Jon Stewart is known for making fun of other news networks, particularly FOX News, on The Daily Show, but last night he absolutely nailed the conservative news network for its coverage of the Ferguson protests. In a masterful expose of the network’s tactics, he made the point that victim-hood can indeed be a state of mind and it is one that FOX trades in daily. Meanwhile, the network’s commentators and pundits have accused the Ferguson protesters of race baiting and “race arson,” claiming that this is not a civil rights issue. Instead, it is all a mass conspiracy being concocted by the president, the attorney general and Reverend Al Sharpton.
When the now former Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson was not indicted by a jury, the protests over Ferguson boiled over. People took to the streets in peaceful protest all over the nation, literally from coast to coast. Los Angeles saw protests, New York had some and even members of the NFL raised their hands as part of the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” protests over the killing of unarmed black men by police. Despite numerous instances of unarmed black males being shot, which Stewart did not have time to recount because Colbert was on in half an hour, FOX News has maintained that this is not a civil rights issue and that the protesters are all wrong.
Despite the “unending, bizarrely similar isolated incidents” of such killings, FOX maintains that there is no systemic inequality. So why are these thousands of people protesting at all? Jon Stewart figured it out, ostensibly by watching a lot of FOX News. What is actually going on in the country, according to the conservative channel, is a process of incitement, or racial arson. There are a lot of people who are fanning the flames, including “racial racqueteers,” “race hustlers” and the “racial grievance industry.” The ringleaders are the black president, the black attorney general and the black Reverend Al Sharpton, who has been especially conspicuous in his calls for peaceful protests and nonviolence.
Yes, FOX News actually has the gall to accuse these men of creating a mindset in which people go crazy over supposedly non-existent civil rights issues. In a clip from one show, the host quotes the FOX News founder Roger Ailes as saying that “if people believe they are victims, they will become victims; if they believe they are winners, they will become winners.” Obviously, all these unarmed black men got shot by police because of their mindset, not because of anything inherently wrong in a system that profiles them as criminals just because they are black.
Jon Stewart’s critique of FOX News’ Ferguson opinion was bad enough up until that point, but he went on to make the point that what they are mad about probably is not the protests, but the fact that the imaginary conspiracy ring-leaders have used their own tactics. He showed a series of clips where FOX News stories use every trick in the book to make white males afraid that they are being targeted by the system and by President Barack Obama who is not a white male. This was proof that the network was making sure its viewers felt like victims, ostensibly so they would become victims. After nailing FOX News for its dirty tactics and hypocritical Ferguson rantings, Jon Stewart finished up with the point that what the network is really mad about is “race plagiarism.” After all, someone using their own tactics against them is plagiarism and because the protesters are black, obviously it is all about race.
Opinion By Lydia Bradbury