In the world of Fox News, sexual abusers of children get a pass, but African-American youth have to be “saints” to avoid police violence. What gives?
Last week, Fox News broke its silence on the Josh Duggar molestation scandal, with an exclusive interview that made it clear what side Fox News was taking. Megyn Kelly — as promised — didn’t ask any tough questions, but allowed the Duggar family to stay on script. Kelly left unchallenged the family’s talking points that tried to diminish or deny the serious nature of Josh’s self-confessed sexual abuse of four of his sisters and one other girl, as a teenager. Instead Kelly and other Fox personalities became apologists for the Duggars the story they’d worked so hard to cover up. Kelly even suggested that police broke the law when they released records on their investigation. (No law was broken.)
Around the same time, former House Speaker Dennis Hastert was indicted on charges of violating banking laws by illegally structuring $1.7 million in transactions to avoid baking regulations, and lying to the FBI about it. Hastert made the withdrawals in order to pay $3.5 million to an unnamed individual, to cover up allegations of past sexual misconduct, when Hastert was a wrestling coach in Yorkville, Illinois. Since then, a second victim has been identified. Yet, Fox News’ Brit Hume was quick to portray Hastert as the victim, the absurdity of which Larry Wilmore pointed out.
This week, another incident of police using excessive force with African-Americans went viral. Former McKinney, Texas, police office Eric Casebolt was one of a dozen officers responding to a call concerning a fight at a pool party in the gated community of Craig’s Farm. Witnesses said the white residents complained about the number of African-American youth coming to the party, and a fight broke out when a white female adult yelled racial slurs, and slapped the teenage host of the party in the face. A white teenager at the party captured Casebolt on video, grabbing bikini-clad 14-year-old Dajerria Becton by her hair, wrestling her to the ground, and pointing his weapon at several African-American teenagers who rushed to help the young woman. (Case bolt has since resigned from the police force.)
In an interview with former Los Angeles cop Mark Fuhrman, Kelly said in defense of Casebolt that Becton was “no saint either,” for “continuing to linger” when order to move on.
Kelly began the segment by talking to a man named “Sean,” who claims that white residents who complained to a security guard aren’t racist, but just concerned about the presence of teenagers who didn’t look like they belonged in the community. “Sean” is Sean Toon, the Craigs Farm resident who called the police. He is “no saint” either. Toon is a convicted felon, who spent more than nine months in jail for violent behavior and torturing animals.
A host of Fox News talking heads and other conservatives joined Kelly in defending Casebolt, and attacking Becton, and the other African-American teenagers at the party.
- Sean Hannity told his radio audience that Casebolt pulled his gun because one of the teenagers could have come up and “hit them in the back with a shank.”
- Hannity guest Bo Dietl said that Casebolt could have felt justified in pulling his gun, because one of the Black teenagers might have said, “I’m gonna pop a cap.”
- Hannity also told an African-American caller that the police won’t bother you "if you’re not part of a gang.
- CNN analyst Paul Callan said that Casebolt was justified in pulling his gun because the Black teens were “going to jump” him.
- Fox News guest Kevin Jackson claimed that African-American youth are more “defiant” of authority, because they’ve been conditioned to believe "justice should no longer apply to them?
- Fox News “Medical A-Team” member Keith Ablow suggested that the African-American teenagers had it “in” for the police, and that President Obama was partly to blame.
- Houston-based radio host Michael Berry said the McKinney police used force because the African-American teenagers were behaving like “jungle animals.” Berry has a long history of offensive remarks.
- “Fox & Friends” co-hosts Steve Doocy and Elizabeth Hasselbeck questioned the “rush to judgement” against Casebolt, and touted his “good track record.”
Kelly later accused “some in the left-wing press” of taking her remarks “out of context,” and attempted to back that up with heavily edited video that actually disproved her claim.
Kelly’s remarks, and those of her fellow righties are explained by the same thinking that’s at the root of police violence against African-Ameicans.
- Research shows that people — including police — see young blacks as less innocent, and less young, than white children.
- A study published in the Journal of Personality And Social Psychology showed that black boys are 10 times as likely to be mistaken as older accused of a crime, and face police violence.
- Another report on school discipline show that black girls are seen as “unsophisticated, hypersexualized, and defiant.”
If you’re wondering why African-American children are disciplined more harshly than their white peers, a couple of educators even got in on the act.
