It’s staggering to think that even after all these years, Fox News still has the ability to shock — not simply to shock but to send your jaw plummeting to the floor like somebody hooked an anvil through your chin. Seriously, Marilyn Manson and Madonna would kill for whatever bottomless reservoir of shameless mojo Fox News has access to because it would mean a lifetime of cultural relevancy for each of them. There’s no depth too low for the network to stoop to when it comes to crafting a convenient narrative out of a tragedy and pushing it hard, no matter how utterly detached from reality that narrative might be.
To wit: This morning saw the lobotomized hyenas on Fox & Friends actually taking umbrage at the fact that the shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston was being labeled a “hate crime” by local police and the feds. Despite the lengthy history of racist violence directed at black churches in the South and the details of the shooting, which involved a white man shouting “you rape our women and you’re taking over the country” before gunning down nine black people, Fox News simply couldn’t be seen even entertaining the logical conclusion here. Thankfully, there was another narrative they could quickly and easily swap out the threatening one for, a hilariously far-fetched possibility but a possibility that would at least satisfy their audience’s own ludicrous persecution agenda.
And so you get this: a Fox News booker calling up paleo-conservative pastor E.W. Jackson (See update at bottom) to help validate inflatable arm-flailing dildo Steve Doocy’s anxieties that what we saw in Charleston wasn’t an act of racism but was instead just another horrible salvo in the “war on faith.” Doocy just couldn’t understand how anyone could “extraordinarily” call the shooting a “hate crime” unless of course that hate was the kind being directed at Christians these days, since as you know the real tragedy here is that 83% of the American population is having to cower in its homes and places of worship to avoid roving bands of heavily-armed atheists. And speaking of guns, Jackson was more than happy to confirm for Fox News and its audience that all of this could have been avoided if pastors began arming themselves and their congregations — a suggestion to which a concerned Doocy couldn’t “amen” loudly enough.
This kind of horseshit is why nothing is going to change after Charleston. It’s why nothing changes after any mass-casualty shooting or any attack on black people by white people in which race is indisputably a component. There’s an entire media and political machine in place whose job it is to hold up a funhouse mirror to the truth and create a surreal alternate reality that’s more comfortable for its followers to go on living in. Every time Fox News spins a false narrative out of thin air like this, it enables the environment that actually led to the problem in the first place. Every time Fox & Friends tells its audience that there’s no racism in America but there is a “war on Christians,” it provides cover for people like alleged Charleston gunman Dylann Roof. When you turn to the front page of Fox News’s website and the headline for the Charleston shooting story claims that “answers elude” authorities — and you read into the story and the only mention of the word “black” is in the description of the suspect’s car — you’re well into the realm of either delusion or outright suppression.
An entire political party subsists on this crap and makes decisions based on the noxious gas it pumps out into the atmosphere and calls conventional wisdom. We can’t fix the problem if a good portion of the country won’t even acknowledge the problem. If it won’t acknowledge the reality that’s right in front of its face. Or would be if it weren’t living in the conservative entertainment Matrix — the comfortable false-world Agent Doocy and his ilk are more than happy to keep them plugged into.
Update: It might be a good idea to disregard everything E.W. Jackson has to say about the shooting in Charleston, and really anything else, given that not long after his appearance on Fox News, he took to a right-wing radio show and said that the real reason for the shooting was — wait for it — gays, liberals in academia, President Obama and the redistribution of wealth (which he calls “immoral.”) Jackson’s genuinely a lunatic, but what he and Fox News are doing is obscene and dangerous: they’re desperately trying to deflect the conversation away from the inconvenient reality that racism was at the center of this and they’re trying to assuage Christians — white Christians in particular — that they’re the real victims here. It’s bullshit. And it’s offensive.
Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.