Commentary By Ron Beasley
After being fired from NPR I could understand why Juan Williams would take a big bucks gig from FOX. He had not done any serious journalism for a few years and he was not getting any younger. The money probably looked good. I must admit I lost a lot of respect for him never the less. But as Ed Kilgore points out Williams is not playing by the FOX rules.
When Newt Gingrich turned Juan Williams into the perfect foil during the January 19 Republican candidate debate in Myrtle Beach, SC, ironic symbolism certainly abounded. Aside from the fact that Newt vaulted himself into the lead by beating up on an African-American journalist on MLK Day in the Cradle of the Confederacy, there was the additional fact that Williams is a Fox News panelist who briefly became a conservative celebrity after NPR fired him for on-air remarks deemed insensitive to Muslims. The debate audience didn�t know or care, presumably viewing Williams as just another �race-card� player who needed to be slapped down for suggesting anyone railing against the work ethic of food stamp recipients might be appealing to atavistic motives.
But bless his soul Williams is willing to risk his FOX dollars and call it like it is.
The language of GOP racial politics is heavy on euphemisms that allow the speaker to deny any responsibility for the racial content of his message. The code words in this game are �entitlement society� � as used by Mitt Romney � and �poor work ethic� and �food stamp president� � as used by Newt Gingrich. References to a lack of respect for the �Founding Fathers� and the �Constitution� also make certain ears perk up by demonizing anyone supposedly threatening core �old-fashioned American values.�
The code also extends to attacks on legal immigrants, always carefully lumped in with illegal immigrants, as people seeking �amnesty� and taking jobs from Americans.
But the code sometimes breaks down.
Last week a passionate Republican told GOP candidate Rick Santorum: �I never refer to Obama as President Obama because legally he is not [president]. He constantly says that our Constitution is pass�nd he ignores it. � He is an avowed Muslim and my question is, why isn�t something being done to get him out of government? He has no legal right to be calling himself president.�
Santorum did not blink. The man who recently said he meant �blah people� � when the world heard him say �black people� � as he spoke about parasitic Americans who get better lives by taking �somebody else�s money,� did not correct the assault on the truth. Instead he agreed that Obama is attacking the Constitution and said: �Well, look, I�m trying my best to get him out of office.�
The secret code words, the creation of Lee Attwater. They have been used by many Republican candidates on FOX News from the beginning.
Good for Juan Williams - but does he have a future at FOX?