- North Miami Senior High School Principal Alberto Iber “commended” Casebolt’s actions, in the comments section of the The Miami Herald’s website. Iber, who later apologized and explained that he’d intended the comment to be anonymous, was removed from his position for failing to conduct himself, “both personally and professionally, in a manner that represents the school district’s core values.” Iber’s former school is 99 percent minority.
- Fourth grade teacher Karen Fitzgibbons ranted on Facebook that she was “ANGRY” that Casebolt resigned, blamed “the blacks” for causing “racial tension,” and that she was “almost to the point of wanting them all segregated on one side of town so they can hurt each other and leave the innocent people alone.” Fitzgibbons “apologized to the appropriate people,” but lost her job at Bennett Elementary school in Wolfforth, Texas anyway.
GOP Clown Car Update
Here are the latest antics from the current slate of GOP presidential candidates.
- Ben Carson said that if elected he might implement a “covert division” of government workers to spy on their coworkers. Why? To improve government efficiency, of course. Doesn’t everyone do their best work while looking over their shoulders?
- Former Florida governor Jeb Bush’s campaign-but-not-a-campaign is likely to fall far short of its goal to raise $100 million by the end of June.
- Someone in the media reported that Bush called for the public shaming of unwed mothers in his 1995 book, Profiles in Character. Bush’s campaign said it was a “cheap shot” to bring up what Bush wrote in a book, to boost his rightwing cred. Then Bush announced that his view on single parenthood “hasn’t changed at all.” So is it still a “cheap shot?”
- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R, South Carolina) had a busy week. Graham welcomed Caitlyn Jenner to the Republican party, saying, “If Jenner wants to be safe and have a prosperous economy” she should vote for him. Graham, the confirmed bachelor, then said that “we’ll have a rotating first lady” in the White House, if he’s elected. No word on potential candidates, though. To help win even more women’s votes, Graham reintroduced his 20-week abortion ban bill in the Senate.
- No wonder Mike Huckabee doubled down on his defense of the Duggar family. Huckabee’s ties to the Duggars run deep. The Duggars are using Huckabee’s longtime political adviser to handle their current PR crisis.
- It turns out that Huckabee’s co-author two of his books, John Perry, was accused of child molestation in two different cases. One investigation, in 2012 found that “the allegations of sexual battery were sustained,” but the statue of limitations had run out.
- Rick Santorum, winner of the 2012 Iowa caucuses, showed up at a campaign stop in Caroll, Iowa, to find just one voter waiting for him.
Here’s the rest of the best of the worst in wingnuttery this week:
- Conservative author Ann Coulter told Fox host Bill O’Reilly that it’s “electoral suicide” for Republicans to court minority voters. “The only way Republicans win is by driving up the white vote. It’s not about appealing to women or Hispanics or blacks — those groups are going to start fighting among one another,” Coulter said.
- Coulter also credited white nationalist author Peter Brimelow as an “intellectual influence” in her new anti-immigration book.
- Franklin Graham of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association dropped Wells Fargo, because of an ad featuring a lesbian couple adopting a child. Graham’s organization switched to BB&T, which is sponsoring a Pride event in Miami Beach, and a celebration of same-sex couples in “committed relationships of 10 years or longer.”
- Sean Hannity enraged his guests when he defended George Zimmerman for shooting unarmed African-American teenager Trayvon Martin.
- Sen. Lindsey Graham’s announcement that he would have a “rotating First Lady” in the White House, if elected, prompted Sen. Mark Kirk (R, Illinois) to pronounce Graham “a bro with no ho.”
- Even Fox News host Andrea Tantaros doesn’t think the GOP has any legitimate plans to replace Obamacare.
- The Duggar molestation scandal isn’t over yet. The Duggar family is currently under investigation by the Arkansas Department of Human Services. When DHS called to investigate at the family’s home last month, the Duggars stopped them from seeing the child they were concerned about. The DHS representative called 911 to request assistance.
- In light of the new investigation, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar won’t be speaking at the Rocky Mountain Super Conference on the Family, a major homeschooling conference in Colorado. They’ll be there, but don’t want any questions about the investigation.
- Billionaire and potential Republican candidate for governor of Montana Greg Pianoforte urged college students to reject retirement savings programs, because Christians have “an obligation to work,” well into their old age. After all, Noah was just 600 when he built the ark!