Fox News: Obama is an “Angry Black Man”; Why Should He Go on the O’Reilly Show?

The “angry black male” is one of America’s enduring stereotypes. The image of the emotional and violence-prone black man goes back to the days of slavery (see Nat Turner), and reached its political zenith in the negative-imagining of Jesse Jackson during his runs for president. I’ll never forget a Newsweek magazine cover from the period that featured a picture of an impassioned Jackson, his faced contorted with emotion, in a way that no doubt scared the bejesus out of any white American who saw it.

Being called an angry black male is not a good thing.

Is it no wonder, then, that Fox News played the ABM card on Barack Obama? Witness this from a broadcast of Fox’s Cavuto on Business show on August 30, featuring writer/economist/actor Ben Stein:

Note that Stein says Obama is an angry black male without giving any reason or explanation for the charge. Show host Neil Cavuto did not challenge Stein’s claim; instead, he echoes it. Meanwhile, neither Stein nor Cavuto make mention of John McCain’s well documented anger management issues.

Interestingly, an African American who was on the show – Charles Payne, a Fox Business Network contributor – said nothing regarding Stein’s angry black male charge. Thanks, bro.

(Jesse L. Jackson Jr., who is an Illinois congressman, made the point in a Democratic Convention forum that Obama is like baseball pioneer Jackie Robinson — he must endure jeers and not to hit back “because no one wants an angry African American in the White House.”)

But there’s nothing new to Fox’s use of race-based and otherwise insulting attacks on Obama. Consider the following:

• In February, in response to a caller who described Michelle Obama as a “militant woman,” Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly offensively stated that he “didn’t want to go on a lynching party against Michelle Obama unless there’s evidence.”

• In May, Fox News’ Liz Trotta referred to Obama as “Osama” and then joked that both should be “knocked off.” Fox later apologized.

• In June, Fox News’ E.D. Hill described a fist bump between Obama and his wife Michelle as a “terrorist fist jab.” Fox later apologized.

• In June, a Fox producer described Michelle Obama by using the offensive slang term “Obama’s Baby Mama.” Fox later apologized.

• In June, Fox aired a smear/rumor from Republican operative Roger Stone that there was a tape of Michelle Obama using the term “Whitey.” The tape never surfaced, however.

• Since last year, Fox News has been echoing false rumors that Obama attended a so-called “madrassa” Islamic fundamentalist school as a child.

I have no doubt there are many more instances of unfair and unbalanced coverage of Obama by Fox.

With all of that in mind, I am among the many who are disturbed and even outraged that Obama is giving an interview to Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly. Various sources are reporting that the O’Reilly interview that will air, in part, on Thursday (last day of the Republican National Convention).

I don’t mind that Obama has given an interview to Fox’s Chris Wallace, a newsman who maintains a respectable reputation despite the network’s reputation for being in the tank for Republicans. But I think this should be a case of “one and done.”

If Fox News doesn’t like Obama or his positions, that’s fine. It’s a free country, and they are entitled to their views. But Fox has gone beyond that. As documented above, that network has engaged in a series of of scurrilous, offensive, false, and misleading attacks on Obama and his wife.

My question is this: why should Obama reward a network that has smeared him, and will continue to smear him, with even one second of air time? And my answer is, he shouldn’t.

Sure, there are voters he might be able to reach by appearing on The O’Reilly Factor. But let’s be for real: the people who watch Fox are not going to vote Obama. Yes, I know that a portion of the Fox audience consists of self-identified Democrats. But if they’re steady viewers of Fox, they’re a lost cause, electorally speaking.

And rather than engage in a substantive discussion of the issues, I have no doubt that O’Reilly will want to talk about flag pins, Reverend Wright, bittergate, and other issues that have by now been laid to rest.

The Washington Post is reporting that three months ago, Obama and two advisors held a then-secret meeting with Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes and network owner Rupert Murdoch to “clear the air” concerning any issues between the two parties. About the meeting, Ailes said that he noted that Obama was boycotting the network; and that Obama said that Fox wasn’t giving him a “fair shake,” and was making unfair attacks on him and his wife.

Well let’s see; three months ago would be June… around the time of several of the attacks mentioned above. I don’t know if Fox has gotten better, because I don’t watch them. But as the recent “angry black man” charge seems to indicate, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

The bottom line for me is, based on all they’ve done, Fox is irredeemable. Obama doesn’t need them; but they need him, for the sake of ratings, and especially if Obama wins… they don’t want to be in the position that an entire administration ignores them.

But that’s Fox’s fault and Fox’s problem. If they’re not going to treat Obama with respect, he should respond in kind. The message being sent by Obama’s going on Fox now is, they can say anything and do anything, with no penalty.

And that’s something to be angry about.


FYI.

