Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fox, The Cable News Leader

What does it take to get a Fox News host disciplined?

We may soon find out.     Alex Seitz-Wald of CAP explains

Fox News host Eric Bolling — who is fond of discussing President Obama’s penchant for “chugging 40's” and inviting “hoodlum(s) in hizzouse” and the “crib” — told Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) this morning that she should “step away from the crack pipe.” While discussing Waters strong rhetoric about bankers and the GOP leadership, Bolling, without any apparent relevancy aside from the fact they are both African-American women, offered some friendly advice: “Congresswoman, you saw what happened to Whitney Houston. Step away from the crack pipe.”

After an amused reaction from Bolling's co-hosts (video, from Media Matters, below), Fox & Friends went to commercial break. Once the program returned, Bolling defended himself, saying "I was only kidding."     There was no apology or admission of wronging, no statement of regret that he had made the comment, only Bolling justifying his remark on the basis that it was (allegedly) a joke.    

Over the past 15 or 20 years, there has been a drive to get state penalties for possession of crack cocaine in line with those of powdered cocaine, which is penalized less severely.   Blacks traditionally have disproportionately used crack while whites have favored the powdered variety of cocaine.      A reference to use of a "crack pipe" in the context of Whitney Houston and Representative Waters is  a brazen knock against blacks.

The snide remark is all the more egregious because it is not yet known what part, if any, street drugs played in the recent death of the revered performer.       The Daily Mail of the U.K. reports    

Whitney’s death certificate has failed to determine the cause of death listing ‘pending investigation’ as the manner of death and ‘deferred’ is written for the immediate cause. 

While it is known that the singer drank alcohol and had taken prescription drugs before her death it is still not clear what the exact cause is - and it has been reported it will be hard to get a clear picture of exactly what she was taking.

According to The LA Times: 'The Los Angeles County coroner's office said Wednesday investigators have asked  'a number' of doctors to provide them with Houston's medical information.

L.A. County Sheriff's Sgt. Steve Opferman told the paper: 'Celebrities often get their prescription drugs from doctors who are more than willing to give them what they want and sometimes using members of their entourage.'

So a Fox news personality- with a history of questionable racial comments- assumes that a famous black singer died because of crack use and draws a parallel to a black congresswoman, whom he jokingly (as he claims) refers to as a cocaine user.      Meanwhile, no association has been made by authorities between Houston's death and illegal drug use, with determination of cause of death pending.     That would make Bolling's remark not only racially provocative and insensitive, but racially biased.       And it precludes consideration of the impact of prescription drug use, thereby prematurely letting the drug companies off the hook.      That would be a conservative two-fer:  bias against minorities and shilling for a corporate power, the pharmaceutical industry.      Hopefully, that is two much even for GOP TV.


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