Friday, April 6, 2007

Dancing with the Devil

Recently the Congressional Black Caucus Institute agreed to air a series of debates on black issues on FOX News. For anyone who has watched the right-wing conservative turn in the media, it should be well established that FOX News is the mouthpeice of the Empire. FOX News is run by Roger Ailes, who engineered the political campaigns of Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr.--and was also responsible for the racist Willie Horton type ads of the 1980s. When it comes to black America, as evidenced in the above video, FOX News is deplorable. The CBC's decision to partner with it is a bad move that sense a terrible message.

Fox News is part of the global media empire run by right-wing corporatist Rupert Murdoch--who in 2005 even bought myspace. In 2000, it was FOX News consultant John Ellis (cousin to George W. Bush Jr) who called the election in favor of George Bush and against Al Gore. It was FOX News after 9/11 who championed American jingoism that has led to the colonial misadventure in Iraq. During Hurricane Katrina, it was FOX News that first and foremost focused on false reports of black rampaging criminality rather than on the thousands of victims. It was, and still is, FOX News policy to remain the media darling of the Bush White House, the GOP, right-wing pundits, institutions and advocates. FOX News is the only channel Vice President Dick Cheney demands upon his arrival anywhere in the world. Despite being repeatedly called out for blatant misrepresentation, outright lies and disinformation by its core of right-wing bullying pundit like Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity, FOX News remains unrepentant in its propaganda. And its affect on the overall journalistic news media--who in order to get ratings have attemtped to simulate it--has been to lower the standard of the profession whose responsibility it is to keep the citizenry informed about its leadership and those in power.

When it comes to black America, as evidenced in the above video, FOX News is deplorable. If the regular news media helps push negative depictions of blacks, FOX News takes it to extreme heights that can only be compared to the Old South of Jim Crow. It is mean-spirited diatribe dressed up as journalism, that exploits tragedy, glorifies stereotypes and pulls on white America's fears of the "other."

When the Democratic National Convention signed on to partner its debates with FOX News earlier this year, there was immediate resistance from grassroots Democrats and progressives--who recognize FOX News for what it is. The DNC pulled out of its partnerships, after realizing that any Democratic debate on FOX News would be spun and twisted to favor the right-wing. It is hard to imagine that a debate on issues of sensitivity regarding the black community would fare any better. Why the CBC cannot see this is hard to understand. So perhaps, we should make them understand. Below is a letter and links to a petition, urging--demanding--the CBC drop its partnership with FOX News, who is not worthy of their presence.

In support of the petition, I submit the following from

Fox News has consistently attacked Black people, Black leaders, and Black cultural institutions. Despite this, the Congressional Black Caucus Institute has announced that it will partner with Fox to co-host presidential debates.

The Congressional Black Caucus is letting us down at a time when Black Americans need strong and strategic leaders more than ever. We are beginning a campaign to make it clear to key CBC leaders, and the voters in their districts, that the majority of us are not with them. We must keep raising our voices, making it clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that Black America is speaking out against this kind of irresponsible and disrespectful representation.

While we work to shame the CBC Institute into dropping out of this embarrassing partnership with a network that consistently denigrates our people, we will also focus on the presidential candidates. The candidates should take the stand that CBC members have been afraid to take—refusing to participate in debates sponsored by a network that is hostile to the interests of Black America.

Please add your personal thoughts or simply sign the petition, stating your opposition.

UPDATE: Following Senator John Edwards, Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama have pulled out of the debate. However the CBC is still defending their partnership.

What others are saying about the CBC-FOX News Partnership:

"I am disappointed by the Congressional Black Caucus Institute's partnership with FOX, and strongly encourage them to reverse that decision. Why would presidential candidates, or an organization that is supposed to advocate for Black Americans, ever give a stamp of legitimacy to a network that continually marginalizes Black leaders and the Black community? FOX moderating a presidential debate on issues of importance to Black Americans is literally letting the Fox guard the henhouse – FOX should be rejected."--- Jesse Jackson

"There is a difference, however, between compromising preference and compromising principle...The latter is what happens when you represent black interests in the U.S. Congress, but get in bed with a television network that has a history of rank disregard for black interests because you want to be a player in the presidential primary debates. Principle, along with integrity and prestige, is what the Congressional Black Caucus Institute has laid on the line in its partnership with Fox News...So far, it only seems to be another misstep by a group that thinks that 'forgive and forget' are words to live by. That may apply to normal human relations, but not in politics. Not these days. It's a blood war now, and the Congressional Black Caucus, in all of its constructs, would be wise not to let its guard down for a minute."--Tom Joyner's

"Why would the Congressional Black Caucus co-sponsor presidential debates with Fox News? How much does it really cost to rent the CBC Institute?... The CBC-Fox News scandal clearly illuminates the bankruptcy of corporate funded black leadership. The CBC Institute and the CBC Foundation are "not for profit" money pockets created to receive corporate contributions."-- Black Agenda Report

"What were they thinking? What possible justification could the Congressional Black Caucus Political Leadership Education Institute have for picking Fox News to partner with on an upcoming presidential debate? 'Fox News is not a "fair and balanced" source of information or political debate, and it has repeatedly proven itself hostile to the interests of Black Americans... Fox on-air personalities and regular guests consistently marginalize Black leaders, culture, and institutions,' said ColorOfChange in a letter to activists. And they are right. ... Case in point: Fox's recent sustained stain campaign against presidential candidate Barack Obama-they place undue emphasis on his middle name 'Hussein,' say he went to a fundamentalist Islamic school and question his religious affiliation, suggestively characterizing his church as having 'unusual doctrines.' And the network's framing and interpretation of Black (and Brown) issues and culture are often bigoted and lacking in any attempt to truly understand and present a fair picture."--Afro American Newspapers

"Fox has a long history of treating Black people unfairly. They are not a trusted news source for most Black Americans."--Benjamin Todd Jealous – former executive director of the National Newspaper Publishers Associations (NNPA), a 98-year old federation of more than 200 Black community newspapers.

"Why is the Congress Black Caucus condoning the anti-Black and, specifically, anti-Obama onslaught waged by the Fox New Channel, and remaining silent on the CBC Institute's recent announcement to collaborate with Fox to air two presidential debates?"

"Anyone who has been watching the news the past few years should know that Fox News is nothing but a right-wing platform for conservative Republicans. So if that's the case, why were the Democrats even thinking about holding a debate on Fox News in Nevada? I understand the whole idea of reaching out to the other side, but Fox News is not just the other side. They are the opposition. It's one thing to debate Bill O'Reilly or the Fox News anchors. Everybody knows what's going on there. It's another thing to give Fox News a forum it doesn't already have where they can pretend to be 'fair and balanced.' But if the Democratic Party gets it, why doesn't the Congressional Black Caucus?"--Keith Boykin

"I don't think the explicit bias of Fox News is in line with the mission of the Congressional Black Caucus Institute, which if you are wondering, "is to provide political education and training to the next generation of African American leadership"...the prejudices and biases should outrage Black people regardless of their political persuasions. And for that reason, I will make my voice heard to let the Congressional Black Caucus Institute to cancel their agreement with Fox News...Please help us Lord."--Black Blog - SuperSpade

"Why on earth would the Congressional Black Caucus choose to align itself with a network that has proven itself to be racist as a course of normal business operations? As part of their branding strategy? If the Ku Klux Klan or Council of Conservative Citizens had a cable news network, would it be appropriate to collaborate with them on hosting presidential debates, particularly when one of the candidates is black, a CBC member and a consistent target of the network's hatred and misinformation? Like Jesse says, why let the Fox guard the henhouse?"--Jack and Jill Politics

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