Rupert Murdoch must be having some sleepless nights. It’s been a particularly bad week for media coverage of the Fox News he controls with a major exposé in The New Yorker about the cable network’s inordinately intertwined relationship with Donald Trump joining major scandals involving the right-wing propaganda outlet’s on-air talent to dominate a week of public relations disasters.
In addition to the newly unearthed audio of prime-time troll Tucker Carlson condoning the statuatory rape of under-aged girls — behavior for which the right-wing misogynist pointedly refused to apologize — the anti-Muslim attacks on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN) by Fox News‘ resident former judge and prosecutor Jeanine Pirro created a backlash that completely undermined the host’s intended vilification of the Minnesota representative’s supposed anti-Semitism.
Pirro’s vicious comments towards Muslims were actually fairly par for the course in the context of the Fox News narrative, but the intensity with which she delivered her harangue set herself up as the poster harridan for anti-Islamic bigotry.
Naturally, Fox News‘ competitors were gleefully happy to exploit the turmoil at the network, so CNN invited Mansoor Shams, a Muslim Marine Corps veteran, on to its airwaves to condemn Pirro and Fox for their fear and hate mongering towards American Muslims.
Shams framed the issue with simple clarity — painting Pirro’s rant over Rep. Omar’s hijab as promoting hatred towards followers of Islam and decrying the lack of repercussions from Fox News towards its divisive host.
“I’m extremely distraught and disturbed by the things that are taking place in this nation for the last many years,” he said. “I have a 12-year-old kid who told me that, in his middle school as they were changing classes, this other child comes in and yells, ‘Allahu akbar, you’re all going to die,’ then shuts the door and runs.”
Alisyn Camerota, the CNN anchor speaking with Shams, read him Pirro’s “clarification” of her remarks about Rep. Omar and the wrist-slapping statement that her employer issued in response to the mounting outrage.
The former marine found neither post-controversy attempt at spin sufficient to quell the anger generated by the clear bigotry that Pirro and Fox News have been spreading on a regular basis.
“I think she should be fired!” he said. “You fire an individual like this, who is constantly dividing America. And I think America has to really sort of decide which path, which direction it wants to go in. Do you want to listen to people like her, who are dividing us and destroying the fabric of this nation?”
For many of us, the answer to Shams’ question is decidedly no. Unfortunately, as long as Fox News’ special brew of xenophobia, racial polarization, sexism, and political manipulation continues to attract an audience and generate profits for the Murdoch owned-parent company, America is unlikely to be able to prevent its divisiveness from ripping apart our society.
That’s the reason that so many people on the left are circulating lists of Fox News advertisers and supporting boycotts of the network’s sponsors. The more attention these boycotts can attract and the more sponsors who can be convinced to spend their advertising dollars elsewhere, the quicker Fox News may be persuaded to expunge the hate from their airwaves.
You can watch a clip of Marine Corps veteran Mansoor Shams’ appearance on CNN in the video below.
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Original reporting by Brad Reed at RawStory