Associated Press in New York
Sat 13 Nov 2021 10.07 EST
Fox News edited video of Joe Biden to remove context from remarks some could judge as racially insensitive. In Veterans Day comments at Arlington National Cemetery on Thursday, Biden told an anecdote that referenced the baseball player Satchel Paige, who pitched in the Negro Leagues before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball. Biden’s remarks were featured on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show on Thursday night, when the primetime host said the president had “one of his most disturbing, troubling moments to date”. Then, on the Fox & Friends morning show on Friday, host Rachel Campos Duffy said Biden was “facing backlash”.
Biden said he had “adopted the attitude of the great Negro, at the time pitcher in the Negro Leagues, went on to become a great pitcher in the pros in Major League Baseball after Jackie Robinson, his name was Satchel Paige”.
But when Duffy played the clip, it was edited so Biden was heard saying he had “adopted the attitude of the great Negro at the time, pitcher, name was Satchel Paige”.
Duffy said Biden’s remarks were “landing him in hot water”.
While “Negro” was once a common way to refer to Black people and still appears in organization names, the terms “Black” and “African American” are more widely used.
“Some commenters on social media described Biden’s speech as having used the ‘n-word’, suggesting that a term once commonly used to refer to Black Americans – a descriptor that was in use in the Census Bureau’s racial categories as recently as 2010 – was equivalent to a historically racist slur.
“By pretending that Biden was calling Paige a ‘Negro’, though, they could pretend that Biden was revealing a secret bias against Black Americans, both for him and his party.”
Bump also wrote that it was “useful to consider why [Fox News] and others on the right are investing in this particular narrative. It comes down to one of the central debates in politics at the moment, the interplay of partisanship and race”.
“There is a sense among many conservatives that the political left is constantly attacking them as racist. The reasons for this are myriad and complicated, rooted to some extent in the overlap of race and partisanship (most Black Americans are Democrats) and in a sense that reevaluations of America’s history through the lens of race are implicitly (or explicitly) about criticizing White Americans.”
Al Tompkins, a faculty member at Poynter Institute, a journalism thinktank, told the Associated Press that when editing video, journalists have an obligation to keep statements in the context they were delivered or explain to viewers why a change was made. In the video presented by Fox & Friends, he said, the edit was not at all clear.
A Fox News spokesperson said Biden’s full remark was used when the story was repeated twice on Fox & Friends, and said the one-time edit was made because of time constraints.