News & Politics

Fox News On-Air Racism Challenged by Huge Petition Drive and Hot Rapper Nas

A rally outside Fox News headquarters led by Color of Change delivers 620,000 signatures.
At a rally of a couple hundred people in front of Fox News headquarters on Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan, Andre Banks told the crowd: "We're here to call out Fox News on their pattern of on-air racism that is trying to make the Obama's outsiders in their own country. But it won't work. Many people think Fox is a joke. But putting racism on national TV and calling it news isn't funny."

Banks, who is Deputy Director of The Color of Change, a grassroots organization dedicated to advocating for progressive issues on the web, stood next to 19 stacked cardboard boxes. The number 620,127 was taped to the side of each box, representing the number of petition signatures gathered. The petition demanded that network president Roger Ailes "find a solution to address racial stereotyping and hate-mongering before it hits the airwaves."

Soon after Banks spoke, he was joined by popular performer Nas, who pulled up in his black SUV, and jumped out to address the crowd. Everyone with a camera flocked around the veteran rapper to get a shot of him.

Nas offered his own critique of Fox in what he sees as their long-term racist smear campaign against the Obama family. He mentioned Bill O'Reilly casually using the phrase "lynching party" to refer to attacks on the Senator's wife, and another Fox host's reference to the Obama couple's fist thump as a "terrorist fist jab." Said Nas, "Fox poisons this country every time they air racist propaganda and try to call it news. This should outrage every American that Fox uses hateful language to talk about the person that may be the first black president."
(You can watch a video of Nas and the protest on the right side of the screen.)

Banks explained that Nas's new album has a song called "Sly Fox," which offers a stinging critique of Fox News. (see rap lyrics below) When the Color of Change's Organizers realized they and Nas were saying the same things, they reached out to Nas to work together on the campaign.

AlterNet asked Banks for his take on the the specifics of the Fox behavior. "There are many instances, but one in particular that denigrated the Obama family made many readers angry, Fox put up images of Obama and their children and then referred to Michelle Obama as Baby Mama -- a term that is considered derogatory, and generally refers to young, unwed mothers of children," explained Banks.

The Color of Change organizing campaign against Fox clearly struck a chord. Joined by MoveOn and Brave New Films, the online petition spread around the web like wildfire, resulting in thousands of new members for each of the organizations. According to reports, Fox rejected the petitions, but Brave New Films, one of the organizers with Color of Change and MoveOn.org said that Comedy Central's Colbert Report agreed to accept them instead, and made them a feature of his show on Wednesday night.

Selected lyrics from "Sly Fox" by Nas:

It's sly Fox, cyclops
We locked in an idiot box
The video slots broadcasting
Waco Dividian plots
They own YouTube, MySpace
When this ignorant shit going to stop?
They monopolize and lose your views
And the channel you choose


What's a fox characteristic?
Slick shit, sins in, misinformation
Pimp the station, over-stimulation
Reception, deception
Comcast digital Satan
The Fox has a bushy tale
And Bush tells lies and foxtrots
So, I don't know what's real (what's real)

Watch what you're watching
Fox keeps feeding us toxins
Stop sleeping
Start thinking outside of the box
And unplugged from the Matrix stopped you
But watch what you say, Fox Fire is watching


Only fox that I loved was the red one
Only black man that Fox love is
in jail or a dead one
Don Hazen is the executive editor of AlterNet.
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