How Fox News Gets Away With Using KKK Talking Points

At Stop The Donald Trump we are constantly pointing out Fox News has spent a lot of energy in creating an alternative reality for their viewers by ignoring key facts, withholding context, and making stuff up.

Fox also uses strategy of vilifying the rest of the news media (“The liberal media!”, “The mainstream media”) which has been so successful that most Fox News viewers only get their information from Fox News.

This is a dangerous recipe that makes it very easy for Fox to get away with overtly racist arguments because if you’ve lived in this worldview they created and maintained for the past 20+ years it is all very normal.

So when Fox News ignores systemic racism and on a daily basis repeats ideas like “blacks must try harder to get ahead”, “Irish, Italians, and Jewish minorities overcame prejudice and now it’s African American’s turn”, and generations of slavery and Jim Crow is not a factor in discussions on upward mobility, what would seem cruel, ridiculous, and missing important context to the rest of the world, a regular Fox News viewer doesn’t blink.

Like remember when Megyn Kelly shoutted “Santa Claus is white kids! He just is!” and nobody on her panel did a double-take.

This is because their viewers have been conditioned for decades to fear minorities, foreigners, other religions, paint liberals as Jesus-hating communist baby murders who want to turn your kids gay, and because of the mistrust they instill of other actual news media, they can outright lie to their viewers.

Some examples include:

  • Saying the United Nations was laughing with Trump and not at him.
  • Giving full credit to a booming economy Trump was gifted to by Obama.
  • Claiming the FISA judge was unaware the Steele Dossier was funded as opposition research.

There has been two specific moments that normalized white supremacy enough where Fox News has been able to be more open with their racism.

  1. Milo Yiannopoulos’ “An Establishment Conservative’s Guide To The Alt-Right”
  2. The candidacy and election of Donald Trump.

What Milo did in his successful Breitbart article was paint the alt-right as just another conservative movement by downplaying the white supremacist origins and made the ideas of a white nation more palatable to a larger audience.

And people forget that article was widely shared, written about, and discussed in conservative circles, including months of sympathetic portrayals of the alt-right on Fox News, right up until (and during) Charlottesville. 

That really pushed white nationalism into the open and mainstream.

And I could talk for hours about Trump, but in short his election validated his racist, sexist, and xenophobic comments and made them more everyday normal. Case in point, Trump attacked a sexual assault survivor to a cheering crowd and it’s not a scandal today.

If we recognize we live in a country where racism has all been normalized because of the efforts of Fox News and Republican radio hosts, it makes sense that someone like Tucker Carlson can literally repeat talking points of the KKK verbatim (“It’s okay to be white”) and it is seen as acceptable and popular to a Fox New audience. 

Sit Down and Shut Up

Last night, Senator and vestigial backbone of the Democratic Party, Elizabeth Warren, got up to filibuster the impending confirmation of one Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III. Sessions is President Trump’s pick for Attorney General which in any other case would be unusual for Trump. I mean, Sessions attended law school at an accredited university, practiced law in Alabama, was a U.S. District Attorney and the Attorney General for Alabama before becoming a senator and would otherwise seem immensely qualified to hold the office. All of which, one would think, would DIS-qualify him to head the Justice Department under Trump, the same man who nominated a brain surgeon to run HUD, Rick “Oops” Perry to oversee our nuclear arsenal, and Betsy DeVos, who knows so little about public schools she believes the greatest threat to them are bears, to become the Secretary of Education.

So why the filibuster? It might be because Sessions had failed in 1986 to be appointed as a judge to the U.S. District Court due in part to his prosecution of civil rights workers known as the “Marion 3” who he erroneously concluded were committing voting fraud. Perhaps it was part of the culture of the senate back then: In order to become one, you must first be killed by one. Actually, I think that’s vampires.

One of the ways in which Sessions’ transgressions were brought to light back then was by a letter written by Coretta Scott King, wife of Martin Luther King Jr., who had at that point had about 20 years of blood, sweat, and tears on her “I can’t believe I still have to protest this shit!” sign. King wrote the letter to then head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Strom Thurmond, the Republican/former Democrat who switched parties in 1964 after the passage of the Voting Rights Act which, I’m sure, was merely a coincidence. Yet that letter, sent to arguably one of the most racists Senators in American history convinced the Judiciary committee that Sessions had:

“…marginal qualifications who lacks judicial temperament. … A nominee who is hostile, hostile to civil rights organisations [sic] and their causes.”

Sen. Howard Metzenbaum of Ohio

So when looking for debate as to whether or not Senator Sessions was fit to hold the highest law office in the land, Senator Warren took to the floor to read the same letter that had disqualified him for the objectively lower office of federal judge over 30 years ago. That was until Mitch McConnell, box turtle and protector of the high-bar of senate decorum, stood up to Warren’s obstructionist preaching of factual information by calling up rules of the senate, specifically Rule XIX, Section 2, for a little dirty talk:

No Senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.

