Saturday, March 24, 2012
President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, March 6, 2012.
*The tweet from the White House on the Trayvon Martin slaying was much briefer than even the brief number of words allowed by twitter and essentially said that there was nothing to say.
White House press secretary Jay Carney was even more emphatic when asked whether the President had any comment to make on the case and simply said, “I don’t have any conversations to report to you.”
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Barring any dramatic new compelling turn in the case, that will be exactly where matters will stand. The Martin case is no different than other controversial cases almost always involving racial issues that Obama has been pressed to speak out on. Obama won’t for equally compelling reasons.
Despite racism, collusion, incompetence, and plain bungling by a discredited Sanford, Florida police department, the hear no evil, see no evil stance of Seminole County prosecutors towards the self-admitted shooter, George Zimmerman, and a grotesque stand your ground state law that is in essence a license to kill, the Martin atrocity is a state matter. The best that the feds can and will do is what they have done and that’s order an FBI probe into possible civil rights violations in the slaying of Martin. But that is mostly perfunctory, and standard in controversial race cases. In the end, the FBI and Justice Department will defer to state prosecutors. A statement from Obama who has absolutely no legal power to intervene in the Martin case would have no effect on the case.
This adds to the misunderstanding of the law about Obama’s powers. But it doesn’t answer the question whether Obama has any moral obligation to speak out in the Martin killing. The painful answer to that is also no. As much as many would cheer the president if he breaks political protocol and weighs in on Martin, it won’t happen.
Obama, as all sitting presidents, doesn’t take positions on controversial state issues, and that’s the key. They are state issues, and to interfere is to step into a political minefield that would do far more harm than good. It would violate the rigid separation of federal and state powers. It would open the floodgate for any and every individual and group that has a legal wrong, grievance, or injustice to expect, even demand, that the president speak out on their cause. While tens of thousands nationally and globally are rallying behind the demand for arrest and prosecution of Zimmerman, there are millions more that quietly and openly demand that Florida officials resists any rush to judgment about the Martin killing.
Presidential statements on a controversial issue will polarize, and fuel political backlash. This would certainly be the case if Obama utters a word about Martin. In fact, the Martin slaying is a near textbook example of the fury and passion that racial leaden cases and issues always stir. Martin is African-American, and his self-admitted killer is non-black. Obama is African-American and there’s rarely been a moment during his tenure in the White House that he hasn’t been relentlessly reminded of that. The one time that he gingerly ventured into the minefield on a racially charged local issue was his mild rebuke of the white officer that cuffed Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates in 2009. The reaction was instant and rabid. Polls after his mild rebuke showed that a majority of whites condemned Obama for backing Gates and, even more ominously, expressed big doubts about his policies.
The president relearned a bitter lesson. If you speak out on an issue that involves race, police authority, and local law and local matters you will pay a heavy political price for it. While presidents have routinely spoken out on the deaths of police officers, political initiatives in states, and other local issues, there is no implication or inference of political partisanship or interference in a state matter. Speaking out on a controversial racial issue, as Martin is, would have a direct political inference, namely that the president is taking sides. In an election year, this would have be even more problematic. The GOP presidential contenders would be quick to pounce and would lambaste Obama as playing the race card and inflaming passions. Or, more charitably, that he was butting into an issue that he has no authority over, and that this is yet another example of the White House’s over reach on local matters.
The Martin atrocity did something that a statement from Obama couldn’t do. It cast another horrific glare on the gaping racial and legal disparities and flaws in the administration of the criminal justice system, and a deep soul search on how a law could be so badly perverted to claim the live of an innocent and defenseless young man. The one certainty is that while Obama will not speak out on Martin, there have been enough hints and signs from the white House that he will keep an eye on developments in the case. And this is a reasonable expectation of any one that sits in the White House.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on American Urban Radio Network. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is host of the weekly Hutchinson Report Newsmaker Hour on KTYM Radio Los Angeles streamed on ktym.com podcast on blogtalkradio.com and internet TV broadcast on thehutchinsonreportnews.com. Follow Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/earlhutchinson
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Friday, March 23, 2012
When the Work to Ride program founded the nation's first black polo team in 1999, the goal was simply to help disadvantaged kids from Philadelphia improve themselves through activities centered around horsemanship, equine sports and education.
Thirteen years later the team, made up of kids who defy the sport's privileged stereotype, has captured a national championship for the second year in a row.
In a sport associated more with royalty and the well-to-do suburban country club set than the inner city, a team of black kids from Philadelphia reign supreme.
On Sunday, a team from Philadelphia's Work to Ride polo program captured the United States Polo Association Tournament Championship in Charlottesville, Va., taking the crown for the second consecutive year.
They defeated a team from Palm Springs, California's El Dorado Polo Club 20 to 19 in a nail-biting arena polo shootout.
