ColorOfChange.org, an online citizens' lobby of 70,000 members dedicated to advocating for the interests of Black Americans, launched a national letter writing campaign today calling on the Congressional Black Caucus Institute to reject Fox News as partner for their presidential debates.
"Fox News is not a 'fair and balanced' source of information or political debate, and it has repeatedly proven itself hostile to the interests of Black Americans," says a letter online activists can sign on the group's website. "Fox on-air personalities and regular guests consistently marginalize Black leaders, culture, and institutions."
Last week, the American Prospect quoted the CBC Institute as saying a decision will be made within days about whether Fox or CNN would host the organization's 2008 presidential debates. ColorofChange.org asked Outfoxed director Robert Greenwald to compile an online video detailing Fox's record of attacking Blacks-which debuted today at Brave New Films' website.
"No network that calls Black churches a cult, implies that Senator Barack Obama is a terrorist, and uses the solemn occasion of Coretta Scott King's funeral to call Black leaders 'racist' should be given a stamp of approval by the CBC Institute," said James Rucker, Executive Director of ColorOfChange.org. "Validating Fox as a legitimate source of news hurts Black America."
Black bloggers and media experts also joined the call for the CBC Institute to freeze out Fox from presidential debates. One of those experts is Benjamin Todd Jealous, former executive director of the National Newspaper Publishers Associations (NNPA), a 98-year old federation of more than 200 Black community newspapers.
"Fox has a long history of treating Black people unfairly," said Jealous, "They are not a trusted news source for most Black Americans." Chris Rabb, Founder/Chief Evangelist of Afro-Netizen.com -- a top African American political blog -- added, "We urge the CBC Institute to lead with integrity and to not make a deal with the devil."
Color of Change said the following quotes were aired on Fox News, and are representative of the alleged offenses they object to:
-- Commenting on Hannity & Colmes about the speakers at Coretta Scott King's funeral, featured guest Mary Matalin said, "I think these civil rights leaders are nothing more than racists" who are keeping "their African-American brothers enslaved."
-- Jesse Lee Peterson, a regular guest who is Black said: "Kwanzaa is a racist, pagan, Marxist holiday" and then claimed that the "so-called seven principles of Kwanzaa are socialist, Marxist, separatist ideas... if a white man started a white holiday, seven-day white holiday, black folks would be burning down America."
-- Erik Rush, another Black guest, labeled Sen. Obama's church as cultish and separatist for espousing values of black unity and black empowerment. Rush said he replaced the word "black" with "white" in the church's mission statement and “Suddenly, I was looking at this really scary doctrine. You know, it was something that you'd see in more like a cult or an Aryan Brethren church ... I would go beyond saying they're Afrocentric. They're African centric. They refer to themselves as an African people and that somewhat disturbs me from the viewpoint of well, do they consider themselves Americans? Do they consider themselves Christians?"
-- On Hannity and Colmes, David Horowitz said: "The only lynch mob in America that is allowed to exist in America is a black lynch mob."