[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]
Monica Crowley, filling in for Bill O'Reilly last night, wanted to know why Cynthia Tucker -- who over the weekend called out the racial "elephant in the room" in this year's elections, i.e., white conservatives' fear of being overwhelmed demographically -- was "playing the race card":
Crowley: This is completely outrageous. Americans voted in a black man as president with 53 percent of the vote. And now, all of a sudden we're hearing from the far left that now we're a nation of bigots and racists? What's really going on here?Don't you just love how people who did not vote for Barack Obama (and never would) now proclaim his victory as proof that America is now no longer racist?
Fortunately, Mark Sawyer -- who called out Fox News and Republicans on this very point not so long ago -- was there to knock down Crowley's self-serving nonsense:
Crowley: So are we somehow to believe that between 60 and 70 percent of the American people are racist?You've gotta love those rare moments when truth is permitted to be spoken on Fox News. Especially about Fox itself.
Sawyer: No. No one would ever suggest that.
Crowley: Cynthia Tucker seemed to.
Sawyer: No she wasn't. What she was saying was that we've had exactly what we did have. We had a summer where the Republicans, and to a certain degree you guys at Fox News, realize that racial resentment works in bad economic times. And if you play the racial resentment card, where whites are feeling uncomfortable --
Crowley: Hey Mark, it wasn't us playing the race card. It was the far left playing the race card against the Tea Party, and against Republicans in a grossly unfair way and with no evidence whatsoever.
Sawyer: You guys had the New Black Panther Party, you guys had the New Black Panther Party --
Crowley: Which was a legitimate story that the Holder Justice Department threw out.
Sawyer -- You tried to run with the Shirley Sherrod story. You tried to run with the Shirley Sherrod story. That one blew up in your face.
Crowley: This was not us, Mark. Nice try, but this was all the far left fanning the flames of these stories, trying to accuse racism where it didn't exist.
Sawyer: The far left looks at the same polls that Republicans do -- that whenever the president's talking about race, it fans the flames of white racial resentment and his numbers go down. You learned that last summer when you saw him step out about the Henry Louis Gates issue. And that's how they learned how to play the racial resentment card. And that's what's been going on. That's why the numbers of people who think the president is a Muslim have been going up.
So it's simplistic to say that white people are turning against him because of race -- but a substantial part are, and data shows that.
[Note: Here's Media Matters' timeline of the Shirley Sherrod matter. You'll see that Fox -- including The O'Reilly Factor -- played a critical role in disseminating Breitbart's hoax.]