"The kids we played were the children of professional polo players," Lezlie Hiner, Ride to Work's executive director, told BlackAmericaWeb.com.
"For us, it's about talent. A lot of it is the will to win, that type of thing, and athleticism," she added. "My kids know how to ride horses; they have good hand-eye coordination. They've learned the basics, the basics get drilled into them constantly. They have the desire to get better, and they take pride in that."
Work to Ride shocked the polo world last year when it fielded the first all-black team to win the championship. This year, shock turned to awe as Work to Ride entered the tournament as the team to beat ...
Polo is considered a rich man's game. The cost of a horse, equipment and travel (with the horse) is daunting. Hiner created Work to Ride, a non-profit organization, in 1994 to help disadvantaged Philadelphia youth ages seven to 19 improve themselves through activities centered around horsemanship, equine sports and education.
"I don't care if I'm not rich. I don't care if my mother's single. I don't care what I don't have," Work to Ride participant Kenshaun Walker told CNN. "I'm willing to do anything in life to make it to the pros in polo."
Read more at BlackAmericaWeb.
An abandoned home near 75th and Sangamon, on Chicago's South Side, was the unlikely hiding place for an important piece of black history -- the papers of Richard Theodore Greener, Harvard's first African-American alumnus.
Greener's 1870 Harvard diploma, his law license, photos and papers connected to his diplomatic role in Russia and his friendship with President Ulysses S. Grant were discovered by contractors hired to clear the home before its demolition in 2009, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Historians were reportedly shocked to learn last week that the documents had survived, since they were thought to have been lost in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, where Greener was visiting at the time.
Pictured in a photo from the Harvard University Archives, Greener is described as the first black to enter the college, though not the first one to be admitted.
Richard T. Greener was the first black to enter the College and to complete the undergraduate curriculum with an A.B. in 1870 ("winning the chief prizes in writing and speaking along the way"). He was not, however, the first black to be admitted, a distinction belonging to Beverly Garnett Williams, in 1847. (He died just before the academic year began and thus never entered the College.)
According to a bio from the University of South Carolina, where he served as the first African-American professor, Greener was born on January 30, 1844, and passed away in 1922. He is said to have been born to the son of a slave in Philadelphia in 1844, and to have left school at 14 to become a porter at a Boston hotel.
Greener was looked after by a pair of white businessmen who helped him enroll at Harvard in 1865, the Sun-Times reports.
"Greener was a leading intellectual of his time. It's a remarkable discovery," fellow Harvard Crimson Henry Louis Gates, Jr. says.
According to the paper, historians are mystified at how Greener's trunk full of papers ended up at the South Side home.
How the documents got to the Englewood attic is a question that might never be answered. Greener lived the final years of his life with cousins in Hyde Park. But there's no evidence he ever lived in the Englewood home, which is nearly six miles away.
New evidence that physician attitudes and stereotypes about race, even if unconscious, affect the doctor-patient relationship in ways that may contribute to racial disparities in health care
Primary care physicians who hold unconscious racial biases tend to dominate conversations with African-American patients during routine visits, paying less attention to patients' social and emotional needs and making these patients feel less involved in decision making related to their health, Johns Hopkins researchers report.
The patients also reported reduced trust in their doctors, less respectful treatment and a lower likelihood of recommending the biased doctor to a friend.
In a report published in the American Journal of Public Health, the researchers say the findings provide new evidence that even when racial bias is not overt, it can have a negative impact on the way care is delivered and the quality of the doctor-patient relationship. It reinforces the idea that there may be a link between racial biases and stereotypes playing out in the doctor-patient relationship and the racial disparities found across health care settings in the United States.
"If patients have good patient-centered interactions with their doctors, we know they're more likely to follow through with care, make follow-up appointments and better control diseases such as diabetes and depression," says study leader Lisa A. Cooper, M.D., M.P.H., a professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "This study suggests that unconscious racial attitudes may be standing in the way of positive interactions to the detriment of patient health."
Acknowledging that the problem exists, Cooper adds, is half the battle. "It's hard to change subconscious attitudes, but we can change how we behave once we are made aware of them. Researchers, educators and health professionals need to work together on ways to reduce the negative influences of these attitudes on behaviors in health care," she says.
She says it is important to note that there are some negative consequences of racial bias for white patients as well.
In the new study, Cooper and her team investigated the association between physicians' racial attitudes and stereotypes they have about whether patients of different races are compliant with medical advice and how doctors and patients communicated during medical visits. They examined audio recordings of interactions among 40 primary care doctors and 269 patients in community-based medical practices in Baltimore, collected as part of their earlier studies investigating routine care of patients who had hypertension or depression, often along with other chronic conditions. The patients were primarily middle-aged women, and 80 percent were African-Americans. Forty-eight percent of the physicians were white, 30 percent were Asian and 22 percent were African-American. Roughly two-thirds of the doctors were women.
