Friday, August 5, 2011

Fox News Blow The Dog Whistle: The Racists Listen.

Media Matters for America, a non-profit liberal media resource group has been gunning for Fox News over the past few years. With the first African American to be elected as president, Barack Obama and the network have been at odds over issues. And with that, comes the blatant disrespect and subtle racism to him.
The conservative network wasted no time trying to tie the high educated Obama with racial stereotypes of Black culture. Last year, the president stated that his interest in  hip-hop music rappers like Nas and Lil' Wayne, the website Fox Nation post the president's love for gangster rappers. First Lady Michelle Obama host a poetry session at the White House and invites rapper Common. Common becomes a "cop killing" rapper. Three days after the killing of Osama bin Laden. Now as the  president celebrates his birthday at the White House and invites Chris Rock and Jay-Z to the event, it's a "Hip-Hop BBQ".

Fox's 'gangsta rap' headline continues ghettoization of Obama

Say what you will—Fox Nation knows how to keep things unique. We also love the url for the item:

Towards the end of a recent interview with Rolling Stone, President Obama was asked about his musical preferences, he replied:
My iPod now has about 2,000 songs, and it is a source of great pleasure to me. I am probably still more heavily weighted toward the music of my childhood than I am the new stuff. There's still a lot of Stevie Wonder, a lot of Bob Dylan, a lot of Rolling Stones, a lot of R&B, a lot of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Those are the old standards.
A lot of classical music. I'm not a big opera buff in terms of going to opera, but there are days where Maria Callas is exactly what I need.
Thanks to Reggie [Love, the president's personal aide], my rap palate has greatly improved. Jay-Z used to be sort of what predominated, but now I've got a little Nas and a little Lil Wayne and some other stuff, but I would not claim to be an expert. Malia and Sasha are now getting old enough to where they start hipping me to things. Music is still a great source of joy and occasional solace in the midst of what can be some difficult days.
Soul, folk, rock, R&B, jazz, "A lot of classical", and some rap; sounds like a fairly diverse musical palate. This represents the musical tastes of a number of Americans of the president's generation, especially those with school age children. Diversity is good, unless you are reading the Fox Nation website. According to Huffington Post, Fox Nation took this description and briefly posted the headline, "President of the United States Loves Gansta Rap" with photos of tattoo laden Nas and Lil' Wayne thrown in for "flava".

How does the president's acknowledgment of an appreciation for rap music become a love for "gangsta rap"?

This is not too subtle code language from conservative media that the "de-racialized" President Obama has an affinity for some element of African-American culture and this is something to fear. Here is another example in a long list of examples of how some elements in the media and politics continue to play to the fears of too many in America by fanning the flames of prejudice and racism.

Since his days as a candidate for the U.S. Senate in Illinois Barack Obama has talked about equality and one America. During his keynote address at the Democratic National Convention he said that the greatness of this nation can be summed up in the declaration, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal... There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America." In his famous "race speech" in 2008 Senator Obama talked about continuing the long march, "of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America."

For too many in this country, this de-racialized race-neutral politics coming from a man of African decent is something to fear. Former Republican congressman Tom Tancredo opened the Tea Party convention by calling for a reinstatement of Jim Crow type literacy tests for voters and saying, "This is our country...Let's take it back." Who's country is it and Tancredo wants to take it back from whom?

Recently in an interview with National Review's Robert Costa former House speaker Newt Gingrich said,

"What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]? ...This is a person who is fundamentally out of touch with how the world works, who happened to have played a wonderful con, as a result of which he is now president." Again, not so subtle code language playing to the fear of President Obama's Kenyan heritage and to the unfounded rhetoric of the "birther" movement. Actually, anti-colonial behavior is a good thing if you are a victim of colonialism.

According to Rep. Pete King (R-NY), President Barack Obama is "probably the most threatened president ever." Most of these threats are not because of health care reform, the stimulus bill, or the problems with Israel. There are still too many people in America that refuse to allow him to govern as the president; they will oppose him at every turn because he's an African-American who is the president
Numerous cartoons have featured President Obama and/or first lady Michelle Obama as monkeys, terrorists, or Muslim suicide bombers. What are they afraid of? President Obama has called for change not Mau Mau revolution. He is working within the established structure, not working to overthrow it. The president loves gansta' rap? During the Henry Louis Gates arrest in Cambridge, President Obama said that the arresting officers "acted stupidly" not as NWA said, "F**k the Police".

The Fox Nation claim that the "President of the United States Loves Gansta' Rap" is a bit far fetched and nothing but a scare tactic. It's the latest example in a long line of contradictions that are grounded in a fear of the African-American influence in a fictitious "post-racial" America. Or as Public Enemy would say, "Fear of a Black Planet".

Dr. Wilmer Leon is the Producer/ Host of the nationally broadcast call-in talk radio program "Inside the Issues With Wilmer Leon," and a Lecturer in the Department of Political Science at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Go to or email:

Fox News and The Drudge Report caters to the worst of society. Subtle racism and misinformation creates the toxic environment that spawns in the conservatives who support the Tea Party let alone the entire Republican Party.

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