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I Was the Target of a Fox News Hoax

When I was asked to address a conference at Brandeis, a right-wing shock jock created a hoax to stir up the right. Then Glenn Beck ran with it.

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So Brandeis understood that the agony for Holocaust survivors caused by the hoax media claims required a revised graphic and an apology. Good for Brandeis. No apologies yet from Fox News for not bothering to fact-check the allegations before misrepresenting the Brandeis program on national television and spawning a storm of controversy on the right-wing side of the Internet.

After the conference Fox News continued to beat the dead horse droppings of their manufactured story. They featured Graham, who is publicizing himself by contacting other conservative outlets such as Accuracy in Media and highlighting his role in publicizing what he calls a scandal and I call a hoax.

Fox News is using the Brandeis controversy to insulate the Tea Parties from increasing media coverage of racism and xenophobia within the movement. I reviewed the racial bias in the Tea Parties in my Brandeis presentation yesterday.

On their first story about the Brandeis conference Fox News sandbagged NPR commentator Juan Williams who was asked to comment on the charge that the Tea Party activists were Nazis. Not surprisingly Williams thought the charge was outlandish. It is. It is also a hoax. Williams should be more alert to the idea that Fox News would exploit William's skin color as a way to dismiss increasing evidence of racial bias in the movement.

Victor Goode on RaceWire, the Colorlines Blog, summarized a New York Times poll that "shows that while their most important concern is the economy, they often view this issue through the lens of racially tinted glasses."

The University of Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race & Sexuality has released a study that shows the "tea party is not just about politics and size of government. The data suggests it may also be about race" study author Christopher Parker, explained. The study asked questions about the trustworthiness and intelligence of Black and Latino/Latina people in the United States, and showed that Tea Party supporters are significantly more prone to prejudice, than those who oppose the movement.

According to a University press release:

Indeed, strong support for the tea party movement results in a 45 percent decline in support for health care reform compared with those who oppose the tea party. "While it's clear that the tea party in one sense is about limited government, it's also clear from the data that people who want limited government don't want certain services for certain kinds of people. Those services include health care,"Parker said.

Some defenders of the Tea Parties go so far as to claim the movement is not on the political right at all. David A Graham on the Newsweek Web site has put together a photo essay depicting similar historic conservative movements. According to Graham, " the United States has a long tradition of reactionary, conservative, populist movements, dating back to before the Civil War. Many of them included racial or ethnic prejudice and hostility toward immigrants.

The second Fox News program on the Brandeis affair, after the conference, attempted to divert attention away from the potential anti-immigrant trends in the Tea Parties. One recent Tea Party event featured anti-immigrant Machiavellian mastermind Tom Tancredo--a notorious bigot and racist. The former Colorado Representative Tom Tancredo told a Tea Party rally in South Carolina that Obama should be sent back to Africa.

One of the core themes of Beck and Fox News is that fascism is a left-wing movement. The subject came up at the Brandeis conference, and one of the German scholars observed that while it was undeniably true that national socialists led by Gregor Strasser played an important role in the Nazi Party, the 1934 Röhm-Putsch ( aka the Night of the Long Knives), terminated the revolutionary socialist agenda of the Nazi Party. He said, however, it was generally accepted that German Nazism was a right-wing movement.

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