This ignorant fantasy of the Obama-haters about a "Muslim Christian" running this country brings to mind a fragment of a recent conversation on African-American culture I inadvertently overheard. The part I caught was: ""well, where do you think those stereotypes come from?" Nearly instinctively, I thought: "Fox News Channel." But there was nothing Freudian about this reaction. If anything, it was far more intuitive. What's Freudian probably relates more to that which underlies the findings of yet another recent study -- by Farleigh-Dickenson University -- which reinforces a consensus arrived at through several previous studies ; that in many respects, the average Fox News channel viewer has the cognitive capability of a cardboard box.
Though this isn't exactly breaking news, some of the findings of this particular study do seem a bit beyond perplexing. For example, the scores racked up by habitual Fox viewers on domestic topics -- stuff that perhaps even zombies should know -- were actually lower than the median score achieved by people who don't watch news at all.
Now comes an irony. Recently, at my mention of President Obama singing "Let's Stay Together," an acquaintance sort of instinctively let out: "I can't stand Obama." This was a stunner because the assumption was that he's thoroughly apolitical. Regardless of the candidate or the issue, this guy never votes.
He was asked if he watches "Fox News" and though he replied in the affirmative, it was later determined that he actually views general programming on a local Fox affiliate (like The Simpsons or American Idol). But he never watches the Fox channel that matters; the spiteful "fair and balanced" network of Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and a host of other journalistic frauds. So, as it turns out this guy doesn't even know that he doesn't watch Fox News. Yet he's likely to score higher than someone who watches the Fox News Channel every day.
As this incident seems to illustrate, you don't necessarily have to watch the Fox News Channel to dislike President Obama. However, it sure seems like the place to go if you want to learn to hate him. And that's something that I gather is linked to Fox News Channel's "dumber than a doorknob" viewer demographic which the Farleigh-Dickenson study again uncovered. But it wouldn't be "fair and balanced" to fail to acknowledge that "dumb," isn't exactly how Fox viewers were identified in the study: "least informed" was the description used.
While one can only speculate how hard-core Fox viewers would react to that bit of politically-correct terminology, it's hardly conjecture to presume that at the very least, only the least informed would give credence to the aborted "re-swift boating" if you will, of President Obama. It was to be a multi-million-dollar plan -- underwritten by the owner of the Chicago Cubs -- to resurrect Rev. Wright as a campaign issue. As is generally the case when it comes to anti-Obama agit-prop, racially-motivated or otherwise, this endeavor would rely heavily on the immense network of right-wing conservative media outlets including of course, the place to turn for blatant liberal distortions and distinctive WTF-did-they-say?-style presentations of over-the-top hyperbole -- Fox News.
A Racist Renaissance?
It should be pointed out that Fox News Channel is not the primary focus here. But its influence on social and political discourse in America and abroad is far too significant to be overlooked, particularly when the topic is racism . It's also worth noting that media racism is not a problem struggled with by Fox alone. And while it seems to run rampant among Republican social conservatives, one can safely assume that racial prejudice doesn't discriminate on the basis of political party or philosophy. What is inarguable however is that since the election of this President, both the presence of racism within the GOP and Fox's contributions to racial pot-stirring have grown so overt that denying it would be nothing short of delusional.
But it's said that only a fool leans upon his own misunderstandings and clearly within the ranks of the Obama-haters reside quite a few. As such, there's rarely a shortage of stalwart defenders of an alternate reality. And they come forth prepared to respond to charges of anti-Obama racism in a manner expected of anyone prone to under-thinking and overreacting: by blocking their ears and bellowing out the familiar litany of nauseatingly trite denials. But the challenge to anyone considering joining those ranks is how to explain any of several well-publicized events with racial overtones that involved the President.
What U.S. President has faced an opposition that not only set out to execute a strategy of undermining the U.S. economy in hopes of creating a " one-term presidency ," but met and concocted that strategy at the same moment the new President was being inaugurated? When has a U.S. President ever been publicly called out as a liar as South Carolina Republican Rep. Joe Wilson did on live television in 2009; or, faced the tacky indignity of having a host governor's finger wagged in his face as Arizona's Jan Brewer did earlier this year. And what U.S. President has faced the issue of his citizenship being questioned -- most recently Donald Trump and Republican Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman -- to the point that only by " showing his papers " would the issue be quelled?
When's the last time a U.S. President was subjected to petty challenges of his security arrangements by his opponents such as which occurred last year when two buses purchased for the President by the Secret Service were blasted as " a waste of taxpayer's money ?" And when has any locality previously banned public school students from participating in a Presidential back-to-school pep talk as did Collier County, Florida this past September?
Moreover, what U.S. President has had to contend with what essentially amounts as hate speech from fellow elected officials and even religious figures? Among the notables incidents include Rev. Franklin Graham signing-off on a pejorative characterization of President Obama as a " son of Islam , " and Colorado Republican Doug Lambourn's use of the term " tar-baby in an analogy involving the President. There's also South Carolina Republican Senator Jake Knotts' characterization of Obama as a " rag head ," and this note of caution from Kentucky Republican Rep. Geoff Davis: "That boy's finger does not need to be on the button."
Meanwhile, how is the avalanche of racist jokes explained?
"Breaking news," read an email dispatched in July 2009 by Atwater, California City Councilman Gary Frago . "Sarah Palin has been offered $1 million to pose nude in the January issue. Michelle Obama got the same offer from National Geographic." Frago, by the way, is the same racist reprobate who suggested that with Obama's election, the term "n-word rigs' should now be defined as "Presidential solutions."
Even a federal judge has joined the fray. This past March, U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull of Montana circulated a "joke" via email implying Obama's birth was the result of a sexual tryst between one of the President's parents and a dog.