The Justice Department’s reports on local government in Ferguson, Missouri, were, in many instances, heartbreaking. Americans saw clear proof of systemic, institutional racism on the part of members of the local police and municipal court officials.
Particularly damning were racist emails sent by Ferguson officials through official city email accounts – apparently during work hours – by leading public servants, including police commanders and court supervisors, none of whom faced any disciplinary action whatsoever before the Justice Department’s findings were made public.
And when I say “racist emails,” let’s be very clear – these were unambiguously, shamelessly, disgustingly racist messages. We’re not talking about awkward attempts at humor; rather, we’re talking about emails depicting President Obama as a chimpanzee.
But if you missed the show last night, you may not have heard about how these revelations were characterized by Fox News. Here was the exchange on Megyn Kelly’s program this week.
Guest: So, it’s not a story of institutional racism in Ferguson. It’s story of blood sucking local government that’s trying to get every ounce of revenue that it can either to feed its pensions problems or whatever.KELLY: It’s problematic for so many reasons, not the least of which is there are few companies in America, whether they’re public or private, in which if you sick 40 FBI agents on the company and review every email and every document and every communication you can between the employees, you won’t find any racist emails, any inappropriate comments, and then to tar the entire organization with that is additionally problematic.
I’ll confess, this actually surprised me.
Rachel’s reaction rings true:
“You know what? I don’t get emails from my colleagues like that. I don’t work at the Fox News Channel, so I can’t speak to what’s in their employees’ inboxes on a regular basis, but emails depicting President Obama as a chimp, the Michelle Obama’s high school reunion one, emails describing a man trying to obtain welfare for his dogs because they’re mixed in color – I mean, maybe those kinds of emails happened where you work, maybe my office is an outlier.“I do not get those types of emails. And if I did get sent something like that at work, I would expect that people would get fired.“And that is what’s in the process of happening right now in Ferguson, Missouri. Apparently at the Fox News Channel, that’s an outrage, because this sort of thing is normal for the American workplace. Very few companies in America are not sending around work emails about lazy unemployed black people and the black president being a monkey. That’s normal, right? That’s American business. Fox News Channel says that’s normal – that I did not see coming.”
Of all the possible reactions to the Justice Department’s findings, I didn’t expect Fox to go with the “this is all common stuff” argument.
To hear Megyn Kelly tell it, in most public and private operations in the United States, offensive messages are the norm. Not only is this genuinely bizarre, but it also seems to contradict the more common argument on Fox that institutional bigotry is largely a thing of the past.