CNN and MSNBC for many years and I appreciate their willingness to hold both parties, including the President accountable, without becoming a wholly biased news organization dedicated to perpetuating the platform of one political party. Yes, Olbermann and Maddow are left leaning journalists, but they don’t represent the entirety of MSNBC’s coverage, compared to Fox News which provides round-the-clock negative coverage about our current President.
And this is why Obama was so quick to fire Mrs. Sherrod, because he knew that if the tape was authentic, Glenn Beck and Fox News were ready to pounce on his administration for coveting black racists within his administration. If the entire truth had not been revealed, Glenn Beck and Fox News would have surely celebrated at the sight of Obama having to fire a black employee for racist comments.
If this had happened under Bush, he would have been afforded the opportunity for due process, but because Obama is black, he’s forced to respond to issues of race, which is a no win situation for him, because if he acquiesces, people will say he’s soft on racism, but if he responds; he’s a racist who sticks up for black people.
Black people have long carried the burden of forgiving whites for past discrimination, while also dealing with on-going discrimination in their daily lives. It’s a burden that could be lessened if there were more “white” Shirley Sherrods who speak honestly about race. Thankfully, there’s a burgeoning population of young diverse voters who focus less upon race and hopefully they will be the generation that finally puts an end to the lunacy of racism in America.