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23 comments

  1. James

    Did you notice that Fox News’ own Brit Hume just hadta hadta, had to say “Barack Hussein Obama” within 45 seconds of Obama’s acceptance speech. I wanted to give Hume the benefit of the doubt, so I waited to hear what ‘ol Brit would say immediately following McCain’s speech. Turns out–you guessed it–no mention of McCain’s middle name. Huh.

  2. Doug

    “Interestingly, an African American who was on the show – Charles Payne, a Fox Business Network contributor – said nothing regarding Stein’s angry black male charge. Thanks, bro.”

    What did you expect from this guy? He’s, how do you say, a “house ******”.
    Sorry for being blunt, but I regularly watch Fox’s “Cost of Freedom” business block (the cost of freedom is making money on Wall Street?) and am all too familiar with Mr. Payne and his “pull the ladder up behind me” view of the world. I have never seen a more anti Black Black in my life! Again, if I’m politically incorrect, I’m sorry, I have no other way to explain my views on Charles Payne.
    Did you know that a few weeks ago on Cavuto he had the gall to opine that his mother was having trouble getting Medicaid so she could pay for her expensive medication? This guy is a self proclaimed millionaire! If my mom were still alive, and I had his money, I’d be paying for the best medical insurance I could get her and picking up any and all co-pays and out of pocket expenses instead of crying that she couldn’t get Medicaid.

  3. Francesca Farley

    It is difficult for me to watch television media-heads speak anymore because American “news” has been so compromised by the advertiser’s dollar. I stay away from Fox TV channels except briefly to check on the absurdity of non-mindful thinking. Ben Stein is an intellectual idiot whose spoutings incriminate the people who pay his salary.
    Barak Obama’s middle name should be used daily. So what? A rose by any other name is still a rose, right?
    Journalists everywhere should revolt, except for FOX journalists, of course. The Fox network news is a joke to most of the world. It is the other, mainstream, network news organizations whose reporters bring shame to those who came before them.
    Senator Obama should NOT give an interview to any Fox network person.

  4. Brian

    Well, based on your own argument, Sarah Palin should not go on NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, and CNN. Thanks for making it. Oh, and btw, funny how Fox needs the interview for ratings. Gee, they destroy the competition. Not beat, destroy. Just another angry liberal.

  5. lunchcountersitin

    Brian: “Well, based on your own argument, Sarah Palin should not go on NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, and CNN. Thanks for making it. Oh, and btw, funny how Fox needs the interview for ratings. Gee, they destroy the competition. Not beat, destroy. Just another angry liberal.”

    Brian, based on what you’ve said, you have NO argument with the FACT that Fox has treated Obama in an unfair and unbalanced manner. I am happy to see that this is something partisans of both sides can agree on.

    Of course, despite my concerns, Obama did go on Fox, and he was on Fox previously with Chris Wallace. Just the past few weeks, he’s been on 60 Minutes, and ABC’s This Week. Meanwhile, Palin has been hiding in plain sight. She’ll surface for air in what appears to be a single interview with ABC, then go back into her cocoon. Whatever happened to, “If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen?”

    Now Brian, if you can document as thoroughly as I have that the any network has committed the kind of serial and sustained offenses against Palin that I have shown that Fox has committed against Obama, then feel free to provide your link. PS, the National Enquirer(sp?) and Us Magazine(sp?) don’t count.

    On the note about Fox needing Obama: they went to him, not the other way around. But hey, if you feel they don’t need him, fine. I think you should write a blog entry that says “Obama should stay off Fox.” I guess there’s another thing we agree on.

    PS: Why are you so angry?

  6. lia

    maybe because he’s… oh no, black?! run, run from the scary angry black man!

    this country makes me sick sometimes.

    thanks for this post, it’s a great one.

  7. Roger

    Does anyone really listen to anything Ben Stein says. He talks about Obama being an angry black man, which is totally false. Stein is the one who always seems angry. I dont watch Fox news because it is totally biased and has people on who will support that bias. I hope they lose all their viewers.

  8. Bob

    Fox is only as big as they are because they sell entertainment, not news. News, honest and fair news, has never been very profitable. Fox sells crap, which draws more viewers. People like crap. It catches their attention. The more outrageous, the more biased, the more emotional, the better it sells. Few media moguls are really concerned with informing the public in unbiased, level-headed, non-sensationalistic formats. Since they are not actually required to be fair and show both sides of a given issue anymore anyway, why not just sell crap? We can all thank Reagan for that. He’s the one who sponsored the repeal of the FCC’s Fairness Doctrine in 1987 and shot another great big hole in the already sinking ship of objective media. The ‘Great Communicator’ apparently wasn’t interested in communicating honestly.

