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As George Zimmerman's high-profile trial draws to a close, Fox News has been positively giddy about the creation of its latest conflict-in-a-can: imagining that 'race riots' are imminent should Zimmerman be acquitted.

This effort can be best highlighted by what occurred on Sean Hannity's show Wednesday evening. After talking up the prospects for race riots and exploring Broward County's preparedness, Hannity turned to noted bigot Mark Fuhrman, who called this imagined threat of violence as a "pathetic statement for our country."

This is just one example of many in which Fox News hosts or contributors have focused their attention upon the scary specter of a violent uprising by black Americans. The moves, clearly intended to whip up racist fears amongst its viewing class, and thus increase ratings by piggybacking upon such bigoted fear-mongering, took an ironic turn in the name of one Bill O'Reilly.

O'Reilly chose another angle, claiming that the focus on Zimmerman's trial – a Fox News staple – was really about reverse racism. Meaning: all this Zimmerman coverage is about showing how violent and oppressive white people are in a world where black-on-black crime exists every day.

In other words: the real threat is all this violent crime perpetrated by black Americans, crime hidden from view not because the media – and white America – doesn't care as much about it. It's because the media is choosing to intentionally ignore it and show, instead, white oppression.

But O'Reilly knows the score, and ends his racist rant by stating, "If Zimmerman is acquitted, there will be racial animus."
 

Is any of this bigoted baiting and conflict-creation a surprise? No. But that is precisely the issue, and the continuing problem with Fox News's influence: it's normative.

It's a mainstream reflection of extremist views, couched as 'news,' that continues to pollute our airwaves.

 

Originally posted to David Harris-Gershon (The Troubadour) on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 09:21 AM PDT.

Also republished by Writing by David Harris Gershon.

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