|May 21, 2010|
Yesterday, John Stossel took to the air on Fox News to defend the right to discriminate based on race. Yes, you just read that correctly. On Megyn Kelly's Fox News show, Fox News employee John Stossel said:
"Private businesses ought to get to discriminate. And I won't won't ever go to a place that's racist and I will tell everybody else not to and I'll speak against them. But it should be their right to be racist."
Stossel is only the latest in a long line of Fox News personalities to divide America along racial lines, and it needs to stop. We need to send a message loud and clear -- first to Fox, and if it's unwilling to listen, to the sponsors who support it:
But Stossel didn't just argue for the right to discriminate. He went a step further, suggesting the "public accommodations" section of the Civil Rights Act should be repealed, thus allowing businesses to practice racial discrimination. This is the section of the law that prohibits a lunch counter from refusing to serve African-Americans -- a practice which was commonplace when the law was passed.
The government, Stossel says, should be protecting the rights of businesses that want to discriminate -- not the rights of minorities facing pervasive discrimination.
This isn't the first time a Fox personality has treaded the line on race. Fox News operates under the direction of President Roger Ailes, a longtime political operative with a history of race-baiting and racially inflammatory campaign tactics. Glenn Beck, one of Fox's top-rated hosts, has repeatedly called both Barack Obama and Sonia Sotomayor "racists" who dislike white people and white culture, and hosts Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly have also stoked racial insensitivity with on air-comments.
It's not just the hosts: In just the past week, Fox has also provided a platform for the extremist anti-immigrant group Americans for Immigration Control, which has been linked to white nationalist groups and drawn fire from the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center for their anti-Latino rhetoric.
Now Stossel is adding to Fox's record of questionable rhetoric on race. At some point, this stops being a question about individual hosts or guests -- and starts to be a question about the whole network.
It's time for Fox News to be held accountable for the racially charged statements and racial insensitivity that it continually allows on the air.
Thank you for your help.
President, Media Matters for America