President Obama's guest is a "hoodlum in the hizzouse"?
Yes, according to Fox Business host Eric Bolling.
This week ColorOfChange.org launched a campaign calling on Roger Ailes, Chair of Fox Business Network, to fire Bolling. On Friday Bolling said that President Obama has a habit of hosting "hoods in the hizzy," a reference to the president of Gabon and rapper Common, two recent White House guests. Bolling is the same Fox personality who said recently that President Obama was too busy "chugging forties" in Ireland to respond to the tornadoes in Missouri. Clearly, these statements play off of racist stereotypes.
Since Tuesday, more than 60,000 people have signed onto a petition calling on Ailes to either fire Bolling or admit that Fox accepts his brand of stereotyping and race-baiting. Please add your name and join us.
In an effort to stave off criticism, Bolling issued a weak pseudo-apology on Monday saying this: "We got a little fast and loose with the language, and we know it's been interpreted as being disrespectful, and for that, I'm sorry. We did go a bit too far." This "apology" doesn't begin to acknowledge the inflammatory and offensive nature of Bolling's comments, and as Media Matters points out, it's dishonest:
First, it's simply not true that the problems on his Friday show consisted of him and his guests getting "a little fast and loose with the language." Some of the most racially inflammatory language Bolling used on his Friday show was in the two teases for the segment, both of which were apparently scripted and accompanied by equally inflammatory images.
Among these images was one in which a photo-shopped gold tooth flashed in the mouth of President Ali Bongo of Gabon. Later, a voice-over announced, "It's not the first time he's had a hood in the big crib" as a photo of rapper Common appeared on screen. A chyron that read "Hoods in the House" captioned an image of Bongo sitting with President Obama, presumably at the White House. Bolling opened his segment by asking, "So what's with all the hoods in the hizzy?" Later, when a guest challenged him, asking why Bolling was treating the meeting as a social event rather than an official meeting between two heads of state, Bolling said, "How do you know what they did? Maybe they did have s'mores and watch movies. Maybe they watched a basketball game." Throughout the segment, Bolling's language and the graphics recycled racist stereotypes. None of the offensive material seemed impromptu. These were not "fast and loose" ad libs.
Such obvious promotion of racial stereotypes is nothing new at Fox.
Commentators at Fox News and Fox Business have long stoked the racial anxieties that some segment of their viewers surely harbor. We saw it last summer in Megyn Kelly's desperate, nonsensical coverage of the New Black Panther Party. We also saw it when John Stossel tried to argue that a central piece of the Civil Rights Act -- the part that says businesses that serve the public can't discriminate on the basis of race -- should be repealed.
But the network's most recent repeat offender has been Glenn Beck. Race-baiting is a big part of what made Beck's career at Fox News before he took things too far -- a move that eventually cost him more than 300 advertisers and his 5pm show on the network. Glenn Beck's time slot is opening up at Fox News at the end of this month, it looks like Bolling may think that over the top race-baiting is a good way to audition for the spot.
Please join us in demanding that Fox Business Chairman Roger Ailes fire Bolling. Ailes might not care what we think -- but he has to care about Fox's public image. If Ailes fires Bolling, it's a step towards accountability. If he refuses, it will make it abundantly clear to the public and the media that stoking racial division is part of Fox's agenda.