From tonight's opening segment:
Fox News has run with a few different stories this year that they really pushed all on their own. They weren't mainstream news stories -- they weren't even news, really. They were Fox agenda items, all following a very, very similar narrative. There was the Van Jones controversy, with Fox morphing the president's renewable-energy policy expert into an ex-con who served time after the Rodney King race riots -- not true. The other great Fox News crusade of the past year was against ACORN, an almost all-minority community organizing group which Fox characterized as stealing taxpayer money and an election. More recently, Fox News has crusaded against the New Black Panther Party, after video surfaced of two wackjob blacks at a polling station during the 2008 election. The Bush Justice Department investigated and found that the wackjobs hadn't intimidated voters that day, and Fox News has continued running the same footage over and over and over again.
The message? They're coming for you, white people. They're coming for you. Black people are coming for you, to take what's yours.
This week Fox News got a new crusade, alerting the world that an "Obama administration official resigned just a short time ago after she was caught on tape appearing to tell an audience that she had used her position to racially discriminate against white farmers." Except that USDA official Shirley Sherrod had told that audience no such thing.
Do you notice anything about those four stories -- Van Jones, ACORN, the New Black Panther Party, and now Shirley Sherrod? This isn't about racism. This isn't a story about picking on black people. This is a story about political outcomes, about the tried and true political strategy not of targeting black people but of targeting white people, about making white people feel afraid of African Americans as if they are not fellow Americans but rather a threat to what white people have.