by Solange Uwimana/Media Matters
Fox News' animosity toward President Obama, three years into his presidency, is by now well-known. This is the network that routinely calls Obama a socialist, accuses him of being involved in all sorts of conspiratorial plots, and claims that he hates America. But, as witnessed Thursday on Hannity, Fox's attacks have taken an increasingly racially charged tone: Brent Bozell, who runs the factuallychallenged outfit of conservative misinformation known as the Media Research Center, likened Obama to "a skinny, ghetto crackhead."
Bozell appeared on Hannity as part of the show's weekly "Media Mash" segment to talk about purported mainstream media failings. After listening to a clip of MSNBC host Chris Matthews saying that Newt Gingrich "looks like a car bomber," Bozell responded:
BOZELL: How long do you think Sean Hannity's show would last if four times in one sentence, he made a comment about, say, the President of the United States, and said that he looked like a skinny, ghetto crackhead? Which, by the way, you might want to say that Barack Obama does. Everybody on the left would come forward and demand he be fired within five minutes for being so insulting towards a leader of the United States.
A few months ago, Fox's Eric Bolling came under fire for his racially charged criticisms of Obama, including his claims that Obama was "chugging 40's in IRE while tornadoes ravage MO" (which he latertried to amend), and that Obama was hosting "hoodlum[s] in the hizzouse" when he welcomed Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba and rapper Common to the White House.
These attacks have become a pattern at Fox News.
Since April of this year when Obama announced he would be running for reelection, attacks haveranged from false claims about the president's place of birth and religion to claiming Obama has "black nationalist sympathies." Fox's Monica Crowley, for example, derided Obama as a "committed wealth redistributionist" for the apparent benefit of African-Americans.
But this is nothing new. Fox News and its personalities have a long history of aggressive race-baiting and racially charged commentary. Moreover, Fox News' news-aggregation website, Fox Nation, has ahabit of prominently featuring race-baiting headlines and content in an apparent effort to attract and encourage racist commenters. One memorable headline read: "Obama's Hip-Hop BBQ Didn't Create Jobs."
Aside from sanctioning in-house race-baiting, Fox hasn't shied away from welcoming those who spread the same message. For example, after going on an extended, racially charged tirade about crime and "too many urban thugs, yo" in Atlanta, radio host Neal Boortz found a welcoming home on Fox News to discuss the economy.
During the Hannity segment, Bozell also blasted New York Times columnist Paul Krugman as a "little worm" for accurately describing, in a "melodramatic" fashion, Rep. Paul Ryan's proposal to end Medicare. Bozell accused Krugman of "hatemongering" and "fearmongering," then said to guest host Mark Steyn:
BOZELL: You think, Mark, about those endless lectures we've heard from the left over the years about hatemongering and fearmongering and civility, and they're always giving those lessons to Sean Hannity, to Rush Limbaugh, to Mark Levin, to Ann Coulter, but then Paul Krugman says this kind of thing and the silence is deafening. Paul Krugman is just a little worm.