The researchers also assessed the physicians' unconscious racial attitudes using the Implicit Association Test (IAT), a widely used tool that measures reaction times to words and pictures to uncover biases and preferences. For example, a photo of a white or black individual is presented along with words that have good and bad connotations. The test measures how quickly the participant associates good or bad words with people from each race, rating the extent to which these concepts are linked in the brain. If a participant is quicker at associating the good words with a particular race, then that person is thought to have a subconscious preference toward that race. The doctors in the study completed two versions of the IAT. The first related to general race bias, while the second was specific to the medical context by assessing whether doctors held racial stereotypes with regard to whether they believed patients of different races are compliant with medical advice.
The researchers found that the physicians in the study held varying attitudes in regard to general race bias (as do most members of the general public) and that this was also true for a racial stereotype of the compliant patient. White and Asian physicians overall held more pro-white attitudes on both measures than did African-American physicians, whose scores were largely neutral.
Based on detailed analysis of visit recordings using the Roter Interaction Analysis System (RIAS), a highly detailed, reliable and internationally validated system of communication coding, the researchers found several relationships between racial attitudes, medical visit communication, and patients' report of their experience with their physicians. Racial bias favoring whites was associated with greater clinician domination of the medical dialogue for both African-American and white patients and a less positive patient emotional tone in the visits of African-American patients. In addition, African-American patients expressed less confidence in their clinicians, perceived less respect from their doctors, liked their doctors less and were less inclined to recommend the doctor to their friends. The impact of bias was generally, but not entirely, positive for white patients; they reported feeling respected and liked by their physician but also felt their physician was less likely to involve them in medical decisions about their care.
The impact of racial stereotyping on communication was somewhat different than the impact of general racial bias. For African-American patients, it included longer visits (by about 20 percent) characterized by slower speech speed, physician-dominated dialogue, lower levels of patient-centeredness (time spent addressing the emotional, social and psychological aspects of the patient's illness and treatment challenges) and lower levels of positive emotional tone in contrast to visits with white patients. The researchers suggest that although longer visits with slower-paced dialogue might be seen as positive, the African-American patients responded to these visits negatively, reporting lower levels of trust and confidence in the physician and lower perceptions of being involved in treatment decisions. Thus, the researchers suggest that patients may interpret this pattern of communication as conveying an authoritarian and critical tone that creates an overall negative impression — regardless of longer visit duration. White patients also rated doctors who had this stereotype negatively; they reported being less involved in treatment decisions and were less likely to recommend these doctors to others.
Cooper, director of the Johns Hopkins Center to Eliminate Cardiovascular Health Disparities, says she and her team found no overt racial bias among the physicians. "Over time, in our society, people have become more open to different races and ethnicities and for the most part, it's not considered socially acceptable to be negative against other racial or ethnic groups," she says. "But we have subconscious bias that we develop from our earliest experiences and are less subject to social pressures."
Although Cooper's study delved into established primary care relationships, the communications problems her team identified have implications for many other medical settings — such as emergency rooms or intensive-care units — where the situations are more urgent and the consequences more directly life-threatening. Research is needed into whether implicit bias plays a negative role in those situations as well, she says.
Notably, Cooper says, the study group consisted of patients and physicians who knew each other well, had agreed to participate in studies to improve care for African- Americans, and were willing to have their visits recorded. And yet researchers still found that biases had a negative impact. "If we are more aware of how our attitudes are affecting our behaviors," she says, "only then can we change what we do and ensure that all of our patients get the best care."
Source: Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Thursday, March 22, 2012
*Cher, John Legend, Mia Farrow and Wyclef Jean are among a growing number of celebrities calling for police to arrest George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch captain in Florida accused of fatally shooting unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin.
The 17-year-old was shot to death in a gated community on Feb. 26 after Zimmerman alerted cops to his “suspicious” behavior. During the 911 call, he told the police dispatcher that Martin, who was carrying an iced tea drink and a pack of Skittles candy, was “just walking around looking about.” He began to follow the boy against the explicit instructions of the officer and allegedly gunned him down.
Zimmerman has not been charged with any crime.
A host of stars have are voicing their outrage via Twitter, and have thrown their support behind an online petition on Change.org, created by Martin’s devastated parents, demanding action from authorities.
Cher writes, “We Must Not Forget Travor Marti (sic)! This Beautiful Young man was Murdered In Fla. (Florida) & his killer was Set Free without even a drug test! Shame!”
Legend adds, “we’re p**sed because no one should get killed with Impunity because they ‘look suspicious’ (are black with a hoodie). murder is illegal. If you get caught you go to prison. This is egregious because the guy is comfortably sitting at home.”
