After President Obama inserted himself into the July spat between Prof. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Officer Jim Crowley, Glenn Beck infamously declared on Fox & Friends that Obama “exposed himself” with the incident “as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people, or white culture.” Challenged by co-host Brian Kilmeade, Beck claimed that he was “not saying that he doesn’t like white people,” just that he’s a “racist.” Beck’s comments led to a boycott of his program by Color for Change, which has resulted in 81 companies refusing to advertise on his show.
In an interview with Sky News Australia last week, Rupert Murdoch, the owner of Fox News’ parent company, stood by Beck. Though he claimed that Beck probably shouldn’t have said such a thing, Murdoch concluded that “if you actually assess what he was talking about, he was right”:
SPEERS: The Glenn Beck, who you mentioned, has called Barack Obama a racist and he helped organize a protest against him. Others on Fox have likened him to Stalin. Is that defensible?
MURDOCH: No, no, no, not Stalin, I don’t think. I don’t know who that, not one of our people. On the racist thing, that caused a grilling. But he did make a very racist comment. Ahhh…about, you know, blacks and whites and so on, and which he said in his campaign he would be completely above. And um, that was something which perhaps shouldn’t have been said about the President, but if you actually assess what he was talking about, he was right.
Murdoch apparently isn’t very familiar with the content of the network he owns. Numerous Fox News personalities, including Glenn Beck, have compared Obama and members of his administration to Stalin. Watch it (starting around 16:00):
Earlier in the interview, Sky News political editor David Speers asked Murdoch if “people who switch on Fox News know when they’re getting news and when they’re getting opinion.” “Oh, absolutely,” replied Murdoch, pointing to Glenn Beck at 5 p.m. and Sean Hannity, “a pretty academic conservative,” at 9 p.m. as the only examples of the network’s opinion programming. But as Jon Stewart pointed out last month, Fox only considers its programming to be news from “9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. on weekdays.” “The only people you ever think about when you think about Fox News are not news,” said Stewart. “They’re Fox opiniotainment.”