I firmly believe in applauding leadership and appropriate behavior rather than only being critical. Therefore, I’d like to join Color of Change and other bloggers in congratulating Rep. John Conyers for standing up to Fox News and asking the rest of the CBC to follow his lead. Conyers, a civil rights legend, deserves at least as much support from the CBC as um, Bill Jefferson.

Here’s what CoC has to say:

“We applaud Chairman Conyers for calling attention to Fox’s history of marginalizing and denigrating black Americans,” said James Rucker, executive director of ColorOfChange.org. “Today, we’re calling other CBC members to stand with Congressman Conyers and denounce Fox, a network that has called black churches cults, implied repeatedly that Senator Obama is a terrorist, and has used the solemn occasion of Coretta Scott King’s funeral to call black leaders ‘racist.'”

Fox News’ on-air apology is completely inadequate and doesn’t even mention Conyers at all! Conyers says no one called him personally prior to the on-air announcement to apologize. He’s right. Watch below.

From USA Today (emphasis mine):

“Fox News has a history of inappropriate on-air mistakes that are neither fair, nor balanced,” [Conyers] said Tuesday. “This type of disrespect for people of color should no longer be tolerated. I am personally offended by the network’s complete disregard for accuracy in reporting and lackluster on-air apology.”

[Brian] Wilson [Fox News Washington Bureau Chief] said he called Conyers’ office on Tuesday to apologize. He said he spoke to a press secretary and asked what he could do to make amends, including coming to Conyers’ office to apologize in person. No one got back to him, he said.

Conyers’ press representative, Melanie Roussell, said the congressman was upset that Fox’s on-air apology did not say specifically what the mistake was.

Fox News Channel has become a political issue itself recently, with Democratic presidential candidates refusing to appear in a debate sponsored by the network.

Funny how the AP failed to mention that the debate is supposed to be co-sponsored by the CBC and that’s why it’s a political issue for pete’s sake! And Conyers is right on target. Media Matters points to another strikingly similar case of mistaken identity mingled with insidious racial undertones, just before an election, mind you (emphasis mine):

Indeed, as Conyers suggested, Fox News made a similar mistake during the November 6, 2006, edition of The Live Desk, as Media Matters documented at the time. Footage of [Harold] Ford played on-screen while MacCallum said, “I was reading something about evolution and it talked about virility and, you know, health and fitness and survival of the fittest. It’s sort of a natural instinct, in many ways, to look at someone like Barack Obama as you point out, and say, you know, he looks young, he looks healthy, he looks strong.”

Um — Huh? Guess both Ford and Obama are healthy virile black bucks that would be strong behind the plow. Or something. Since when did you hear anyone talk about white Members of Congress and candidates like that. Give me a break, please.

Now there’s a second, completely fallacious apology from Fox. View it here at ThinkProgress.
Basically they said the tape was mislabeled, but how could that be? Jefferson isn’t even on that committee. That’s footage from the Gonzales hearings, right? Big news story not too long ago. Do they just have a file that says “Negros in Congress” and pull at random? Um, so sorry. Try again. The “apology” actually manages the feat of being more insulting than the “mistake” itself. They sho’ must think we colored folks is dumb as hell.

My hope is that FINALLY the CBC will understand who their true friends are (that would us, their constituents) and who has a back-stabbing agenda against them. I hope this is a turning point where they realize those piddling Fox donations to the CBC might have a cost that’s too high for Black elected officials.

I know it may not always feel this way, Members of the CBC and Staff. Black bloggers like me really are ultimately on your side. Especially given that Conyers is a fellow blogger and should be a natural ally of African-American bloggers.

And seriously, we look to you, the CBC, as leaders. It’s fantastic and inspiring when some of you actually behave like leaders.

A Fist in the Air Award also to the Honorable John Conyers and his staff.

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