Meanwhile, actress and humanitarian Farrow has expressed her fears for the safety of one of her adopted black son because of his skin color. She tweets, “My 20 year old son is African American. He sometimes wears a hoodie and he loves Skittles. #justice4trayvon”
Director Spike Lee, rap mogul Russell Simmons, rapper Talib Kweli and actresses Gabrielle Union and Alyssa Milano have also been tweeting about the shooting and have urged their followers to join the more than 435,000 people who have already signed the Change.org petition, demanding the arrest of Zimmerman.
As previously reported, The public outrage at Martin’s murder prompted officials at the FBI and the Justice Department to launch an investigation into the shooting on Monday ,while Florida State Attorney Norm Wolfinger announced this afternoon that the case will be heard by a grand jury.
Fast-tracking black children to be adopted by white families will only make the needs of black children invisible
'Why has the government not put as much energy into finding black adopters?' Photograph: Getty
"The most valuable resource of any ethnic group is its children. Nevertheless, black children are being taken from black families by the process of the law and being placed in white families. It is, in essence, 'internal colonialism' and a new form of the slave trade, but only black children are used."
These words were given in evidence to a House of Commons select committee, by the Association of Black Social Workers and Allied Professionals (from Care Less Lives by Mike Stein, March 2012). Also in 1983, the social services committee report on children in care highlighted "the failure of the social services departments to recruit enough black foster and adoptive parents". Now David Cameron has decided to focus on making it easier for white couples to adopt black children. This shows how adoption policy is going backwards, ignoring decades of research-based practice.
These policies play into the popular misconception that colour blindness is a goal when in fact it is a disability. In this context, a disability is used to make those of colour and their needs invisible.
In 1984, a group of young adults met on the fourth floor of the Children's Legal Centre on Compton Terrace in Islington, north London. They had travelled from all over England and were united by one experience: they were black and either in care or had recently left care. It was difficult to talk, but then one spoke of bathing in bleach, another of being spat at and beaten and the floodgates opened. Another spoke of never knowing his own name. Another of her name being shortened or changed entirely to make it easier for those around her. Another spoke of being publicly stoned. The Black and In Care conference report and video – it was attended by 300 black people in care – were published in 1985. Partly as a result, the cause of same-race adoption and fostering was promoted by government and local authorities throughout the country as good practice.
Some 25 years of work by local authorities throughout Britain is being reversed in just two years of coalition government. And why? Cameron conflates the issue of speeding up adoption with the issue of same-race placements. Is this political sleight of hand?
Fast-track adoption has happened before. In the 1960s and 70s it relied on society's abhorrence and unwillingness to listen to the pregnant unmarried female. Women were removed from their community, isolated in mother and baby homes often run by nuns, and then coerced by social workers into signing adoption papers. Then the mothers were shipped back to their community, not to speak of it. Those mother and baby homes were like child farms: the nuns the farmers, the social workers the landowners and prospective parents the consumers.
Last week, Abby Harrison, a mixed-race woman who has been in care, contacted me via Facebook. On Wigan market there were two gollywogs on two market stalls by two entrances. Abby, who has lived in Wigan all her life and has five mixed-race children, politely asked the stallholder if he would mind removing them. He refused. It seems the users of Wigan market and the council owners don't mind. Cameron is setting out his adoption policy stall in the equivalent of Wigan market, where he knows the majority of consumers will not complain about the policy of fast-tracking black children to be adopted by white families because most of his customers are in fact white. And what's wrong with a gollywog anyway?
The point made in 1983 still stands: why has the government not put as much energy into finding black adopters? And besides, why say a family environment is all a child in care needs as quickly as possible when 50% of children in care have fled an abusive family environment as quickly as they could? And why say care is a bad thing – rather than "we can make it better" – if it is care under your watch?
The gollywogs are still hanging in Wigan market. If Abby convinced herself of colour blindness she wouldn't see them for the aggressive statement they are. If I were colour blind, I would never have written this article. And I wouldn't have been at that conference in 1984.
Seeing life in colour makes it more truthful, equal and naturally balanced, less black and white. I suggest Cameron does the same, otherwise in years to come another group of strangers will meet in a room and wait for someone else to speak first.
Study: One Sugary Drink Per Day Raises Risk of Heart Disease for Men
By CARRIE GANN and Dr. LARRY BORGES, ABC News Medical Unit
The evidence linking sugar-sweetened beverages with an array of health problems -- including obesity and diabetes -- keeps piling up. And a new study adds one more potential risk to the list: coronary heart disease.
According to a new study, men who drink one sugar-sweetened beverage daily have a 20 percent higher risk of coronary heart disease than men who drink none.
Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health tracked nearly 43,000 participants in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, which included male dentists, pharmacists, physicians, veterinarians and other health professionals ages 40 to 75, almost all of whom were of European descent.
For 22 years, the men filled out surveys about their diets and other health habits. The researchers also collected blood samples from more than 18,000 men who were demographically similar to those in the survey.
