Monday, June 15, 2009

Fox News Obliquely Smears Obama as Jew-Hater accompanied its coverage of the speech by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with one stock picture of Netanyahu at Bar-Ilan University, and one picture of US President Barack Obama wearing a keffiyah. The latter image was obviously photoshopped; what is interesting is the provenance of this not-very-subtle smear, with its blatant overtones of Obama being a "secret Muslim" and similar debunked nonsense: It is cropped from this picture of a poster seen in Israel, which proclaims "Barack Hussein Obama" (of course!) to be an "Anti-Semitic Jew-Hater":

Now, this is clearly not an error; somebody in the newsroom intentionally selected this picture of Obama to accompany the report on Netanyahu's comments, in which he stipulated that any future Palestinian state would have to be demilitarized and accompanied by security guarantees for Israel. (While it goes without saying that the second of these demands is perfectly reasonable, the first will be unacceptable to the Palestinians and at this point constitutes a de-facto rejection of real Palestinian statehood in the occupied territories.)

The picture was pointed out by a commenter on the extreme right-wing discussion board Free Republic, who called the choice of image "pretty stunning" and said quite rightly that it "seems to be an editorial decision". The next commenter asks "Is there a FReeper working for Fox? I nearly fell off my chair seeing that!", while others gleefully respond with " that a real picture? I like it!" and "Whoa! At first I thought you were pulling my leg but the picture really is on Fox’s site! I wonder how long it’ll be there?".

At the time of writing, the picture was still there, cf. the following screenshot:

By promoting the idea that Obama is a "Jew-Hater" and antisemite, is further stoking the fire of those nutjobs who already feel tempted to take the law into their own hands. Without going into the details of the delicate relationship between right-wing extremists and philosemites (among many militant conservatives in the US, philosemitism frequently appears to be constantly on the verge of tipping over into prejudice against Jews), suffice it to say that casting Obama as a new Hitler, while obviously completely crazy, will egg on those who believe any means are justified in stopping him. FoxNews knows no shame, of course, but they should be called out on this.

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