July 17, 2020

BOOGALOO TV (profanity alert):

Fox News Staffers Erupt Over Network's Racism: Bosses 'Created a White Supremacist Cell' : A heated early-June phone call between Fox execs and Black staffers was just the beginning of an internal revolt against racism at the network, insiders told The Daily Beast. (Lachlan Cartwright, Lloyd Grove, Andrew Kirell, Noah Shachtman, Justin Baragona, Jul. 17, 2020, Daily Beast)

Two people familiar with the situation told The Daily Beast that Fox Corporation CEO Lachlan Murdoch personally approved what Carlson would say in his defensive Monday remarks addressing the exit of his top writer. Despite demands from Fox News executives that he pre-tape the segment and strike a conciliatory tone, Carlson barely sounded apologetic, knowing he had the full backing of the Murdoch heir.

A rep for Murdoch did not respond to a request for comment. But The Daily Beast spoke to more than a dozen Fox News insiders, who all suggested that behind the scenes there is a growing despair among employees about the network's role in demonizing and spreading fear about Black Americans in particular.

One employee was especially angry, saying, "They created a cell--they created a white supremacist cell inside the top cable network in America, the one that directly influences the president... This is rank racism excused by Murdoch."

Fox News has an apparent racism problem, and it's not just the network's critics who notice it. Anger over the cable giant's shoddy coverage of racial issues is also increasingly coming from inside the building.

Over the past month, the network's Black employees, including on-air talent, have begun to openly confront management over Fox's anti-Black rhetoric--especially that of the network's biggest stars, Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson.

Fox News personnel have expressed outrage to network brass over their unwillingness to rein in hosts like Ingraham, whose primetime show--helmed by Tommy Firth, the same executive producer behind Megyn Kelly's former Fox show--has long made white grievance politics a core feature. On June 29, she did an anti-Black Lives Matter monologue which included a line that many viewed as a racist dog whistle and threat: "We will remember those who desert their colors."

For further analysis, Ingraham then tossed to right-wing troll Dinesh D'Souza, whose history of inflammatory and often bigoted comments about Black people--including civil-rights icon Rosa Parks--is well-documented.

A complaint to corporate executives prompted an HR investigation into how Ingraham's segment was conceived and made it to air, which ultimately cleared Ingraham and her team of racist intent in deploying the loaded phrase. Marsheila J. Hayes, the Black HR official who also led the June 9 call, was detailed to explain that the phrase was not racist at all. It was simply a historical military reference, said Hayes. (The phrase appears to have been more often used during the nineteenth century, frequently in reference to Civil War turncoats.)

A Fox News insider, meanwhile, suggested to The Daily Beast that the network frequently deploys right-leaning Black contributors and guests to give cover to racially insensitive content. "That's something they routinely do--they turn out these people, like Candace Owens, to support these things, and use Black apologists to denigrate other Black men and women and victimize them."

Tucker Carlson, who is now the network's most-watched primetime star, has also drawn the ire of his colleagues, as his increasingly unhinged rants about Black Lives Matter and ongoing anti-police brutality protests--the overwhelming majority of which have been peaceful--have made their way into President Donald Trump's similarly bonkers speeches as of late.

In one such monologue, Carlson warned viewers that a Black Lives Matter "mob" will "come for you." Fox News PR scrambled to claim his tirade was actually just about Democrats and "inner city politicians," but some of the primetime star's co-workers weren't buying it.

"Bull. S[***]. They have the script written that gives them an out," one Fox staffer told The Daily Beast. "But what the viewers hear is the white supremacist crap. And that crap goes straight to the White House." 

The company's inclination to look the other way as Carlson seemingly stokes a race war is also a concern that several staffers mentioned to The Daily Beast--especially because Murdoch sent a company-wide memo in early June urging all employees to "closely listen to the voices of peaceful protest and fundamentally understand that Black lives matter." 

Furthermore, and in stark contrast to the fact that he is known to personally approve of what his top primetime host says nightly on TV, the Murdoch heir added: "We support our Black colleagues and the Black community, as we all unite to seek equality and understanding."

Fox's willingness to give its top-rated star a pass for openly flirting with racist ideology has never been more apparent than in the aftermath of last week's CNN report that Carlson's top writer, Blake Neff, had for years pseudonymously posted bigoted comments to AutoAdmit, a notoriously unmoderated message board.

The 29-year-old Neff, who'd worked on Carlson's show for nearly four years and once bragged that "anything [Carlson is] reading off the teleprompter, the first draft was written by me," resigned after his extensive history of hateful comments was revealed.  [...]

Network executives had hoped that Carlson's brief address would temper the internal unease over his on-air conduct. But Fox News staffers told The Daily Beast that his snarling, defensive commentary has only further served to anger the primetime star's co-workers.

"How hard would it have been to say sorry?" one Fox insider told The Daily Beast. "That being said, I'm not surprised." Another staffer noted that because Carlson never specified the nature of what Neff had written, his viewers--many of whom are unlikely to be reading CNN articles during the day--were left with no clue of what happened in the first place.

"What has happened since that [June 9] phone call is we've taken two steps forward and now three steps back," another Fox insider told The Daily Beast. "What [Fox executives] don't understand is you had a white supremacist in a very senior position on [Carlson's] show. That kind of thing doesn't live in a garden that isn't fertile."

Indeed, Neff is just the latest person employed by Carlson to have a history of secret racist posts or connections to white supremacist groups. At least 11 people who wrote or edited for The Daily Caller--the conservative website Carlson co-founded in 2010 and only recently divested from--were found by the Southern Poverty Law Center and other outlets to have been laundering aggressively racist beliefs, either publicly or anonymously online.

Another source of internal strife at Fox News is that the network has never come close to promulgating any consistent standard as to what constitutes unacceptable, racist rhetoric and what is allowed on its air. 

In 2012, for example, Fox News contributor Jehmu Greene--a Black woman who is prominent in Democratic Party politics--was removed from the air for two weeks after she jokingly referred to Carlson as a "bow-tying white boy" during an on-air debate with him on Megyn Kelly's primetime show. Carlson angrily objected and Kelly ended the show by telling viewers that Greene's quip was unacceptable and did not meet Fox's standards.

Eight years later, in the wake of the recent on-air incidents involving Ingraham and Carlson, for which these white Fox News anchors have suffered no consequences, Greene offered to help the network come up with standards of on-air rhetoric, especially for remarks that can be interpreted as race-baiting, said a person familiar with her offer which has yet to receive a response.

Strange how Tucker keeps accidentally hiring racists. 

Posted by at July 17, 2020 12:36 PM

  

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