The results, published today in the American Heart Association's journal, Circulation, found that drinking 12 ounces of regular soda, fruit drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages daily was associated with a higher risk of heart disease, even after taking into account other cardiovascular risk factors, such as smoking, physical inactivity, alcohol use and a family history of heart disease.
Dr. Frank Hu, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health and the lead author of the study, said the findings were notable because even relatively modest consumption of sugary beverages – just one drink per day – was associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
"These drinks should be treated as a treat, not for all the time," Hu said.
Sugar-sweetened beverages include regular soda, fruit drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks and sugar-sweetened water.
A 2011 report from the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that about 25 percent of Americans drink the equivalent of more than one can of soda each day. The study also found that men who drank daily sugar-sweetened beverages had certain markers of cardiovascular disease in their blood, including higher levels of lipids like triglycerides and lower levels of HDL, or "good," cholesterol.
Hu said increases in these markers could give some clues about the biological mechanisms that may connect sugary drinks and heart disease.
Previous research suggests that the link between sugary drinks and heart disease may exist for women as well. The current study's findings mirror those of a study of nearly 89,000 women, the Nurses' Health Study, which Hu and his colleagues published in 2009. That study found that women who drank one or less than two sugary drinks per day had a 23 percent increased risk of a heart attack.
The current study didn't find an association between diet drinks and cardiovascular disease, and previous studies have failed to link diet drinks with an increase in diabetes risk or weight gain. This may be because people who choose diet drinks might be more likely to develop better diets and healthier lifestyles overall. In the current study, the men who drank diet soda often got more exercise and smoked less.
But some nutrition experts hesitate to suggest that people simply replace sugar-sweetened beverages with diet drinks because of inconclusive evidence about the long-term effects of artificial sweeteners. Some research also suggests that diet soda can condition the taste buds to crave sweets, leading to higher sugar intake in other parts of the diet.
A growing body of research connects sugary drinks with increased risk of diabetes, weight gain, high blood pressure and a number of other chronic diseases. But nutrition experts note that the current study doesn't show that sugar-sweetened beverages cause heart disease. Consuming sugary drinks every day may simply indicate less healthy lifestyles that could lead to heart disease.
"To some extent, people who drink more soda are apt to eat less well overall," said Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale Prevention Research Center. "Too much added sugar in the diet is likely a 'marker' of lower overall diet quality."
Nutrition experts emphasize that making any single ingredient out as the bad guy is a mistake.
"Attempting to blame or pinpoint any one cause for disease risk or overweight, fails to recognize that overall lifestyle is the key to health," said Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis.
The American Beverage Association, a trade organization representing the beverage industry, disputed the study's findings.
"Drinking sweetened beverages does not cause an increased risk of heart disease – not based on this study or any other study in the available science," the ABA said in a statement, adding that a healthy weight, balanced diet and physical activity are the real keys to reducing the risk of heart disease.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Paul Butler, a former federal prosecutor, is the Carville Dickinson Benson Research Professor of Law at George Washington University. He is the author of “Let’s Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice.”
It’s depressing that so many white folks still regard black people as less than human. As apes, to be exact, according to the pioneering work of the Stanford psychologist Jennifer Eberhardt.
End the war on drugs, make school disciplinary proceedings more transparent and require official explanations for racial disparities.
It’s unconscious bias, so the New York Police Department can’t say exactly what makes Bed-Stuy and Harlem so much better places to enforce the drug laws than the dormitories of Columbia and N.Y.U. The principal doesn’t know why she calls the police on the rowdy black kid, but calls the rowdy white kid’s mom.
But we know. It’s race.
I don’t know what will make more people treat racial minorities fairly. You could try arguing white folk’s self-interest. The fact that there are one million black people in prison is not good for any American. There’s persuasive evidence that the U.S.’s promiscuous use of incarceration, the highest in the world, is actually crimogenic: it raises the crime rate more than it reduces it.
But when the contest is between their race and their self-interest, many white people will vote their race every time. That’s why so many poor white folks vote Republican.
Maybe having an African-American president would help? Oh, wait. For a moment, I forgot. Well, it might make a difference if President Obama talked about race, but he seems to think if he does, he will be a one-term African-American president. And he’s probably right.
So maybe we should wait it out for 40 years, when according to Census projections, there won’t be any majority race, and there will be many more mixed-raced people. But that project hasn’t worked out so well in places like Brazil and Cuba, where everyone’s O.K. with having a little African blood, but the people with the darkest skin are still on the bottom. In the U.S., too, we are headed to what some scholars have called “multicultural white supremacy.”
But yes, we can take steps to reduce the pain. The criminal justice system gives the cops too much power to enact their racial fantasies on the bodies of black men and boys. Ending the war on drugs is a crucial step to reducing that discretion. Likewise, we should make school disciplinary proceedings more transparent, and require official explanations for racial disparities.
