22 June 2015
Charleston and the Age of Fox News’ (et al) “Break Your Back” Racism-Filled Nonsense
By Jeff Koopersmith, Editor Emeritus
There is no such thing as Race – and journalists had better know that and get this disease out of the main.
I read David Remnick’s extraordinary piece this week concerning nine innocent churchgoers murdered by a young man named Dylan Roof in Charleston. Roof, whose skin was white, murdered these nine people whose skin was far darker after spending an hour or more with them at a bible study held at the historical Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina near to where kidnapped and captive slaves worshiped underground prior to the Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and the end of America’s Civil War – fought over Southern hatred of “slave deliverance”.
As Mr. Remnick evidenced in his piece, I too thought of Barack and also Michelle Obama, the President and First Lady of the United States and how they must weep soundlessly in our White House following years of what seems like unbridled murders of dark skinned Americans, at best in grim or eager circumstances from the shooter either from his fear, hatred, or simple absurdity.
Remnick reminds us that three thousand four hundred and forty-six dark skinned human beings that we know about were lynched in less than 100 years after the Civil War ended.
This was the way that white-skinned Americans terrorized dark-skinned people then, even for the smallest thing like talking the wrong way, or speaking to the wrong people – light skinned people, and especially women.
As time went on after that period dark skinned people were still being hung by trees in the night, or dragged by chains lashed to trucks or cars along Southern roads and dirt alleyways that tore their skins from their bones so dreadfully that coroners took days just to piece together those bodies.
What an irony it is stripping the skin off a person. The dragging of these men and women provided the truth – that there is a race called Human Beings, but these sub-races fabricated along the centuries do not exist anymore more than Fish of a different color or physical appearance are not Fish. There are no Negroes, or Blacks, or African Americans that can be identified by skin color, or musculature, or genius. They are just part of the billions of us that belong to the human race.
Yes the media in Western Europe and these United States not only perpetuated these labels until they became – and remain – institutional as well as part of our normal societies. Adolf Hitler took full advantage of this when he sikked his Gestapo dogs on human beings with the wrong noses, beards, fuller lips, and more normal traits of all human beings.
While Remnick – who I so very much admire – writes of..cruelty and unpunished murder as a legacy. I disagree, it is not a legacy since it continues as viciously as before, merely wearing an altered mask that attempts to hide the fact that the lynching of miscellaneous sorts of human beings continues in America and around the globe.
Here in America society lynches dark skinned people, brown skinned people, yellow-skinned people, gay people, transsexual people, Jews, Catholics, and the poor (Etc.) no matter what the color of their skin or the tilt of their noses. It they are different, they are lynched.
However, the legacy that Remnick introduces is realty, only the weapons have changed and they are largely held and aimed by our media – but NBC, CNN, FOXNEWS, The New York Times, and frankly almost all media – including minority-owned media (although more thoughtful) – a term I loathe because people’s skin color does not make them a “minority”. They are humans. We people are all humans.
We have made them a minority by defining them by idiotic qualities.
The Media has a much greater responsibility for turning Americans against each other than does any force in our culture since media is the most potent – even intoxicating – information source and educator than our families, our churches, and– especially our schools today – many of which directed by men and women who believe in definition by appearance or practice rather than merit.
When I point out the miserable manner in which Fox News alters the meaning of almost all happenstance it is only because their reach is so very broad and yet they are over and done with all the basic precepts of truth which once guided journalism and the rest of us.
It is not just Fox News or Rodger Ailes the spine-chilling head of that division of Rupert Murdoch’s empire which is to blame for creating an atmosphere so dissimilar to reality that one grieves over it or should. The reason Fox awarded itself the “Fair and balanced” moniker follows.
According to Roger Ailes, an artless and generally insignificant aide to Ronald Reagan nearly fifty years in the past, Fox must define itself as such because in truth it is both unfair and completely unhinged in its analysis not only of news, but of the world in general.
Fox taps on the shoulders of –so-called experts on everything from warfare to psychology but in fact none of them are – by any definition- experts. Fox uses lovely women and smiling men to push propaganda they read from notes or Teleprompters – not news. Where Fox does tell the truth – The Weather reports – it simultaneously stands against and mocks all of science who know well that our weather is being raped by our gruesome atmosphere and diseased oceans that are, in fact, destroying not only all of us – human and otherwise on the planet, including the planet itself.
Allow me more direct examples than my indiscriminate charge that the media – and especially the news media – are killing our fellows.
Nearly ten years ago I wrote an op-ed piece titled “The Lynching of Michael Jackson”
It was the end of a series of my opinions about Mr. Jackson and the power of the media to destroy, or better said – push a man to destroy himself much as humans, over the ages, have been shoved into suicide by public scolding and sermonizing – a flagship of Fox News ethical canons. You might recall that Fox led the way, along with CNN to do everything but call Michael Jackson a child rapist. He was no such thing.
Fox is not the only criminal in this regard – Today it seems like every cable and broadcast network is swimming in maltreatment of people’s skin color which has absolutely nothing to do with what they are – save for what the “racists” do to them.
Such is the power of news to drive one to defying death while in reality inviting it.
Remnick’s superlative lines regarding this topic are these:
But the words attributed to the shooter (Dylan Roof) are both a throwback and thoroughly contemporary: one recognizes the rhetoric of extreme reaction and racism heard so often in the era of Barack Obama. His language echoed the barely veiled epithets hurled at Obama in the 2008 and 2012 campaigns
One could be reading a teleprompter of Fox & Friends, or the O’Reilly Factor to mirror those sentences.
