Wednesday, November 11, 2009

DO SOMETHING: Murdoch - Glenn Beck "was right" about Obama?

Last week, when asked about Glenn Beck calling President Obama "racist," Rupert Murdoch, chairman of Fox News Channel's parent company (News Corp) said "if you actually assess what he was talking about, |Beck| was right."[1]

On Tuesday, after his endorsement of Beck's race-baiting started to draw attention, Murdoch claimed, through a spokesperson, that he didn't mean he agrees with Beck.[2] It's ridiculous -- what else could he have possibly meant?

Murdoch calls the shots at Fox News, and he's just made it clear that Fox's problem with race starts in his office. Now that he's been caught, he's trying to play dumb -- he doesn't want to be held accountable for Beck's rhetoric, but he won't denounce or stop it either.

It won't work, if we stand up. Join me in telling Murdoch he has a choice -- he can stand by the fact that he agrees with Glenn Beck; or he can tell us why he doesn't and what he's going to do about it. If enough of us call him out, we can create a powerful conversation about Fox's race-baiting that will help us hold them accountable at the highest level.

Please join me in signing the petition to Murdoch, and ask your friends and family to do the same:

While Beck is the worst offender on the Fox News Channel, the network has a long, deep history of engaging in inflammatory racial rhetoric: attacking Black leaders, Black culture, and Black institutions.[3,4,5] And a number of Murdoch's recent business decisions suggest that he is consciously building a media empire -- at Fox News and elsewhere -- that attracts viewers by appealing to racial fear and paranoia.

A month ago, Murdoch put Don Imus (fired from MSNBC for his infamous "nappy headed hos" comment)[6] back on television on the Fox Business Network. And a few weeks ago, Murdoch personally fired Marc Lamont Hill -- one of Fox News' few black commentators -- in response to a racially charged smear campaign led by a News Corp shareholder, who said Hill has "reputation of defending cop killers and racists."[7]

Holding Murdoch, Beck and Fox News accountable

When Murdoch publicly endorsed some of Glenn Beck's most inflammatory comments, it seemed he was making it very clear that he approves of Fox's race-baiting. Now, apparently after realizing how damaging it would be for him to publicly support the rhetoric that cost Glenn Beck 80 advertisers, he's trying to backpedal. But Murdoch is not willing to distance himself from Beck either. He knows that he could face a backlash from Fox's viewers if he appears critical of the racially charged programming that attracts many of them to the network in the first place.

So Murdoch wants to have it both ways -- he wants to build a network that makes money by pandering to racial fear and paranoia, but he doesn't want Fox to be seen as cable's home for race-baiting.

We can't let him get away with it. Murdoch made a mistake by speaking too openly about what he and his media organizations stand for. He rarely makes mistakes like this, and we need to seize the opportunity to expose Fox's problem with race.

It starts by demanding that Murdoch explain what he meant, and be clear about whether or not race-baiting is part of the program at Fox. He may or may not respond, but if enough of us speak out, we can create a conversation that makes it clear who is ultimately responsible for Fox's race-baiting. It's just one step in starting to bring some accountability to the leadership of Fox News and News Corp -- but it's an important one.

Join me in calling out Rupert Murdoch, and ask your friends and family to do the same. It just takes a minute:

Thank you.



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