MEDIA PUTZ OF THE WEEK
For reporting that is an embarrassment to the profession of journalism, and for being beholden to corporate paymasters rather than the citizens of America.
As our own Jeffrey Joseph points out, FOX News has really rallied the troops around the Kentucky GOP's nominee for U.S. Senate, Rand Paul. In an effort to keep the tea party-supported candidate from looking too outside the mainstream after his comments disparaging parts of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, conservative "heavyweights" such as Sarah Palin and Dick Armey took to the airwaves blaming liberals for blowing the remarks out of proportion.
But apparently that wasn't enough. Enter John Stossel. The libertarian commentator for FOX Business contended that Paul hadn't gone far enough in his remarks. He said he agreed with Paul that government shouldn't be allowed to discriminate, but it's totally cool if private businesses want to do so:
"I would go further than he was willing to go, as he just issued the statement, and say it's time now to repeal that part of the law," Stossel told FOX anchor Megyn Kelly. "Because private businesses ought to get to discriminate. And I won't ever go to a place that's racist and I will tell everybody else not to and I'll speak against them. But it should be their right to be racist."
While Stossel presents himself as the brave defender of the right to free speech, he's clearly making an error in his logic. The Civil Rights Act never stopped anyone from being racist. It merely stopped people from restricting the movements and legal actions of other people based on their race.
Furthermore, Stossel apparently missed the fact that the need for the Civil Rights Act wasn't created solely by the government. In compelling Congress to act on the problem, President Kennedy requested legislation "giving all Americans the right to be served in facilities which are open to the public -- hotels, restaurants, theaters, retail stores, and similar establishments." The lunch counter sit-ins and Rosa Parks' valiant bus protest were efforts to bring to light the awful conditions -- at the hands of private businesses -- under which black America had to operate in their day-to-day lives.
While Stossel argues that market forces would "eventually" stop businesses from discriminating, he fails to even wonder what would happen today if businesses were still allowed to discriminate. But anyone who's been watching Paul's partiers knows that there's a fair amount of latent and overt racism evident in the new conservative movement.
Not only would the tea partiers clearly like to forcefully remove people who don't look and think like them from Washington, but we're willing to bet there would be at least one restaurant owner who would refuse to serve the president of the United States of America because of the color of his skin. And you know who would be cheering their right to do so? John Stossel, total and complete media putz.
MEDIA PUTZ OF THE WEEK