The good people over at Fox News seem to be having trouble stating the obvious: race was the primary factor on the murder of nine African-Americans at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. Despite every shred of evidence pointing to race—including the words that came out of the mouth of the confessed shooter, according to a survivor—Fox News has staked its narrative on a different motivation: anti-Christianity.
Now, it’s nothing new to watch Fox News’ on-air talker contort and perform Herculean mental gymnastics to pretend racism is never the reason something bad happens, even when we know it to be certain. Fox is sort of like the Fonz on Happy Days, trying to admit he was wrong. All he could muster was, “I was wrrrrrr….wrrrrrr…..”
But Fox isn’t alone. Most Republicans who have gone on record about the shooting go quiet on the motive, and that’s what I don’t get. Since when did it become verboten in conservative circles to admit racism is still a pernicious and ugly threat in American society that has led to violence more often than we’d like to count?
Rather than reporting the facts as recounted by witnesses and those close to the shooter—even the words of the shooter himself!—Fox and others continue to stubbornly avoid the dreaded “r” word. Instead, they push their “war on Christianity” narrative. Why? Probably because they’ve already got their audience riled up over ISIS, Bill O’Reilly’s “war on Christmas” bloviation, the Charlie Hebdo massacre, the idiots in Texas trying to shoot the idiots behind a “draw Muhammad” contest, and on and on and on.
With that narrative in mind, Fox ticked down the Who, What, When, Where and How of the story, but skipped right over the Why and stuck with the Where, because it fits more comfortably into their narrative and avoids the messy discussion about race in America. Journalistic malpractice notwithstanding, Fox News is doing a tremendous disservice to its audience by not even adhering to their own, condescending tagline of “we report, you decide.”
Racism has existed in America for centuries. It will continue to exist until the end of time. You can’t eradicate fear and ignorance. But sweeping it under the rug instead of confronting it only emboldens the racists who think their cause is righteous. The only way to marginalize racists is to expose them.
If you are a Fox News watcher, you need to ask yourself why. Is it because you want to be informed or because you cotton to their brand of storytelling? If it’s the latter, fine. But please rely on multiple sources for actual news. Fox—and the other cable news outfits, for that matter—are worthless.
But I can’t leave this entry without giving Fox News credit for something: there is, in fact, an ongoing war on Christianity in America, but it’s not the one they’d like you to believe. No. This isn’t about Christmas trees and manger scenes in the public square. This is about the steady spate of violent acts perpetrated against predominantly black churches throughout the U.S. for decades. In fact, New York Magazine recently published a synopsis of 25 years of attacks against black churches across the country. And that’s not even diving into the painful and ugly history of the pre-Civil Rights South.
So, yes, Fox News, there is kinda a war on Christianity in this country. Too bad you and the vast majority of white people in America have turned a blind eye to it.
I wonder why that is.