Another example – perhaps the most important – is Fox News’ continuing harping and sniggering at Americans trying to maintain what is called a “politically correct” national arena.
Of course Fox writers and readers and do not understand the word political or the meaning of the term political correctness. Everything in our lives is “political” – the word itself is rooted in the Latin for polity –
Oxford English Dictionary: Civilization; civil order or organization; civil society.
Political should mean “of the polity” or simply “civil” – The term has been bastardized over the years into meaning something to do with government and politics thereby denigrating it, and of course said meaning stands today – Nevertheless when someone is “politically correct” it means that someone is civil in a societal sense – saying or doing what is expected and what is not uncivil.
So, we are down to brass tacks. In my opinion which spans many decades observing what we now call racism, but is categorically simply “getting control over others”. The war against nearly everyone but White Judeo-Christian people seems worse to me during the last 20 years – and although the government and the highest courts have ruled in essence that this type of action is illegal and a disgrace – it continues.
An umbra of this – and a very powerful one – is exemplified by those I call “minorities by color” who are driven to drugs, alcohol or worse by the beating drums of indecent media cradles. I am thinking today of a dozen and more dark-skinned American celebrities: Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Bobby Brown, Bobbi Kristina Brown (Houston), Marion Barry, Bill Cosby, Diana Ross, Cornell West, Vanessa Williams, and Barack and Michelle Obama.
All of these people have suffered greatly from race-based media harassment – and uncivil, indecent abuse by nearly all news media both directly or indirectly. They accomplish this by public humiliation and deceitfulness about who these people are and what they are doing.
Without going into each of their dreadful stories, which could fill ten books, I add that I believe Michael Jackson, and Whitney Houston, were driven to their deaths via media callousness and the severity of it and that the others on this very short list of victims have had their lives nearly destroyed by the same.
Jackson and Houston were incredibly wealthy, but of course other disappointments contributed to their disability to ignore or fight those who profited from their frailties or simply lied about them to sell advertising.
Fox News is again the prime example, but its cohorts are thousandfold on the Internet, in deceptive magazines, fake “foundations” and preposterous political organizations including for the first time – the Republican Party and the Tea Party, sadly.
Did Jackson and Houston expire by their own hand whether by choice, involuntarily, or unawares escape from this earth we will never know.
Whitney Houston’s young daughter Bobbi, although still “alive” remains comatose after her own flirtation with death. Bobby Brown’s career nearly disappeared as well, and that happened prior to the opening cannon fire from television especially on Whitney Houston.
The one thing these dozen tortured people have in common is that they are dark skinned human beings – otherwise known by White Americans as African-Americans, Negroes, niggers, or blacks – none of which describe them at all and none of which are charming in any way even though these same human beings have adopted these terms and use them. All of them have been victims to a greater of lesser extent than others – but to listen to that idiot Jerry Seinfeld – who is not funny and never was to my mind — say he is “sick of being PC” on Fox News of course – is enough to turn most people’s stomachs. Being sick of PC is to be uncivil and there is really no excuse for that.
Just ask any Southerner.
What is the answer?
I do not know. Fox News, for instance, is nothing more than a 24 hours a day 7 day a week commercial for neocons and worse, hides behind the journalistic shield even though Fox has nothing much to prove that it is a news network and everything to prove it is a monster more dangerous than anything Goebbels imagined under Hitler.
That notwithstanding, another problem is that true news organization which are getting fewer and fewer tend to defend even the worst hypocrites and posers who deal in fantasy not fact and call it news. While I am always eager to throw punches at Fox and its like I always make certain never to lie about them even with the most overzealous my jabs. Their compatriots tend to defend or ignore Fox’s crimes against humanity or ditto them in some, perhaps more fashionable but still destructive way.
Fox executives know exactly what they are and plan exactly what they are doing to move ultra-right politicians into important legislative seats and governorships and if you try to stop them – they attack you.
This was proved many years ago when I began to write about Fox breaking the Federal Election laws by running these non-stop commercials and so-called “interviews” of right-wing politicians while leaving the middle of the road or liberal-progressive candidates to their indecencies. At that time, this was against the law because Fox was using corporate assets in the billions to do so. Alas, the Supreme Court now tells us that Fox News is a person – and entitled to free speech. In time that will change – but in the meantime – what can be done?
Rodger Ailes then emailed me, threatened me and went as far as hiring a private investigator to dig up dirt on me about which he boasted. I asked him what he found. He told me that he found I had an order to support my son. Hmmm. Well of course I did, my son lived with me and the order for support was simply part of my wife’s and my divorce agreement. Each of us contributed love and money as needed.
Here is what I think. I believe that the media – including the NY Times and especially the Washington Post lately, should begin to clean up their acts and truly present a fair view of the world’s news and when it indulges in opinion – it should do so giving another side the opportunity to respond in kind. This was the rule before which was swept way by the same ilk that has tidied up and stowed away so much decency already.
MSNBC attempted to battle Fox News – but to be honest it should have contracted with Ailes to run the network from the liberal-progressive point of view. He would have probably done a great job and both would have lost their audiences in a vain attempt toward balance and fairness.
Perhaps Brian Williams, now 56, will join the NBC network’s cable channel MSNBC as breaking news anchor and special reports in mid-August. Hopefully the MSNBC producers and Williams will choose to make a counter-attack on Fox et al and those that buttress them – especially after Fox bitterly burned him at the stake for things Fox News does on what seems an hourly basis – Lie.
NOTE: Be sure to read David Remnick’s piece in the New Yorker which fully examines Barack Obama’s challenging path toward balance in these intimidating times.
It’s a chef-d’oeuvre of truth.