Yesterday it was revealed that Louisiana representative Steve Scalise, recently elevated to the Whip post in the Republican leadership of the House of Representatives, had spoken at a conference for the white supremacist organization run by former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke. The revelation has stirred the political pot with politicians and pundits from across the ideological spectrum denouncing the speech and calling for various levels of punishment for Scalise. The controversy has even led to Sean Hannity calling for GOP Speaker John Boehner to resign.
Resisting the pressure, Boehner is defending Scalise as having made an “error in judgment” and vowing to stand by his lieutenant. It’s a measure of loyalty that is suspicious considering the threat by David Duke to begin naming names of other politicos with whom he has a relationship “if Republicans want to throw Steve Scalise to the woods.”
As this scandal unfolds it is notable that Fox News viewers likely have no knowledge of it. That’s because Fox has devoted only one 20 second segment to the story since it broke. It is a virtual blackout of bad news for the GOP’s new leadership even as they are still reeling from the news that Staten Island Republican Michael Grimm was persuaded to resign following his guilty plea for felony tax evasion.
Fox’s aversion to reporting the Scalise story was not particularly significant to the right-wing media bashers at NewsBusters. They stealthily dodged the fact that Fox had suppressed the story, instead choosing to draw a comparison with other media declining to report about Terry Bean, an Obama donor who allegedly engaged in sexual relations with a minor. Bean has denied the charges and claims to be a victim of extortion.
The NewsBusters claim is absurd on its face. Bean is an obscure campaign contributor who holds no office of public trust. Scalise is a sitting congressman and the third most powerful Republican in the House. Bean has not been found guilty of any crime and maintains his innocence. Scalise has admitted his involvement with the openly racist Duke organization, although he claims it was inadvertent. The unconfirmed Bean allegations may be of some interest to a few political junkies, but the discovery of a Republican Party leader cavorting with white supremacists is a matter of importance to both his constituents and the nation.
It is difficult to believe that Scalise, a long time Louisiana pol, was unaware of Duke’s activities in the state. What’s more, Scalise actually told reporters in 1999, that “he embraces many of the same ‘conservative’ views as Duke.” So not only was he well acquainted with Duke, he is a political ally.
The fact that Fox News has refused to give this story the coverage that it deserves is evidence that they are purposefully manipulating the news for the benefit of their GOP friends. And it is further validation of the criticism of Fox as being the PR division of the Republican Party.