More than 70,000 ColorOfChange.org members have stood up to Fox for using race-baiting and fear to convince Americans that our country's first viable Black candidate for President is not "one of us" (if you don't know what Fox has done, just keep reading--we'll give you the whole story below). It's a great start, but we're still missing your voice--and we need it.
If we can get to 100,000 signatures, we will go after Fox head-on: We'll deliver the petitions to Fox News headquarters in New York , shaming the network in front of their competitors' news cameras. Then we'll turn attention to their advertisers.
But first, we need your help. Can you take 30 seconds to add your voice and invite your friends and family to do the same?
After Senator Obama won the nomination, he and his wife gave each other a "pound" in front of the cameras. Fox anchor E.D. Hill called the act of celebration a "terrorist fist jab."1 Then last week, a Fox News on-screen graphic referred to Michelle Obama as "Obama's baby mama"2--slang used to describe the unmarried mother of a man's child. It was a clear attempt to associate the Obamas with negative cultural stereotypes about Black people, an insult not only to Michelle Obama but to women and Black people everywhere.
Last month, a Fox guest pretended to confuse Obama's name with "Osama," associating him with terrorism, which has happened before on Fox. But then she went further, stating that the assassination of both Osama and Obama would be a good thing.3,4 It is unconscionable for an organization that calls itself a news network to advocate for the assassination of a presidential candidate.
After each of the incidents mentioned, Fox issued some form of weak apology. But what does it mean when you slap someone in the face, apologize the next day, then slap them again on the third? It means the apology is meaningless.
Now is the time to call out Fox for these attacks and their fake apologies. The first stop is Fox. Next will be their advertisers and the FCC. If we don't push back now, we will see more of the same from now until November. Please join us to demand that Fox answer for its behavior:
These aren't one-time incidents--they're part of a pattern that continues no matter how often Fox is forced to apologize. Fox has a clear record of attacking and undermining Black institutions, Black leaders, and Black people in general.5,6 Their team of producers and on-air personalities uses innuendo to prey on fear and racist stereotypes that ridicule the progress, politics and personalities of Black America.7
But this pattern grew even more noticeable when Barack Obama became a serious presidential contender. Fox's smears against Obama are part of a larger effort, working together with anonymous emails8, outrageous statements by right-wing pundits and officials9 and fear-mongering ads paid for by local chapters of the Republican party10. These tactics have deception at their core, and they're designed to take advantage of the racist fears and prejudices ingrained in our society.
Fox plays a very specific, key role in this effort. It uses its position in the media to inject racist attacks on Obama into the mainstream political conversation. Because Fox paints itself as a news network and has a large audience, it's able to give credibility and exposure to unfounded rumors and bigoted, extremist statements.
Stopping Fox will take a sustained effort, but we've done it before11. Once you've signed the letter to Fox, you'll be the first to hear about future racist smears and how we can fight them. Please join us:
Thanks and Peace,
-- James, Gabriel, Clarissa, Andre, and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
June 26th, 2008
1. "Fox News' E.D. Hill teased discussion of Obama dap: "A fist bump? A pound? A terrorist fist jab?" Media Matters, June 6, 2008
2. "Fox News in trouble again over Obama smear: 'baby mama'" Los Angeles Times, June 12, 2008
3. "Dems cancel debate over Fox Chief's Obama joke," CNN.com, March 10, 2007
4. Liz Trotta on Fox News Channel, May 25, 2008
5. "Fox Attacks: Black America," FoxAttacks.com, June 2007
6. "Fox Attacks: Obama, Part 2," FoxAttacks.com, June 2007
7. "Fox News and its problem with African-Americans," ColorOfChange.org overview, March 2007
8. "SMEAR: Obama's Books Contain Racially Incendiary Remarks," FighttheSmears.com, June, 2008
9. "Schlussel: Should Barack Hussein Obama be president "when we are fighting the war of our lives against Islam"?," Media Matters, December 20, 2006
10. "Tennessee GOP Smears Obama With Alleged Ties to Anti-Semitism and Farrakhan," TPM Election Central, February 27, 2008
11. "Obama, Clinton to skip Fox-backed debate," MSNBC.com, April 10, 2007