Fox’s “objective news” program, Special Report, went out of its way to suggest that anyone looking to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day is promoting a celebration of barbarians.
Anchor Bret Baier opened the brief report by simplifying what is really a long-running controversy over Columbus Day into a matter of hooligans desecrating statues:
BAIER: It is Columbus Day, a national holiday here in the U.S. but one that doesn’t come without controversy. Recently, statues honoring Christopher Columbus have become part of the national debate over historical monuments as protests have defaced some of those markers around the country. Correspondent Doug McKelway shows us the past of a celebrated and now targeted explorer.
McKelway opened with a young lady, unidentified and thus un-credentialed, saying that Columbus “didn’t really bring anything other than genocide and slavery and violence to indigenous people of this land and he’s not somebody who should be celebrated.”
MCKELWAY: It is an increasingly common sentiment about Christopher Columbus. Four states and 55 cities are now celebrating October 9th as Indigenous Peoples Day. […] New York’s Columbus Circle statue remains under 24-hour guard. This fall, it was among scores of Columbus monuments across the U.S. to have been vandalized.
Traditionalists see the movement as an anti-intellectual revisionist history, enabled by a mob mentality.
We saw a Long Island town supervisor attacking organizations defacing statues as “un-American” and “outrageous.” In support, McKelway informed us that on college campuses (favorite Fox News targets), "the pendulum has swung far to one side.” He also noted that an essay entitled “The Case for Colonialism” had been withdrawn from a journal “due to credible threats of personal violence to the journal’s editor.”
Just about the only credible balance was scholar William Connell who, McKelway advised, “sees both good and bad in Columbus.” Connell commented on “revisionist history” by saying, “History’s always being revised. I prefer the word ‘correction.’”
MCKELWAY: Connell acknowledges Columbus enslaved the people of Hispaniola, where he first landed. Their population was also decimated by measles and small pox carried by the Europeans.
We saw Connell saying the 50-90% of the population in the Americas died because of that.
Then McKelway carried on in an extreme example of “both sides-ism.”
MCKELWAY: But he notes indigenous people returned the unfortunate favor, infecting the Europeans with an especially virulent form of syphilis and that indigenous people, far from being peaceful, as Columbus detractors wish, were often at war with each other.
We saw Connell again saying that, as a historian, he’d rather preserve history and “have us learn about it” than erase it.
McKelway slyly validated view:
MCKELWAY: That appears to be the consensus of more than a thousand New Yorkers who signed a petition urging Mayor Bill de Blasio to preserve Columbus statues in the city.
“More than a thousand New Yorkers” may sound like a lot but in a city of more than 8.5 million, it’s not very significant.
Finally, as one more plug for Columbus, McKelway added, “No commission can undo Columbus’ lasting influence. Nearly 40% of the world’s Catholics live in Latin America, practicing the religion and speaking the language that Columbus first introduced there.”
Baier closed the segment by saying, “Happy Columbus Day. Doug, thanks.”
I'm not big on defacing or removing statues but to suggest that disapproval of Columbus Day is about little more than that does a convenient service to Fox's good guy/bad guy narraitve
Watch Fox simplify a weighty subject into propaganda above, from the October 9, 2017 Special Report.
Crossposted at News Hounds.
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