  9. Paul

    It is funny how fox news can get everyone in such a great hoopla. I believe like previously said that the media has become a joke with a lot of influence. Obama only went on fox news in my opinion to show that he is not afraid of the Republican machine. Now Mr. Stein saying that he is an angry black man:WELL i can agree with that if the most threatening black man he comes into contact with is Charles Payne.

  10. Ron

    O’Reilly doesn’t seem very bright. That’s the striking things about seeing him on TV, the amazement of knowing someone like him has gone so far in American journalism, which, granted, is not a difficult pole to limbo under.

    Am pleased to be in your blog roll.

    BrooklynRon

  11. Patrick

    “Well, based on your own argument, Sarah Palin should not go on NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, and CNN. ”

    Oh look, it’s another freeper with a phoney “liberal media” persecution complex.

  12. Nathan Brean

    Concerning Charles Payne a Fox News Contributer: I happen to know him personally and I can assure you that he is no house******. Charles is a perfect example of how a black male can succeed when you endeavor to accomplish your goals and do what is necessary to accomplish them rather than stand around looking like a fool waiting for a handout. Cudos to Charles Payne for his hard work and success.

  13. lunchcountersitin

    Nathan,

    How do you explain Charles Payne sitting on his hands and saying nothing while Cavuto and Stein play the race card?

    A slur against one of us is a slur against all of us. Today it’s Obama; tomorrow it could be Payne’s sister or cousin or son or daughter.

    I’m not asking him to defend Obama. I’m just saying that when people throw out the angry black male stereotype, it would be great to see him speak to that. If not him, then who?

  14. Nathan Brean

    It is a shame that so many Americans jump on the wagon to support Obama regardless of his history proving he is a pitiful clown with his liberal, socialistic, senate voting and his lack of decision making prowess, the majority of times voting “present” rather yes or no on issues. By his own admission prior to being nominated, he said in an interview that he wasn’t qualified to be President. With his 143 active senate days to his credit,running for President only proves his ignorance in decision making by simply thinking this limited experience qualifies him to be President. If elected, we will have another Jimmy Carter on our hands.
    With a liberal idiotic Congress and an idiot liberal President, we can expect many changes- mostly negative to American society. The American dream will be a thing of the past. We are already seeing what 2 years of a democratic Congress can achieve, but then, Democrats aren’t known for their thinking ability.

  15. Nathan Brean

    Lunchcountersittin:

    Charles is an economist and financial expert. Anyone telling the truth is not playing the race card. That excuse is so boring to a reasonable person. Please look at the facts.
    Thanks.

  16. lunchcountersitin

    Nathan,

    I understand your dislike for Obama, but you are missing the point of this post.

    The point is: the angry black male charge was unfair, unfounded, and uncalled for. It doesn’t matter if Obama is Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, seasoned or inexperienced, etc.

    That’s all there is to it.

  17. Nathan Brean

    Lunchcountersittin,

    If you investigate Obamas history and read his books, I think any reasonable person would share my views on Obama. Race is not a factor to me. Only a persons experience, beliefs, and capabilities concern me. My ideal ticket would be Colin Powell and Condeleezza Rice- in either order. I believe that then we would have some good experience and intelligent decision making power in our favor.

  18. lunchcountersitin

    Nathan,

    OK, this is my last comment in our “conversation” on this thread.

    The point of this post is that Fox News has a clear history of racially-biased comments about Obama, some of which they’ve apologized for. If they had made these comments about Powell or Rice, I’d be similarly offended. I would hope you would similarly offended.

    If you have a comment on that subject, great. Anything else is off topic. I’m sure there are many other places on the net where you can argue over the merits of Obama and his campaign.

  19. samwestenberg

    Fox News is one thing. Did you see the article in Newsweek in which an “angry black male” is quoted as ready for “protests and stuff if Obama loses — and I’m down for that”? Is that stereotype or is there a possibility it could happen?

  20. lunchcountersitin

    If people protest because Obama loses… is that a “bad” thing? People protest a lot in this country about a lot of stuff.

    Now… do I think there will be riots and such? No, I think the idea of that happening is ridiculous.

    If Obama loses “fair and square”, the black community will accept it. Black folks have suffered through much worse.

    (Caveat: if it appears that fraud was used to win the election, then you will see a loud outcry regarding the election results. And I would hope that the outcry doesn’t just come from the black community, but from EVERY American community.)

  21. Helene

    I think Fox News is a fair and balanced network. They are only telling the truth about Obama. He is a very poor excuse for
    a president. All those people who voted for him at least 60% wished they hadn’t. It’s not because he is black that Fox
    downgrades him. It’s his policies that is killing our country. He is too, leftwinged and can’t seem to go to the middle.
    I hope he isn’t reelected it would be more of a disaster than it alredy is.

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