Rob Horowitz: Cliven Bundy: No American Hero
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
In a case of, "you can choose who your friends are but you can’t choose your relatives," our friends at Fox picked the wrong person to befriend last week.
All the right wing commentators at Fox News decided that they would befriend and support Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy.
It seems that Bundy has been using public land to graze his cattle since 1992. The Federal Government has been after him for years to pay for grazing rights like all other ranchers do. Unfortunately, Bundy has refused, claiming that the feds lack sovereignty and that he only recognizes the power of the local sheriff. The issue came to a head, when the Department of the Interior sent in The Marshalls to remove the cattle and take back our land.
Bundy became an instant hero to Sean Hannity, Bill O’Rielly and Greta Van Susskind at the Fox Network. They took up his cause and painted him as a victim of an overzealous Federal Government.
Fox filled the airways with stories of lone rancher Bundy taking on the United States Government in a showdown that would rival Waco Texas. See, to the men and women at Fox, individual rights always supersede the rights of the government, no matter how wrong or absurd or in this case how minor the issue is.
Then a funny thing happened. Bundy opened his mouth and spewed racist rhetoric.
He claimed that Blacks in the South were better off picking cotton as slaves then they are right now. It went downhill from there.
The anti-government folks at the Fox Network started back pedaling on their support of Clive Bundy. The disavowals came fast and furious.
In an effort to save whatever face they had to save, Fox and friends gave Bundy one last chance. They should have let sleeping ranchers lie.
In a press conference held last Friday April 25 and broadcast live on Fox and CNN, Bundy stated the following: “He didn’t understand the bipartisan outrage over his comments suggesting the Negro people were better off as slaves and blamed the perception that he was a racist on Martin Luther King, Jr not finishing his job.”
Unfortunately for Bundy and Fox News it only got worse. He then said the following: “If I say ‘Negro’ or ‘black boy’ or ‘slave,’ if those people cannot take those kind of words and not be [offended], then Martin Luther King hasn’t got his job done yet, “he concluded with this.” We need to get over this prejudice stuff."
We must ask Cliven Bundy this, is it about rights or saving a few bucks. Isn’t this a lot like income tax evasion? What would the Fox folks do, if it were someone protesting the war in Afghanistan who refused to pay “the War Tax”? They would call him or her un-American, but they don’t call Clive Bundy that. They embrace him; they elevate him to cult hero status-the lone rancher taking on the evil federal government, who wants to stop the ranchers.
So to our friends at Fox-don’t be so kneejerk, because to mix a metaphor if you lie down with cattle ranchers, you will get up with egg on your face. This week the folks at Fox are covered in broken yolks and they deserve it.
What’s next? Will they defend NBA L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling for his racist comments?
Rob Horowitz is a strategic and communications consultant who provides general consulting, public relations, direct mail services and polling for national and state issue organizations, various non-profits and elected officials and candidates. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Rhode Island.
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