[Update at bottom of post]
When I found out that the Congressional Black Caucus Institute was considering partnering with Fox News to host presidential debates, I was shocked. I was already disgusted by Fox's sustained attacks and smears on Barack Obama, and I knew that it was part of a larger problem. But I didn't imagine that a reputable Black organization would, after being presented the facts on Fox, entertain lending its brand to legitimize Fox as a News service.
Fox has an awful record of airing bigoted views and highly problematic framing around race issues:
Legitimizing Fox as a credible news source by giving them control over a presidential debate would be bad for Black people, candidates of color, and anyone who cares about fair and accurate coverage of issues having to do with race and racism.
I sent a letter detailing my concerns to the CBC Institute's director and members of its board who serve in Congress, along with a list of examples from Media Matters and News Hounds which illustrated Fox's problem with Black people. Twelve days later, nothing has changed. As I prepared to contact ColorOfChange.org"s members about the CBCI's plans for a partnership with Fox News, I thought it would be great to have a short video that showcased Fox's hostility towards Black America, so I contacted Robert Greenwald and Brave New Films to ask for their help.
"Fox Attacks: Black America" was the result. I want to send a big thanks to Robert and his team for their hard work.
Today, I'm encouraging ColorOfChange.org members to email the CBC Institute and give their perspective, and to ask that it drop its negotiations with Fox. I hope that, working together, we can convince the CBC Institute that partnering with Fox News would be a mistake, and more broadly, expose Fox for what it is: not an arbiter or "fair and balanced" news, but an outlet for propaganda that's not only politically slanted but often racist and hostile to communities of color.
UPDATE: Several blogs have reported this afternoon that the Congressional Black Caucus Institute's partnering with CNN means that the fight to prevent the CBC Institute from doing a deal with Fox is off the table. This is not true.
We've known since the beginning the Institute has been considering deals with both Fox and CNN, so the announcement that CNN will host a CBC debate means nothing in terms of the fight around the CBC Institute and Fox. A few hours ago I spoke with a reporter who talked with Rep. Kilpatrick herself--a CBC member who is on the CBC Institute board. According to him, she said that a debate is still in the works with Fox; it just hasn't been announced.
This is not a time to slow down or to think that the CBC Institute has been moved an inch. If anything, the announcement of the CNN deal serves to distract folks from the issue that a Fox deal is still on the table.
-- James Rucker