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“The Fox News Apology Tour”: It’s Interesting To Observe What They Are And Aren’t Sorry About

What a week for Fox News! The “fair and balanced” network was transformed into the “I’m totally sorry” network after we were treated to four—yes, four—on-air apologies from different Fox personalities.

First, we had “The Five’s” Greg Gutfeld and Eric Bolling mock a female air force pilot with some really sexist jokes. Now, they probably thought no one would care because she’s Arab. But luckily it seems that the outrage against sexism applies to women of all ethnicities and races.

Bolling and Gutfeld’s comments came during a discussion of the United Arab Emirate’s Major Mariam Al Mansouri, who flew missions as part of the United States-led coalition bombing ISIS. Al Mansouri might be heralded in the UAE for being the nation’s first female fighter, but to the comedy duo of Bolling and Gutfeld, she’s just a punch line.

Gutfeld quipped:  “After she bombed it, she couldn’t park it.” (Referring to her plane.) And then Bolling, whom I often find funny although he’s trying to be serious, tried to top Gutfeld with the crack: “Would that be considered boobs on the ground or no?”

The backlash was swift.  Even some of these two frat boys’ colleagues were upset. And then it built as Americans who had served in the military voiced their objections.

The result was Gutfeld and Bolling offered what appear to be sincere apologies. In fact, Bolling offered two different ones on air, so he singlehandily represents 50 percent of the Fox News apologies for the week.

And then we have a comment that comes under the category of not trying to be funny but trying to see how much red meat you can offer viewers. Last Saturday, Fox News regular guest Jonathan Hoenig commented in essence that the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II was a good thing for America with his boastful statement: “The last war this country won, we put Japanese Americans in internment camps.”

Why would that even come up, you ask? Because the four panelists—anchored by King of Comedy Eric Bolling—were talking about how law enforcement must absolutely, positively profile Muslim Americans. During their discussion regaling the joys of profiling a minority group, Bolling offered a comment that truly showcased his talent for nuance: “We know how to find the terrorists among us: profile, profile, profile.”

Hoenig, apparently wanting to continue being booked on Fox News, felt the need to up the anti-Muslim ante. Picking up where Bolling left off, Hoenig remarked, “but aren’t all Muslims suspect…given the history of Islamic threats towards this country?” That’s when Hoenig touted the upside of interning Japanese Americans, with his point apparently being it’s a possible model to follow today with Muslim Americans.

Cue another backlash. This time it was led by civil rights groups and even members of Congress like Rep. Mike Honda of California, who as a child had been held in an internment camp. Over the weekend Hoenig went on Fox News and offered an apology for his remark that interning Japanese Americans was something we should be proud of.

Look, we all make mistakes—not only in real life but also on TV. In fact, I have made jokes/comments on television and on Twitter that have landed me in hot water. Consequently, I have apologized on more than one occasion for my own idiotic remarks.

But Fox always manages to push the boundaries and make things just a little surreal. So it was that in the same week these Fox “journalists” were dishing out a bevy of apologies, several different Fox shows slammed President Obama for what they dubbed his “apology tour” after his speech Wednesday at the United Nations.

Even apologist Greg Gutfeld slammed this so-called apology tour. You see, the Fox News peeps were upset that Obama would go before the United Nations and mention the protests that had taken place in Ferguson, Missouri. Apparently the geniuses at Fox believe that the world leaders have no idea that we have racial problems in the United States.

But pointing out hypocrisy at Fox News is like pointing out gaffes by Sarah Palin. Too easy. Of course, Fox News could have just stuck to its guns and not apologized. Bolling could have simply gone on air and exclaimed, “Hey, we are Fox Fucking News, we don’t apologize for shit!” Ratings would have shot to the heavens.

However, what I find more interesting than the Fox News apologies is the recent comments made by Fox News personalities that they would not apologize for.

First, there was the now well-known and awful remark a few weeks ago by Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade after viewing the video of Ray Rice in the elevator punching his then-fiancée Janay Palmer in the face. Kilmeade responded to the horrific image with the joke: “I think the message is, take the stairs.”

While Kilmeade walked back the comment the next day after an uproar, he did not apologize. Instead, he said, “Some people feel like we were taking this situation too lightly. We are not.” No, you did—you told a joke about it. That’s the very definition of taking something lightly!

And the second remark came during the Japanese internment conversation. While Hoenig apologized for seeing the upside to internment, no one thought it was important to apologize for advocating that we should tear up the U.S. Constitution and treat American Muslims differently simply because of our faith.

Not that I expected a Fox News anchor to apologize for that comment—after all, this is the same network that not only trashes Muslims almost daily, it gives the nation’s biggest anti-Muslim bigots a platform to spew hate.

So what have we learned? Fox News is a special, almost magical place. It’s a world where jokes about sexism are apologized for but ones about domestic violence are not. It’s a place where minorities are degraded and maligned for fun.  And it’s the highest-rated cable news channel in the nation.

