Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy owes much of his newfound fame to Fox News, which has given his armed standoff against the federal government close to wall-to-wall coverage and elevated him as a victim of government overreach. Since the rancher’s standoff with the Bureau of Land Management over his decades of illegal grazing on public lands, Fox News has mentioned Bundy 469 times.
But on Thursday, after the New York Times highlighted racist remarks Bundy made suggesting “the Negro” was better off under slavery, the conservative network stayed remarkably quiet. By 5 pm, no one on Fox News had even acknowledged the controversy. Even as Bundy held a press conference that turned into an even more racist meltdown, Fox News was running a segment criticizing the media for not pushing Hillary Clinton on Benghazi.
Sean Hannity, who has been Bundy’s most strident champion on the network, did condemn his comments on his radio show as “beyond repugnant” and “obnoxious, ignorant.”
The blackout is not unusual for Fox News. The network has ignored a number of major news stories that are bad for conservatives. For instance, Fox was virtually silent during the firestorm surrounding Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-MO) claim that women could not become pregnant from “legitimate rape,” as well as failed Senate candidate Richard Mourdock’s claim that rape pregnancies were “a gift from God.”