Thursday, July 30, 2009

Segregation and Friends

Jeffrey Feldman

by Jeffrey Feldman

Recently, Glenn Beck sat on the comfy couch of Fox's morning show Fox & Friends and declared that President Obama is a racist who hates white culture.   Of the three hosts who convened this broadcast gem, the one who disagreed with Beck -- Brian Kilmeade -- had recently declared on air that the white race in America had been weakened through interbreeding with non-whites, a statement for which he apologized after it sparked wide-scale outrage.  So on this particular morning, viewers who tuned into Fox & Friends watched a host who espouses white Aryan eugenics mix it up with a guest inciting white anger at blacks, followed by some tips on summertime grilling. 

The fact that brand management rules broadcast media -- particularly at Fox -- leads me to question whether the segregationist flavor of Fox's morning could possibly be accidental.  Is it possible that nobody at Fox had an inkling about Kilmeade's belief in racial purity prior to his blurting it out on air?  They had to know.  A man who gleefully turns to the camera and bemoans racial mixing is also a guy who spouts off eugenic theories at parties and office meetings.  Fox knew about Kilmeade's views and they kept him on air anyway. 

The same is true of Beck's foolish idea that President Obama hates white culture.  The only way the bookers and marketing folks at Fox & Friends could not know Beck plays to segregationist fears of blacks when talking about the president is if they have all been in a coma for the past year.  And yet they booked him anyway, putting him on set for a chat with a guy who thinks that white blood in America has been contaminated by miscegenation. 

A morning show that positions itself to appeal to whites uncomfortable with the idea of racial integration in America? So long as the numbers are solid, the media brand experts would say, why the heck not?

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