 

By: Dean Obeidalla, The Daily Beast, October 1, 2014

October 2, 2014 Posted by | Bigotry, Fox News, Racism | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“When Does Fox News Apologize?”: After Years Of On-Air Idiocy, Why Walk Back Your Business Model Now?

Nearly two years ago, Fox News luminary Shepard Smith delivered a memorable apology. On a slow-news afternoon in September 2012, Smith’s afternoon program followed a protracted car-chase in the Arizona sticks. Its coverage of the drama was so intense that producers failed to cut away from the scene when the driver got out of his car, staggered through a desolate area and shot himself.

Tonal perfection characterized Smith’s mea culpa: “We really messed up, and we’re all very sorry. That didn’t belong on TV. … I personally apologize to you that that happened,” said the host.

The theme of Fox News’s capacity for apology surfaced this week, after “Fox & Friends” co-hosts Brian Kilmeade and Steve Doocy joked about the Ray Rice situation. On Monday’s program, the two were discussing the emergence of the TMZ.com video showing Rice assaulting his then-fiancee in the elevator of an Atlantic City hotel. To wrap up the discussion, Kilmeade quipped, “I think the message is, take the stairs.”

Doocy, in the jocular spirit of a cable-news morning show during a discussion of domestic violence, joined in: “The message is when you’re in an elevator, there’s a camera.”

With that, “Fox & Friends” prepped public expectations for a stone-faced apology. Tuesday morning, that didn’t happen. Instead, Kilmeade appeared to be blaming viewers for using their eyes and ears: “Comments that we made during this story yesterday made some feel like we were taking the situation too lightly. We are not. We were not. Domestic abuse is a very serious issue to us, I can assure you.”

CNN, like a good competitor network, found newsworthiness in the depravity of “Fox & Friends.” In a chat with host Carol Costello, CNN media correspondent Brian Stelter said, “It’s a cheap try yo pretend to apologize but then again, Fox News tends not to come out and apologize when their hosts say offensive things.”

Cue the Google and Nexis searches for “fox news apologizes.”

In August, Fox News’s Shepard Smith apologized for having called Robin Williams a “coward.” (Hat Tip: Johnny Dollar)

In April, Fox News apologized for a graphic that painted a distorted picture of Obamacare enrollment numbers.

In March, Fox News host Clayton Morris apologized for “ignorant” comments that he’d made about gender. (Hat tip: Johnny Dollar)

In October 2013, Fox News apologized for reporting — based on a bogus story — that President Obama had pledged to personally donate to the International Museum of Muslim Cultures during the government shutdown.

In February 2013, Fox News’s Tucker Carlson apologized for ripping Wiccans. (Hat tip: Johnny Dollar)

In July 2012, Fox News apologized for showing a picture of Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels in a discussion of convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky.

In July 2011, Fox News apologized after its politics Twitter account was hacked, resulting in a false message about the assassination of President Obama.

In November 2009, Fox News apologized for misrepresenting some footage of Sarah Palin.

So there’s a sampling of Fox News’s regretful moments of recent years (we don’t claim it’s comprehensive). The circumstances behind them vary — some correct factual mistakes, others remedy stupid, ill-considered remarks made in the error factory that is live television.

Does the network under-apologize for “offensive” remarks, as Stelter suggested? Who knows — a claim that broad and subject to value judgments is both unprovable and irrefutable, a perfect thing to say on cable news. Perhaps there is a contrast to be drawn with MSNBC, a network that went on an apologetic tear starting last November after offending the likes of Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, the “right wing” and others.

Despite the squishiness inherent in this debate, it’s clear that there’s an entire industry of apology demands directed at Fox News. Here’s a demand that Fox News host Megyn Kelly apologize for her comments about Santa and Jesus being white. Here’s a demand (from now-Fox News guy Howard Kurtz, in 2009) that Fox News apologize for using “partisan propaganda” on air. Here’s a demand that Fox News apologize for its Steubenville rape coverage. Here’s a demand that Fox News apologize to all Canadians for mocking their country’s military. Here’s a demand that Fox News apologize to John Kerry for catching his off-mic remarks (see comments section). Here’s a demand that Fox News apologize for some allegedly transphobic remarks by Dr. Keith Ablow (who produces apologizable statements in just about every appearance, it must be noted).

And on and on: Some of the demands are perfectly ridiculous, some compelling.

Of all the moments for which Fox News has apologized or received apology demands, none appears as regret-worthy as what went down on Monday’s edition of “Fox & Friends.” In advising “take the stairs,” Kilmeade appeared to be counseling domestic abusers on how to do their thing. Or perhaps he was counseling women not to get into elevators with their boyfriends. Abominable either way. Fox News — and “Fox & Friends” itself — has apologized for much less. Absent an explanation from Fox News itself, only pure arrogance can account for why the network whiffed on its responsibility to viewers. Years and years of on-air idiocy, after all, have propelled “Fox & Friends” to the top of the morning cable-news ratings. Why walk back the show’s business model now?

 

By: Erik Wemple, The Washington Post, September 10, 2014

 

September 12, 2014 Posted by | Domestic Violence, Fox News, Violence Against Women | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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