Fox News’ criticism of the Obama administration is becoming more than a Common problem.
The rapper Common, you may recall, drew heated commentary from the cable network for his invitation to take part in a White House poetry night. And Eric Bolling, a host on the Fox Business network, faced allegations of racism in May after referring to the White House as the “Hizzouse,” “Hizzy” and “The Big Crib,” and guests of the administration as “hoods” on the air.
On Thursday, a Fox News opinion website called Fox Nation aggregated a “Playbook” column by Politico’s Mike Allen about President Barack Obama’s 50th birthday party, changing Allen’s typically long headline with this:
‘Obama’s Hip-Hop BBQ Didn’t Create Jobs’
The private party included dinner (“BBQ chicken, ribs, hamburgers, hot dogs, pasta, salad”) in the Rose Garden was attended by Obama’s staff and celebrities including Al Sharpton, Jay-Z, Chris Rock, Charles Barkley, Steve Harvey, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson. There were performances by Stevie Wonder, R&B singer Ledisi, jazz legend Herbie Hancock. A DJ “played Motown, hip-hop, and ’70s and ’80s R&B.”
“The president asked everyone to dance — and they did!”
The headline, not surprisingly, immediately sparked renewed charges of racism against the network. But Fox is standing by it.
Bill Shine, Fox executive vice president of programming in charge of the Fox Nation site, defended the decision in a statement: “We used the hip-hop reference per Politico’s Playbook story this morning which stated ‘Also present: Chicago pals, law-school friends, donors–and lots of kids of friends, who stole the show by doing dance routines to the hip-hop songs, in the center of the East Room.'”
The network has shut off further comments on the article, which were becoming incendiary.
“We found many of the comments to be offensive and inappropriate and they have been removed,” Shine said.
Reached by The Cutline, Mike Allen declined comment on the Fox treatment of his piece.
But the incident is proving to be entertaining fodder in other Washington media circles. Talking Points Memo started a #HipHopBBQActs hashtag for Twitter users to come up with imaginary names for “grill-themed” rap performers, such as “KRS-A1” or “Too $hortribs.”