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Fox News Channel's Anti-Obama Smear Campaign Resembles Shakespeare's Othello

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Fans of William Shakespeare are familiar with the play Othello in which a black leader (Othello) is done in by a treacherous lieutenant (Iago) constantly whispering in his ear, implying that his new wife (Desdemona) has been unfaithful to him.

In the past two years, this country has been witnessing a sort of recreation of this play in the smearing of President Obama by Fox News.

Ever since the 2008 Presidential election, Fox News hasn't simply registered disapproval with Obama's policies. The network has carried it three steps further by engaging in a personal vendetta and an undeclared campaign of misinformation designed to poison the public against Obama, exploit many Americans' silent uneasiness with electing the first black president, and thereby undermining not only his policies but his legacy as well.

 From Fox News, it has been implied that:

  • Obama hates America because he is a socialist.
  • Obama is a racist seeking "payback" for African-Americans
  • Obama is secretly a Muslim
  • Obama hates the Constitution
  • Obama is running a Justice Department who won't prosecute discrimination cases where whites are the victims and African-Americans are the perpetrators
  • Obama doesn't believe in the free market.
  • Obama is in charge of a huge unethical empire of voter fraud whose base is ACORN
  • Michelle Obama is sort of the reincarnation of the "extravagant" Marie Antoinette
  • Obama is trying to destroy America in pursuit of his father's Keynesian beliefs
  • Obama is always apologizing to foreign countries instead of pushing the idea of "American Exceptionalism (whatever the heck that is) because he is secretly ashamed of this country.

And the latest lie:

  • Obama is spending an unnecessary amount of money ($200 million a day) on a trip to India.

None of these charges are well-thought-out reasonable opposition to Obama's policies. Rather they are the equivalent of feces thrown by enraged baboons so consumed with hitting their targets that they don't care how deep they have to sink their arms into the gunk.

Now in Othello, Iago's constant hinting, whispering, and nudging drove Othello to a fever pitch, leading him to murder his wife and then commit suicide after realizing that he had been duped.

Some progressives can probably make the case that this is figuratively similar to the 2010 mid-terms where the American people gave control of the House of Representatives back to the Republicans -- a party whose policies are responsible for our presently poor financial state, a party who, despite its clarion cry of "jobs, jobs, jobs," has no concrete plan for job creation or deficit reduction, and a party who seems to want to waste time and attention in a futile war over Obama's health care bill and useless Congressional investigations instead of fulfilling their promises to the American people.

It's not that simple. One can't completely blame Fox News for the 2010 mid-term elections. There is enough blame for the Democrats and Obama himself to absorb a little.

But still, this version of Othello hasn't ended just yet. As long as Obama is in office, Fox News will continue to act as an imp seated on the shoulder of America, whispering in her ear, manifesting fears, and sowing doubts via ugly innuendo camouflaged as legitimate news with every intention of painting our President as a sepia "Manchurian Candidate."

My hope is that enough Americans will eventually recognize Fox News as the propaganda machine that it is and develop a tin ear to its vitriol.

We have every right not to like our President. At times we should disagree with our President. But no American should ever be made to fear our President. And we should always respect our President.

But the way Fox News is going,  I wouldn't be surprised if some folks ended up using Obama as a boogeyman to get their children to behave.

That's what Fox News's goal seems to be. And there is something dreadfully wrong with that.