An online campaign is targeting Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch for backing race-baiting attacks on President Obama by Fox's Glenn Beck.
Murdoch, chairman of Fox News Channel's parent company News Corp, said Nov. 6 that Beck was right when he called the president "a racist" on his show.
On the July 28 "Fox and Friends" show, Beck, the program's host, accused Obama of being "a guy who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture." That was too much for his co-host Brian Kilmeade, who pointed out that many members of Obama's administration are white, so "you can't say he doesn't like white people." Beck insisted. "I'm not saying he doesn't like white people," he said. "I'm saying he has a problem. This guy is, I believe, a racist."
The online group ColorOfChange.org said Murdoch's statement is "a clear sign that Fox's problems with race start at the very top."
After Murdoch's comment sparked a flood of negative publicity, he backtracked four days later. On Nov. 11, a News Corp. spokesman told Politico that Murdoch "does not at all, for a minute, think the president is a racist." But Murdoch and his spokespeople declined to criticize Beck.
"It's time to force the conversation, publicly," says ColorOfChange. "Murdoch can stand by the fact that he supports Glenn Beck's race-baiting; or he can tell us why he doesn't and what he's going to do about it."
"Which is it, Mr. Murdoch?" the online petition asks.
"Fox News, under your leadership, has had a long, deep history of engaging in inflammatory racial rhetoric: attacking black leaders, black culture, and black institutions. Now you've been caught defending the words and behavior of Glenn Beck, the worst of the worst when it comes to race-baiting, whom more than 80 advertisers have abandoned--because of the very comments you endorsed.
"More and more it appears that Fox's problem with race starts at the top, with you. If you support Beck and others on Fox News using race-baiting, say so. If you have a problem with their tactics, tell us what you're going to do to make them stop. You can't have it both ways.
"We can hold Beck, Fox, and News Corp. accountable. It starts by demanding Murdoch answer a few simple questions. Please add your voice now."
An online campaign launched by ColorOfChange this summer helped spur 81 companies to pull their ads from Beck's show. The group says that online petition drew more than 285,000 signers.
ColorOfChange.org says it "exists to strengthen Black America's political voice. Our goal is to empower our members - Black Americans and our allies - to make government more responsive to the concerns of Black Americans and to bring about positive political and social change for everyone.