Racism Claims A Cover For Fox News Purge?

By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media

Sexual harassment and now racial discrimination complaints are providing the excuses James Murdoch may need to purge the conservative news personalities who have made the Fox News Channel a success.

James Murdoch is the liberal son of Fox News parent company owner Rupert Murdoch and one of the heirs to his father’s media empire. His wife was a major figure in the Clinton Climate Initiative project who despises conservatives and President Donald Trump personally.

A close reading of the legal complaint joined by black Fox News anchor Kelly Wright against the network leads one to conclude that the purpose is to enable the owners of the parent company (the Murdochs) to purge the conservatives by accusing them of racism, and then turn the channel into another left-wing propaganda organ in the name of “diversity and inclusion.”

The suit notes that “public pressure” and not a legal finding of fact forced Bill O’Reilly out of his anchor chair at Fox. Hence, why not use the same tactics to get rid of other Fox News managers, editors, anchors or personalities? It worked once. It could work again.

In one of these feeding frenzies, the facts get lost. What matters are the charges, not whether they are true or not.

Despite the attempt to portray him as a victim of racism, Wright’s bio at Fox News says he currently serves as co-anchor on America’s News Headquarters on Saturdays from 4-5 p.m. ET, as well as an overnight breaking news anchor based in New York. His impressive bio lists many stories he has covered at home and abroad.

Page 18 of the complaint says, “Throughout his employment with Fox, Mr. Wright has covered many of the biggest news stories to break over the past 14 years, often breaking the stories himself.” This is hardly the record of an employee being marginalized because of his skin color.

The complaint insists that “The discriminatory conduct committed against Mr. Wright has resulted in stunted career growth and advancement despite his remarkable success.” He has had “remarkable” success in a “stunted” career?

Despite this doubletalk, his lawyers at Wigdor LLP held a dramatic news conference with Wright to announce the charges, which were immediately picked up by the channel’s competitors. It is all about “public pressure” on the Murdochs and the fundamental transformation of Fox News.

The complaint says that Wright has been, and continues to be, “the victim of pervasive race discrimination at Fox,” because he did not get this or that position. It says he does not have his own show on the channel, as if he is entitled to one.

Wright is a Fox News anchor, one of three black anchors overall, but “his anchor position is one of far lower visibility than those held by his White colleagues,” the complaint states.

But it may well be that he doesn’t have the on-camera presence and talent to attract an audience.

The legal complaint asserts the existence of a pervasive culture of “institutional racism” at Fox News. For example, the recently ousted Bill O’Reilly is quoted as saying that some black neighborhoods have deteriorated into “free-fire zones.” For having an opinion on black crime and other remarks, O’Reilly is branded a racist.

Broadcaster Jerry Kenney read the lawsuit and commented, “Many blacks agree with much of the criticism of the black community that this lawsuit cites as ‘evidence’ of racism.”

Despite the claims in the suit, former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes had a very good record on minority hiring. He launched an Ailes Apprenticeship Program at Fox in 2003 to benefit minority students. At one event in honor of the graduates, Jesse Jackson called Ailes “a tough-minded, caring individual,” who is “preparing leaders for the diverse world in which we live.”

At the 2015 ceremony for its graduates, Ailes and Santita Jackson (a Fox News contributor and the daughter of Revered Jesse Jackson) were in attendance. Remarks were also delivered by Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner, who is black. After Ailes was forced out because of sexual harassment allegations, it was renamed the Fox News Apprentice Program.

The flimsy nature of Wright’s complaint can be seen in the charge that he “has been forced to endure many racist comments, some of which are intended to paint Mr. Wright as a caricature of a Black entertainer—i.e., a Jim Crow. By way of example only, while O’Reilly refused to permit Mr. Wright to come on his show, he told Mr. Wright that he ‘should call up’ [Roger] Ailes and [Bill] Shine and ‘offer to sing the National Anthem at the Fox News Town Halls.’”

In fact, Wright is an accomplished singer. A bio at a website offering a CD of his songs says, “Kelly Wright is nationally recognized as a reporter for the Fox News Channel. But he’s been singing professionally since he was thirteen. He started his singing career in the Church. Since then, he has been the headlining act at the legendary Cotton Club in New York City. Kelly has been the opening act or featured on many shows with top recording artists such as: James Brown, Shirley Ceasar, Vicki Winans, Dottie Peoples, Mississippi Mass Choir, Ron Kenoly, and more. Kelly has performed in Paris, France…Benin, West Africa… and Baghdad, Iraq.”

In fact, back in 2011, Wright performed on Fox News with his two sons in a special Christmas program.

So what may have been an entirely innocent and even complimentary comment from Bill O’Reilly has been turned into a condescending and racist putdown.

For years, Wright has “demanded a bigger role at Fox.” His demands have not been met and that supposedly helps make Fox a racist place to work.

Broadcaster Jerry Kenney counters, “He was lucky to even have a job a Fox.”

One of the songs on the Wright CD is titled, “My Prayer.” He’ll need to pray long and hard to succeed in this lawsuit.

Don’t look for God to grant his wish.

But James Murdoch may see the suit as another excuse to conduct a purge and bring in more liberals like Bob Beckel.

Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at cliff.kincaid@aim.org. View the complete archives from Cliff Kincaid.


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