Hateful Words Beget Hateful Words: Why Fox News Should Know Better

Image Credit: The Cutline Yahoo! News Blog

 

Recently, The Cutline reported that Fox News was “forced” to shut down a news story that described President Obama’s 50th birthday as a “HipHop BBQ” due to racist comments. My first thought after reading this was “What other comments were they expecting to get?

I want to be clear on one point. I am not completely against Fox News. I believe we all have different opinions and viewpoints about political and social issues and I’m always happy to hear both sides of the story. One sin many of us make is listening to just the side that we agree on. Whether you agree with Fox News’ conservative stance or not, we should all be willing to listen to both sides, even if it’s just to make us slightly more educated. Heck, I can even argue that perhaps Fox News was slightly right in criticizing Obama for throwing a major bash the same day the downgrade occurred. It still doesn’t excuse the LANGUAGE they used to describe it and they are not absolved just by pulling the post.

What amazes me about Fox News is the gall they have to put out words that can incite prejudicial and racist opinions and yet act like they have absolutely no responsibility in the matter. Shutting down the post after it’s already been out there doesn’t fix the problem…the long-lasting damage is already done. At face value, the term “hip hop BBQ” might seem inoffensive, but I have never heard Fox used the term “redneck BBQ” for any of President Bush’s party.

I have some news for YOU Fox: While you may be protected by the First Amendment, and while I understand that you have the right to express your opinions openly, don’t expect to not have any serious repercussions or try to project yourselves as unbiased. The fact is, that you use words that incite the kind of racist, violent reactions you got from your post.

We have a saying in Spanish that goes “tira la piedra, esconde la mano” (throw a stone, hide your hand) to mean that we have done damage but we are covering ourselves from it and in fact try to blame others for the consequences. This is Fox News’ modus operandi. They use words and phrases like “hiphop BBQ”, and “Obama’s fist bump” to create negative imagery in the minds of their close-minded viewers. And the result is explosive. They go as far as portraying the annual Iftar dinner as if it were Obama’s “secret Muslim celebration”.

Fox News can be as conservative as it wants to be. They have the right. But when you use your freedom of expression to sneak direct or indirect stereotypical, prejudicial images of the president of the United States, you have no one to blame but yourself. Step up to the plate and either stop using references that have anything to do with skin color, race, ethnicity or cultural background or at least admit to everyone that you are against the President because of his skin color and mixed race. Don’t confuse political speech with hate speech.

 

Comments

  1. says

    Excellent post, Mari! I agree–we need to allow a variety of viewpoints. Seems like FOX News is notorious for abandoning all logical arguments in favor of mudslinging. It is so insulting. Thank you for bringing this practice to light.

  2. says

    Fox News really riles me up!  While I agree we need to listen to both sides, journalists also need to be held to some standard of reporting news as accurately as possible and with as much limited bias as possible.  And it couldn't be further from "Fair and Balanced".  The biggest problem is that they think they can say what they want without any ramifications — look at what happened in Norway.  There are ramifications for hate speech!

  3. Holly Garza says

    You are so right!!! I try to listen to them even though I really, really dislike too (I'm Latina (Mexican) American (White) part Native American and Muslim!) The type of stuff they say about "us" is 99 percent sensationalized, wrong, misconstrued, mispronounced or just plain dumb.

    I had stopped listening for a while, however, every now and then I have to just to keep up with what people are being told. It helps me to explain it better to people when they ask me questions such as Shariah (our complete practice of the Religion, the way we pray, treat each other, eat, worship, inherit, marry- NOT a threat to society…but that's a whole different subject) women rights in Islam and why we don't eat pork.However, in this day and age we can't afford to be biased or only listen to what we like or know. We have to read books about other Cultures, Race's and Religions. We have to try new foods, talk to "different" people and expand our "common" courtesy to all.

    I have learned so much just by trying to implement these things. In my home-school, we go to the library every week. Aside from checking out subject and curriculum books, my daughter also gets to pick a different part of the World to read about. Just reading these books with her, doing poster board projects, Google searches and looking up videos has dispelled MANY misconceptions I had myself!

    Basically, long story short; I agree-we most definitively have to reach out and explore new things, new people, new Cultures, Religions, Races and yes, even Media.

    Great post and great comments