But the folks who get off on punishing black people will find other ways. They always do.
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Fox News anchor Bret Baier responded to a new book reporting that in 2010, President Obama criticized the network for pushing the myth that Obama "is a Muslim" by saying: "For the record, we found no examples of a host saying President Obama is a Muslim." In fact, Fox has repeatedly questioned and promoted falsehoods about Obama's faith, including pushing the false claim that Obama attended a "madrassa."
New Book Reports That Obama Faulted Fox News For Feeding Muslim Myth
Politico: New Book Claims Obama Said In 2010, "Fed By Fox News, They Hear Obama Is A Muslim 24/7, And It Begins To Seep In." From Politico:
President Barack Obama blamed Fox News for his political woes in a private meeting with labor leaders in 2010, saying he was "losing white males" who tune into the cable outlet and "hear Obama is a Muslim 24/7," according to journalist David Corn's new book, "Showdown."
In "Showdown: The Inside Story of How Obama Fought Back Against Boehner, Cantor, and the Tea Party" -- which hits bookstores on Tuesday -- the Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones chronicles the White House from the 2010 midterm elections to the start of the 2012 campaign. The book focuses on key moments of Obama's presidency, such as Osama bin Laden's assassination, the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the Arab Spring, the debt ceiling crisis, and the president's dealings with Congress.
Corn writes that after the midterm elections, Obama told labor leaders in December 2010 that he held Fox partly responsible for him "losing white males."
"...Fed by Fox News, they hear Obama is a Muslim 24/7, and it begins to seep in...The Republicans have been at this for 40 years. They have new resources, but the strategy is old," Corn recounted Obama as saying. [Politico, 3/19/12]
Baier Responds: "We Found No Examples Of A Host Saying President Obama Is A Muslim"
Baier: "For The Record, We Found No Examples Of A Host Saying President Obama Is A Muslim." On Special Report, Bret Baier pushed back against a new book reporting that President Obama blamed Fox News in December 2010 for spreading the myth that he is a Muslim by saying: "For the record, we found no examples of a host saying President Obama is a Muslim." [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier, 3/19/12]
In Fact, Fox -- Including Special Report -- Has Repeatedly Questioned Obama's Faith
Special Report On Obama: "Islam Or Isn't He?" During a June 2009 segment, Special Report aired a quote by Obama foreign policy adviser Denis McDonough, in which he talked about how Obama "experienced Islam on three continents" and spent part of his childhood in Indonesia with a Muslim father. Special Report included this question above the quote: "Islam Or Isn't He?" [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier, 6/3/09]
Charles Krauthammer: Obama "Does Have A Muslim Upbringing ... And An Affinity for Islam As A Result." On Special Report, discussing an Obama trip to the Middle East, Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer stated: "I think it's good for the president to use the fact that he does have a Muslim upbringing, relations, contacts, and an affinity for Islam as a result. That's important. He should use that in trying to warm relations with the Muslim world." [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier, 6/3/09]
Brian Kilmeade Asks, "If [Obama] Was Worried" About People Thinking He's Muslim, "Wouldn't He Have ... Kept His Name As Barry And Not Barack?" On the August 30, 2010, edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade reacted to news that "24 percent of this country thinks the president is a Muslim" by asking, "If he was worried about that, wouldn't he have changed -- kept his name as Barry and not Barack?" [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/30/10]
Fox Contributor Steve Hayes: "It's Hard To Sort Of Unwind" Idea Obama Is A Muslim "Now." From the August 20, 2010 edition of Fox News' Special Report:
CHRIS WALLACE (guest host): Meanwhile, the White House on Martha's Vineyard, Steve, dealing today with the fallout from these new polls indicating that a growing number of people think Obama is a Muslim, not a Christian. How do you think they're handling damage control on that issue, which is invented, and the issue of their own making, which is the president's comments on the mosque?
