Last Saturday more than 80,000 people in North Carolina gathered to march in protest of the Republican mission to strip minorities of their civil rights and gut the social safety net for low-income citizens. It was the largest protest march since the peak of the civil rights movement in 1965.
So how does Fox News cover this news-making event? By having Sean Hannity send an African-American Tea Party leader to ambush and embarrass the marchers. How else would Fox do it?
Hannity’s “correspondent” was David Webb, founder of TeaParty365, Fox News contributor, and Breitbart News columnist. Webb landed at the protest with a bag of questions that had nothing to do with the agenda for the march. He harangued the protest’s organizers with off-topic questions (the video of which cut out most the answers). Then he asked a few participants if they thought Obama is a successful president. Most answered correctly that he has been obstructed at every turn by Republicans committed to blocking anything he proposes, even if it was originally a GOP initiative.
However, the feature of the video was Webb asking marchers to give examples of racism by the Tea Party. This is the sort of ambush tactic that serves no purpose other than to create a negative impression of the respondents. First of all, Webb’s video showed him interviewing only four people out of the more than 80,000 who attended the march. Without the uncut footage we have no idea if there were forty others who supplied Webb with bona fide examples of Tea Party racism that he left on the cutting room floor. It’s easy to splice together just the remarks that make his point and discard the rest.
Furthermore, the respondents were not official spokespeople for the protest and they did not come prepared to have answers for Webb’s loaded questions. It’s unreasonable to expect that random citizens participating in a march to protest specific policies of North Carolina’s ultra-right Republican administration will be carrying documentation of Tea Party racism to an event that isn’t related to that subject. Yet that is precisely what was expected of the four victims of Webb’s inquisition. Fox Nation even placed a story about this at the top of their website with a sensationalized headline that implied that liberals as a group were unable to cite examples of bigotry in the Tea Party. Maybe they should ask more than four liberals before making such a ludicrous assertion.
That said, I wouldn’t want Fox News, Sean Hannity, and David Webb to be disappointed by not getting a substantive response to their inquiries. Therefore, they might want to look into the Tea Party agenda for evidence of racism. For instance, their reactions to the recent commercials for Cheerios (with a biracial family) and Coke (with a multilingual rendition of America the Beautiful) revealed a thinly disguised prejudice for anything not purely of Euro-Caucasian descent. Then there were the infamous Birthers whose allegations are inherently racist. The Tea Party’s opposition to social safety net programs is often portrayed as a response to the lazy moochers in the inner city they regard as the beneficiaries. Then there is their advocacy of voter ID laws that largely impact minorities, as well as seniors and the poor. And they continue to refer to undocumented residents as “illegals,” even if they broke no laws. The Tea Party’s legislative and social agenda is rife with this sort of bigotry.
For more evidence, note the frequency with which Tea Party leaders are caught saying out loud things that are overtly racist. For instance this Arkansas Tea Partier, or this one in California, or this former chairman of the Tea Party Express.
And if that isn’t enough, take a look at these images gathered from Tea Party rallies and websites:
Of course, Hannity and Webb would never address these examples that they disingenuously requested. Their intent from the outset was to let the question hang out there unanswered to leave the false impression the charges of racism were unwarranted. But any paying attention knows the truth about the Tea Party, and a little research confirms it. Too bad Fox News viewers will never see it.