Senate Rule XIX, Section 2

According to McConnell, by reading the letter that said Sessions had “used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens,” Warren had “impugned the motives and conduct of [Sen. Sessions].” Just… real quick; can someone please remind me which party is supposed to be full of people so sensitive to insults that conservatives came up with the uber-catchy nickname of “snowflake?” Are you sure? ‘Cause these guys just quoted a senate rule that protects against hurt feelings.

But Rule 19 isn’t just for protecting senator’s delicate sensibilities. There’s all sorts of useful sections in there! Like this one, that says:

“[A]ll debate shall be germane and confined to the specific question then pending before the Senate.”

Senate Rule XIX, Section 1(b)

That may have been nice to bring up back in 2013, when Senator Ted Cruz spend part of his 21 hour filibuster on Obamacare to read Green Eggs & Ham. Though, in fairness, eating green eggs isn’t considered a pre-existing condition, and if I can’t eat spoiled food and expect to suckle at the government teat, why bother?

Or if Warren was going to be shut down by Rule 19, why not go full-bore and violate Section 5 which says after being called to order, whatever words she said would be written down and read to the Senate? That way she could have had McConnell read aloud that Jeff Sessions looks like a pale, elfish gopher with the redden hue of a life-time alcoholic, yet still looks so boyish he’d need to crawl up on the apple crate to look pappy in the eye like a man when he’s talking to you!

But what’s terrifying about the enforcement of this rule is that it effectively means is that ANY senator who would be up for any future confirmation would be exempt from having any negative statements used against them. For example, were McConnell himself up for a position in the Trump administration other than democratic hair-clog and Vichy-esque legitimizer, no one in the senate could mention his penchant for fresh leaf lettuce and crunchy carrots, or his inability to roll over should he find himself on his shell. I mean back. A position he should get accustomed to, because if there’s one thing Trump has made clear, it’s that he doesn’t wait for consent.

While it’s fun to poke at the withering constitutions of McConnell and Sessions, the reality is McConnell used an obscure rule of the senate to silence debate of Sessions’ appointment to the highest law office in the land, not because it impugns the character of the senator, but because they already know what it says. And when the former Justice Department finds systemic racism in places like Ferguson and Chicago, when people of color make up 60% of prison populations and face beatings, shootings, and strangulation at the hands of those sworn to protect them, when conservatives call Black Lives Matter a terrorist organization, Coretta King’s letter isn’t seen as a condemnation of Jeff Sessions, it’s seen as a resume.

What Is the Alt-Right

Trump and alt-right mascot Pepe the Frog kissing.

This week, Donald J. Trump named Steve Bannon as White House Chief Strategist, to the condemnation of many groups.

Bannon, Executive Chairman of the antisemitic site Breitbart.com, was most known as giving the “alt-right” a platform and turning it into the fourth most commented website in the world.

Under Bannon, Breitbart.com published controversial articles like:

The term “alt-right”, or Alternative Right, was not created by Hillary Clinton, as Trump once suggested, but was coined in 2008 by Richard Bertrand Spencer, who heads the white nationalist think tank known as the National Policy Institute, to describe a loose set of far-right ideals centered on “white identity” and “the preservation of Western civilization.”

The alt-right movement is associated with white nationalism, white supremacism, antisemitism, right-wing populism, nativism, and the neoreactionary movement and wholeheartedly embrace the overt racism, misogyny, neo-Nazi affectations, bullying and trolling of chan culture as a lifestyle.

While many of the values of Trump and the alt-right overlap (such as mass deportations of immigrants, preventing Muslims and refugees from entering the country) the alt-right does not consider Trump or Bannon to be members, only “useful to them.”

Many people were unaware of the alt-right movement before the 2016 election and still do not understand it. So we wanted to help you educate your friends by sharing a video made by one of its leading members, Jared Taylor, explaining exactly what the alt-right is.

In the video Taylor attempts to distance himself from Bannon, saying he never publicly supported the alt-right. However this claim ignores Bannon enthusiastically declaring “We’re the platform for the alt-right,” encouraging Breitbart to be the go-to-place for the movement, and even going so far to publish a guide to make alt-right appear more palatable to conservatives.

WARNING: This video is not safe for work and contains offensive and ignorant statements with claims not backed by any scientific consensus.

Day 1 In Trump’s America

Nazi graffiti on a wall

What most people failed to understand, and what so many of us tried to explain, is the language Donald J. Trump used during his campaign that belittled Hispanics, African-Americans, Muslims, and other groups have consequences. The election of him to the Presidency made it okay for the rest of us to talk and act the same way, thus allowing hate to be the new normal in America.

This effect has not taken long. Here is a sample of stories of people’s real experiences of hate on day one.

If you see this happening, or experience bullying yourself, there are tried-and-tested psychological techniques to help diffuse the situation, but always think of your safety first.