STEVE HAYES: Well, I think they're struggling to find the right line. They want to be sensitive, and the president spent a lot of time with outreach to what he calls the Muslim world. I think given the fact that they've done that for 18 months, it's hard to sort of unwind it now. But I agree with what Charles said last night. We're likely to see him going to church a lot more. [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier, 8/20/10]
Hume Falsely Claimed Obama's Half-Brother Said Obama Had A "Muslim Background." On the June 16, 2008, edition of Special Report, then-host Brit Hume stated that Malik Obama, Barack Obama's half-brother, "tells The Jerusalem Post that 'if elected his brother will be a good president for the Jewish people, despite his Muslim background.'" [Fox News, Special Report, 6/16/08]
Hume Issued On-Air Correction For False Claim. From the June 24, 2008, edition of Special Report:
HUME: And finally, last week, we quoted The Jerusalem Post in the story about Barack Obama's half-brother Malik Obama. The Post reported that in an interview with Israeli Army Radio, Malik Obama said his brother would be a good president despite his Muslim background. It now turns out that the Post did not quite understand what Malik Obama was saying in the interview and paraphrased him incorrectly. Malik Obama did not say that his older brother has a Muslim background. The Jerusalem Post has since removed the story from its website, and we regret the error. [Fox News, Special Report, 6/24/08]
On Fox, Donald Trump Claimed Obama's Birth Certificate "Maybe ... Says He Is A Muslim." On The O'Reilly Factor, frequent guest Donald Trump said:
TRUMP: Listen, I have a birth certificate. I have my birth certificate. And in fact, they said the one I gave yesterday wasn't good enough. So I actually got the one from the Health Department, which is the perfect one. Because they were saying the one I gave yesterday wasn't good enough, so I got the other. People have birth certificates. He doesn't have a birth certificate. He may have one but there's something on that, maybe religion, maybe it says he is a Muslim. I don't know. Maybe he doesn't want that. Or he may not have one. But I will tell you this. If he wasn't born in this country, it's one of the great scams of all time. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 3/28/11]
Fox Nation Promoted Trump's Claim That Obama May Be A Muslim. Fox Nation promoted Trump's claims that Obama may be a Muslim, writing: "Trump On Obama: 'Maybe He's a Muslim.' "
[Fox Nation, 3/30/11]
Fox Guest Suggested Obama Is Secretly Muslim. Fox & Friends hosted controversial Pastor Robert Jeffress, who said:
JEFFRESS: Steve, let's look at what really is going on here. On the one hand, we have a president who never met a Muslim holiday he didn't like, or at least wasn't willing to issue a proclamation for, and on the other hand, here he is refusing to acknowledge publicly the most important event in Christian faith, the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. And yet the White House is wondering, why do 20 percent of Americans think the president is a Muslim? Well, as my kids would say, duh. I mean, it's actions like these that really make people wonder what it is the president really believes. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/26/11]
Fox Has Repeatedly Questioned Obama's Christian Faith
Fox Hosted "Conservative Comedian" Who Claimed Obama Is "Faking" Being Christian. Fox & Friends hosted "conservative comedian" Brad Stine, who said of the president: "If Santorum doesn't want to question his Christianity, I will, because he's not really part of that." Stine continued, "why can't Obama be slammed for faking [Christianity]?" [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/20/12]
On Fox, Lars Larson Claimed Obama "Bows Down To Leaders Of ... Muslim Countries And Then He Disses Easter In His Own Country." On Fox News' America Live, guest host Shannon Bream stated: "The president and White House often seem very frustrated about these polling numbers that come out that show a significant amount of Americans question the president's faith and wonder whether he's truly Muslim, even though he says again and again he is a Christian." She then asked: "So is it fair for the White House to take a little heat that he didn't step up and be more vocal on Easter?" Radio host Lars Larson stated that Obama "is paying more attention" to Muslim holidays. Larson also said:
LARSON: The president of the United States is the public face of this country. This country has a deep tradition in Christianity, although it's a pluralistic country that welcomes all. And yet, why is it that the president somehow seems to forget about the highest Christian holiday and remembers all the rest of them, including made-up phony, baloney ones like Kwanzaa. Now, that's I think just wrong. This president and the fact that his spokesman comes out and laughs it off as, oh, this isn't a big deal -- it is a big deal when the president of the United States fails to recognize this major Christian holiday but seems to remember all the rest of them.
I'm with Juan. I mean, the fact is, is that we joke a lot about whether or not the president chose a whole lot of deference to Muslims and seems to forget Christians. And of course his own path -- past is with a church that seemed to be, you know, focused around hating America. But all that aside, the president should've recognized Easter like he recognizes other holidays, or don't recognize any of them at all. He's not doing a good job as the public face of America, as usual.
