Fox News came under fire from liberal bloggers Thursday after the cable channel displayed text under an image of Michelle Obama identifying her as Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s “baby mama.” (The New York Times’ The Opinionator blog) Fox said the producer who chose the wording used "poor judgment." (Politico) Earlier, Fox News’ E.D. Hill was forced to apologize after saying that a fist-bump between Barack and Michelle Obama might have been a “terrorist fist jab.” (Chicago Tribune’s The Swamp blog)
What the commentators said
“Where do you even start” when criticizing Fox's “baby mama” slur? said Joan Walsh in Salon. Do you explain that "baby mama" is an African-American slang term “for the unmarried mother of a man's child, and not his wife, or even a girlfriend?" Is Fox "racist, or just clueless?”
There’s no reason to go “apoplectic,” said James Joyner in the blog Outside the Beltway. Mrs. Obama herself has referred to her husband as her “baby’s daddy,” and the term is now commonly used in the media to refer to white celebrities, such as Tom Cruise and Justin Timberlake. This is just another example of “manufactured outrage.”
Get used to it, said Sam Schechner and Rebecca Dana in The Wall Street Journal. "In a campaign that includes the first viable African-American presidential candidate, the lines of appropriate speech have become fuzzy." And a "broad network of self-appointed watchdogs" is ready to pounce every time the media step out of line.
Nothing will stop the coming summer of attacks on Michelle Obama, said Maureen Dowd in The New York Times. Now that Hillary Clinton is out of the race, Republicans “can turn their full attention to demonizing” the woman at the side of the Democrats’ presumptive nominee. There are “creepy” Web sites dedicated to painting Mrs. Obama as “an angry black woman.”
And there you have the Democrats’ defense, said commentator Michelle Malkin in her blog. Michelle Obama isn’t getting half the grief that Laura Bush does, yet liberals want the world to think “we are all somehow colluding in unfair and ‘brutal’ attacks on Barack Obama’s wife because we express profound disagreement with her public statements and policy pronouncements on the campaign trail.”
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- America created the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria? Meet the ISIS 'truthers'
- The Obama era is over. The presidency continues.
- How American businessmen are ruining American business — and the U.S. economy
- Russia's giant spy ship was a high-tech disaster waiting to happen
- On ISIS, neocons and liberal hawks have a 'boy who cried wolf' problem
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- How Harry Houdini escaped death
- Fall movie guide: All the films you should see in September
- The 10 best networking tips for people who hate networking
- Scottish independence is another financial crisis waiting to happen
Subscribe to the Week