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Rachel Maddow Shows WaPo’s “Media Critic” Kurtz How Fox News Operates

Rachel Maddow performed another fine public service last night by connecting the dots on the various Fox News stories designed to convince white people to be afraid of blacks and minorities.

I suspect Maddow’s analysis will be familiar to most readers here; it seems obvious when you look at the abundant evidence over time. But there’s very little evidence it is understood and acknowledged outside the progressive blogosphere.

The video above from Rachel’s MSNBC show explains how four of Fox News major stories about "scary" black people are connected. They share a common theme and conservative political agenda that’s been around since Lee Atwater’s "Southern strategy." Scary black people are coming to get white people, so whatever is done to address their issues must be opposed as a threat to whites. By this logic, with the Obama Administration, whites have even more to fear blacks will succeed at whites’ expense. The strategy and its story are vicious, dishonest, and hurting the country. And its cynical purveyors know it’s wrong, but they don’t care, because politically it still works. Rachel shows that Breitbart is just a current Lee Atwater, and Fox News is the collusive medium for the hateful message.

You would think someone who is self-described as a "media critic", someone presumably trained to understand the manipulation and misuse of media, would understand what Maddow is saying here or would at least attempt to address the overwhelming evidence she presents.

But look how conservative Howard Kurtz, the disingenuous "media critic" for the Washington Post and CNN, handles the role Fox News played in spreading the false narrative that Shirley Sherrod (as well as NAACP) was racist. Note first how Kurtz subtly tilts the argument starting with the title, Finger-pointing at Fox in Shirley Sherrod firing. Sounds unfair to blame Fox already, doesn’t it? Then it gets more blatant:

But for all the chatter — some of it from Sherrod herself — that she was done in by Fox News, the network didn’t touch the story until her forced resignation was made public Monday evening, with the exception of brief comments by O’Reilly. After a news meeting Monday afternoon, an e-mail directive was sent to the news staff in which Fox Senior Vice President Michael Clemente said: "Let’s take our time and get the facts straight on this story. Can we get confirmation and comments from Sherrod before going on-air. Let’s make sure we do this right."

Sherrod may be the only official ever dismissed because of the fear that Fox host Glenn Beck might go after her.

To be sure, Kurtz goes on to note how O’Reilly taped his condemnation of Sherrod before the Administration announced her resignation, but shucks, BillO did apologize later, didn’t he? You’d think from this description that Fox was the model of forbearance and journalistic integrity, following their Senior VP’s caution to get the facts straight. But you’d be wrong.

Here’s Rachel’s rebuttal of this line of argument, using Fox’ own footage, laying it all out for Mr. Kurtz:

So how about it, Howard Kurtz? Do you think you owe your readers a straightforward apology?

Or more important, how about an acknowledgment not only that all that "chatter" you dismissed at the top of your column was correct when it suggested Fox News owes both Ms. Sherrod and its viewers an apology for its collusion in Breitbart’s scam?

And shouldn’t you now concede that Rachel Maddow’s connect-the-dots explanation is valid — that is, that she’s done exactly what an honest media critic should do?

Media Matters has a timeline of all the coordinated right-wing actions to smear Sherrod and NAACP.

Digby, on white/black and O’Reilly’s "apology."

Eugene Robinson, Obama needs to stand up to "reverse racism" ploy

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John has been writing for Firedoglake since 2006 or so, on whatever interests him. He has a law degree, worked as legal counsel and energy policy adviser for a state energy agency for 20 years and then as a consultant on electricity systems and markets. He's now retired, living in Massachusetts.

You can follow John on twitter: @JohnChandley