LARSON: The president goes over and bows down to leaders of foreign -- of Muslim countries and then he disses Easter in his own country. That's just not reasonable. [Fox News, America Live, 4/26/11]
Hannity: "I'm Not Questioning His Religion, But People" Asked Why Obama Wouldn't Issue Easter Proclamation. Discussing why "the White House doesn't release an Easter proclamation despite several proclamations for holidays of other religions," Sean Hannity stated, "I'm not questioning his religion, but people said, 'Why wouldn't he do it on this?' " [Fox News, Hannity, 4/25/11]
Hannity Guest Suggested Obama Doesn't Have "A Personal Relationship With God." Responding to Obama's statement that he receives a daily devotional on his BlackBerry containing "a passage, Scripture, in some cases quotes from other faiths to reflect on," Hannity guest, author Richard Miniter, said, "Sean, the big question is, what are the other faiths? Is he talking about Islam? ... Every president has had a personal relationship with God. And for him to say, well, some days it's Buddha, some days it's Jesus, it's kind of strange." After Kristen Powers noted that President Bush didn't go to church, Hannity stated, "I know for a fact that he had Bible study often. And the thing -- he wasn't receiving, you know, devotional, daily devotionals, as you point out, from one faith after another." [Fox News, Hannity, 2/2/10]
Fox Contributor Morris: Obama's Interpretation Of His Faith Is "Not How The Average Christian In The United States" Would Put It. On September 29, 2010, Fox News' America's Newsroom hosted Father Jonathan Morris -- a Catholic priest and Fox News contributor -- to analyze Obama's statements about why he became a Christian. Morris stated:
MORRIS: You know, not too bad. Charitably interpreted, pretty good. But it's not how the average Christian in the United States would answer that question. "I'm a Christian by choice." "It was the precepts of Christianity -- of Jesus Christ that attracted me." The precepts. That's not how the average Christian would respond. Christianity for most Christians who have it as a big part of their life, it's a falling in love not with precepts. Who's going to fall in love with the Ten Commandments? It's the falling in love with -- or the getting to know personally -- a person named Jesus of Nazareth.
MORRIS: The fact that he has not chosen a church after two years in Washington also says something. Does it mean he's a bad Christian? Far be it for me to say that. It says something. [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 9/29/10]
Fox Nation Promoted Coulter's Claim That Obama Is An Atheist. On September 1, 2010, Fox Nation promoted a column by Ann Coulter claiming that Obama is an atheist, using the headline: "Obama Is Not A Muslim, But...." [Fox Nation, 9/1/10]
Former Fox Host Glenn Beck: Obama's Comments On His Christian Faith Are "Not Something That Most Christians Recognize." From the August 29, 2010, edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday:
BECK: What does the president believe? Four different speeches since he's been president, he has told -- and mainly students -- that your salvation is directly tied to the collective salvation. That -- that's not something that most Christians recognize.
I don't -- I'm not demonizing it. I disagree with it. The pope has said -- he's actually demonized it. People aren't recognizing his version of Christianity, just like -- and 48 percent of the African American community doesn't recognize it either, by the way. They didn't recognize it with Jeremiah Wright. They don't recognize it now. [Fox Broadcasting Co., Fox News Sunday, 8/29/10]
Beck On Obama's Beliefs: "That's Not The Church That Jesus Taught About." From the August 24, 2010, edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
BECK: He said, quote, "So I draw from the Christian faith. On the other hand, I was born in Hawaii where there's obviously a lot of eastern influences. I lived in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world. Between the ages of 6 and 10, my father was from Kenya and though he was probably most accurately labeled an agnostic, his father was Muslim. I probably have to say, intellectually, I have drawn as much from Judaism as any other faith."
Well, OK, and now, we're confused why people are confused what he is? Where did he come from? We have Christian, eastern religion influences, Kenyan, agnosticism, Judaism and Islam. But America is expected to be solidly convinced he's a Christian.
BECK: So you top everything else off with, 'There are many paths to the same place.' Well, many Christians will say that's not true. That's not the church that Jesus taught about. That is the church that Oprah teaches about. And by the way, why wouldn't it be? Oprah Winfrey attended Reverend Wright's church for years. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 8/24/10]
During '08 Campaign, Fox News Promoted Smear That Obama Was Raised In A "Madrassa"
Fox & Friends Pushed False Smear That Obama Attended A "Madrassa." On the January 19, 2007, editions of Fox & Friends First and Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade, along with co-hosts Steve Doocy and Gretchen Carlson, spent several segments advancing a false report that then-Sen. Barack Obama was raised a Muslim and attended a madrassa, or Islamic school, as a child in Indonesia. At one point, Doocy asked: "When people find out this stuff, they're going to go, 'Why didn't anybody ever mention that that man right there was raised as -- spent the first decade of his life raised by his Muslim father as a Muslim and was educated in a madrassa?' " [Fox News, Fox & Friends First and Fox & Friends, 1/19/07]
Fox & Friends Had To "Clarify" Their Remarks. On the January 22, 2007, edition of Fox & Friends First, Doocy said he had to "clarify" the show's reporting on the fabricated madrassa story, stating that "Mr. Obama's people called and they said that that is absolutely false. They said the idea that Barack Obama went to a radical Muslim school is completely ridiculous." [Fox News, Fox & Friends First, 1/22/07]
On Fox News, Coulter Repeatedly Claimed Obama "Attended Madrassas." On the December 28, 2009, edition of The O'Reilly Factor and the December 30, 2009, edition of Glenn Beck, conservative columnist Ann Coulter said Obama attended madrassas as a child. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 12/28/09; Glenn Beck, 12/30/09]
For more Fox attacks on Obama's faith, click here