Maddow: Fox Uses 'Flagrantly Bogus Stories' to Provoke White Racism

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow called out Fox News on Thursday for its role in promoting reports about Shirley Sherrod and ACORN that proved to be distorted. She charged that the network "continually campaigns on flagrantly bogus stories designed to make white Americans fear black Americans."

"I showed up in the weirdest place last night," Maddow began. "I was on The O'Reilly Factor. It was very spooky."

When Maddow accused Fox during her appearance on Bill O'Reilly's program of playing an active role in "the fake ACORN controversy," the show's host responded by sneering that Fox "kick[s] your network's butt every single night."

"This 'fake ACORN scandal' stuff?" O'Reilly continued. "Unbelievable. Do you live in this country?"

Maddow laughed when recalling the exchange on her own show the next day and asked rhetorically, "If by 'in this country' you mean is my office right across the street from yours, yes. Unless there's an unguarded border down the middle lane of Sixth Avenue."

Maddow continued on a more serious note, however. "I'm not kidding when I say that Fox News manufactured the outrage over ACORN," she stated, "as surely as they manufactured the outrage over Shirley Sherrod, by playing over and over and over again the same very selectively edited tape that made it look like night was day and up was down."

But according to Maddow, "the really important part of O'Reilly's show last night" was when he insisted that Fox kicks MSNBC's butt.

"It is so awesome how great your ratings are," Maddow began sweetly, showing how O'Reilly's program the previous night had beaten her own in the ratings by 757 to 245. She then went on to mention all the shows that kill both hers and O'Reilly's, including fishing, professional wrestling, Spongebob Squarepants, and Hannah Montana Forever.

But all this is "totally immaterial," Maddoiw insisted, because, "You weren't really trying to tout your network's ratings. You were trying to take the attention off me saying that your network, Fox News, continually campaigns on flagrantly bogus stories designed to make white Americans fear black Americans, which Fox News most certainly does for a political purpose -- even if it upends the lives of individuals like Shirley Sherrod, even as it frays the fabric of the nation, and even as it makes the American dream more of a dream and less of a promise."

"You can insult us all you want about television ratings, Mr. O'Reilly, and you're right that yours are bigger, for now and maybe forever," Maddow concluded. "But even if no one watches us at all, except for my mom and my girlfriend and people who forgot to turn off the TV after Keith, you are still wrong on what really matters. And that would be the facts."

This video is from MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, broadcast July 22, 2010.

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