Fox News has the Ferguson, Missouri police department’s back. In order to justify the unwarranted violence and violation of First Amendment rights, Fox News is once again stirring up racial animus and using one specific outlier as an excuse for consistently and inherently bad behavior by the police.
Filing in for the vacationing Megyn Kelly, Fox News’ Martha MacCallum drummed up Black Panther fears by claiming they are pushing racial violence in Ferguson, based on an FBI report that ONE member of the fringe Black Panthers group is in Ferguson.
Watch the August 13 edition of The Kelly File here via Media Matters:
Media Matters’ Thomas Bishop laid it out:
On the August 13 edition of The Kelly File, Fox News correspondent Mike Tobin explained that while “demonstrations remain[ed] peaceful” throughout the day, New Black Panther Party members were seen in Ferguson. Ignoring the reports of peaceful protests, MacCallum highlighted a tweet and Facebook posts from one New Black Panther Party member in particular who she claimed “is very vociferously advocating violence against the police.”
PoliticusUSA’s Justin Baragona is in Ferguson, and has been reporting daily about the citizens’ desire to be heard after the still unexplained shooting and killing of an unarmed, African-American 18-year-old boy named Michael Brown. Their daily protests have been peaceful, even in the wake of such tragedy.
If one citizen of a group “very vociferously advocating violence” via Twitter and Facebook is cause for alarm and police targeting of entire group, then conservatives should expect to be the targets of the Secret Service for just being a conservative, since there are consistent threats against this President made by conservatives on both mediums. But of course, that is ridiculous and unfair to an entire group of people, especially when made by a lone member and not a leader.
Bishop pointed out that Fox News failed to mention the fact that Brown’s family, President Obama, and the NAACP all denounced the violence and called for peaceful protests.
But the community has also been trying peacefully to communicate their message. Yes, there is looting at night, but that is not the only story and even that is not being put into context. It’s hard to justify repeated requests for non-violence while an unexplained killing is being being ignored and swept under the rug.
AG Eric Holder announced a federal investigation into the shootings. It is no doubt due to this investigation that conservatives at Fox News feel compelled to exaggerate the Black Panther fear-mongering. Nothing gets the Fox News crowd riled up like the idea that justice might extend to black people and might be dished out by a black person in charge, such as Eric Holder or President Obama. These examples of leadership coming from minorities is a painful reminder of change and progress, and stirs up the festering resentment among the Archie Bunker crowd.
If anyone is playing the race card right now, it’s Fox News. And by playing the race card, I mean unwarranted stirring up of racial animus and fear for political reasons. This is not even in the same category as a minority sharing their experience of being targeted by the police due to the color of their skin. One is not real, and the other is way too often demonstrably real, and documented.
The Civil Rights Organization explains that racial profiling by law enforcement is not only a violation of Constitutional rights, but it is also ineffective.
Racial profiling in law enforcement is not merely wrong, but also ineffective. Race-based assumptions in law enforcement perpetuate negative racial stereotypes that are harmful to our rich and diverse democracy, and materially impair our efforts to maintain a fair and just society.
Fox News is trying to justify the militarization of the police by inferring that black people are dangerous because one member of the Black Panthers has bad judgment. Fox News is trying to justify the violation of constitutional rights, and ignoring the killing of an unarmed African American teenager, by using one example of what they would call a “lone wolf” or “bad apple” were this person to go on a shooting spree and kill innocent children. Yet, one person expressing emotions on Facebook and Twitter justifies targeting an entire group of people when that group is a minority, according to Fox.
The lack of consistency in values is the giveaway that there is an agenda in play.
Conservatives consistently side with violence and violation of First Amendment rights by the police when targeting people with whom conservatives disagree or for whom they have contempt. See Occupy.
A value that is not consistent is not a value at all. One Black Panther expressing himself on Facebook does not justify arresting members of the press for no reason, excessive violence against citizens, and lethal police silence in the wake of a still unexplained shooting and killing of an unarmed teenager.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.