The Pigeon Press (Portland, Oregon)
I’ve always found great humor in politics. It’s a very important topic in our everyday lives, but I believe that it’s funnier than most comedies. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I go to the Fox websites (Fox News and Fox Nation) almost every day for a good laugh or two. It’s no secret that Fox News has been a Republican news network ever since its introduction in 1996. A single look at their website’s headline is enough to prove the bias: “Obama Bureaucrats imposing radical homosexual sensitivity training?” and “Malaysian Muslims Cattle-Brand Prostitutes.” The comments are usually the funniest part of the websites, but this has not been the case in recent months, as they have seen a major increase in racism as opposed to the typical political bashing. Nowadays, the comment section is looking more like a Ku Klux Klan rally than a discussion section for a news outlet.
It was only a few weeks ago that white supremacist and former KKK leader Frazier Glenn opened fire outside a Jewish community center, killing three people in the process. Normally, this would be a time for our nation to mourn for the families of the victims, and look back at our extensive and painful history of racism here in the United States. Not for the Fox News comments section which is a cesspool of racism, most of which is aimed at President Obama. How anybody could even make a connection between a hate crime shooting and President Obama is beyond comprehendible thought, but logic left Fox News long ago.
“Obama was foaming at the mouth to make a statement against a crazy white guy,” a user named Mandylane commented. “Anytime a black guy could look innocent and a white guy could look bad he will be there waiting with another statement to issue. I bet these statements will soon go directly to every obamaphone in America so he can rally his supporters in false testament and hate.” That’s not even the worst of it.
“He will be right up on the pedestal with (George) Zimmerman as a 2nd Amendment hero,” Truthyman commented. If you don’t find a million things wrong with that statement, then you might be under Fox’s spell, as well.
One of the factors that set Fox comments apart is not even the blatant racism and bias, but rather the lack of supporting evidence. All of it is opinion and assumption stated as fact. They’re so misinformed that the majority of Fox News commenters still believe that there is a conspiracy surrounding Benghazi, and that the President is at the center of it (not surprising however, considering it is still the main headline on Fox News about twice a month).
Besides the countless grammar, spelling and formatting errors (A vast amount of comments have spaces in between each letter L i k e t h i s), commenters on the site can’t seem to remember President Obama’s real name. I’ve seen more nicknames for Obama than I’ve seen actual facts in the forums: Zero, Nobama, Oblazo, Blowbama, and my personal favorite; Obamanation, are just some examples.
Back to the racism factor, if you aren’t yet convinced, here are two more examples straight from the comment section:
“Most supremacists are democrats,” 45yowm said. “And a white supremacist would most certainly support Obama………lousy halfrican.” And to finish it off, here’s another one.
“Africa has laying king of the jungle lions,” ZAPOTISTA commented. “America has the lying king who can not find his jungle.”
So why do they think they can say these things? Well, I’d say that because it is a conservative news station, it is a safe place for any and all conservatives to express their real opinions, without any chance of backlash. Basically, its just a place for the worst of the conservative parties to build and feed off of each other’s hate and get each other riled up, which is part of the reason why Fox News only allows comments on their main headline articles and articles about Obama and other Democrats.
There’s also the fact that Fox News frequently makes their racist intentions known in very subtle ways. By subtle, of course, I just mean as compared to the comments.
Does this mean I think the Fox commenters are racist? After all, it’s just the internet, right? Well, it is the internet, but that only further proves that these are the uncensored thoughts of these radical commenters. Most of them probably wouldn’t say these things in person because they fear repercussions, but on the Internet nobody can retaliate since they are cloaked in anonymity. So yes, I do think that an overwhelming amount of these people are racist, hateful, misguided folk.
I’m not denying that other sites have comment sections spewing just as much hatred. In fact, I’m fully supportive of that claim. There’s one major difference though; other websites crack down on this kind of behavior. For example, OregonLive. Longtime Oregonian website readers will know that the comment sections of this website used to be pools of hate and intolerance. Now, not so much. That’s because recently OregonLive has pushed out a set of new commenting features as well as pledge to reinforce their comment terms and conditions. CNN actively moderates their comments to filter out offensive and racist content. And New York Times – let’s be honest, you don’t even need moderators on that site.
Then you have Fox, which actually DOES do some moderating. They just delete the wrong comments. Liberals are rare on Fox because as soon as they show up, they are ‘flagged’ by other users and then banned. One minute, you’ll see a comment on Fox that appears to have been written by a Democrat, and the next minute it has been flagged and taken down. The Fox commenters refer to any liberals who do manage to bypass this filter as “Libbie trolls.” I can understand if the Fox News moderators filter political comments; nearly every other news source does that. What concerns me is that somehow the racist comments, no matter the political affiliation and no matter how horrible, always make it through. It’s actually more of Fox News’ fault for not doing anything about these comments than it is the fault of the commenters themselves.
I don’t expect everybody on the Internet to be a genius, but can we please have a news source that is the go-to outlet for over half of Americans not be a mosh pit of racism and stupidity? Thank you.
Photo Credit: Roger H. Goun